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Fall 2018 Top 25 movie preview!

As the leaves change, so too does the box office, with the onslaught of Oscar-Bait titles (A STAR IS BORN, FIRST MAN, WELCOME TO MARWEN), a few genre mixers (HALLOWEEN, GLASS, THE PREDATOR) and some holdover event pics to close out the holiday season (AQAUMAN, FANTASTIC BEASTS, BUMBLEBEE) in full swing. It's a welcome transition, particularly if you're looking for some "deeper" fare, but still want some of those summer-movie vibes shuffled in. Take a look at the films we're most looking forward to and let us know what's on your radar as well.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2nd)

Hollywood's been trying to launch a Queen biopic for years, but for whatever reason it's yet to happen. Sacha Baron Cohen came close to playing him, as did Ben Whislaw, but it just never happened, with the rumor being the surviving members of the band had strict guidelines for anyone hoping to tackle the project. It looks like they finally cut someone some slack, with Bryan Singer taking the reins - although his involvement is now highly controversial thanks to him being fired toward the end of production (with EDDIE THE EAGLE's Dexter Fletcher taking over). Singer still has credit, but despite all the behind the scenes turmoil, apparently the film itself is something of a miracle, with Rami Malek getting possible best actor buzz for what's being called an iconic portrait of the late Freddie Mercury. - Chris Bumbray

2. Aquaman (December 21st)

Director James Wan dips his toe in yet another new genre, this time taking on the King of Atlantis himself in AQUAMAN, the latest solo character effort from WB/DC, which brings back Jason Momoa to the titular role, joined by a stellar cast that includes Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Oceanmaster, Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Willem Dafoe as Vulko and many more to round things out. The online trailer is amazing (and the Comic Con one even more so) and the buzz is sharp for what looks to be a kickass adventure into some untapped comic book realms, brought to life with Wan's visual style and Momoa's gruff charm. For a character that's been the butt of many jokes for decades, this film seems to be on the verge of setting an all-new tone for the aquatic superhero that could alter audience perception forever in a much more favorable light and opening the doors for another iconic hero on the big screen. - Paul Shirey

3. Halloween (October 19th)

If you had told me that the definitive (we hope) HALLOWEEN sequel would be directed by David Gordon Green, with a screenplay with Danny McBride, I would have thought you were nuts. Sure enough though, that's exactly what Universal's aiming for with this sequel (don't call it a reboot!) to the 1978 original. Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, and so is John Carpenter, who's giving the whole thing his blessing (it seems) by writing the score. I'll be at the world premiere for this one at TIFF, so stay tuned for my review! - Chris Bumbray

Our Review HERE

4. The Predator (September 14th)

It feels like we're always waiting for a proper follow-up to the PREDATOR franchise, with PREDATOR 2 being a cool effort and PREDATORS an entertaining romp, with the AVP films bringing up the rear (pun intended). We just haven't seen a film that captures the true monster magic that 1987's PREDATOR did. Enter Shane Black, who played a role in the original and is now spearheading the latest endeavor in Predator lore with THE PREDATOR. Set decades after the original and acknowledging characters and incidents from prior films, this feels like as true a sequel we'll ever get without Ah-nuld delivering one-liners and caking himself in mud. While the cast is made up of lesser-known players, Shane Black brings a creative force to be reckoned with and one that we are hoping against hope can deliver on the whip-smart dialogue and insane action that he'd delivered in previous efforts, both written and/or directed. If Black can't do it, I don't know who can. - Paul Shirey

Our Review HERE

5. Creed II (November 21st)

I'd wager the only reason CREED II isn't even higher on the list is that director Ryan Coogler's not coming back, although new director Steven Caple Jr. apparently has his blessing, and everyone else is back - including Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Tessa Thompson, and of course Sly himself (still gunning for that best supporting actor Oscar). And guess who else is back? None other than Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Draco, whose son Viktor becomes Adonis's new rival. Sounds wicked. - Chris Bumbray

6. Venom (October 5th)

After a a stifling debut in SPIDER-MAN 3, Eddie Brock is getting another chance in Sony's solo effort of VENOM, which stars Tom Hardy in the titular role and pulls from the "Lethal Protector" arc from the comics. Directed by ZOMBIELAND'S Ruben Fleischer, VENOM looks to be making the most of the toothy, slobbering monstrosity that is the symbiote, embracing the look, design, mannerisms and cheesiness that has classically embodied him on the page. Hardy has the right chops to pull off Brock and the effects look near perfect for once. Toss in a few symbiote baddies, including one played by Riz Ahmed, and some anti-hero antics and this could be the hit that Sony is looking for in trying to launch their own "Spider-Verse" series of films that, strangely, leave out the Spider. Here's to hoping this one connects and spins a web to get Tom Holland and Tom Hardy to square off in their Web gear for a follow up. - Paul Shirey

7. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (December 14th)

Is it weird that I'm more excited for SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE than Venom? Of all Sony's attempts to expand the spidey-verse, this one looks to be the most creative, opting to highlight Miles Morales as the webslinger, who enters a multiverse with more than one Spider-Man, including Peter Parker (here voiced by Jake Johnson) and Spider-Man Noir, voiced by none other than Nicolas Cage. Count me in! - Chris Bumbray

8. Bad Times at the El Royale (October 5th)

Surely, you've seen Drew Goddard's THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, no? Wait, you haven't? Okay, go check it out and then let's talk about why you should be excited for BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, which looks to be almost a companion piece of sorts, where it takes a specific genre (in this case the mystery/heist genre) and spins it into something totally different. With a stellar cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth and Cynthia Erivo, the film is oozing with atmosphere and soaked in mystery, with enough visual cues to signify that this mystery is surely way more than meets the eye. For those looking to get a deviation from the usual Fall fare, this one looks to serve up something very different. - Paul Shirey

9. First Man (October 12th)

Damian Chazelle's gonna try and win that elusive best picture Oscar once again with his long-awaited Neil Armstrong biopic, FIRST MAN, starring Ryan Gosling. Co-starring Clare Foy, Corey Stoll and more, this looks to be the DUNKIRK of space movies, with the early buzz calling it an intense, IMAX-filmed experience. Let's see if this can hold a candle to THE RIGHT STUFF and APOLLO 13. - Chris Bumbray

Our Review HERE

10. A Star is Born (October 5th)

Bradley Cooper's all-set to make a jump to A-list director with his long awaited take on the venerable STAR IS BORN tale. Long in the works, Cooper's taken his time fine-tuning the film, and the buzz out of Venice and TIFF is that it's some kind of masterpiece, with a career best performance by him, and a show-stopping acting debut by Lady Gaga. Major Oscar buzz all-around on this one. - Chris Bumbray

Our Review HERE

11. White Boy Rick (September 14th)

Matthew McConaughey stars in this true-life tale set in the '80s about a drug-and-gun running father/son duo who get in too deep and the fallout that transpires as a result. Like many a crime tale, WHITE BOY RICK has all the trimmings you'd expect; Of-the-era style, excess, violence and the slow roll to an inevitable future behind bars or in the grave. What gives RICK an edge is the casting of McConaughey and director Yann Demange, who had a solid debut with '71 a few years back. While reception from TIFF has been lukewarm, there's something about an 80s-set true crime flick that we're totally suckers for. - Paul Shirey

Our Review HERE

12. Welcome to Marwen (December 21st)

Based on the documentary MARWENCOL, director Robert Zemeckis has crafted a dramatic tale with WELCOME TO MARWEN, which stars Steve Carell as a man who is nearly beaten to death and put in a coma, only to awaken and have lost most of his memories. In order to cope with his new situation he builds a miniature WWII town in his backyard and fills it with dolls of people he knows, including his attackers. Zemeckis has taken it a step further by animating the dolls and making them a part of the action, which adds a whole other level of interest to what would otherwise be a simple dramatic effort. If anyone can pull of the emotion and spectacle, it's Zemeckis, and Carell has proven that he can play it straight, comedic or both, which seems to fit this material just fine. - Paul Shirey

13. The Girl in the Spider's Web (November 9th)

While I don't quite understand why Sony opted against bringing Rooney Mara back as Lisbeth Salander, considering she earned a best actress Oscar nomination for THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, this looks like it's a classy expansion of the franchise outside of the original Stieg Larsson trilogy, with Fede Alvarez looking like he made more of a genre thriller than David Fincher did. Here's hoping it's not THE SNOWMAN 2.0. - Chris Bumbray

14. Overlord (November 9th)

From producer JJ Abrams comes OVERLORD, a twisted, grindhouse actioner about a group of WWII paratroopers who stumble upon a Nazi torture/experimentation compound and are forced to fight their way out looks to be a lot of bloody fun. It's the first R-rated romp from team Bad Robot and appears to embrace that aspect in many ways. Directed by newcomer Julius Avery and starring a host of fresh-faced actors, OVERLORD looks like it has the potential to be a dark horse thrill machine for the fun-loving crowd. Let's just hope it delivers on the schlock it promises. - Paul Shirey

15. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16th)

So, are people actually excited for this one? Was FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM really well-received among Happy Potter/ J. K. Rowling fans? To me, it seemed like the reaction was cool, although the big selling point here is that we get to see a young (studly) Dumbledore in the guise of Jude Law. And yeah, Johnny Depp's in this one too - although it seems like he's more of a liability at this point. Is it too late to call Colin Farrell? - Chris Bumbray

16. Alita: Battle Angel (December 21st)

It's taken decades to get this one made, but ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is finally ready to make her debut. The question is: Will it be worth the wait? Based on the script by James Cameron, director Robert Rodriguez has crafted a big-screen action epic for ALITA, based on the long-running hit Manga series. Rosa Salazar takes on the titular role, in a (literally) wide-eyed mo-cap performance, joined by Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Eiza González, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Rodriguez and Ed Skrein. While the buzz seems to have dragged on this one, the scenes and previews teased look impressive enough and with a long-standing built-in audience for the character, there's a good chance that this one could really take off if they're able to deliver on the spectacle of it all. - Paul Shirey

17. Ralph Breaks the Internet (November 21st)

WRECK-IT RALPH finally gets a sequel with RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET. As enthusiastic as I am about hearing John C. Reilly step back into the part, I must admit the trailer, which leans heavily on the Disney's legacy and characters, rubbed me the wrong way and makes me worry that this will just be DISNEY: THE MOVIE. I really hope that's not the case, as the original was a lot of fun. - Chris Bumbray

18. Widows (November 16th)

12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen may be known for his dramatic fare, but with his latest, WIDOWS, the filmmaker takes a shot at the crime thriller genre. Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon, the film centers on the wives of criminals who must take account for their deceased significant others' mistakes. There are a couple of really cool things about this project outside of McQueen's influence and the cast already mentioned; For one, the "deceased" are played by some heavy hitters, including Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal and Colin Farrell. Secondly, the script is by McQueen and GONE GIRL and Sharper Things' Gillian Flynn, based on the book by Lynda La Plante. That's a stacked deck of talent, making WIDOWS a hell of a draw. - Paul Shirey

19. Outlaw King (November 9th)

The latest effort from director David Mackenzie reunites him with his HELL OR HIGH WATER star Chris Pine in a psuedo-sequel to Mel Gibson's BRAVEHEART in OUTLAW KING. A Netflix original film, OUTLAW KING is said to be a more raw and visceral film than one might expect and is both a thrilling and nuanced experience that brings the tale of Robert The Bruce's fight against the English in the 14th Century to life. Joining Pine is Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Douglas and Stephen Dillane as King Edward I (as well as BRAVEHEART vet James Cosmo). Those looking for an old-school historical tale with some swords, blood and full-frontal nude Chris Pine, OUTLAW KING has your name written on it. - Paul Shirey

Our Review HERE

20. Suspiria (November 2nd)

A remake of the 1977 horror cult classic from Dario Argento, this updated tale looks to be very much in-line with Argento's original vision, but with some added layers, as well as an improvement in the expected areas. Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloe Moretz and original star Jessica Harper, the film is adapted by director Luca Guadagnino (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), who is said to have shown a cut of the film to Quentin Tarantino, bringing him to tears. Will the tale of a coven of witches at a dance studio in Germany bring out the masses or will this end up another one on the cult classic shelf? Regardless, we're enticed. - Paul Shirey

21. Mary Poppins Returns (December 19th)

Mary Poppins made he Disney feature debut in 1964 and for decades people have been curious as to why she hasn't returned. Well, that question is answered with MARY POPPINS RETURNS, starring the perfectly-cast Emily Blunt as the magical, singing woman who pops back into the lives of the now-grown Jane and Michael Banks to reinvigorate their spirits after a personal loss and likely feed them spoonfuls of sugar in doing so. Director Rob Marshall (CHICAGO, INTO THE WOODS) knows this genre well, so we're certainly in for some well-choreographed song-and-dance numbers, but hopefully it's more than just a stage show onscreen. - - Paul Shirey

22. Apostle (October 12th)

You likely know director Gareth Evans for his breakneck badass martial arts sorcery in THE RAID films, which makes his latest effort, APOSTLE, all the more appealing. Having not seen a trailer and knowing very little about the style, tone or, most importantly, the action. Still, even if it's not a martial arts extravaganza (which it doesn't seem to be), that doesn't mean it isn't something entirely cool. The flick stars Dan Stevens as a man trying to free his sister kidnapped by a religious cult. Outside of that, it could be anything and we're intrigued as hell to see what Evans has cooked up.- Paul Shirey

23. Bumblebee (December 21st)

Like most of you, I've had my fill of the "Bay"formers and the first solo effort from the long-running franchise (in toy, cartoon and film formats), BUMBLEBEE, looks like a breath of fresh air from the onslaught of insanity that was the last few films. Directed by Laika's Travis Knight, the film takes place in the 80s and stars Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena with Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux lending voice talents to two new decepticons. Based on the trailers, this feels more akin to THE IRON GIANT rather than explosive cinematic diarrhea that we've come to expect. Here's to hoping this latest entry can transform the series into something watchable again. - Paul Shirey

24. Mandy

While Nicolas Cage may be churning out blocks of awful movie butter at a sustained rate, he does manage to work in some really great stuff in between the fodder. Such is the case with MANDY, the much-revered revenge thriller from director Panos Cosmatos (son of George P. Cosmatos of RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 and TOMBSTONE). Reviews for the film have showered it with praise, from the visual style, ultraviolence and steely performance from Cage. Co-starring Andrea Riseborough, MANDY seems destined for the halls of cult classic favorites and is certainly a film we want to help get there as it's easily one that can fly under the radar. There's never a time we won't need these little fun, wild artistic gems in our lives. - Paul Shirey

Our Review HERE

25. The Grinch (November 9th)

Do we really need another retelling of THE GRINCH? Probably not, but that doesn't mean we couldn't enjoy it. While some prefer the Chuck Jones-directed animated short from 1966 and other prefer Ron Howard's live-action version starring Jim Carrey, it seems the grumpy green scrooge from the mind of Dr. Seuss still has some celluloid mileage. This time out the folks at Illumination (purveyors of THE MINIONS, etc.) have crafted what looks to be a more silly, kid-friendly version, playing up the slapstick more than anything else. While that will likely turn off the older crowd, the consolation prize is Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the fowl Christmas hater. Hopefully, this version is able to capture the holiday hijinks with glee rather than dread. - Paul Shirey

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