The New Season: Movies

Critic David Edelstein previews some of fall’s many expected films:

Autumn! It’s when we speak about things besides Marvel superhero cinema (there is one of them, “Thor: Fragglerock” or whatever it’s called, and another DC superhero jamboree, “Justice League”). There’s a some-more intriguing Wonder Woman movie, “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” which dramatizes the feminist superheroine’s rather eccentric origins.


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Feminism, if you didn’t know, is big box office. You’ve listened about the fun “Battle of the Sexes” biopic with Emma Stone as Billie Jean King vs. Steve Carell’s loyalist piglet Bobby Riggs. But did you know there’s a Tonya Harding mockumentary with Margot Robbie? “I, Tonya” done big news in Toronto and when you see it, you’ll pardon Tonya everything. Really. You’ll wish to cuddle her and blubber!

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The story of Olympic skater Tonya Harding is told in mockumentary character in “I, Tonya.”


But really the weirdest female-centric film is another Toronto hit, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a brew of melancholy tragedy and icky assault and extended comedy by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. 

It stars the miraculous Frances McDormand as a lady who puts up accusatory billboards over the unsolved rape-and-murder of her daughter — no, it doesn’t sound like big laughs. But McDonagh homes in on the lawmen’s crazy insecurities, and it kind of arrange of works.


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There’s some sincerely apparent awards attract in “Roman J. Israel Esq.,” dominated first support to last by Denzel Washington as a rumpled, romantic counsel “on the spectrum,” as they say. Washington’s extraordinary — he has adequate tics for 10 Oscar performances.

The New York Film Festival opener this week is Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” a friend comedy astride a grave — the grave of a son of a Vietnam oldster played by Steve Carell, who recruits two of the men he served with (played by Brian Cranston and Laurence Fishburne) for a reduction approved funeral. It’s both fun and comfortless — kind of a thesis this autumn.


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Like the best film I’ve seen so this year: “The Florida Project” by Sean Baker, who famously shot his miraculous “Tangerine” on an iPhone. Here, he has real film cameras and he gets every bit of atmosphere from his setting, a transitory motel not distant from Disney World, where a little girl and her friends romp, until reality kicks in, and the sky falls.


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From my viewpoint on the fall’s movies, though, the sky’s the limit. 

   
For some-more info:

  • “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” (Annapurna Pictures)
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight)
  • “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon/Lionsgate)
  • “The Florida Project” (A24)

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