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Our 30 Most-Anticipated Fall 2017 Films

Written by on August 24, 2017 

10. The Post (Steven Spielberg; Dec. 22)

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Steven Spielberg is set to wow the diaspora of Obama-era elites with his upcoming film, The Post. Though originally titled The Pentagon Papers, the title was shortened, assumedly to speak to the condition of facts and real news in the age of Trump. The story follows Washington Post journalist Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and the Post’s first female publisher, Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), in exposing the public to the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the bill of goods the Nixon administration sold to the American public to fuel the Vietnam War. After his last prestige drama — the sturdy, noble Bridge of Spies — we imagine a similar mindset is in store for The Post, which also brings a guarantee that Streep and Trump will go for a second round this awards season. – Josh E.

9. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (David Wain; TBD)

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Yes, we’re anticipating a David Wain film more than the next Star Wars. After delivering one of the funniest, most tear-inducing parodies of all-time with They Came Together, he gave us two Wet Hot American Summer TV seasons, and now he’s finally back to feature films with this look at the early days of National Lampoon. Led by Will Forte and also starring Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Lennon, Joel McHale, Matt Walsh, Paul Scheer, and many more, Wain certainly knows this history well and we’re immensely curious about his portrayal of Bill Murray, John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Ivan Reitman, Gilda Radner, Lorne Michaels, and more. Wain recently revealed he’s in the final stages of finishing the project, which may have a more dramatic bent than initially expected. – Jordan R.

8. Roman Israel, Esq. (Dan Gilroy; Nov. 3)

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After crafting one of the best directorial debuts of its respective year, Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy is back with a Denzel Washington-led crime drama. Described as “a character study in the vein of Paul Newman’s 1982 classic The Verdict,” the Robert Elswit-shot film captures Washington’s character as he finds disturbing happenings in his law firm and takes action into his own hands. Hopefully it keeps intact the burning intensity and comedic touches of his debut film, and will likely get a festival debut at AFI Fest. – Jordan R.

7. Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman; Sept. 22)

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In a year full of minions, emojis, talking cars, and bossy babies, to say we’re looking for something a bit more compelling in the animated field is an understatement. Thankfully, a promising feature looks to be arriving this fall in the form of Loving Vincent, a Vincent Van Gogh biopic that’s also the first fully oil-painted feature film. 125 painters worked over six years, resulting in 65,000 painted frames, and Saoirse Ronan, Aidan Turner, Douglass Booth, Chris O’Dowd, and Helen McCrory are in its voice cast, with Clint Mansell on scoring duties. – Jordan R.

6. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler; Oct. 6)

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A horror western that also found room to carve out characters with depth and personality, Bone Tomahak was among the best debuts of the past few years. Thankfully it took little time for director S. Craig Zahler to return for his follow-up. Led by Vince Vaughn as an inmate who must deal with the deadly arena of prison, we’ll leave you with TIFF programmer Peter Kuplowsky’s thoughts: “I think the film escalates to an absolutely deranged climax that’s kind of reminiscent of The Story of Riki-Oh but for the first hour it is more of a sober crime drama.” – Jordan R.

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh; Nov. 10)

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In Bruges writer-director Martin McDonagh makes a welcomed return to cinema for the first time since 2012’s Seven Psychopaths with his latest darkly comedic yarn, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. After law enforcement fails to catch her daughter’s killer, Mildred (Frances McDormand) rents billboard space to execute a smear campaign on the local police chief, played by Woody Harrelson. Judging by the trailer, the plot feels overwhelming in its contemporary relevance, and with such an enticing cast, which includes Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, and Caleb Landry Jones — not to mention McDonagh regulars Sam Rockwell and Zeljko Ivanek — it’s an unabashed must-see for us. – Tony H.

4. Mosaic (Steven Soderbergh; TBD)

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Technically television, but perhaps something of an entirely new stripe. This years-in-the-offing experiment, a murder mystery led by Sharon Stone, embraces something along the lines of a choose-your-own-adventure form you’d probably loved in your younger years — but Soderbergh hates the term, so don’t throw it around too freely — now experienced through apps instead of paperback books. (There’s said to be a six-episode HBO series, with additional footage, coming along soon after.) Logan Lucky made clear that the man’s not lost his touch for air-tight studio filmmaking; Mosaic sounds like confirmation that the experimental bent we haven’t seen in some time is about to come back in a major way. I love his new film, but I know where my bread is truly buttered, so: yes. – Nick N.

3. Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater; Nov. 3)

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Richard Linklater is the king of sequels, full stop. After finishing his Before trilogy and Boyhood, he most recently crafted a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused in the form of Everybody Wants Some!! The director’s next project is Last Flying Flag, and he brings J. Quinton Johnson from the aforementioned project, along with Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne for this sequel to Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail. The story follows a trio of friends introduced in the 1973 film, now on a trip up the Eastern seaboard to bury Doc’s (Carell) son, who was killed early in the Iraq war. The film opens up the 55th New York Film Festival on September 28th and the programmers write, “Linklater gives us a rich rendering of friendship, a grand mosaic of common life in the USA during the Bush era, and a striking meditation on the passage of time and the nature of truth.” – Josh E.

2. Ex Libris – New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman; Sept. 13)

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Age is no obstacle for veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman, who continues to shoot his fly-on-the-wall documentaries with an almost unmatched prolificness. Following recent documents of Queens’ Jackson Heights, London’s National Gallery, and California’s University of Berkeley (all clock in at over three hours long), he now primes his lens on one of New York City’s most valuable institutions: the New York Public Library. What was surely countless minutes of footage is thriftily compiled into a still-dense 200 minute runtime that slowly makes clears its themes, as clips of events and various banal aspects within the library illuminate the homogeneity of diverse cultures and value of this public space. Ex Libris premieres at Venice before opening in limited release just a few weeks later. – Jason O.

1. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project (Dec. 25)

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Despite the lack of an official title (its current placeholder is Phantom Thread), rumors surrounding the latest work from writer-director (and, for the first time, cinematographer) Paul Thomas Anderson continue to swirl. A February press release initially described it as “the life behind the curtain of an uncompromising dressmaker commissioned by royalty and high society.” However, according to a recent tweet from Vulture senior editor Kyle Buchanan, the picture, which is set in the ‘50s London couture world, is described by insiders as “an art-house Fifty Shades of Grey.” Take from that what you will. Sadly, it was also announced that the untitled project is the final performance from star Daniel Day-Lewis, who hasn’t appeared onscreen since his Oscar-winning turn in Lincoln, rendering the film all the more enticing a ticket for fans when it finally hits theaters this December. – Tony H.

Honorable Mentions

Battle of the Sexes (9/22), Stronger (9/22), The Mountain Between Us (10/6), Breathe (10/13), The Foreigner (10/13), Goodbye Christopher Robin (10/13), Marshall (10/13), Only the Brave (10/20),
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women (01/27), The Man Who Invented Christmas (11/3), Wonder (11/17), Coco (11/22), Darkest Hour (11/22), Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (12/15), The Greatest Showman (12/25), One of Us (TBD)

Continue: Our 25 Most-Anticipated Fall 2017 Festival Premieres

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What films this fall are you most looking forward to?

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