Entertainment Movies

Monday 18 February 2019

Bye bye summer blockbusters, here are 17 of the best film releases to check out in autumn

With the summer blockbuster season over, Hilary A White looks at the bumper harvest of releases hitting the big screen this autumn

Saoirse Ronan in The Seagull
Saoirse Ronan in The Seagull
Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters in American Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Domhnall Gleeson, and Ruth Wilson in 'The Little Stranger'

Outside the likes of Hereditary, Leave No Trace, First Reformed, this summer has been light on quality from genres outside the seasonal blockbuster. In that department, we were better served by a triple-strike of deliriously entertaining franchise outings - Incredibles 2, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Mission: Impossible -Fallout.

Things start to improve now as the evenings close in, with the next couple of months throwing up a clatter of interesting prospects as confident releases time their arrival just as murmurs of distant awards seasons begin to increase in volume.

AUGUST

BlacKkKlansman (August 24)

Wry and knowing, but never too smart for its own good, Spike Lee's latest strut through the history of US race relations is a hoot.

It tells of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who in 1972 was not only hired as the first African-American detective by the Colorado Springs Police Department but ended up infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan with partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver).

Yardie (August 24)

As the clamour to crown him as the new Bond continues, spare a thought for this directorial debut from Idris Elba about a Jamaican immigrant (played by Aml Ameen) who gets caught up in the London criminal underworld. While the plot may be conventional, Elba shows huge promise on his maiden outing behind the camera.

Cold War (August 31)

Pawel Pawlikowski took the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2015 for his mesmeric post-war drama Ida, and big things are expected of this follow-up. Here, he charts the fortunes of a star-crossed romance over 15 years as Poland picks up the pieces following World War II. Early reviews have been unanimously ecstatic.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (August 31)

Writer-director Desiree Akhavan's follow-up to her 2014 comedy-drama Appropriate Behaviour has already been dubbed "one of the year's bravest films" by the Los Angeles Times. Chloe Grace Moretz is the highschooler sent for "gay conversion therapy" after being caught with another girl. American Honey discovery Sasha Lane co-stars.

SEPTEMBER

Black 47 (September 5)

The Great Famine retold in gut-busting, proto-Western fashion, starring everyone from Hugo Weaving to Jim Broadbent to Sarah Greene. Lance Daly (Kisses, Life's A Breeze) amps up the mud 'n' blood for a hearty dose of gritty barnstorming.

The Seagull (September 7)

A trio of gold-standard leading ladies come together in this lush adaptation of the Chekhov play from decorated Broadway director Michael Mayer. Saoirse Ronan takes on the part of Nina, Annette Benning is Irina while the consistently excellent Elizabeth Moss plays Masha. Something to tide Saoirse fans over until Mary Queen of Scots in January.

American Animals (September 7)

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Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters in American Animals
 

As if it was ever in doubt, Barry Keoghan proves that he is more than just a set of snake eyes in this razor-sharp and deceptively profound true-crime saga about adolescent US suburbanites taking their thirst for kicks too far by planning a campus heist. The Dubliner, who first made his name in Love/Hate, is front and centre in a role that may just springboard him to household name status.

The Predator (September 14)

Having starred in John McTiernan's 1987 alien slasher classic Predator, writer-director Shane Black) Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3) is a somewhat apt choice to take the helm of this umpteenth attempt to breathe life back into the dreadlocked space hunter who routinely stops by Earth to bag a few human skulls. Fingers crossed.

Mile 22 (September 19)

While the trailer might look like just another tough-talking shoot-em-up starring Mark Wahlberg, we've learned not to doubt Peter Berg. In 2016, the US director delivered two of the most sophisticated true action films in recent memory with Deepwater Horizon and Patriot's Day.

The Little Stranger (September 21)

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Charlotte Rampling, Domhnall Gleeson, and Ruth Wilson in 'The Little Stranger'
 

Domhnall Gleeson is the village doctor in post-war England called out to the crumbling mansion of an eccentric family (Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter). There, he finds spooky secrets of which we'll say no more. We've come to expect excellence from Lenny Abrahamson, and this first foray into period mystery is true to form.

A Simple Favor (September 21)

Billed as "the darker side of Paul Feig", this new offering from the Bridesmaids director pairs Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as an everyday soccer mum who is sucked into a web of sexy, off-kilter intrigue by an enigmatic and mysterious woman she meets at the school gate.

The Wife (September 28)

Two acting heavyweights lock horns in this novelistic outing about the wife of a writer who accompanies him to Stockholm to receive a Nobel prize and finds herself questioning much. Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce are joined by Christian Slater.

OCTOBER

A Star Is Born (October 5)

Bradley Cooper directs, co-writes and stars in this tender romantic drama about a washed-up actor mentoring a rising singing star (Lady Gaga) and finding love. Sound familiar? This is the third screen outing for the tale following the 1936 original and the 1976 staple starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

Venom (October 5)

A long-time fan favourite, this arch-enemy of Spiderman has taken his time getting to the omniplex. Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock, who is infected with an alien symbiote that makes him want to do bad things as the titular monster. Columbia and Sony own the rights as part of a separate Marvel universe to the one we're used to, so don't expect a chirpy cameo by Robert Downey Jr. This could go either way.

Bad Times At The El Royale (October 12)

An all-star cast - Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, et al - is drafted in for this thriller from Drew Goddard (Cabin In The Woods) that sees seven strangers converge on a remote hotel for dark shenanigans. Could be a Tarantino-esque slab of big, bad fun.

First Man (October 12)

Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling reunite in a very different world to the jazz hands of La La Land for this biopic of Neil Armstrong's journey to becoming the first man to set foot on the Moon. Expect white-knuckle mishaps, Southern States grit and Gosling's customary low-wattage expressions. And because it's Chazelle and a gloried US history, that palpable whiff of Oscar-courting.

Rosie (October 12)

Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford star as young parents forced, by matters beyond their control, to move their family into a hotel. Bound to touch a few nerves with Irish audiences, this one.

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