The summer movie season is officially behind us (thank heavens), so it’s time to get excited for the Oscar bait that arrives every autumn. Remember, release dates are subject to change.
Mother! • In this thriller from director Darren Aronofsky, a married couple (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) is tested when another couple (Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer) visit. Keep in mind Benjamin Franklin’s bon mot about fish and houseguests.
Battle of the Sexes • Steve Carell and Emma Stone play Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King, respectively, in the lead-up to their 1973 tennis grudge match. Yes, this is the first time “tennis” and “grudge match” were used in the same sentence.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle • Colin Firth is back from the dead in this sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. This time, there’s an American twist on things with Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie • You wouldn’t think a LEGO ninja movie would be good, but recall that the first two LEGO movies were surprisingly good. In other words: This is going to be good.
American Made • Tom Cruise plays a drug runner for the Medellín Cartel and a CIA informant, suggesting there’s no way his character will make it out alive.
Flatliners • Remember the original with Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts? Good. Watch that again instead.
Blade Runner 2049 • Harrison Ford returns and Ryan Gosling takes the lead in this sequel to the 1982 cult classic. There are seven versions of the original, so I’m going to wait until at least the third or fourth version of this one before I bother.
The Mountain Between Us • Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star as strangers trapped atop a freezing mountain after a plane crash. I don’t understand the title. If they’re trapped together on top of the mountain, the mountain isn’t between them, it’s under them, right? Right?
Goodbye Christopher Robin • Bet you didn’t know Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, et al. were created by depressed WWI veteran A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) as a way to connect with his son, Christopher Robin Milne. Or are you an Eeyore and don’t care?
Marshall • Chadwick Boseman, who recently played Jackie Robinson, James Brown and the Avengers’ Black Panther, stars in this biopic about the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. If nothing else, Boseman is showing his versatility and range.
Breathe • Robin (Andrew Garfield) and Diana (Claire Foy) are a loving couple who don’t let his polio prevent them from enjoying their lives together.
Wonderstruck • Julianne Moore stars in a dual role in director Todd Haynes’ latest, a drama that shifts between 1927 and 1977 that’s sure to be a stylistic gem.
Suburbicon • George Clooney directs Matt Damon and the now-ubiquitous Julianne Moore in this home-invasion dramedy, because nothing says “ha-ha!” like being terrorized by a stranger.
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women • Based on a true story, this one’s about the love triangle that led to the creation of comic book heroine Wonder Woman. Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote and Rebecca Hall costar. Somebody should’ve told the studio a period piece drama is not how to shamelessly capitalize on one of the biggest hits of the year.
Thor: Ragnarok • The bad: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) cut his hair and lost his hammer. The good: Cate Blanchett is the villain, and the trailers promise a lot of Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) sightings.
The Man Who Invented Christmas • Don’t be fooled by the title—it should really be The Inspirations for Charles Dickens to write ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The venerable Christopher Plummer keeps pluggin’ away, aided here by a slew of fine character actors.
A Bad Moms Christmas • The bad moms (Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell) have their own bad moms (the excellent Christine Baranski, the over-the-top Susan Sarandon and UCF grad Cheryl Hines) visit to help ruin Christmas.
Daddy’s Home 2 • Good dads (Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell) welcome bad dad (typecast Mel Gibson) and overly affectionate dad (John Lithgow) to town for Christmas.
Murder on the Orient Express • Director Kenneth Branagh’s all-star cast includes Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench and Branagh himself in this adaptation of the novel. It’s one of the greatest mystery stories ever written, avoid the Internet (spoilers) for the next two months. We’ll forgive the inclusion of Johnny Depp and Josh Gad.
Justice League • OK, Justice League. Wonder Woman just saved your fledgling DC Comics Extended Universe, so don’t screw it up by being all dark and moody and blurry (Batman v. Superman).
Wonder • Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play parents who send their son (Jacob Tremblay)—whose face is misshapen—to a mainstream school for the first time. In fifth grade. The worst grade to make that grand entrance as the new kid no matter what your face looks like.
Coco • This is the second 2017 Pixar release after Cars 3; the only other time the studio released two movies in one year was 2015, when we got Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. Let’s see if this year is as hit-and-miss as 2015 was.
Death Wish • Bruce Willis’ plan to make the world dumber by watching his movies is in full force with this remake. Where’s Charles Bronson when you need him?
The Disaster Artist • The Room, a 2003 film, earned a reputation as being spectacularly, stupendously terrible. Actor/director/writer James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is about the making of The Room, and early buzz suggests it’s … spectacular.
Wonder Wheel • Woody Allen’s latest follows a bored 1950s Coney Island wife (Kate Winslet) who develops a huge crush on the new lifeguard (Justin Timberlake), only to have her husband’s (Jim Belushi) daughter (Juno Temple) become “competition” for his attentions. This is what Woody Allen does best. No, not focus on young girls ...
All the Money in the World • In Rome in the early ’70s, Italian kidnappers abduct the grandson of the richest man in the world, the single-minded, stubborn, parsimonious John Paul Getty (Kevin Spacey). Director Ridley Scott is underrated as a dramatic filmmaker, and with a cast that includes Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, this is one to see on the big screen. Based on a true story, it involves the amputation of an ear.
The Shape of Water • During the Cold War, a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) discovers a secret government experiment. For as creative and visionary as Guillermo Del Toro is as a director, he’s a terrible movie title writer.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi • Also known as Episode VIII in the Star Wars saga, and the last time we’re going to see Carrie Fisher as Leia … it might do OK at the box office.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle • Odd to name this remake after a Guns N’ Roses song but, hey, it stars The Rock, and who doesn’t like The Rock? I’ll tell ya who: Dwayne Douglas Johnson, that’s who.
Pitch Perfect 3 • This time, our favorite a cappella group goes on a USO tour to perform for the troops—cue the cute outfits, energetic covers and inspired mash-ups that we’ve come to love.
The Papers • Spielberg, Streep, Hanks. The Washington Post, Nixon, the Pentagon Papers. Oscars?
Downsizing • Alexander Payne directs Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig in this social satire about people who shrink themselves because they believe it will lead to a better life. Sounds corny, but Payne and Damon have been too good over the years to dwell on shortcomings … get it? Shortcomings?
The Greatest Showman • Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Michelle Williams star in this original musical about P.T. Barnum’s famous circus and the way he ran it. The songs will sound “modern” despite the mid-1800s setting, which Baz Luhrmann proved in The Great Gatsby doesn’t really work. Perhaps director Michael Gracey has some tricks up his sleeve?
Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film • Daniel Day-Lewis’ allegedly last performance is in this original story from his There Will Be Blood director. All we know is that it’s set in 1950s London and deals with high society fashion.