Fall Arts 2016: Film

Sept. 9
Sully
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Anna Gunn, Tom Hanks, Laura Linney, and Aaron Eckhart

Sure, Grandpa has been acting like the 86-year-old white man he is lately, telling the “pussy generation” that objects to Trump’s racism to “just fucking get over it.” On the other hand, if anyone’s going to do a live-action spinoff film about John Goodman’s Monsters, Inc. character — played here by Tom Hanks, for some reason — Clint’s the codger for the job.

Sept. 9
Max Rose
Directed by Daniel Noah
Starring Jerry Lewis, Kerry Bishé, Dean Stockwell, and Illeana Douglas

Every so often, the internet loses its shit about a few more frames of footage from Jerry Lewis’ unreleased, seemingly inexplicable 1972 film The Day the Clown Cried — the existence of which is actually quite explicable to certain film critics for disreputable newsweeklies who’ve watched all of Lewis’ movies — while forgetting that the man himself is still working, including starring in this drama. (Jerry also supports Trump, but in fairness, he’s even older than Clint.)

Sept. 16
Snowden
Directed by Oliver Stone
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, and Nicolas Cage

Strange but substantial: From the shore of the sociopolitical stream opposite Sully‘s sullen supervisor swims September’s second single-S-word biopic via subversive septuagenarian Stone, starring Stop-Loss‘ Joseph Gordon-Levitt as expatriated surveillance-and-secrecy superhero Edward “Citizenfour” Snowden.

Sept. 23
The Lovers and the Despot
Directed by Ross Adam and Robert Cannan

The kerfuffle over The Interview in 2014 was neither the first nor the most bizarre movie-related incident involving North Korea’s ruling Kim dynasty. That would instead be the time in 1978 that Kim Jong-il kidnapped South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee and director Shin Sang-ok in order to bolster North Korea’s film industry, as examined in this stranger-than-fiction documentary.

Oct. 7
The Birth of a Nation
Directed by Nate Parker
Starring Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, and Colman Domingo
Prediction: Many of the same people who got upset about the lack of white folks in Hamilton — not to mention all the anachronistic rap music, which gives the kids the brain damage with the hippin’ and the hoppin’ and the bippin’ and the boppin’ — will also be cranky about a new movie called The Birth of a Nation, because there’s already a classic movie by that name, and maybe Hollywood should spend less time trying to be PC and more time coming up with new ideas.

Oct. 7
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Directed by Steve Carr
Starring Andy Daly, Lauren Graham, Isabela Moner, and Adam Pally

School-set YA novels are fine fodder for comparatively nonviolent movies, but for some reason, they’ve tended to focus on male protagonists. (Where is the film version of Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series we were promised?) This picture, based on a book credited to noted hack James Patterson — and probably ghostwritten by his smaller-fonted collaborator Chris Tebbetts — is more of the same, but it also co-stars Andy Daly, one of the funniest character actors working today.

Oct. 21
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Directed by Edward Zwick
Starring Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, and Aldis Hodge

Cruise’s recent big-budget starring roles that don’t have “mission” or “impossible” in the title haven’t become blockbusters, not even the occasional good one like Edge of Tomorrow. So, it’s perhaps not surprising that he would attempt to make another franchise out of his 2012 Jack Reacher. It wasn’t a blockbuster either, but it’s based on a series of books, and — most importantly — the movies don’t cost much to make.

Nov. 11
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Directed by Ang Lee
Starring Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, and Steve Martin

On the week of Election Day comes this adaptation of the Ben Fountain novel that lays bare some of the more unpleasant aspects of America’s two favorite militaristic pastimes: football and sending young men off to war. Director Ang Lee famously has no truck with unexamined jingoistic macho bullshit, and it should be interesting to watch him have no truck with it in IMAX 3D.

Nov. 18
The Edge of Seventeen
Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, and Woody Harrelson

We may not have our Dork Diaries movie yet, but this not-based-on-a-book film may prove to be the next best thing. Produced by James L. Brooks and starring Hailee Steinfeld— who would also have made a great Nikki Maxwell in Dork Diaries, for the record — as a teenager going through the rigors of being a high school junior, this debut from writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig may prove to be the season’s most emotionally honest picture.

Nov. 23
Rules Don’t Apply
Directed by Warren Beatty
Starring Haley Bennett, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich and Alec Baldwin

The 79-year-old Beatty’s first directorial effort since 1998’s Bulworth and his fifth overall — unless you count the 2010 made-for-TV oddity Dick Tracy Special, which you need to go watch on YouTube right this instant — is also his first in which he’s not the main character. He instead plays a supporting role as Howard Hughes, because if you’re not going to be the romantic lead, you might as well be one of the most famous billionaires ever.

Dec. 9
Bye Bye Man
Directed by Stacy Title
Starring Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, and Doug Jones

Title has been a reliable director of low-budget horror films and dark comedies since the 1990s, and not only has she gathered a terrific supporting cast for this ghost story, it’s been pushed back from its original June release to the height of awards season. Could this mean Bye Bye Man will being saying Hello Hello to Oscar? (Note to Access Hollywood: Please credit SF Weekly for that clever line.)

Dec. 16
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring Riz Ahmed, Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, and Ben Mendelsohn

An even greater risk than The Force Awakens last year, Rogue One is the first non-trilogy Star Wars movie to be released to theaters since the CGI cartoon Clone Wars in 2008, and the first to not feature any familiar established characters in lead roles. By all accounts, Lucasfilm has been nervous that the movie is too much of an honest-to-goodness war film, which of course is the last thing you want from a film with the word “war” in the title.

Dec. 21
Assassin’s Creed
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Starring Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons

This video game adaptation had already been pushed back a year and half — it was originally slated to be released in May 2015 — and the resounding flop of Warcraft this past summer can’t be soothing 20th Century Fox’s nerves. But goddamn if it doesn’t also star Michael Kenneth Williams — Omar from The Wire and Freddy from The Night Of — and even if his presence won’t add to the box office, he still makes anything 20 percent cooler.

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