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50 Films to See This Fall

Written by on August 22, 2019 

Lucy in the Sky (Noah Hawley; Oct. 4)

After an adventurous 2018 with her sci-fi odyssey Annihilation and ambitious pop star drama Vox Lux, Natalie Portman is leading Lucy in the Sky, a drama which follows her character as an astronaut whose life unravels when she returns from a mission. Coming from Noah Hawley, it will mark his directorial debut and we’re curious to see how his experience creating Fargo and Legion translates to the big screen. Fox Searchlight seems to lack some confidence in the film after a release date only recently set and late TIFF addition announcement, but hopefully it’s a strong double feature with Ad Astra. – Jordan R.

Dolemite is My Name (Craig Brewer; Oct. 4 in theaters and Oct. 25 on Netflix)

While Netflix has some fairly high-profile releases this fall, as seen on this page, they will also be bringing much more to festivals. One title that brings anticipation is Dolemite Is My Name, from Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan director Craig Brewer, which is premiering at TIFF. Led by Eddie Murphy as a comedian who attempts a comeback by taking the persona of the much more fly Dolemite, the film features the epic cast of Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith, and Wesley Snipes. – Jordan R.

The King (David Michod; Oct. 11 in theaters and Nov. 1 on Netflix)

Timothée Chalamet is getting medieval. The Call Me By Your Name star is leading David Michôd’s The King, which includes the impressive supporting cast of Robert Pattinson, Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn, and Lily-Rose Depp. Based off the Shakespeare play Henry V, and adapted for the screen by both Michôd and Joel Edgerton, who will also star in the film, Chalamet plays Henry V in the titular role and will follow his involuntary rise to power after the death of his brother–all while facing military conflict with France. Michôd’s last Netflix collaboration, War Machine, didn’t go down so well, but hopefully better things are in store for this one when it premieres at Venice. – Jordan R.

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho; Oct 11)

Basements are a recurring motif in the cinema of Bong Joon-ho. From the tunnels running below the apartment building of Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), to the torture chambers in Memories of Murder (2003) and Okja (2017), to the monster’s lair in The Host (2006), these underground spaces are where society keeps its most sordid secrets locked up and out of sight, only to have them resurface with a vengeance. Bong greatly expands the subterranean metaphor in Parasite, which looks at the culture of underground living in Seoul–a literal lower class forced by economic necessity to live in basements or semi-basements–to deliver a withering assessment of the social stratification in his native South Korea. – Giovanni M.C. (full review)

In My Room (Ulrich Köhler; Oct. 11)


At what point do vaguely-related surface movements form into something resembling a wave? The idea of a so-called “Berlin School” has been doing the rounds for quite a while. However, the creative output of that group of filmmakers in the last few years has been nothing short of astonishing. Christian Petzold led the way with Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014) but nothing could have prepared us for Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann rocking Cannes or Valeska Grisebach’s Western doing the same last year. Petzold’s Transit divided audiences (we thought it was great) in Berlin in February and now we encounter this strange, intimate, little science-fiction film. – Rory O. (full review)

Mister America (Eric Notarnicola; Oct. 11)

Along with starring in one of the year’s biggest films, Us, and releasing a new, surprisingly tender album, Tim Heidecker is heading into the fall with his own leading role. Mister America expands one of the most beloved universes in media, the On Cinema universe, as we follow Heidecker’s political journey to unseat a San Bernardino District Attorney who led a charge against him for selling fatal e-cigarettes at an EDM festival. Also starring, of course, Gregg Turkington, we hope they are preparing their awards season speeches now. – Jordan R.

Gemini Man (Ang Lee; Oct. 11)

Ang Lee has proven time and time again that his work cannot be so easily categorized. From directing a Jane Austen period picture (Sense and Sensibility) to a masterpiece of wuxia cinema (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) to crafting one of the most heart wrenching romantic dramas of the early 2000s with Brokeback Mountain to pushing technology with his last few projects, the director has never shied away the unknown. This defiance of being pigeonholed into one particular type of film is on full display with Gemini Man, which finds the director working in 120 frames per second and 3D. In Ang Lee’s second foray into action and science-fiction since his ill-fated Hulk film, Will Smith plays an elite assassin who discovers that an operative who can counter his every move and is trying to eliminate him is a younger clone version of himself. – Margaret R. 

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