Home » Now Playing » Fall Movie Preview

Fall Movie Preview

The temperatures in Syracuse may still be soaring, but no matter how much we hope it will last, we know what is lurking right around the corner. 

The change of seasons means many things to everyone across the country, yet here in Central New York, we know that soon we will be hunkering in, and spending more time within the comfy confines of a heated room. For many of us, this means taking in quite a few movies, and below, you’ll find a few of the flicks that I am looking forward to the most.

VENOM (October 5)

After decades of hope and empty promises, Venom, one of Marvel’s most beloved villains, is finally getting his own stand-alone project. While we have seen iterations of him before on the big screen, most notably as portrayed by Topher Grace in SPIDER-MAN 3, he has yet to achieve the same type of success in the cinemas as he has had in the comics.   

The reason VENOM is one of the more intriguing releases in the coming months, is simply due to its leading man. While, in theory, the violent, wise-talking, symbiotic villain would be a draw in any capacity, it is the fact that Tom Hardy is filling the role that makes it a must-see. Hardy has, at this point in his career, proved that he can deliver consistently phenomenal performances in any genre. From the madcap action of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, to the simplistic drama of LOCKE (a film where he literally sits in a car from start to finish), he has become one of the most versatile and magnetic personalities in the business. With the emergence of more daring comic-book fare such as DEADPOOL and LOGAN, there is hope that Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND) will show flashes of the same originality and ingenuity that set these dark films apart from their typical superhero brethren. The trailer has garnered strong reactions both positive, and negative, but this can hardly be viewed as a reliable testament of the overall quality of the production. 


BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (November 2)

The story of Freddie Mercury, the electric and progressive frontman of Queen, seemed tailor-made for the big screen. Big time biopics like RAY and WALK THE LINE lead to Oscar glory for Jamie Foxx and Reese Witherspoon, and anyone who could successfully tackle and capture the essence of the larger-than-life persona of the complex Mercury would instantly put himself on the Academy’s radar. For a while, it seemed as if Sacha Baron-Cohen was going to fill Freddie’s shoes, but due to creative differences with the surviving members of the band, the funnyman was replaced by Rami Malek. 

Malek, who has earned a number of accolades for his work on the mind-bending MR. ROBOT, seemed a daring choice for the film. While he has handfuls of hardware for his small screen efforts, he’s yet to really break through in the cinematic world. Any doubt about his ability and the casting choice, however, was dispelled when the first trailer was released. Serving as the spitting image of Mercury, Malek seem to have the poise, pizazz, and pipes to shine. It will be interesting to see how in-depth the film gets into Freddie’s personal life, which apparently was one of the main sticking points with the Baron-Cohen decision. There are those who believe you can’t possibly tell the story of Queen without delving into the complexities and demons of their leading man, while others simply wish to witness a celebration of the music and mayhem brought on by one of the most legendary musical acts of all time. 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD (November 16)

When the HARRY POTTER series came to a close, there was little doubt that at some point, JK Rowling’s magical world would return in some form or other. While many wished there would be another novel, what was released was a film. Serving as the screenwriter for FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, Rowling crafted a worthy prequel to the massively popular POTTER franchise. Containing plenty of homages to her established work, the film was a thrilling continuation of the saga, and provided a promising future for the Wizarding World.
There is little reason to doubt that this sequel, THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD boasts enough intrigue to ensure that the POTTER crowd will turn out in droves. With the return of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Salamander, Dan Folger as the hilarious Jacob Kowalski, and Katherine Waterson as the strong-willed and plucky Tina Goldstein, the characters within BEASTS will become more defined, further illustrating that, while they may exist in a pre-established world, but that they are certainly individual characters in their own right.  Despite the many personal controversies that have been plaguing him as of late, Johnny Depp steps into the villainous role of Gellert Grindelwald. Though his recent turns have been a far cry from the electric entertainer that dominated screens a few short years ago, this may be the very vehicle he needs to turn things around. Of course, the main attraction here, and the most intriguing aspect of all, is the addition of Jude Law as the beloved Albus Dumbledore. While we have heard of his many exploits and accomplishments, viewers only know him as the wise, powerful, lovable elderly statesman of Hogwarts, and this is the first opportunity to get a glimpse into what lead him towards his path of magical magnificence. 

CREED II (November 21)

It’s 2018, and miraculously, the next chapter in the ROCKY series has made it onto my list of must-see movies. The sheer absurdity of this is not lost on me, after the emotionally resonant CREED blew away audiences and critics alike, and even earned Sylvester Stallone an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His counterpart, Michael B. Jordan, may not have earned the nomination he so richly deserved, but if he gives as dynamic of a turn in CREED II as he did the first time around, it’s hard to believe that he would be passed over once again.

Much like CREED did, the second installment will introduce a character with bloodlines linked to another ROCKY staple. This time around, Viktor Drago (Florian Muneanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) will be stepping into the ring to face off against Adonis (Jordan.) With the unexpected emotional depth and strong storytelling that was exhibited last time around, it really ventured away from the endearing cheesiness of the last few ROCKY installments. This next chapter could help CREED stand on its own. And, though these characters would never exist without ROCKY, another knock-out would help the budding spin-off emerge from behind the original franchise’s formidable shadow. 

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.