Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter, with film, TV and streaming reviews and more. Sign up today.
Good evening Mr. Bond, we’ve been expecting you.
One year ago, The Globe and Mail published its fall 2020 film preview. Among the anticipated features back then were the Agatha Christie murder-and-mustache mystery Death on the Nile, and the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die.
Things did not go as planned. Because of COVID-19, film release schedules became best guesses. But, while it’s still a mystery as to when Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot flick will see the light of day, the oft-postponed 007 is now set for an Oct. 8 release in North America.
As such, the spytacular thriller makes its way onto our list of highly anticipated fall films for the second year running. Will it be the final Bond instalment starring dashing Daniel Craig? In today’s movie business world, it’s hard to fathom what the future holds.
Come From Away
Though a feature film adaptation of the made-in-Canada stage musical about Newfoundland residents who took in thousands of stranded plane passengers after the terrorist acts of 9/11 has been put on hold, a filmed version of the Tony Award-winning production, recorded at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York, arrives one day before the 20th anniversary of the attacks. (Sept. 10, Apple TV+)
The Card Counter
The executive producer of this poker-faced drama is Martin Scorsese, a man well-versed in stories involving casinos and brooding protagonists. This one, directed by Paul Schrader, stars Oscar Isaac as an emotionally scarred ex-con with character-defining back tattoos and a system for beating the odds at the gaming tables. Busy Willem Dafoe is among the co-stars. (Sept. 10, in theatres)
In 2018, Clint Eastwood produced, directed and starred in Mule, about an old man who smuggles drugs in an old pickup truck. Three years later, Eastwood has produced, directed and will star in Cry Macho, about an old rodeo star who smuggles a boy across the border in an old pickup truck. With a long career ahead of him, the 91-year-old Eastwood risks typecasting. (Sept. 17, in theatres)
The Many Saints of Newark
The prequel to HBO’s brilliant crime drama series The Sopranos stars Michael Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano, the role immortalized by his late father, James Gandolfini. One imagines his son standing for hours in front of a mirror, practising “fuggedaboutit” until he got it just right. The Sopranos creator David Chase is co-producer and co-writer. (Oct. 1, in theatres)
Diana: The Musical
Don’t cry for her, Britannia. A live performance of the Broadway musical about the people’s princess and her flop of a fairy-tale marriage was filmed in 2020 without an audience. Now it hits the small screens – pure catnip for fans of the Netflix hit series The Crown and anyone else who wants to see singing, dancing versions of Diana, Prince Charles and the mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. (Oct. 1, Netflix)
No Time to Die
The still-hunky Daniel Craig returns as 007 for the fifth (and perhaps final) time. Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation) directs, Christoph Waltz reprises his character from 2015′s Spectre, Rami Malek is the new villain, and Aston Martin steals scenes as the bullet-shooting sports car. (Oct. 8, in theatres)
The Last Duel
Matt Damon and Adam Driver don full metal armour for this lance-a-lot epic based on Eric Jager’s 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France. It’s another testosterone-drenched historical drama directed by Ridley Scott, whose Gladiator from 2000 won five Academy Awards – exactly five more than his Robin Hood from 2010 earned. (Oct. 15, in theatres)
Timothée Chalamet makes the jump up to the blockbuster league as Paul Atreides, a half-messiah/half Luke Skywalker figure in the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sand-strewn 1965 science-fiction novel Dune. But, really, the pressure is much more on Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, whose job with part one of his two-picture Dune deal is nothing less than to set the foundation for a film franchise of the Star Wars spectacle kind. (Oct. 22, in theatres)
In 2000′s Cast Away, Tom Hanks is alone on an island with only a soccer ball named “Wilson” as a companion. In Finch, Hanks plays the lone survivor of a cataclysmic event with initially only a dog for a companion. (The pooch is named “Goodyear” – again, the name of a giant corporation.) In this postapocalyptic feel-good film, an android is later added to the mix, making for an unusual threesome trying to survive in a harsh new world. (Nov. 5, Apple TV+)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created and starred in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton, makes his feature film directorial debut with a musical drama that stars Andrew Garfield as an aspiring theatre composer struggling to fulfill his career goals. Time is running out – tick, tick. (Nov. 12, in theatres; Nov. 19, Netflix)
Fans of Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-hoarding The Shape of Water have waited four years for the director’s follow-up. And fans of Tyrone Power have waited 74 years for the remake of the original 1947 psychological thriller Nightmare Alley. In Power’s role as a scheming carnival worker is Bradley Cooper. Opposite him is Cate Blanchett as a shady psychiatrist in this edgy 1940s-set motion picture. Busy Willem Dafoe is among the co-stars. (Dec. 17, in theatres)