The Fall movie season blasts into space with Brad Pitt (“Ad Astra”), unleashes Christian Bale on a racetrack (“Ford v Ferrari”), mines television staples (“Downton Abbey,” “Charlie’s Angels”), embraces an assortment of sequels (“Frozen 2,” “Zombieland 2”) and, of course, reboots, recasts and re-imagines yet another comic book legend (“Joker”).
The films opening between now and Dec. 20 often represent the year’s major Oscar contenders. Here’s a look at the nearly 50 new movies headed our way. (Dates are subject to change. Check www.ohio.com/entertainment for updates in the coming weeks.)
Friday: The latest movie iteration of Stephen King’s freaky clown story, “It,” was a smash in 2017, and now comes the story of the scared youngsters as adults, 27 years later, dealing with the aftermath of Pennywise. “It Chapter Two” features Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader. (King’s “Doctor Sleep” is also hitting theaters on Nov. 8.) ... Jillian Bell stars as a woman revamping her life (physically and emotionally) in “Brittany Runs a Marathon.”
Sept. 13: Take that, Wall Street! In “Hustlers,” a group of former strippers (Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, and Bay Village native Lili Reinhart) get even with their financial world clients. … Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Goldfinch” comes to the big screen with Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson and Ansel Elgort.
Sept. 20: For those who dearly miss “Downton Abbey,” the beloved British PBS series is now a major motion picture, complete with the entire cast and writer-creator Julian Fellowes on board. The Crowley family is all aflutter as they prepare to welcome the king and queen. … Brad Pitt already scored accolades this year for his role in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Now he shifts over to the sci-fi realm for “Ad Astra,” about a mission deep into space to find a lost crew.
Sept. 27: Renee Zellwegger channels the legendary Judy Garland in “Judy,” while the animated adventure “Abominable” goes in search of a yeti.
Also in September: Sylvester Stallone revisits one of his most iconic roles in “Rambo: Last Blood.” … Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville find each other in “Ordinary Love.” … Two musicians cover up the death of their bandmate in "The Death of Dick Long." ... And water and ice around the globe are examined in the documentary “Aquarela.”
Oct. 4: Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Mark Hamill, Cesar Romero and a slew of other actors have tackled the role of Batman’s nemesis. Now, it’s Joaquin Phoenix’s turn to clown around as failed stand-up comic Arthur Fleck in “Joker.” … In “Lucy in the Sky,” Natalie Portman plays an astronaut who returns to Earth after a strange mission and starts losing touch with reality.
Oct. 11: Will Smith plays an elite assassin whose latest target bears a striking resemblance to his younger self in "Gemini Man." … The classic 1960s sitcom “The Addams Family” has made its way to the big screen before, but this version is an animated look at the spooky clan (with Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac as the voices of Morticia and Gomez).
Oct. 18: Director Ruben Fleischer struck gold with the original “Zombieland” in 2009 and the cast, including Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray, returns for more undead mayhem (and comedy) in “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.” … Writer-director Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”) travels back to World War II for the story of a German woman hiding a young Jewish girl from the Nazis in “JoJo Rabbit.” … Angelina Jolie dons the weird headgear again for Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”
Also in October: Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison in "The Current War." ... Naomie Harris plays a rookie cop in the action-thriller “Black and Blue.” … Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe team up for an unsettling 19th century tale in “The Lighthouse.” … And, not to be confused with the successful musicals and dramas, the new “Les Miserables” is actually about the 2005 riots in Paris.
Nov. 1: In the beginning, there was Arnold. And Linda. “Terminator: Dark Fate” reunites Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s indestructible cyborg. Hamilton has missed a few of the sequels. She was last spotted in “Terminator 2” in 1991. … You’ve read about her in history class, now take a deeper dive into the life of the heroic Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) in “Harriet” … Edward Norton stars in and directs “Motherless Brooklyn,” a detective yarn set in 1950s New York.
Nov. 8: Some may recall the 1976 version with Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda. The new “Midway” takes a fresh look at the crucial World War II showdown in the Pacific between the U.S. and Japan in June 1942. … Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding connect in the romantic comedy “Last Christmas.” … Ewan McGregor plays the grown-up Danny Torrance (from Stephen King’s “The Shining”), who tries to save a young girl from a cult, in the horror flick “Doctor Sleep." … The comedy “Playing With Fire” dumps a gaggle of hard-to-handle kids into the laps of some rugged firefighters, led by John Cena and Keegan-Michael Key.
Nov. 15: Call it hubris or American know-how, but in 1966 the Ford Motor Co. challenged the hotshots at Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In “Ford v Ferrari,” car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) struggle mightily, on and off the track, to try and pull off an upset. … It was a TV show in the 1970s and a movie in 2000. Now, “Charlie’s Angels” is a movie again. This time, the wily female trio is played by Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska. … Adam Driver and Jon Hamm star in “The Report,” which delves into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation programs. … A rich widow and a con man (Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan) square off in “The Good Liar.”
Nov. 22: Sing it out, loud and proud: “Let it go! Let it go!” Elsa, Anna and the chilly crew are back for more animated angst, and singing, in Disney’s “Frozen 2.” … Chadwick Boseman is a New York detective hunting cop killers in “21 Bridges.” … And Tom Hanks slips into Fred Rogers’ comfy sweater and sneakers for the drama “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Nov. 27: Shot partially in Cleveland earlier this year, “Queen & Slim” follows the tragic events after an Ohio couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) get pulled over by a threatening cop. … Think of the game Clue, and then make it as dark and weird as possible. That is where the comedy-mystery “Knives Out” is headed, helped along by an all-star cast: Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette and Don Johnson.
Also in November: The documentary “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” examines the life of the late controversial lawyer-fixer. … Shia LaBeouf wrote and stars in “Honey Boy,” a drama based on his struggles as a young man. … A film director reflects on his bad choices in Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” while “Waves” charts the progress of two couples falling in love.
Dec. 6: “It’s about time hot air balloons got some big-screen attention,” said no one ever. “The Aeronauts” are guiding us to new heights anyway, as a pilot and scientist (Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, who teamed previously in “The Theory of Everything”) take off on a scientific adventure.
Dec. 13: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and their cohorts are back for more games in “Jumanji: The Next Level.” … “A Hidden Life” examines the struggles of an Austrian man who refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II.
Dec. 20: You might have heard of this little movie franchise called “Star Wars”? George Lucas originally envisioned his space stories as a nine-film saga, and lo and behold here comes the concluding No. 9 (though we all know it won’t really be the end). In “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” directed by J.J. Abrams, we catch up with Rey, Finn and Poe as The Resistance battles The First Order. … Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats” stars James Corden, Judi Dench and Taylor Swift. … Artificial intelligence is milked for laughs by Melissa McCarthy in “Superintelligence.” … And the women of Fox News (played by Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie) take on the all-powerful Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) amid ongoing sexual harassment accusations in “Bombshell.”
Clint O’Connor can be reached at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ClintOMovies.