A Look Ahead To Movies Coming Out This Fall

Sep 3, 2018
Originally published on September 4, 2018 8:34 am
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A near record summer for movies wraps up this weekend. Superheroes and dinosaurs dominated the first half. Tom Cruise, Cher and "Crazy Rich Asians" took over in the second. Now Hollywood has to figure out how to keep the momentum going. In his fall movie preview, critic Bob Mondello says the film industry will follow its summer of sunshine by going seriously dark.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Superheroes schmuperheroes - this fall, Marvel's bringing us a super anti-hero.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "VENOM")

RIZ AHMED: (As Carlton Drake) History starts today.

MONDELLO: You've heard the setup before - guy walks into a lab, gets superpowers when bitten...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "VENOM")

TOM HARDY: (As Eddie Brock) I'm feeling really sick.

MONDELLO: ...Not by a spider, by an alien symbiote...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "VENOM")

HARDY: (As Eddie Brock) I'm hearing a voice.

(As Venom) Eddie.

MONDELLO: ...That thinks they're a team.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "VENOM")

HARDY: (As Eddie Brock) If you're going to stay, you will only hurt bad people.

(As Venom) The way I see it, we can do whatever we want. Do we have a deal?

MONDELLO: Together they are Venom, who you may remember as a scaly guy in one of the Spider-Man movies. And quite a few of the season's other fantasies lean just as hard on darkness.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD")

JUDE LAW: (As Albus Dumbledore) I can't move against Grindelwald. It has to be you.

MONDELLO: That's Professor Dumbledore enlisting Newt's fantastic beasts to stave off slavery for all muggles in "The Crimes Of Grindelwald." And in Disney's "Nutcracker And The Four Realms," it's not even safe to traipse through the land of the Sugarplum Fairies.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS")

MORGAN FREEMAN: (As Drosselmeyer) Be careful who you trust.

HELEN MIRREN: (As Mother Ginger) I've been expecting you (laughter).

MONDELLO: Stories of a more down-to-earth sort are often not much cheerier - the historical epic "Peterloo," for instance.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PETERLOO")

RORY KINNEAR: (As Henry Hunt) The corrupt order will come crashing down.

MONDELLO: Mike Leigh has mostly directed movies with titles like "Life Is Sweet" and "Happy-Go-Lucky." "Peterloo" is about a 19th-century massacre where chants of liberty or death were met decisively with death. The Wild West saga "The Sisters Brothers"...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SISTERS BROTHERS")

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: (As Charlie Sisters) You don't stand a chance.

MONDELLO: ...Is a grim tale of gold, greed and guns while the urban tragedies "Monsters And Men" and "The Hate U Give" were both inspired by the shooting of young black men by white police officers.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE HATE U GIVE")

AMANDLA STENBERG: (As Starr Carter) What did you do?

MONDELLO: I don't want to bum anyone out, but many of this fall's stories about teenagers are pretty downbeat. Actor Timothee Chalamet, who discovered first love in "Call Me By Your Name," discovers crystal meth in "Beautiful Boy."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BEAUTIFUL BOY")

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET: (As Nic Sheff) I'm sorry, Dad. Why don't we just have lunch and talk? We can do that, right? Please.

STEVE CARELL: (As David Sheff) You think that you have this under control.

CHALAMET: (As Nic Sheff) You're just embarrassed 'cause I was, like - you know, I was, like, this amazing thing, like your special creation or something, and you don't like who I am now.

CARELL: (As David Sheff) Yeah, who are you, Nic?

CHALAMET: (As Nic Sheff) This is me, Dad. Here, this is who I am.

CARELL: (As David Sheff) This is not you.

MONDELLO: That's Steve Carell playing his father. Elsewhere there's a boy who refuses medical help that could save his life in "The Children Act." "White Boy Rick" concerns a 14-year-old drug trafficker. The Argentine film "El Angel," "The Angel," is about a baby-faced serial killer. And in "Boy Erased," Nicole Kidman has a gay son whose religious father threatens to disown him.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BOY ERASED")

NICOLE KIDMAN: (As Nancy Eamons) Open the door now.

LUCAS HEDGES: (As Jared) Mom.

KIDMAN: (As Nancy Eamons) They say sometimes you got to hurt a child in order to help them, but a mother knows when something isn't right.

MONDELLO: If there's a bright spot in the season's darkness, it's that women are so frequently the ones putting things right, especially in thrillers where they mostly do the rescuing rather than being rescued - "Halloween," say, where that guy with the mask is back and Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode is now a grandmother.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HALLOWEEN")

JAMIE LEE CURTIS: (As Laurie Strode) I pray every night that he would escape.

WILL PATTON: (As Hawkins) What the hell did you do that for?

CURTIS: (As Laurie Strode) So I can kill him.

MONDELLO: There's also an avenging mom in "Peppermint" and a pair of ferocious Lizes in "Lizzie" about that Borden girl who took an axe and gave her father 40 whacks and also in "The Girl In The Spider's Web."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB")

SYLVIA HOEKS: (As Camilla Salander) Are you not Lisbeth Salander, the girl who hurts men who hurt women?

MONDELLO: Nor do you want to cross Viola Davis when she teams up with the director of "12 Years A Slave" for the crime saga "Widows."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WIDOWS")

ELIZABETH DEBICKI: (As Alice) Why should we trust you anyway?

VIOLA DAVIS: (As Veronica Rawlins) Because I'm the only one standing between you and a bullet in your head.

MONDELLO: Other women will strut their stuff in more literary ways in an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel "If Beale Street Could Talk" from the director of "Moonlight" and in the biopic "Colette" with Keira Knightley as the writer who penned novels for which her husband took credit.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COLETTE")

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: (As Colette) My school stories?

DOMINIC WEST: (As Willy) Yes, that could be Willy's next novel.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Are you writing for him, too?

KNIGHTLEY: (As Colette) Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) He's made you one of his ghosts already.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) I believe William based Claudine on your school days.

KNIGHTLEY: (As Colette) Yes, I think I had a little something to contribute.

MONDELLO: Ghostwriting of a more comic sort is done by Melissa McCarthy in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?".

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?")

MELISSA MCCARTHY: (As Lee Israel) I'm embellishing literary letters by prominent writers.

DOLLY WELLS: (As Anna) Fanny Brice, one of my favorites - I could give you 75.

MCCARTHY: (As Lee Israel) Oh.

WELLS: (As Anna) I could give more for better content. It's a bit bland is all.

MONDELLO: So she punches it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?")

WELLS: (As Anna) Yeah, I can definitely get a lot more for this one. I mean, the P.S. makes it priceless.

MONDELLO: Other comedies include a charmer that Robert Redford swears will be his last acting gig, "The Old Man & The Gun."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE OLD MAN & THE GUN")

ROBERT REDFORD: (As Forrest Tucker) So you walk right up. Look her in the eye, and you say, ma'am, this is a robbery. And you show her the gun like this. And you say, I wouldn't want you to get hurt 'cause I like you; I like you a lot. So don't go breaking my heart now, OK?

SISSY SPACEK: (As Jewel) You're not serious.

MONDELLO: Also hitting light notes are family films like "Smallfoot," which flips the Bigfoot legend on its head and has yetis telling campfire stories about us, who they see as terrify creatures.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SMALLFOOT")

CHANNING TATUM: (As Migo) With feet that were amazingly, freakishly small.

MONDELLO: Also for kids - a new Grinch movie...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE GRINCH")

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: (As The Grinch) Today we will do mean things, and we will do them in style.

MONDELLO: ...And the return of a videogame hero in "Ralph Breaks The Internet."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET")

JOHN C REILLY: (As Ralph) Shouldn't it be "Ralph Wrecks The Internet"?

SARAH SILVERMAN: (As Vanellope) Yeah, since he is Wreck-It Ralph.

TARAJI P HENSON: (As Yesss) Yeah, but break the Internet - it's, like, a thing.

REILLY: (As Ralph) Right. It's just - wreck the Internet kind of sounds better, doesn't it?

HENSON: (As Yesss) You're not wrong.

MONDELLO: While I'm talking about the return of characters we know, I should mention that fans of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand will want to check out the new "A Star Is Born."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A STAR IS BORN")

LADY GAGA: (As Ally) Almost every single person has told me they like the way I sounded but that they didn't like the way I look.

BRADLEY COOPER: (As Jackson Maine) I think you're beautiful.

MONDELLO: This time Lady Gaga is the singer on the rise and Bradley Cooper the fading star who gives her career a boost.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A STAR IS BORN")

LADY GAGA: (As Ally, singing) I'm off the deep end. Watch as I dive in. I'll never meet the ground.

MONDELLO: Other showbiz stories will be told in the documentaries "Maria By Callas" about the opera singer, "Love, Gilda" about Gilda Radner, "Quincy" about Quincy Jones and "The Great Buster" about silent film genius Buster Keaton. And if those don't satisfy your thirst for true-life stories, there are biopics galore, including "The Happy Prince" with Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE HAPPY PRINCE")

RUPERT EVERETT: (As Oscar Wilde) Your appreciation has been most intelligent.

(LAUGHTER)

EVERETT: (As Oscar Wilde) I congratulate you on the success of your performance.

MONDELLO: ...Also "The Front Runner" with Hugh Jackman as a high-flying politician who fell to Earth...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE FRONT RUNNER")

HUGH JACKMAN: (As Gary Hart) My name's Gary Hart, and I'm running for president.

MONDELLO: ..."First Man" with Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, who made one giant leap for mankind when he set foot on the moon...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FIRST MAN")

RYAN GOSLING: (As Neil Armstrong) Space exploration changes your perception.

MONDELLO: ...And "Mr. Robot's" Rami Malek as Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY")

QUEEN: (Singing) Galileo, Galileo...

RAMI MALEK: (As Freddie Mercury) Do it again, one more.

BEN HARDY: (As Roger Taylor) How many more Galileos do you want?

MALEK: (As Freddie Mercury) Roger, there's only room in this band for one hysterical queen.

HARDY: (As Roger Taylor) Ready, Freddie?

MALEK: (As Freddie Mercury) Let's do it.

MONDELLO: Mercury's story was both triumphant and tragic. HIV took him in his prime.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY")

GWILYM LEE: (As Brian May) You need to slow down, Freddie.

MONDELLO: So it fits nicely with the tenor of the fall.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY")

TOM HOLLANDER: (As Jim Beach) I just need a bit of time.

MALEK: (As Freddie Mercury) What if I don't have time?

MONDELLO: After Thanksgiving, things will brighten considerably. But I'm out of time, so we'll save "Mary Poppins" and the other year-end attractions for later. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS")

QUEEN: (Singing) No time for losers 'cause we are the champions of the world. We are the champions, my friends. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.