Stock up on microwave popcorn!
In the strangest year ever for film, fall will deliver some thrilling big-screen blockbusters, even though many viewers will still be watching from their living rooms.
Here are 10 flicks our critics can’t wait to watch, all with sizzle and star power to spare.
1. “Wonder Woman 1984”
Oct. 2, in select theaters
The sequel to Patty Jenkins’ 2017 hit is a retro extravaganza that sees the return of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and Chris Pine as her improbably resurrected love interest Steve Trevor. Adding to the fun are Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal as her new adversaries, Cheetah and Maxwell Lord, and Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen reprising their roles, possibly in flashback, as fellow Amazons. Gadot ups her fashion game in a suit of golden armor, while Pine’s character rocks a fanny pack. — Sara Stewart
2. “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Oct. 16, on Netflix
In a move that would have been shocking less than one year ago, the most obvious Oscar contender so far this year will drop on Netflix. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”), it’s about the men charged with inciting riots after they protested the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The cast is mouthwatering: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Frank Langella and Michael Keaton. — Johnny Oleksinski
3. “On the Rocks”
Oct. 2, in select theaters; Oct 23, on AppleTV+
This Sofia Coppola-directed comedy has strong “Lost in Translation” energy, with Bill Murray
re-teaming with Coppola to play the father of a married woman (Rashida Jones) whose husband (Marlon Wayans) is working such late hours his father-in-law suspects there’s cheating afoot. Murray’s character enlists his daughter on a spying mission to find out the truth, and “it’s a lot of them talking about life and men and women over martinis in New York,” Coppola has said. — SS
Oct. 21, on Netflix
Return to Manderley with Armie Hammer and Lily James, who star in this high-wattage Netflix revisit of “Rebecca,” the Daphne du Maurier story famously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in his 1940 Oscar Best Picture starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Kristin Scott Thomas plays menacing housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in this version from director Ben Wheatley (“High Rise”), who has said his film is not a retread of Hitchcock’s territory: “Remaking a film is not that interesting to me, but the original source material is.” — SS
5. “Bad Hair”
Oct. 23, on Hulu
Here’s your new messed up midnight movie. Harking back to possessed-object horror films such as “The Ring” and “Death Spa,” “Bad Hair” is about a cursed weave. Sure, your new ‘do will look great, but it’ll also take your life! The crazy flick got mixed reviews when it premiered at Sundance, but the film — starring Elle Lorraine, Lena Waithe and Vanessa Williams — is B-movie weird and great late-night fun. — JO
6. “Black Widow”
Nov. 6, in select theaters
Scarlett Johansson’s lethal KGB-trained spy, Natasha Romanoff, finally gets her own Marvel film in this long-awaited story of her background, which takes place after the events of 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz join as fellow Black Widows from Romanoff’s formative years, while David Harbour plays a mentor figure. Johansson has said she appreciates director Cate Shortland’s attention to the more human, less superheroic aspects of her character, saying “I hope that this film continues pushing that boundary, so that we can actually have more female superheroes who are inherently female, and aren’t just Batman in heels or whatever.” — SS
Nov. 13, in select theaters
At first glance, the trailer for this lesbian drama inspired instant comparisons to last year’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” with its smoldering embrace between two women on a rocky windswept coastline. But “Ammonite,” starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, is based on the true story of the British paleontologist Mary Anning, and speculates about the nature of her relationship with geologist Charlotte Murchison. It’s directed by Francis Lee whose 2017 debut, “God’s Own Country,” also explored the theme of forbidden love. — SS
Nov. 20, in select theaters
Pixar’s latest title is a play on words. Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school teacher who dreams of being a jazz musician — and then he nearly dies. His soul gets separated from his body, and he heads off to the Great Beyond, a place for souls in training. There is a lot to be excited about here. One of Pixar’s best directors, Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”) is back for the first time since 2015’s “Inside Out.” And there’s some excellent voice talent: Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett. — JO
9. “No Time To Die”
Nov. 20, in select theaters
Nothing says “the movies are back” like a new Bond film. After a production process plagued by turmoil — a director swap, an unfinished script, ankle surgery, the pandemic — the 25th 007 installment is finally headed to theaters. Daniel Craig returns as James Bond for his fifth and final Bond movie, this time joined by Oscar winner Rami Malek as the villain, Safin. Ana de Armas plays Paloma, a CIA agent working — and surely flirting — with Bond.
10. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Nov. 27, on Netflix
A new screen adaptation of an August Wilson play would’ve been an event in any year. But it’s even more so now because it also, sadly, marks the final turn for its star Chadwick Boseman (“Black Panther”), who died in August. Boseman appears alongside Viola Davis, who was brilliant in the film of Wilson’s “Fences.” Davis plays “Mother of Blues” Ma Rainey during a 1920s rehearsal, while Boseman takes on the role of her trumpeter, Levee. — JO