By Richard Roeper
Signal Contributing Writer
We’ll see these movies this fall — unless the release dates for one or more are pushed back, as was the case the other day when Warner Bros. pushed “Wonder Woman 1984” from an Oct. 2 debut to Christmas Day.
The highly anticipated reboot of “Candyman,” directed by Nia DaCosta and co-written by Jordan Peele and filmed in Chicago (as was the 1992 cult classic original), was slated to open Oct. 16, but just last week was delayed until sometime in 2021.
“We made ‘Candyman’ to be seen in theaters,” wrote DaCosta on Twitter. “We wanted the horror and humanity … to be experienced in a collective, a community, so we’re pushing [it] to next year, to ensure that everyone can see the film, in theaters, and share in that experience.”
In this most unusual movie year, some of these films will be premiering in theaters, while others will have at-home debuts. Regardless of venue, these are the autumnal releases I’m most looking forward to seeing.
‘Ava’ (Sept. 25, VOD)
Over the last decade, Jessica Chastain has delivered world-class performances in a wide variety of genres, so I’m keen to see what she’ll do with the role of Ava Faulkner, an elite assassin who gets mixed up in the obligatory international web of intrigue. It should be movie law that a film like this has a supporting part for John Malkovich, and indeed he’s playing Chastain’s mentor. Colin Farrell, Geena Davis, Joan Chen, Common and rising star Diana Silvers round out the ensemble.
‘The Boys in the Band’ (Sept. 30, Netflix)
Joe Mantello directs “The Boys in the Band,” Mart Crowley and Ned Martel’s film adaptation of the groundbreaking 1968 off-Broadway play about a group of gay men who gather for a birthday party at an Upper East Side apartment.
“The Boys in the Band” keeps its period-piece setting and stars prominent gay actors from the 2018 Broadway revival (also directed by Mantello) including Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto and Andrew Rannells.
‘The Glorias’ (Oct. 2, Amazon Prime)
On the heels of Rose Byrne’s stellar work as feminist icon Gloria Steinem on the Hulu series “Mrs. America,” Alicia Vikander will portray Steinem from ages 20 to 40 with Julianne Moore taking it from there in Julie Taymor’s “The Glorias,” which is based on Steinem’s book “My Life on the Road.” Early reviews have been favorable for the biopic, which co-stars Timothy Hutton, Lorraine Toussaint, Janelle Monae and Bette Midler.
‘On the Rocks’ (Limited theatrical release on Oct. 2, streaming on Apple TV+ starting Oct. 23)
Rashida Jones and Bill Murray: What an inspired pairing! Jones plays Laura, who believes she’s in a loving relationship with her husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans), until he starts working long hours and she begins to suspect something is up. Murray is Laura’s charming but irresponsible playboy father, who suggests they tail Dean and scour various New York City nightspots for clues.
This marks Murray’s reunion with his “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola and hmmmm, given Sofia’s father is Francis Ford Coppola and Jones’ dad is Quincy Jones, there must have been some pretty interesting conversations about fathers and daughters on set.
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Oct. 16, Netflix)
I can’t think of anyone better suited than Aaron Sorkin to write and direct a dramatization about the fireworks-filled 1969 trial of the Chicago 7, who were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Sacha Baron Cohen plays clown prince antagonist Abbie Hoffman, with Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman and Mark Rylance as the famous radical lawyer William Kunstler.
‘Black Widow’ (Nov. 6, in theaters)
The Marvel Universe returns to your friendly neighborhood theater with “Black Widow,” with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow stepping from the supporting wings for her own story, which takes place between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018).
Also starring Florence Pugh as another Black Widow, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz, and don’t be surprised if an Avenger or two makes a cameo.
‘Deep Water’ (Nov. 13, in theaters)
Ben Affleck gave one of the best performances of his career as an alcoholic basketball coach in “The Way Back,” which was released on March 6, just before theaters began shutting down. Here he plays Vic Van Allen, a husband mired in a loveless marriage to Melinda (Ana de Armas).
In an effort to spice things up, the couple starts playing some dangerous, perhaps even deadly, games with each other. This sounds like the perfect, lurid, glossy B-movie material for the first film in 18 years from director Adrian Lyne, who helmed “Flashdance,” “9 1/2 Weeks,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal” and “Unfaithful” before going on sabbatical in France.
‘No Time to Die’ (Nov. 20, in theaters)
The 25th installment in the Bond series (and the fifth and final wearing of the tux for Daniel Craig) is now slated to hit theaters the Friday before Thanksgiving. The plot reportedly has Bond in retirement but lured back to service when — ah, you know the drill. Before it’s over, 007 undoubtedly will face off against some megalomaniacal villain whose power-hungry ways could result in the deaths of millions.
Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright and Christoph Waltz, among others, reprise their characters from earlier Bond films, while newcomers include Oscar winner Rami Malek, Ana de Armas (who is getting a lot of work these days and deservedly so) and Lashana Lynch, who is a 007 agent, not the next James Bond, but a 007 agent nonetheless, so you know she’s a badass.
‘Soul’ (Nov. 20, in theaters)
I wish we could get a Pixar movie every month in these troubling times (and I bet a lot of parents feel the same way too!), but as we know, each of these animated adventures takes a long, long time to make, although the payoff is usually worth the wait.
Pixar stalwart Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up,” “Inside Out”) directs the story of one Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a jazz-loving middle-school music teacher whose soul is separated from his body after an accident. Joe lands in “The Great Before,” a world where souls develop their character traits before they’re sent off to Earth.
‘Belushi’ (Nov. 22, Showtime)
Second City, the National Lampoon Radio Hour, “Saturday Night Live,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Continental Divide” — John Belushi packed an amazing body of work over roughly a single decade before dying of an overdose at just 33.
Now comes talented filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s documentary about Belushi’s life and times, featuring previously unheard audiotapes and interviews with Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Lorne Michaels, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin and Ivan Reitman, as well as his wife, Judy.
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