Greetings Film Lovers! Welcome to the 2017 Six Degrees Fall Film Newsletter. There’s a total of 52 Films we’ve listed for the period from September through to the Christmas and Holiday Season in December. Here’s a clue: the ones with 2 stars by them are recommended to see at the movies. A couple have 3 stars-they are the Kids films and recommended for family viewing.
The films with one star may be very good films, but they are recommended for the small screen. The Big Screen Movie Experience is something that should be a significant one for most films these days. After all, it’s getting more and more expensive to go to a movie at the movie theater. And we should demand, as moviegoers, a high quality of film on many levels, artistically and technically, to spend our money and take the time to make the trek to the theaters to see great films! This list includes action/adventure; A-list stars and directors, and intriguing storylines. Those are the types of films that will always command our attention even in the fast-paced world we live in today. Enjoy and see you each week at the movies!-ML
**Recommended for Viewing at the Theater
*Save for the Small Screen
***Recommended for Families/Kids Movies
September Movie Openings
**IT– – Bill Skarsgard plays the shape-shifting clown Pennywise in this version of Stephen King’s IT
*Rebel in the Rye – with Nicholas Hoult is about J.D. Salinger, the scarred author who is depicted during his creative process in creating the classic The Catcher in the Rye.
*In Search of Fellini –A small town girl from Ohio discovers the delightful yet bizarre films of legendary director Federico Felline.
**Mother! With Jennifer Lawrence- Darren Aronofsky directs this film about a married couple whose relationship is tested when another couple-played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris, come to visit. Reportedly a cross between Black Swan and Rosemary’s Baby, this film is hard to pin down, but has been called a thriller.
* Kingsman: The Golden Circle – a sequel movie-where Colin Firth returns along with co-star Taron Egerton as the juvenile-delinquent turned master spy named Eggsy.
*Stronger with Jake Gyllenhaal- Gyllenhaal plays the role of Jeff Bauman in this biopic based on the memoirs of Bauman, who had both legs blown off in the Boston Marathon bombing.
**Battle of the Sexes stars Steve Carell and Emma Stone in this recreation of the famous Bobby Riggs vs Billie Jean King Tennis Match in 1973.
*Victoria and Abdul is from Director Stephen Frears and stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in this drama surrounding her friendship with the handsome Indian man named Abdul.
*Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives documentary opened the Tribeca Film Festival and was well received.
*American Made with Tom Cruise, who stars as the real-life pilot Barry Seal, a man whose flying skills and his greed led him to moonlight as a drug runner for the infamous Medellin drug cartel, and later to become an informant for the CIA.
*Mark Felt- The Man who Brought Down the House– with Liam Neeson playing Felt, the FBI agent who was known as Deep Throat during Watergate.
October Movie Openings
**Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling- is the much- anticipated sequel of sorts to the original Ridley Scott/Harrison Ford classic. Denis Villeneuve directs and there’s an appearance from the original Rick Deckard -we’ll have to see if it’s more than a walk on by Harrison Ford.
*Brawl in Cellblock 99 with Vince Vaughn, is about a former boxer who takes a job as a drug courier and winds up in jail where his enemies converge and force him into acts of violence.
*The Florida Project with Willem Dafoe, this one is set in Orlando Florida and is about some hard living characters, as seen through the eyes of a playful and imaginative child.
**The Mountain Between Us with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet is based on the 2010 Charles Martin novel. The story is about two plane crash survivors, a journalist (Winslet) and a surgeon (Elba) who brave the elements and fall in love as they struggle for survival.
***My Little Pony: The Movie with Emily Blunt providing a voice in this animated feature along with Kristin Chenowith and Zoe Saldana.
*Una with Rooney Mara is about a young woman’s confrontation with a man from her past that threatens to derail the man’s new life and the woman’s stability.
*Goodbye Christopher Robin with Domhnall Gleeson. The film follows the real-life author of Winnie the Pooh and Co., A A Milne, after he returns home for the war, damaged and dispirited. Milne finds consolation as he re-connects with his son Christopher Robin and the now familiar group of stuffed animal friends.
**Marshall – a film about Thurgood Marshall stars Chadwick Boseman as the iconic Supreme Court Justice who broke through racial barriers. This film focuses on the earlier life of Marshall, when he worked as an NAACP lawyer in a racially-charged case.
**The Meyerowitz Stories with Adam Sandler is about estranged siblings who gather in New York to celebrate their father’s work as an artist.
*Overdrive with Scott Eastwood is about a notorious crime boss who forces two legendary car thieves to steal a vehicle to win back their freedom.
*Same Kind of Different as Me- with Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear is about an International art dealer (Kinnear) who befriends a homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage
**The Snowman with Michael Fassbender playing the brilliant fictional detective Harry Hole. Norwegian author Jo Nesbe created this fast paced and popular crime series, and this particular story is about the Snowman Killer, who always strikes on the first day of winter after leaving small snow statues near the victim’s body.
*Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween- This is a Halloween movie with Madea/Perry, of course!
*Suburbicon with Matt Damon, directed by George Clooney-(uh-oh). This film can’t be pinned down either, as it is about a 50’s era family who are victims of a home invasion. Oscar Isaac plays the suspicious investigator on the case. Clooney says there are laughs, “but it wasn’t designed to be ha-ha funny. It starts out like a Disney film, and by the end it feels like an acid trip”
*Thank You for Your Service with Miles Teller starring in this true story about the scars of war and the difficulties a soldier has in returning to civilian life.
November Movie Openings
*Bill Nye: Science Guy -Documentary where Nye attempts to restore science to its rightful place in a world sometimes openly hostile to evidence and reason.
*Last Flag Flying with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Lawrence Fishburne-We previewed this indie in Friday Flix last week, with Steve Carrell starring as a grieving father burying his son who was killed in Iraq.
**LBJ with Woody Harrelson -Director Rob Reiner has created this biopic of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
**The Man who Invented Christmas with Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as Charles Dickens during the time he created the classic tale A Christmas Carol. Christopher Plummer plays Scrooge for the play within the play theme.
**Roman Israel, Esq with Denzel Washington in this crime thriller set in LA.
*Thor: Ragnorak with Chris Hemsworth- The Hulk is along for the ride, along with Valkyrie and Loki as they strive to stop the Goddess of Death-played by Cate Blanchett, from destroying Asgard (and the galaxy too).
*Daddy’s Home 2 with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg returning with a new round of sparring partners-their respective fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. The comedy hijinks play out when the Dads visit for the holidays.
*Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan in a coming-of-age story directed by actress Greta Gerwig.
**Murder on the Orient Express with Kenneth Branagh, also directing with the star-studded cast including Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer and Judi Dench. Agatha Christie wrote the original in 1934, and Branagh directs this revamped version as well as taking on the lead role of Hercule Poirot, the master detective determined to sleuth out who killed who on the mystery train.
**Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri with Frances McDormand is an Indie film about a woman named Mildred, who is angry and working to avenge her daughter’s murder in this dark comedy from the same director who brought us In Bruges – Martin McDonagh.
**Justice League with Ben Affleck returning as Batman as he unites an entire team of super humans- Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg as they defend the Earth from a cosmic threat.
*Wonder with Julia Roberts is based on the 2012 novel by R.J. Palacio. It’s about a 5th grade boy with Treacher Collins syndrome, and his parents who decide to send him to a mainstream school for the first time.
***Coco is the animated Pixar offering, about a 12 year old aspiring singer named Miguel who is accidently transported to the Land of the Dead, this vibrant posthumous place populated with Skeletal ancestors and all kinds of whimsical stops along the way. The director says it’s a bit like Monsters, Inc, in that there’s a fantastic world of monsters, but “it’s rooted in a world we know” Coco, by the way, is the great-grandma of Miguel, who is one of his living family members that we meet as Miguel traverses between the two worlds.
**Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman starring as Winston Churchill. This film focuses on the period when England had refused to give in to Hitler’s relentless war machine.
*Death Wish with Bruce Willis in the title role made famous by tough guy Charles Bronson. Eli Roth directs the remake.
**Molly’s Game with Jessica Chastain, based on the story of Molly Bloom, is about a competitive skier who decides to move to LA and run the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game. Molly ends up being indicted, and the twists in this tale led director Aaron Sorkin to direct this fascinating story.
**The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in this story about Edison’s race with George Washington to create a sustainable electrical system.
December Movie Offerings: The Holiday Season
*The Disaster Artist with James Franco explores the depths that lead to the creation of how a truly awful movie is made. Franco plays the “auteur-actor” Tommy Wiseau, who created the original 2003 cult film, The Room, which garnered a huge following based on it’s “entertaining awfulness”.
**The Shape of Water with Sally Hawkins in this Cold War era imaginary tale from director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) about a mute woman, (Hawkins), who discovers a top secret government experiment.
**Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Daisy Ridley returning as Rey with the saga picking up where we left the characters hanging. Luke Skywalker is there on a mountaintop, and we’ll see Carrie Fisher’s final screen appearance as Princess Leia. John Boyega and Adam Driver return respectively as Finn and the villainous Kylo Ren.
*Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with Dwayne Johnson in the reworked version of the Robin Williams film where four teenagers play an old videogame and find themselves trapped in the bodies of their avatars.
*Downsizing with Matt Damon in what is being described as a “dramedy” about an overpopulated world where scientists can now shrink humans to pocket size.
**The Papers with Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks – Spielberg directs this story centered around the real-life events that ensued when The Washington Post and the Nixon administration went to battle in the front pages of the news over the release of Daniel Ellsburg’s Pentagon Papers.
*Pitch Perfect 3 with Anna Kendrick-The Barden Bellas are back for a third round
December 25th: Christmas Day Openings
**The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman starring in this musical version about the life of master showman P.T. Barnum and the creation of his traveling circus.
*Wes Anderson film with retiring Daniel Day-Lewis – Not much has been released about this one other than the fact actor Daniel Day Lewis has announced his impending retirement from acting!
We are living in a kind of post Golden Age of Blockbusters and trying to feel our way into the 21st Century Cinematic Film Experience that includes more than just a cheap thrill with a pair of 3D Glasses. We may end up nostalgic and waxing lyrical for the type of Blockbuster films and the Advent of each new film “season” that is prefaced with talk of the Possible Award winners and the big losers.
The recent interview with Director Steven Soderbergh was telling in that he spoke of the cavalier attitude towards “Markdowns” that ended the careers for directors such as Heaven’s Gate Director Michael Cimino. Now, in his words, “You don’t get punished for your mistakes the way you used to back then. There have been a couple of films in the last year to 18 months that are 200 million dollar write downs! It used to be people would get fired for that, and now they don’t….And I think that’s part of the problem, there’s no new oxygen in the system”.
These types of eye-opening and direct confessions occur rather infrequently. The last time I recall was when Spielberg spilled the beans about his Lincoln production, and predicted the continual rise of the small screen, after confessing he almost made Lincoln for HBO instead of as a theatrical release. These are the forerunners for the changing world that has been the standard in film for the past century. Who would have predicted “Talkies” at the beginning of the silent film era? And during the Golden Age of Film, who could have known that Television would create such a huge thunderclap in the entire film industry? Or who could have known that one lawsuit in 1949 could have ended the Golden Age with the decree that gave films and their theater chain counterparts the Kiss of Death by declaring the entire operation a type of monopoly that could not stand the scrutiny? Then, the sixties and the ratings codes gave films another kind of upheaval, creating the independent film industry and the Age of Aquarius with Sex and the Free Love Generation changing the way people watched films and thought about them.
Film critics rose and fell with this standard. The long-time New York film critic Bosley Crowther saw his career end after he panned Bonnie and Clyde. And critics like Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert rose to prominence. Ebert was able to cross over into the newer era of online film criticism, and his website, Ebert.com, continues to dominate long after his death.
Star Wars created another explosion, with the advent of the Art of Special Effects and the age of Science Fiction and the Juvenilization of Movies. The Blockbuster era began in the seventies, and has continued to this day. We have always known that the real artistic center of the Universe for all Hollywood producers is the Almighty Dollar. And politics and current events figure more than we would be comfortable in acknowledging, if we are going to make an honest assessment. That has been the norm from the very early days, when the Supreme Court ruled in the early 1900’s that film was NOT considered Art. That paved the way to monolithic control for Thomas Edison and his film studio.
And the story has been the same to this day….The film world exists and thrives on changes within our culture and society. And it has adapted from the earliest days of the Penny Arcades through the last century and into the 21st Century. And so it goes…
One More Thing: This Fall, sign up for the Friday Flix at the 6 Degrees website, and you’ll find the links to the latest film reviews and the in-depth articles that we scan to look for the best of the web. Save yourself the trouble and go straight to the source! We take the time to ask the questions about films that are on your mind….Not simply, what should I see this week? What are the top reviews on the film I’m interested in seeing? But also….
What are the best films made so far in the 21st Century? What types of films do millennials want to see? And what is going to happen to the vast network of Hollywood studios and theatre chains that have thrived over the past decades on an expanding American audience? What do film buffs really want to know? These are the questions we try to address and to respond to each week in “Friday Flix” and in the 6 Degrees of online Film Magazine.
Hope you enjoyed checking out the films and don’t forget to visit us online at the 6 Degrees Blog and our 6 Degrees Magazine for weekly updates. See you next week at the movies!-ML