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Gaga! Gosling! Gridelwald! Here’s the Buzz on 20 — Yes, 20 — Must-See Fall Movies

By Mara Reinstein on August 28, 2018

Summer is finally over, yesssss. You know what that means, right? Dwayne Johnson takes a vacation, while Ryan Gosling and Nicole Kidman get busy. We’ll see families come together and families break apart in ways that will gut the heart. (Want families devoured by a shark? That’s what The Meg was for.) Here’s your definitive, no B.S. 2018 Fall Movies preview. Let the Lady Gaga Oscar campaign officially begin!

 

 

A Simple Favor

The Story Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is your typical super-friendly mommy vlogger. After her martini-swilling new bestie Emily (Blake Lively) disappears from suburbia, she turns into a modern-day Nancy Drew in a quest to uncover the truth.

The Buzz It’s about time a Gossip Girl and a Barden Bella teamed up . . .  in a quirky comedy/drama/mystery hybrid, no less. (The story is based on Darcy Bell’s novel.) Bonus: Paul Feig, who helmed comedy beauties such as Bridesmaids, Spy and The Heat and, um, the updated Ghostbusters, directs.

In theaters Friday, September 14

 

Life Itself

The Story A strikingly gorgeous NYC-based couple (Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac) go from endearing college romance to marriage to the birth of their first child. Things gets messy and twisty along the journey. Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas co-star.

The Buzz In case it wasn’t obvious from the preceding sentence, this film is courtesy of Dan Fogelman — the writer/director/creator who let Jack die via a faulty Crock-Pot in This is Us. If you don’t cry by the closing credits, then what’s the point of Life.

In theaters Friday, September 21

 

Love, Gilda

The Story Gilda Radner was the part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live in 1975. Think Kate McKinnon’s physicality, Amy Poehler’s sweetness and Tina Fey’s wit rolled into one. This riveting documentary combs through her triumphant career and tragic death from cancer in 1989.

The Buzz Fey herself introduced the film — her voice often breaking at the podium — at the opening night of April’s Tribeca Film Festival. Exactly. You can’t call yourself a SNL fan without watching a biography of one of its brightest supernovas.

In theaters Friday, September 21

 

Night School

The Story A group of immature grown-up troublemakers attend night school in hopes that they’ll finally earn their GEDs and get a diploma. Starring those reserved, soft-spoken actors Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish.

The Buzz Oy, this comedy is going to be sooooo dumb. Can’t wait!!!!

In theaters Friday, September 28  

 

A Star Is Born

The Story Bradley Cooper’s hard-drinking, down-on-his-luck country singer discovers a young talent and promptly falls for her. Lady Gaga, in her film debut, takes the prized part formerly played by Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.

The Buzz For his directorial debut, Cooper turns to a classic Hollywood love story that’s been kicking around since 1937. (Fun fact: Beyonce was once attached to the Gaga role). Word is strong for this iteration, which will premiere at the prestigious Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Could Gaga be working her way toward an EGOT?

In theaters Friday, October 5

 

Venom

The Story Hi, Tom Hardy. He’s Eddie Brock, an investigative reporter digging into a shady bio-med company that’s been testing an alien lifeform on vulnerable volunteers. After breaking in to the lab, he becomes infected and develops strange powers. Hi, Venom.

The Buzz Venom, part of the Spider-Man universe, is one of Marvel’s most enigmatic heroes. Plot details are scant, but the trailer (that recently premiered at Comic-Con) shows venom as a dark, violent and vicious character that bites off people’s heads. Yeah, maybe leave the kiddos at home.

In theaters Friday, October 5

 

Private Life

The Story A middle-aged New York City couple (a perfectly cast Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn) have tried everything in the name of reproducing. Their dead-end hopes perk up after a recent college drop out (Kayli Carter) re-enters their life and offers to carry a child for them. To quote Phoebe Buffay, they’re literally putting all their eggs in her basket.

The Buzz An opening night selection at January’s Sundance Film Festival, this lived-in, moving and funny drama truly delivers the goods. Bravo to Tamara Jenkins (The Savages), the only female narrative director on this list.

On Netflix and in select theaters Friday, October 5

 

First Man

The Story Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) was the first man to walk on the moon. This biopic examines his somewhat reclusive life, as well as his famed 1969 NASA Apollo 11 space mission. Claire Foy plays his wife.

The Buzz Houston, the problem is that Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff have all thoughtfully explored out-of-this-world material. But First is the first to focus on Armstrong, who eschewed the limelight. It also helps that Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning La La Land and Whiplash director, is the steady commander.

In theaters Friday, October 12

 

Bad Times at the El Royale

The StorySeven strangers full of secrets — played by the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm — meet at a rundown hotel in Lake Tahoe. Over the course of one night, the people in question get one last shot at redemption. Or. Else.

The Buzz The plot is a mix of Murder on the Orient Express and Clue. The cast could end up in Thor 7. The writer-director helmed The Martian and the extra-creepy episodes of Lost. Sold.

In theaters Friday, October 12

 

Beautiful Boy

The Story Based on a true story, this family drama chronicles how a man named David Sheff (Steve Carell) tried to help his teen son Nic (Timothee Chalamet) overcome his methamphetamine addiction.

The Buzz Chalamet already broke our hearts as a teen struggling with his sexuality in Call Me By Your Name. Now he’s poised to do it again in another prestige film, this one co-produced by Brad Pitt. This actor deserves some hardware — and a hug.

In theaters Friday, October 12

 

Halloween

The Story A whopping 40 years after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) first faced down masked killer Michael Myers in a closet on Halloween night, she must steel herself for one final — and, presumably, deadly — confrontation. Based on a true story. Kidding.

The Buzz The original scream queen is back just in time for her favorite holiday! That alone is a treat.

In theaters Friday, October 19

 

The Hate U Give

The Story Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) lives in a working class African-American neighborhood and goes to a largely white prep school. After she witnesses a police officer fatally shoot her best friend (Algee Smith), Starr grapples with finding her true voice.

The Buzz Angie Thomas’ debut YA novel was a Book of the Year bestseller just last year. A film rarely tops source material; but we do know this adaptation, which has already been screening for the media, couldn’t be more timely.

In theaters Friday, October 19

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Story Clap your hands and stomp your feet as Brit Freddie Mercury (Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek) becomes the frontman of the supergroup Queen. His turbulent story culminates in a legendary Live Aid performance in 1985.

The Buzz The behind-the-scenes turbulence for this rock bio — including leading man switcheroos and the firing of the original director — is itself worth of a movie. Still, Mercury’s tale is so compelling that fans should be willing to see this anyway the wind blows.

In theaters Friday, November 2

 

Nobody’s Fool

The Story Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) is the wild-child newly paroled sister; Danica (Tika Sumpter) is the by-the-book sister. The dynamic changes when Tanya learns that Danica’s boyfriend is up to no good. Tyler Perry writes and directs.

The Buzz Haddish finally gets her first starring role. And Whoopi Goldberg plays her mom.  Lordy please let this be hilarious.

In theaters Friday, November 2

 

Boy Erased

The Story Jared (Lucas Hedges, the Manchester by the Sea Oscar nominee) is the newly outed gay teen son of a small-time Arkansas Baptist pastor. His parents (Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe) give him an ultimatum: Attend a gay conversion therapy or be shunned by the family and the faith forever.

The Buzz Actor Joel Edgerton (The Gift) wrote and directed this searing coming-of-age story, based on Garrard Conley’s memoir. Trophy talk started the second the first trailer was released, though Chloe Grace Moretz recently tackled similar subject matter with the indie The Miseducation of Cameron Post.  

In theaters Friday, November 2

 

The Front Runner

The Story Google Gary Hart. In 1988, the man (Hugh Jackman) was the Democratic front-runner for the 1988 presidential nomination. That is, until allegations of an extramarital affair surfaced. Oops.

The Buzz Admit it, it’s difficult to resist watching the meteoric rise and scandalous fall of a good-looking male politician. And nobody does biting comedy quite like Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Young Adult). With Jackman leading the way, this should be delicious.

In theaters Wednesday, November 7

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Story Eddie Redmayne’s Magizoologist Newt Scamander (spell that three times fast) unites with young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to prevent the devious Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) from raising wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.

The Buzz The 2016 original was a bit of a snooze. But at July’s Comic-Con, the footage from this sequel to a Harry Potter prequel had the pasty nerds in a tizzy. Of course, a surprise appearance from Depp — who spoke in character —  didn’t exactly hurt.

In theaters Friday, November 16

 

Widows

The Story A quartet of grieving women (Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo and Michelle Rodriguez) are in debt because of their crooked husbands. Desperate and determined, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

The Buzz  As if that formidable cast isn’t enticing enough, Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay and 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen is behind the lens. The only true crime here would be if this heist doesn’t rock Us.

In theaters Friday, November 16

 

Creed 2

The Story Don’t call it a comeback! Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) gears up for another big match, and this time it’s personal: He’s fighting the son of the Russian boxer that killed his dad in the ring in Rocky IV. Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone return as well.

The Buzz It will take a lot of steel grit for this sequel to top the rousing Creed. Wait, Adonis fighting Drago’s son?! BRING IT.

In theaters Wednesday, November 21

 

Second Act

The Story Thanks to a case of mistaken identity, a 40-year-old woman (Jennifer Lopez) stuck in a dead-end job gets a chance to prove to the suits on Madison Avenue that streets smarts are just as valuable as book smarts.

The Buzz If anyone is going to loosely remake Working Girl, it might as well be Jenny from the Block. And after all the autumn meat and potatoes, we’re going to need a fizzy tonic.

In theaters Wednesday, November 21

 

 

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