Top movies for fall 2022: Our 15 picks, including the much awaited ‘Wakanda Forever’

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Right now there’s enough debt, toil and trouble afoot to upend the film and streaming industries twice over. Cineworld, owner of the nation’s number two multiplex chain Regal, flirts with bankruptcy amid its nearly $5 billion debt load. Warner Bros. Discovery has taken to cutting its perceived staff and programming expendables. Nearly 200 episodes of “Sesame Street” yanked off HBO Max? Even with a merger debt load of $53 billion to $55 billion, somebody needs to put down the ducky and rethink that one.

This fall shapes up as a battle of reality vs. fantasy. The reality is a business that continues to unlearn lessons never easily learned in Hollywood: how to create and simultaneously point stockholders toward new work, new intellectual properties, new storytelling for a sustainable future.

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The fantasy part, the creative part: That’s what may just get us through.

This fall’s releases hold plenty of promise in different directions and varying degrees of New. Here are 15 titles to consider. And here’s hoping “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is even a fraction as effective as its trailer. All release dates are subject to change.

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“The Woman King” (Sept. 16 in theaters): Viola Davis wields the righteous weaponry as the general of the Agojie female warriors, fighting for their African homeland kingdom of Dahomey. Based in fact and, fingers crossed, rousing in execution. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

“Don’t Worry Darling” (Sept. 23 in theaters): Harry Styles, aka many people’s idea of the Most Interesting Man in the World, stars with Florence Pugh in director Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller set in a mysterious, cultlike 1950s utopian suburb. Chris Pine and KiKi Layne co-star.

“Blonde” (Sept. 23 on Netflix). Joyce Carol Oates’ poetically, tragically speculative Marilyn Monroe novel becomes a vehicle for Ana de Armas and, judging from the trailers, a stylistic workout for director Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James”).

“Bros” (Sept. 30 in theaters). Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane star in the latest from director Nicholas Stoller (”Forgetting Sarah Marshall”). This is being touted by Universal as the first gay rom-com in major-studio Hollywood history. Wow! That didn’t take very long at all!

“Amsterdam” (Oct. 7 in theaters). The return of David O. Russell (”American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) in a fictional/factual hybrid of a cockeyed ‘30s murder story, featuring a cast big enough to fill out a disaster movie or three: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek … and Russell’s go-to, Robert De Niro.

“Till” (Oct. 14 in theaters). The horrific 1955 Mississippi lynching of 14-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till has been dramatized before; director Chinonye Chukwu (”Clemency”) and the screenwriters focus their account on Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), Till’s educator and activist mother, and her drive to bring the killers to justice.

“Ticket to Paradise” (Oct. 21 in theaters). Julia Roberts. George Clooney. Rom-com. Bali. Magic time?

“Black Adam” (Oct. 21 in theaters). Can Dwayne Johnson, who plays the DC Comics character initially designed to be shoehorned into “Shazam!”, elevate the insanely up and down DC film roster? I have no additional questions on this topic at this time.

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“Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” (Oct. 25 on Netflix). A tantalizing eight-episode horror anthology, featuring a murderer’s row of contemporary masters of the macabre. Anything new from “The Babadook” director Jennifer Kent is everything fine with me.

“North by Northwest” (Nov. 6 at the Music Box Theatre). Copresented by the Chicago Architecture Center, Hitchcock’s 1959 adventure, filmed partly in Chicago, screens in a special presentation and discussion framed by all things design- and built environment-oriented.

“The Son” (Nov. 11 in theaters). Anthony Hopkins won his second Oscar for “The Father,” also from playwright/screenwriter Florian Zeller. “The Son” is part of Zeller’s trilogy, starring a similarly prestigious cast of Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby — and Hopkins once again.

“The Fabelmans” (Nov. 11 in theaters). The collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner continues, enticingly, with this seriocomic semi-autobiographical portrait of a great American filmmaker’s early years. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen and, yes, David Lynch as John Ford.

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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Nov. 11 in theaters). Forever is a long time, but the devotion to the first “Black Panther” starring the late Chadwick Boseman is ardent indeed. The sequel in this Marvel franchise, directed by Ryan Coogler, sets Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)and others against interlopers in a battle for Wakanda.

“The Menu” (Nov. 18 in theaters). An eerie dark-comic premise: Ralph Fiennes portrays the world-class-est of world-class chefs, inviting a select handful of foodies to his remote island resort for the meal of a lifetime.

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“She Said” (Nov. 18 in theaters): Or, how they got that story and brought the formerly untouchable movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to justice. In this true-life tale of investigative journalism, Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.

mjphillips@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @phillipstribune

Big screen or home stream, takeout or dine-in, Tribune writers are here to steer you toward your next great experience. Sign up for your free weekly Eat. Watch. Do. newsletter here.

 

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