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The Flixist 2019 Fall Movie Preview

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Clowns, lighthouses, and Jedi galore!

Can you feel it in the air? There's a crispness in the breeze and summer is starting to fade away. We're inching closer and closer to the end of the year, and you know what that means! It means Flixist has your Fall Movie Preview all set and ready to go! While the Summer season may be home to crowd-pleasing blockbusters, the Fall is geared more towards the hodgepodge of horror movies, award season darlings, and the odd duck here or there that slips under the radar. And of course, Disney movies. We will never escape Disney movies. 

So as is tradition, we here at Flixist have compiled a list of all of the most interesting movies of the season that WE want to see. Each writer chose a single movie that we're most looking forward to seeing, so a few movies unfortunately had to be left on the cutting room floor. We can't guarantee that these movies will be good, though our batting average is pretty high from the Summer Preview. Out of the 13 movies covered and the 11 that actually released (sorry New Mutants and Artemis Fowl), all of the movies covered scored above a 6 with six movies scoring above an 8. I'm not saying we're always right, but we're always right. So here are the movies the Flixist staff members are most looking forward to seeing for the end of the year!

Joker

Director: Todd Philips
Release Date: October 4, 2019

Enough has been said about Todd Philip's highly anticipated DC feature film that talking about it at this point seems almost redundant. The reviews are starting to trickle in and with many already giving the movie uproarious praise, at this point if you're not sold on the movie I don't know what to tell you. You either want to see Joker or you don't want to see Joker, with most people being planted firmly in the yay camp. Fans will most likely rave over it and people are going to have some discussions about it for months to come. The wait is nearly unbearable. 

But the question that I want answered, like most other people, is a simple one; Phoenix, or Ledger? That's not a simple question you throw around, with Ledger's turn as the Joker giving the actor a posthumous Oscar and cementing The Dark Knight as one of, if not the greatest superhero movie of all time. It's a fair claim to make that Ledger's performance helped elevate the movie to God status amongst comic book fans, but can Joker possibly meet that same level of excellence? In particular, can Phoenix deliver a performance that outclasses one of the best villain portrayals of all time? That's the real question right now and one I'm eager to see answered. -- Jesse Lab

 Bad Education  

Director: Cory Finley
Release date: October 7, 2019

Whether or not you’re familiar with all the details of the $11.2 million public school embezzlement scandal in New York in the early 00s, you soon will be after Cory Finley takes to the screen again this festival season. Comparisons to Netflix’s The Laundromat are likely, but even on its own, Bad Education is looking to be a robust and highly-charged feature about the single largest public school embezzlement in history.

Hugh Jackman stars as Frank Tassone, a charismatic New York school superintendent who learns how to play the system -- and the goodwill of parents and benefactors -- for profit. Alison Janney stars alongside as his deputy Pam Gluckin, channeling the vein of her role as the merciless LaVona in I, Tonya. The two are looking to make an unexpectedly shining duo on screen, and an interview with the cast at TIFF shows how much thought the actors have dedicated to their roles, which looked like a lot of fun to enact.

Finley set a high bar with his feature debut Thoroughbreds two years ago, so with his directing potential, it’s little wonder he’s gone on to attract some big players. Not to be confused with 2015's The Bad Education Movie, a spinoff from the Jack Whitehall-led BBC series, Finley’s latest feature is -- how shall I put it --  just a little more elegant. No school-led caper, this is a high-stakes political drama that just happens to be set against a school backdrop. -- Sian Francis-Cox

Parasite

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Release date: October 11, 2019

"Okay, well what's it about?" Class struggle! I think! South Korean phenomenon Bong Joon-ho's latest film swept top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, continuing his success in the art house circuit and catapulting Parasite to the forefront of "sort of mainstream" Fall releases.

Narrowing in on a family of street-savvy grifter-types, the working-class unit lucks out when they start to install themselves as parts of a much wealthier family; the son teaches the wealthy children English, and maybe the father cleans the ostentatious dining room. Hence "parasite." I'm doing my best to stay in the dark with this one, anticipating any twists Bong throws at his audience with a speculative mind, and little more than the basic premise to go off of. Bong isn't always phenomenal (I didn't really care for his major Netflix outing, Okja) but when he brings it with classics like Memories of Murder, Mother, or Snowpiercer, the man is a force of filmmaking bravura that makes me outright giddy.

And straight up, he's just a damn nice guy.

I had the absolute honor of helping host him in New York for a stay while he was editing Okja, actually, and any interaction was always pleasant and good-humored. I'm just someone who's always impressed by an artist who receives such lofty acclaim and just remains a humble person, and someone who is simply passionate to the max about their craft. That's Bong. And if his latest is as good as we've been hearing it to be, maybe the easygoing approach is the one to take. --Sam van der Meer

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Director: Joachim Ronning
Release date: October 18, 2019

When Maleficent first made its debut in theaters and we all saw how stunning Angelina Jolie looked in the lead role I was hooked. I knew a second film was on its way but at the time we didn't know when. So when the sequel was formally announced, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil you can say I was quite excited. This time around it seems Maleficent is actually going to turn to the dark side and truly take on her persona from the original Sleeping Beauty. Taking place five years after the first movie, Maleficent and Aurora who she loves (who would have thought Maleficent was capable of love) come to terms over her engagement. Prince Phillip, of course, wants Aurora to meet his family and that's where it seems things will take a turn for the worse.

Maleficent clearly does not approve of the engagement and wants Aurora to go back to the Moors, but that doesn't bode well with Aurora. Now bring in Aurora's soon to be new in-laws and we got ourselves a whole lot of family drama with magic mixed in. It seems that Maleficent will have more of an issue with Phillip's mom if the trailers are anything to go by. This film looks visually amazing and the story also looks way more drawn out than the first film. I love Disney's take on some of our classic villains and look forward to seeing this sequel. --Tarah Bleier

Knives Out

Director: Rian Johnson
Release Date: November 27, 2019

The noir detective genre doesn't get enough love these days. I've always loved movies like The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. It's such a shame that we rarely get to see them anymore. Along comes Rian Johnson to reinvigorate the genre with the upcoming Knives Out. That's what I'm hoping at least. Rian Johnson started his career with the underrated detective noir movie Brick. He showed with that debut that he could write quick-witted dialog that moved at a breakneck pace. After the divided response from The Last Jedi, he has gone back to his roots to bring us a new whodunit.

The reviews that have come out so far have me optimistic that this will be what I have been waiting for. Daniel Craig leads an all-star cast and his character's name is Benoit Blanc. How great a name is that? Johnson seems to riff a bit from classic Agatha Christie stories involving Inspector Poirot. It all has the feel of Murder on the Orient Express with the family being the prime suspects. I am beyond excited to go along with the twisting narrative, with red herrings aplenty, and more knives as decorations than any one killer would ever need. -- John Morey

The Irishman

Director: Martin Scorsese
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Martin Scorsese has an uncanny knack for telling gangster stories, as demonstrated multiple times throughout his long directing career. It’s been nearly two decades since his flagship mafia tale Goodfellas, and now he returns to form with The Irishman. Making waves by signing a deal with Netflix, Scorsese called in the big guns, reuniting with Robert De Niro and the semi-retired Joe Pesci while enlisting Al Pacino for the first time. 

The Irishman visits one of America’s biggest mysteries in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. Adapted from the book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Closing of the Case on Jimmy Hoffa by Charles Brandt, who claims to have received a confession from professional hitman Frank Sheeran about Hoffa’s death. The timely disappearance of the Union leader is chock-full of government coverup and mafia conspiracies, two things movie fans can never get enough of. Add in the fact that Scorsese may be the best person to direct the story with the mega-talented actors, and the potential alone may lead to one of Netflix's biggest hits to date. — Nick Hershey

1917

Director: Sam Mendes
Release Date: December 25, 2019

Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins are fire with each other. The kids say fire, right? I suppose that given the WWI historical subject matter of 1917 speaking like the kids isn't relevant but the statement stands.

Want some proof? Just take a look at the fact that they turned the James Bond franchise into something of an art-house Oscar winner with Spectre. Or how the pair made a gruesome and bloody gangster film into some sort of striking Norman Rockwell Americana piece in Road to Perdition. Now they're turning their prolific efforts towards the war movie and it already looks stunning. Of course, the comparisons to Dunkirk are coming fast and furious despite the more straightforward storyline and WWI setting, but that only confirms just how good the film looks. Honestly, if Dunkirk hadn't helped redefine the war film I think this would be the movie that does it. It also doesn't hurt that it has every male British actor working right now in it. -- Matthew Razak

Doctor SleepDoctor Sleep

Director: Mike Flanagan
Release Date: November 8, 2019

I'm gonna level with all of you: I really don't have much interest in a lot of the films coming out this fall. I find it kind of funny how I write for a movie based blog, yet I probably watch the least amount of films on staff. I do live cinema and there are even occasional films that I think are brilliant, but I'm more comfortable sticking with video games as my hobby of choice. They sort of scratch the same itch (especially Hideo Kojima titles) and let me be a more active participant in the endeavor.

That being said, Doctor Sleep sounds interesting. Based on the 2013 Stephen Novel of the same name, this sequel to The Shining is trying to appease fans of King's original novel and Stanley Kubrick's take on the film from 1980. It merges elements of both plotlines and sees Danny all grown up and realizing there are other people with his power. Also, Stephen King adaptations have been on a hot streak lately, so this could be good.

I'm mainly interested because my cousin was talking about it at his graduation. He's pretty big into King's novels and was surprised that the man even wrote a continuation of The Shining. I suppose you have to once you've been penning books for over 40 years, since what the hell else do you come up with? I doubt this will be as memorable as the original, but I'm all for giving it a chance. --Peter Glagowski

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Director: J.J. Abrams
Release Date: December 20, 2019

Hoo boy. In a year where the worldwide conversation is full of controversies and actual issues people should care about, the most controversial thing this year will probably be a freaking Star Wars movie. The release of The Force Awakens still feels so recent, yet here we are, at the end of this trilogy with Rey, Finn, Poe, and sad boy Kylo Ren. J.J. Abrams returns as director and co-writer, so naturally, we barely have any clue about what this movie is actually about.

What I can say is that the Emperor, probably the most fun and hammy part of the prequel trilogy, will be back. The good guy trio of Rey, Finn, and Poe will be going on some sort of adventure, which is much needed as we haven't gotten any time with all three protagonists together yet. C-3P0 will have a gun and will probably turn evil, or something. And finally, we know that Abrams wants to take a bold, "renegade" approach to this film, partially inspired by Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, a movie that absolutely no one complained about. 

"It felt slightly more renegade; it felt slightly more like, you know, f*** it, I’m going to do the thing that feels right because it does, not because it adheres to something."

Do it, J.J. --Chris Compendio

The Lighthouse

Director: Robert Eggers
Release Date: October 18, 2019

I am about the furthest thing from a horror movie fan. I don't like being scared, it's not fun for me, I take no joy from being made to jump out of my seat. So when I say that The VVitch was one of my favorite movies of 2016 it should carry some weight. Robert Eggers debut film dealing with a colonial New England families unraveling might even be on my eventual top ten of the decade list, so it should come as no surprise that I've been eagerly awaiting The Lighthouse, despite knowing so little about it until recently.

Seemingly only starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse looks to continue Eggers theme of isolation in New England settings and the horrors that lay both inside of us and in the outside world. I'm a giant sucker for two-person plays because of the dynamics you can get between characters so this has me written all over it. I can't wait to see how well the two actors work off of each other, and to have another opportunity to watch Dafoe seemingly goes mad it a proposition I cannot pass up. Nevermind the fact that Pattinson is continuing to evolve into one of the better young actors after trying to distance himself from his Twilight past. Bonus hipster points to Eggers for using black and white and 4:3 aspect ratio. I don't usually make events of going to the movies but this is going to be one of those times where I try to suck every ounce of joy (despair?) out of it as possible. --Anthony Marzano

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