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After a Barbenheimer-fuelled July, and a distressingly quiet August, the movies are … kinda back! Maybe? It all depends on the fallout of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which depending on where things are by Labour Day weekend could send a whole lot of the titles below scurrying to presumably brighter days in 2024 (see ya later, Dune: Part Two). Still, there are signs of promise everywhere you look, no Barbie or atomic blast required. Here are your 15 best fall movie bets from now through U.S. Thanksgiving.


Dumb Money

In this get-rich-or-die-stupid comedy, director Craig Gillespie and an absurdly stacked cast (Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Shailene Woodley, Pete Davidson) examine the GameStop stock market saga that rocked Wall Street during the early stages of the pandemic. Think The Big Short meets Pineapple Express, and an almost 100-per-cent guarantee of three dozen needle drops, given that this is from the director of I, Tonya and Cruella. The film will make its world premiere at TIFF, so if producers are looking for any festival party ideas, may I suggest renting out the GameStop on Yonge Street for a blowout bash? (In theatres, Sept. 22)

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese drained the bank account of the Apple TV+ film division to make this epic adaptation of David Grann’s excellent 2017 non-fiction book. Starring frequent Scorsese collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, the film examines the murders of Oklahoma’s Osage people circa 1920, and how the FBI was formed shortly thereafter to tackle the crimes. Having enjoyed a warm reception during its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this past spring, expect Killers to dominate come awards time. (In theatres Oct. 6, streaming on Apple TV+ at a date to be determined)

The Holdovers

The first film from Alexander Payne in six years after the disappointing satire Downsizing, The Holdovers seems intent on recapturing Payne’s Sideways glory days, as this new film reteams the director with that comedy’s merlot-hating lead, Paul Giamatti. Here, everyone’s favourite curmudgeon stars as a New England private school teacher babysitting a handful of students on campus during Christmas break in the ‘70s. (In theatres Nov. 10)

Next Goal Wins

Filmmaker Taika Waititi is looking for a hat trick this fall when he brings his new soccer comedy to TIFF, having previously scored at the festival with Jojo Rabbit and What We Do in the Shadows. The new film, which is inspired by the true story of a Dutch-American coach (Michael Fassbender) hired to turn around the luck of the American Samoa soccer team, was filmed in 2019, but later reshot material with Canadian actor Will Arnett replacing the controversy-plagued Armie Hammer in the role of a club executive. (In theatres Nov. 17)


Colman Domingo has been ready for his mainstream breakout moment for a few years now – a supporting role on HBO’s Euphoria only goes so far – but this biopic about the gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin may finally get the man the recognition that he deserves. Directed by George C. Wolfe, who previously directed Domingo opposite Chadwick Boseman in the 2020 drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Rustin is tipped as being one of Netflix’s big awards-season plays this fall. Focusing on Rustin’s organization of the 1963 March on Washington, the film co-stars Audra McDonald, Chris Rock and Jeffrey Wright. (Streaming on Netflix, Nov. 17)


Joaquin Phoenix stars as the man who gave the world not only a killer ABBA song, but also a great personality complex. Oh, and he also conquered nations and yadda yadda yadda. Directed by Ridley Scott, this war thriller – co-starring Vanessa Kirby as Empress Josephine – is destined to be epic and brutal, with a show-stopping performance from one of Hollywood’s greatest, most intense performers. It may also work well on a double-bill with BlackBerry, the year’s other movie focusing on Waterloo, albeit of a different sort. (In theatres Nov. 22, streaming on Apple TV+ at a date to be determined)


After proving his rock-star chops with A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper trips the light fantastic with this decades-spanning musical drama about the life and career of Leonard Bernstein. Cooper directs himself here as the Broadway legend, with Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke and Sarah Silverman rounding out the cast (Lady Gaga was busy, okay?). While the Netflix film doesn’t have a release date yet, it’s premiering at the Venice Film Festival, so a late fall streaming debut is a good bet. (In select theatres Nov. 22, streaming on Netflix Dec. 20)


The Expendables 4

There is no amount of heavy-duty muscling on the part of the series’ stars that could persuade me to use the stylized title of Expend4bles. But good on Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren for trying to get everyone else to follow their ridiculous lead. The latest go-round in the mercs-for-hire franchise seems to be easing Stallone out of the driver’s seat in favour of Statham, though it’s a good bet that there will be plenty of Sly quips and arched eyebrows. Andy Garcia, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox and Indonesian force-of-nature Iko Uwais join the bloodletting. (In theatres, Sept. 22)

The Creator

In the summer, Tom Cruise went up against a malevolent artificial intelligence in the latest Mission: Impossible. This fall, the war against AI will be taken up by John David Washington, starring as a soldier in the near future who is helping humanity fight its last stand against tech that seems intent on ruling the world. But the catch is that the Skynet-like endgame revolves around a robot who happens to be manufactured to look like a small child. Daddy issues and questions of ghosts in the machine likely abound in this sci-fi epic from Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. (In theatres, Sept. 29)

Saw X

Somehow, Jigsaw has returned. The maniacal serial killer-slash-vigilante moralist plays with our hearts, minds, and guts for the 10th time in this horror franchise that keeps on finding inventive ways to slash and burn. If we can’t have sandworms crawling across the sandy landscapes of Dune: Part Two this fall, then we can settle for having Tobin Bell’s psychopath forcing his victims to crawl across the grimy floors of his slaughterhouse. (In theatres, Sept. 29)

The Marvels

If you have been able to decipher the various comings and goings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then perhaps The Marvels is for you, as it wraps in storylines featured in the 2019 Brie Larson-starring film Captain Marvel, the 2021 series WandaVision and the enjoyable but severely underwatched 2022 series Ms. Marvel. If you can’t tell your Skrulls from your Krees, though, maybe just try to sit back and savour the on-screen rapport between Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, returning to the MCU here only a few months after another vastly underperforming Disney+ series, Secret Invasion. (In theatres Nov. 10)

The Killer

After diving deep into Hollywood history with 2020′s Mank, David Fincher gets back to his slick and murderous roots with this adaptation of a French graphic novel series. Focused on an assassin (Michael Fassbender, who between this and Next Goal Wins seems determined to show his range this fall) who takes on a mission that surely won’t go wrong in the slightest – or will it? – Fincher’s film is as hotly anticipated as a third season of the director’s Mindhunter (which, from the looks of it, is never going to happen). (Streaming on Netflix, Nov. 10)

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Set decades before Katniss Everdeen took down the Hunger Games, this movie focuses on the 10th group of doomed teens selected to distract the masses from their dystopian state. Prequels are never an easy proposition given audiences know just where everything ends up – just ask George Lucas – but there’s a slight reason to be hopeful here given the cast, which includes Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Jason Schwartzman and West Side Story breakout Rachel Zegler. (In theatres, Nov. 17)


The Exorcist: Believer

After rebooting – and then ruining, according to some – the Halloween franchise, director David Gordon Green is resurrecting another horror brand, with this first of two sequels to William Friedkin’s original 1973 sensation. While the series has been plagued by unnecessary sequels for decades now – last culminating in a messy affair that saw director Paul Schrader’s movie retooled into something else entirely by Renny Harlin – studio Universal Pictures is so confident in Green’s vision that executives shelled out a reported US$400-million for the rights. Ellen Burstyn reprises her role from the first film, with Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd playing new characters entering the possession fray. (In theatres, Oct. 6)


Sixteen long years after premiering a faux-trailer for a holiday-themed slasher called Thanksgiving as part of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, director Eli Roth has made good on his tease and made a full-length feature in-joke. Starring TikTok personality Addison Rae and Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, the shot-in-Ontario film focuses on a Massachusetts town dealing with a serial killer who is carving up the locals like turkeys. Bon appétit. (In theatres, Nov. 17)

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