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50 Films to See This Fall

Written by on August 22, 2019 

Crown Vic (Joel Souza; Nov. 15)

Had Training Day been made today it would have to contend with the changing role of policing in the age of the body camera and the armchair lawyer with a tiny broadcast studio in his pocket. For old school cops like Officer Ray Mandel, who operate in a gray area, its part of the job he laments the most. He’s not interested in de-escalation, although he tows the party line up until the moment when he no longer can–playing by the book might just get you killed. – John F. (full review)

Ford v. Ferrari (James Mangold; Nov. 15)

After spending much of the past decade enmeshed in the world of superheroes, director James Mangold’s next film finds him going back half-a-century to capture a key moment in automotive history. Ford v Ferrari is set during 1966’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, with Christian Bale taking the role of British racer Ken Miles and Matt Damon playing American car designer Carroll Shelby as they hoped their Ford model would stand up in a world dominated by Ferrari. – Jordan R.

The Lodge (Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala; Nov. 15)

Comparisons to Ari Aster’s Hereditary are legitimate from pretty much the opening scene of The Lodge, Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s follow-up to Goodnight Mommy that mixes fanatic Christianity and a snowbound setting for a slow-burning freakshow. Fortunately, despite these many similarities, The Lodge successfully deviates by its chilling finale into something all its own. – Jake H. (full review)

Midnight Family (Luke Lorentzen; Nov. 15)

The startling fact that there are only 45 official ambulances amongst Mexico City’s 9 million-plus population sets the intense, harrowing stage for Midnight Family. Following one family that runs their own operation, Luke Lorentzen takes an intimate look at the dedication required for such a task with a keen eye on the economic toll. With patients not requiring to pay, even if they may have died if not for this medical help, it creates a complicated situation when asking for the bill–and that’s only if they can beat out all the other private ambulances racing towards the scene of an accident. While one wishes this portrait was a little more fleshed out, the snapshot we get certainly sends a jolt, particularly in an unforgettable scene involving familial neglect. – Jordan R.

The Report (Scott Z. Burns; Nov. 15)

With it now being over a decade since the Bush-Cheney era, our perspective on the recent history is greater, which means it is time for filmmakers to have a stronger focus on mining the territory of post-9/11 political debacles. While Adam McKay’s Vice divided in its useful insight (or lack thereof), Scott Z. Burns takes a strictly procedural route in the thrilling, sharply written The Report. A student of the Steven Soderbergh school of filmmaking, it has the propulsive slickness of that director’s best films, without ever feeling derivative. – Jordan R. (full review)

The Hottest August (Brett Story; Nov. 15)

Where better than New York City to make a structuralist film? Cities are iterative, their street grids diagrams of theme and variation, and New York most of all—with its streets and avenues named for numbers and letters and states and cities and presidents and Revolutionary War generals spanning an archipelago, intersecting at a million little data points at which to measure class, race, culture, history, architecture and infrastructure. And time, too—from this human density emerge daily and seasonal rituals, a set of biorhythms, reliable as the earth’s, against which to mark gradual shifts and momentary fashions. Summer is for lounging on fire escapes, always, and, today, for Mister Softee. Yesterday it was shaved ice. Tomorrow, who knows? – Mark A. (full review)

Varda by Agnès (Agnès Varda; Nov. 22)

Life can seldom offer us neat endings. Cinema sometimes can, and there is something nicely fitting to the notion that Agnès Varda, the seventh art’s great celebrator of all things gleaned, would leave audiences–newcomers and devotees alike–with so much to take from her final film, as Varda par Agnès has ultimately proved to be. It is a swan song but not a melancholy tune, more a joyous celebratory coda to the director’s life and work, a film that feels purpose-built to dispel any notions of solemnity around her passing. – Rory O. (full review)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller; Nov. 22)

Although we were firmly in the minority when it comes to Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (along with the Academy), audiences clearly felt differently, leading to last year’s biggest documentary hit. It makes the proposition of an awards season biopic, featuring the perfectly-cast Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, an easy sell and consider our attention piqued when it comes from Marielle Heller, who last helmed the excellent Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Diary of a Teenage Girl. The promising drama tells the story of acclaimed journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), who embarks on an Esquire profile piece with Rogers that will change his life. – Jordan R.

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