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PHOTO BY: Jon Pack/Jose Haro
Life Itself (Sept. 21)
The same week that the excellent multigenerational show-that-makes-you-cry This Is Us returns to TV, its producer brings us a similar movie about a couple, played by Olivia Wilde and Oscar Isaac, above, and a love story that crosses continents and decades. With Mandy Patinkin, Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening.
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PHOTO BY: Eric Zachanowich/Twentieth Century Fox
The Old Man & the Gun (Sept. 28)
The Sundance Kid is no kid anymore, but for what may be his last movie, Robert Redford, 82, returns to crime as Forrest Tucker, a real person who made a brazen escape from San Quentin and went on one last heist spree and had the time of his life. Casey Affleck plays the detective on his trail and Sissy Spacek, 68, his missus. FULL REVIEW
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PHOTO BY: Warner Bros. Pictures
A Star Is Born (Oct. 5)
The fourth time could be the charm for the perennial melodrama about a falling star (Bradley Cooper, in this version) and the rising star who loves and eclipses him (Lady Gaga). The two make beautiful music together, even in real life: They performed tunes from the movie at the big Coachella music festival. After three Oscar nominations for acting, Cooper could get one for directing this one. FULL REVIEW
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PHOTO BY: Universal Pictures
First Man (Oct. 12)
Hopes are sky-high for Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle’s epic about the 1961-69 race to put Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, on the moon. Claire Foy (The Crown) plays the wife who knows he might die in flames, and Corey Stoll his Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon. Kyle Chandler, 52, plays astronaut elder statesman Deke Slayton, and Hollywood elder statesman Steven Spielberg is executive producer. FULL REVIEW
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PHOTO BY: Francois Duhamel/Amazon Studios
Beautiful Boy (Oct. 12)
In what may be the most emotionally searing intergenerational story of the year, Steve Carell, 56, plays writer David Sheff, who struggled to save his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) from addiction. (Also caught in the drama: Maura Tierney as his second wife, and Oakley Bull and Christian Convery as their children.) And if Carell doesn't earn an Oscar for this, he's got a second chance with another fact-inspired tearjerker, Robert Zemeckis' Welcome to Marwen (Dec. 21).
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PHOTO BY: Bleecker
What They Had (Oct. 19)
Blythe Danner, 75, has her first Oscar shot as an Alzheimer's patient whose kids, played by Hilary Swank (right) and Michael Shannon, violently disagree about whether to keep her at home with their caregiver dad (the great Robert Forster) or send her to a memory facility. A beautiful, moving film based on writer-director Elizabeth Chomko's real family, it's surprisingly full of laughter, hope and deep — if troubled — love. FULL REVIEW
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PHOTO BY: Twentieth Century Fox
Widows (Nov. 16)
When a Chicago robber (Liam Neeson, 66) dies along with his whole gang while perpetrating a heist, and the crime boss still wants his money, the robber's wife (Oscar winner Viola Davis, 56, center) forms a gang with the other widows including Michelle Rodriguez, left, and Elizabeth Debicki to finish a job he had planned. A highly promising film written by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) and director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), with Colin Farrell as a politician and Robert Duvall as his dad.
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PHOTO BY: Yorgos Lanthimos
The Favourite (Nov. 23)
One of the most-buzzed-about Oscar favorites this year is this tale of royal battle involving Britain’s 18th-century Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, right, who plays Elizabeth II on The Crown), Rachel Weisz, left, as her lady-in-waiting, the power behind the throne, and Emma Stone as a new servant who wants that power right now.
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PHOTO BY: Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures
If Beale Street Could Talk (Nov. 30)
The first-ever major movie made from a book by the great American writer James Baldwin (subject of the Oscar-nominated doc I Am Not Your Negro) is the wrenching story of a young girl in 1970s Harlem (KiKi Layne) trying to save her fiance (Stephan James) from a false rape accusation at a time when justice was not race-blind. The powerful double Emmy winner Regina King, 47 (American Crime), plays her mother.
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PHOTO BY: Mark Schafter/LD Ent./Roadside Attractions
Ben Is Back (Dec. 7)
Oscar winner Julia Roberts plays a mom whose son (Lucas Hedges, an Oscar nominee for Manchester by the Sea) comes home for Christmas unexpectedly. She's so glad to see him — and so worried that he's slipping back into addiction. Everyone's fate hangs on the next 24 hours. Written and directed by Lucas' dad Peter Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Pieces of April).
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PHOTO BY: Credit 11
Mary Queen of Scots (Dec. 7)
What could be better than a sumptuous historical drama written by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon and starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan? One where they play cousins who love each other but may find it necessary to kill each other and seize control of England. Spoiler: Robbie, center, as Queen Elizabeth, has better odds than her to-the-death rival Mary Stuart (Ronan).
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PHOTO BY: Jay Maidment/Disney
Mary Poppins Returns (Dec. 19)
In this sequel set 25 years after the original, Emily Blunt (above) takes Julie Andrews’ role, Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Jack the lamplighter, who sounds like Bert the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke, who's in this one too). Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters and Colin Firth round out the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious cast.
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'Tis the Season: 12 Movies We Can't Wait to See This Holiday Season