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8 Upcoming Films to Watch Out For This Fall

Film festival season is just wrapping up with the Venice Film Festival ending on September 7th and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) running from September 5th to the 15th. The films that premiere at either or both of these festivals usually receive high amounts of praise and plenty of Oscar buzz. This year is no exception, and many films already have critics raving and singing their praises. Here are eight films that you should definitely see in theaters:

Ad Astra

Ad Astra is an upcoming space adventure film directed by James Gray. It’s a story of NASA astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) as he undertakes a dangerous mission across the solar system to find his missing father, Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), and unravel the mystery surrounding his ill-fated expedition nearly 30 years ago. McBride’s journey will uncover the secrets that challenge human existence and threaten the universe. Critics are calling it, “Sublime and stupendous. Beautiful, bold and remarkably executed, this is Gray’s masterpiece, driven by a career-best turn for Pitt.” Ad Astra also stars Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, and John Ortiz. Ad Astra will land in theaters on September 20.


Joker is a stand-alone origin story of Gotham’s “Clown Prince of Crime,” directed by Todd Philips. Joker centers on Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a failed comedian who is continually humiliated and belittled. Disregarded by society, Fleck begins his descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal known as Joker. Joker recently won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival and had a debut at TIFF on September 9th. Critics are already considering Phoenix as a Best Actor frontrunner for his intense and gritty performance as Arthur Fleck. Joker also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Brett Cullen. Joker will premiere in theaters on October 4.

Jojo Rabbit

Director Taika Waititi is back after his success from Thor: Ragnarok with a unique satirical comedy titled Jojo Rabbit. Set in World War II, Jojo Rabbit follows a young German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world is turned upside down when he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Jojo must confront his blind nationalism with the help of his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). Jojo Rabbit premiered at TIFF on September 8, 2019, with Waititi being awarded the prestigious Ebert Director Award. Jojo Rabbit also stars Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, and Stephen Merchant. Jojo Rabbit comes out in theaters on October 18.

Honey Boy

Honey Boy is a screenplay written by Shia LaBeouf that is based on his childhood ascent into stardom, and then his adult descent into rehab and recovery. LaBeouf stars as the fictionalized version of his father, an ex-rodeo clown and felon, James Lort. Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges star as the protagonist, Otis Lort, as he navigates the different stages of his life, career, and relationship with his father. Honey Boy debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City in January 2019, and is finally getting a theatrical release on November 8, 2019.

Ford v Ferrari

Ford v Ferrari is the true story of Ford Motors facing off against Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966. Ford v Ferrari stars Matt Damon as American car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as daring driver Ken Miles. Together, they battle the laws of physics and their personal demons to create a revolutionary racecar for Ford to beat Ferrari. Ford v Ferrari premiered at TIFF on September 9, 2019, with mixed reviews from critics. The Guardian called it, “A great looking, handsomely produced, but tiringly acted sports drama.” Meanwhile, The Observer said, “Ford v Ferrari is thrilling and wholly realized.” Ford v Ferrari will race into theaters on November 15, 2019. 

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is the upcoming horror sequel to Steven King’s The Shining. Doctor Sleep follows an adult Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) as he battles alcoholism, a result of the trauma he endured at the Overlook Hotel. Torrance’s hope for a peaceful life is threatened when he meets a girl, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), who also possesses the “shine.” They work together to defeat the True Knot, a cult whose members feed off those who “shine.” Doctor Sleep has not premiered at any film festivals, but is still a must see!

Knives Out

Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, returns to the silver screen with Knives Out, a true “whodunit” mystery. Following the death of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), detective Beniot Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously called to investigate. Blanc sifts through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth from Thrombey’s dysfunctional family about his untimely death. The film boasts an all-star cast including: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, and Lakeith Stanfield. Knives Out will be released on November 27, 2019.

Marriage Story

Marriage Story is a tale of a stage director, Charlie (Adam Driver), and his actress wife, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), as they navigate a coast-to-coast divorce. Director Noah Baumbach gives the viewer a look at marriage, family, and divorce by shifting the narrative back and forth between husband and wife. The Atlantic described Marriage Story as, “Equal parts uproarious and upsetting, and an acting showcase for its stars.” Marriage Story also stars Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Wallace Shawn. It will make its theatrical debut on November 6 before being released on Netflix on December 6.

These films have all been praised by early viewers and critics, and most are hopeful that they will become strong contenders for the upcoming awards season!

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-Junior at the University of Utah -Communications major with an emphasis in Journalism and minor in Political Science
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