Previewing Ben’s Fall Movie Frenzy

Expect big things from Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”
[Photo credit: NEON]

Hello!

It’s been a hot second since I’ve posted on here. I promise I haven’t been leaving you all in the dark, because believe it or not, it’s been nearly a month (!!) since the last time I went to a movie theater. But get ready: things are about to get a little crazy.

These next couple months are going to be known as Ben’s Fall Movie Frenzy. And for good reason. Hollywood decides to release all their awards contenders in the same four-month time span, so expect reviews on a nearly weekly basis as I try (emphasis on try) to catch up with as much as possible. Underneath this is both my tentative review schedule for the rest of the year, as well as a list of predictions for how good most of those movies are going to be. Feel free to bookmark this article and come back to follow along with the schedule and see how my predictions fare! (Hopefully I don’t seem too stupid when looking back at this in January.)

Schedule

September:

IT: Chapter 2 (Sep 6th)

The Goldfinch (Sep 13th)

Ad Astra (Sep 20th)

October:

Joker (Oct 4th)

Parasite (Oct 11th) Update: Wide release unlikely before Oct 25th

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Oct 11th)

The Lighthouse (Oct 18th)

Jojo Rabbit (Oct 18th)

November:

Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov 1st)

Waves (Nov 1st)

Doctor Sleep (Nov 8th)

Ford v Ferrari (Nov 15th)

The Report (Nov 15th)

Frozen 2 (Nov 22nd)

Knives Out (Nov 27th)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nov 27th)

December:

Uncut Gems (Dec 13th)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec 13th)

1917 (Early 2020)

Cats (Early 2020)

Little Women (Early 2020)

TBA:

The Irishman

Marriage Story

Predictions

  • Joker is going to be…good! Phoenix will be nothing short of spectacular, but the movie will try too hard to be provocative and ‘important’. People that only watch superhero movies will be convinced it’s the greatest arthouse movie ever made, while a vocal group of people will think it’s insensitive trash that glorifies white supremacy and contributes to a culture of mass shootings. (Please bookmark this and come back to it on October 4th.)
  • Doctor Sleep is going to be the sleeper hit of the fall. Mike Flanagan’s direction will be top-notch, Rebecca Ferguson will give an Oscar-worthy performance, and the movie will manage to unite both fans of Kubrick’s movie and King’s book. It will be compared to Blade Runner 2049 as a seemingly impossible/unnecessary sequel that not only compares to its predecessor, but even triumphs over it in some aspects.
  • The Irishman will be mid-tier Martin Scorsese. The de-aging is going to be a bit wonky, and it will feel a bit too similar to some of his other movies. But then again, mid-tier Scorsese is still Scorsese.
  • Knives Out is going to be an absolute blast. It might be a bit convoluted in all its intrigue and twists, but it will be so much fun to watch the actors play off each other that it will end up being one of my favorite movies of the year.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be the least offensive movie ever made. Expect lots of pandering to nostalgia and callbacks to the prequels as well as the original trilogy, most of which directly retcon The Last Jedi’s themes and/or reveals. The movie will end up being far more interested in concluding the nine episode saga than being a direct follow-up to The Last Jedi, so the Disney trilogy will end up feeling like a mess but you’ll get a decent bow to tie off the Skywalker saga as a whole.
  • Frozen 2 will be good. It won’t be as dark as the trailers make it out to be, but it will still have a more serious tone that helps separate it from its predecessor. File it under the “well-made but uninspiring” category alongside Toy Story 4.
  • Gemini Man isn’t going to wow enough in its visuals to compensate for a dull script. It’s also going to take itself way too seriously.
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will be exactly what you expect, which is a cute by-the-numbers biopic that isn’t exceptional in any way but will garner acting nominations for its two leads, Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys.
  • Jojo Rabbit will be great. Typical Taika humor with Wes Anderson-esque visuals and the underlying subtext and dark humor will pack a punch, but it will still resort a bit too often to being a straight-up comedy.
  • 1917 will be this year’s Dunkirk. In other words, a technical achievement lacking in reasons for me to care. 
  • Waves will come out of nowhere and knock everybody off their feet. I’ll be head-over-heels in love with it, and then I’ll obnoxiously flex that I predicted the movie’s success back in January. (Here’s hoping this one holds out or else I’ll look really, really stupid.)
  • Ad Astra and The Goldfinch will both be visually beautiful and overall really good, just not great. Goldfinch won’t be able to decide if it wants to be an interesting character study or some mystery with lots of plot twists, and Ad Astra will swing for the fences and miss but still end up being admirable in its ambition and spectacle.
  • Marriage Story will be terrific. Expect an interesting take on relationships that portrays perspectives in a unique way.
  • Ford v Ferrari — and particularly the Matt Damon/Christian Bale combo — will be great. Enough said.
  • The Report won’t be anywhere near as good as critics have made it out to be. Sure, the performances will be great, but nothing about it will be terribly interesting or unique.
  • Adam Sandler will be great in Uncut Gems, but the movie will be so focused on the Safdie Brothers’ style that the story and pacing might get a bit lost along the way. Will still be good, just not as good as Good Time.
  • Cats will be the most expensive SNL sketch ever made.
  • Little Women will flex its cast very well, but it won’t have as great of a script as Lady Bird to keep itself going.
  • Terminator: Dark Fate will be meh. It will be given too much praise for hurdling the low bar of being better than Genisys, but all around it might make you slightly hopeful for the franchise. 

And lastly…

  • Parasite and The Lighthouse will be the two best movies of the year. Expect me to pass out after seeing them on back-to-back weekends.

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