Fall Movie Preview: 'Tried And True' To 'Really Out There' NPR movie critic Bob Mondello provides a selective preview of what Hollywood has in store for moviegoers this fall.
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Fall Movie Preview: 'Tried And True' To 'Really Out There'

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Fall Movie Preview: 'Tried And True' To 'Really Out There'

Fall Movie Preview: 'Tried And True' To 'Really Out There'

Fall Movie Preview: 'Tried And True' To 'Really Out There'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/548715334/548715338" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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NPR movie critic Bob Mondello provides a selective preview of what Hollywood has in store for moviegoers this fall.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

You may have heard that Hollywood's been having a sad summer. Even though "Wonder Woman" smashed records, so many other films fizzled that the box office totals are down nearly a billion dollars compared to last summer. In our fall movie preview, NPR's Bob Mondello lays out the industry's game plan for bouncing back - lots and lots of the tried and true.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THOR: RAGNAROK")

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Stop me if you've heard this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THOR: RAGNAROK")

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: (As Thor) So much has happened since I last saw you.

MONDELLO: No, don't because you have heard this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THOR: RAGNAROK")

HEMSWORTH: (As Thor) I lost my hammer, like, yesterday, so that's still pretty fresh.

MONDELLO: Marvel's "Thor" is coming back because...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THOR: RAGNAROK")

HEMSWORTH: (As Thor) Hela, the goddess of death, has invaded Asgard.

CATE BLANCHETT: (As Hela) Oh, I've missed this.

HEMSWORTH: (As Thor) We need to stop her here and now to prevent Ragnarok, the end of everything.

MONDELLO: OK, Ragnarok sounds new.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THOR: RAGNAROK")

HEMSWORTH: (As Thor) So I'm putting together a team.

MONDELLO: And while he's doing that in the Marvel Universe, guess what Batman's doing in the DC Cinematic Universe?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JUSTICE LEAGUE")

BEN AFFLECK: (As Batman) I'm putting together a team.

MONDELLO: Recruiting, among others, a super-speedy kid named Flash.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JUSTICE LEAGUE")

AFFLECK: (As Batman) You see, I believe enemies are coming.

EZRA MILLER: (As The Flash) Stop right there. I'm in.

AFFLECK: (As Batman) Just like that?

MILLER: (As The Flash) Yeah. I need friends.

MONDELLO: Flash will have plenty in "Justice League," including Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg. Speaking of cyborgs - well, replicants anyway - and yes, I know they're not the same - guess who else is coming back...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLADE RUNNER 2049")

HARRISON FORD: (As Rick Deckard) You're a cop. I had your job once.

MONDELLO: ...Harrison Ford as "Blade Runner's" Rick Deckard...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLADE RUNNER 2049")

RYAN GOSLING: (As Officer K) Things were simpler then.

FORD: (As Rick Deckard) What do you want?

MONDELLO: ...New guy Ryan Gosling...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLADE RUNNER 2049")

GOSLING: (As Officer K) I want to ask you some questions. What happened?

FORD: (As Rick Deckard) I covered my tracks, scrambled the records. We were being hunted.

GOSLING: (As Officer K) By who?

MONDELLO: By whom? Clearly they're not teaching grammar in the future. "Blade Runner 2049" picks up 30 years after the original story. Other sequels aren't waiting quite so long.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE")

COLIN FIRTH: (As Harry Hart) I hope you're ready for what comes next.

MONDELLO: "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" picks up almost immediately with its tale of dapper secret agents. And writers for a pair of comedy sequels seem to have had the same idea at the same time. In "Bad Moms Christmas," the "Bad Moms'" moms show up for the holidays.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS")

MILA KUNIS: (As Amy) I don't think I can do this sober.

KATHRYN HAHN: (As Carla) You guys want to get drunk at the food court?

KRISTEN BELL: (As Kiki) Oh, yeah.

CHRISTINE BARANSKI: (As Amy's Mother) You're a mom. Moms don't enjoy. They give joy. That's how being a mom works.

MONDELLO: In the sequel to "Daddy's Home," it's the dueling dads' dads. There are also remakes - Bruce Willis in a new "Death Wish," a fresh crew of med students bringing the dead back to life in "Flatliners" and a train full of celebrities bringing Agatha Christie back to life in "Murder on the Orient Express."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS")

KENNETH BRANAGH: (As Hercule Poirot) My name is Hercule Poirot, and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.

MONDELLO: It's not just fiction that's traversing familiar territory this fall. The Cineplex will be crammed with history lessons - Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse battling over electricity in "The Current Wars" (ph), Vincent van Gogh creating masterpieces in "Loving Vincent," where every image is an oil painting, and Britain's Queen Victoria broadening her horizons in "Victoria And Abdul."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "VICTORIA AND ABDUL")

JUDI DENCH: (As Queen Victoria) What is a mango?

ALI FAZAL: (As Abdul Karim) The queen of fruit.

DENCH: (As Queen Victoria) I would like a mango.

FAZAL: (As Abdul Karim) They only grow in India.

DENCH: (As Queen Victoria) Well, I'm empress of India, so have one sent.

MONDELLO: Another Brit, Winston Churchill, will refuse to negotiate with Nazis in the "Darkest Hour."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DARKEST HOUR")

GARY OLDMAN: (As Winston Churchill) When will the lesson be learned? You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.

MONDELLO: And mid-century American politics will inform three intriguing biopics - "Marshall," in which Chadwick Boseman plays the young lawyer who became America's first black Supreme Court justice.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MARSHALL")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) This here's Mr. Thurgood Marshall. The man is an attorney. You will treat him with the respect that he deserves.

MONDELLO: Woody Harrelson will play Lyndon Johnson in "LBJ."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LBJ")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Delegates are meeting with Kennedy right now.

WOODY HARRELSON: (As Lyndon B. Johnson) Jack or Bobby?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Teddy.

HARRELSON: (As Lyndon B. Johnson) Christ, this place is infested.

MONDELLO: And Liam Neeson plays a famously anonymous Watergate informant in the Nixon-era drama "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The President" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE")

JULIAN MORRIS: (As Bob Woodward) There's a nickname for you at the paper - Deep Throat.

MONDELLO: Less political but still familiar figures who get the biopic treatment include serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the high school drama "My Friend Dahmer" and 1970s tennis rivals Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King in "Battle Of The Sexes."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BATTLE OF THE SEXES")

STEVE CARELL: (As Bobby Riggs) Bobby Riggs - I had a great idea - male chauvinist pig versus hairy legged feminist. You're still a feminist, right?

EMMA STONE: (As Billie Jean King) I'm a tennis player who happens to be a woman.

CARELL: (As Bobby Riggs) Don't hang up.

STONE: (As Billie Jean King) And by the way, I shave my legs.

MONDELLO: For literary folks, the Cineplex will host a famous writer's mini-festival of sorts - A.A. Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN")

STEPHEN CAMPBELL MOORE: (As Earnest) Winnie the Pooh.

DOMHNALL GLEESON: (As A.A. Milne) It's rather...

MOORE: (As Earnest) Inexplicable.

GLEESON: (As A.A. Milne) Yes.

MONDELLO: ...Also Charles Dickens in "The Man Who Invented Christmas," the man who invented Wonder Woman in "Professor Marston And The Wonder Women" and the man who invented Holden Caulfield in "Rebel In The Rye."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "REBEL IN THE RYE")

KEVIN SPACEY: (As Whit Burnett) There is nothing more sacred than story. How does that sound, Mr. Salinger?

NICHOLAS HOULT: (As J.D. Salinger) Through the course of my fascinatingly dull life, I've always found fiction more truthful than reality.

MONDELLO: Even kid flicks will be channeling familiar stories. "The Star" looks at the first Christmas through the eyes of animals in the manger.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE STAR")

MONDELLO: There's also "My Little Pony"...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE")

TARA STRONG: (As Twilight Sparkle) I'm Princess Twilight Sparkle, and this is my home, Equestria.

MONDELLO: ..."LEGO Ninjago"...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE")

JUSTIN THEROUX: (As Garmadon) You can't catch me, Green Ninja.

DAVE FRANCO: (As Lloyd) Watch this.

MONDELLO: And Pixar's "Coco," the one kid flick that goes somewhere U.S. audiences might not expect. It visits Mexico's Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COCO")

ALANNA UBACH: (As Mama Imelda) Miguel, what is going on?

ANTHONY GONZALEZ: (As Miguel) Remind me how I know you.

GABRIEL IGLESIAS: (As Head Clerk) They're your family.

MONDELLO: Miguel has crossed over accidentally.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COCO")

UBACH: (As Mama Imelda) We have to get you back home.

GONZALEZ: (As Miguel) This isn't a dream then. You're all really out there.

MONDELLO: Really out there is a phrase you could use in a slightly different way to describe a few films that head off in unexpected directions. Not everything this fall will be tried and true. George Clooney, for instance, is directing a bizarro comedy written by the Coen brothers called "Suburbicon."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SUBURBICON")

MATT DAMON: (As Gardner) Any progress on the investigation?

JACK CONLEY: (As Hightower) A mobster got killed a couple days ago.

DAMON: (As Gardner) I'm sorry for his loss.

CONLEY: (As Hightower) Of life - yeah, I guess he probably is, too.

MONDELLO: Also comic book dealing with death is "Three Billboards In Ebbing, Missouri" (ph) about a woman who's put up signs to pressure the police to investigate her daughter's murder.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI")

SAM ROCKWELL: (As Officer Jason Dixon) We've had two official complaints about those billboards.

HARRELSON: (As Sheriff Bill Willoughby) From who?

ROCKWELL: (As Officer Jason Dixon) A lady with a funny eye and a fat dentist.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character, screaming).

HARRELSON: (As Sheriff Bill Willoughby) You didn't happen to drill a little hole in the dentist today, did you?

FRANCES MCDORMAND: (As Mildred Hayes) Of course not.

HARRELSON: (As Sheriff Bill Willoughby) Huh?

MCDORMAND: (As Mildred Hayes) I said of course not.

MONDELLO: Films about childhood also seemed to inspire offbeat takes this fall. Todd Haynes's "Wonderstruck" weaves together colliding timelines, the lives of two children born 50 years apart. And the guy who made the award-winning film "Tangerine" on his iPhone has a new film called "The Florida Project" about kids who may be on the verge of being homeless but who are not about to let that slow them down.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE FLORIDA PROJECT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As character) Could you give us some change, please? The doctor said we have asthma, and we got to eat ice cream right away.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #2: (As character) Here you go.

MONDELLO: Noah Baumbach has assembled a high-profile, dysfunctional family for "The Meyerowitz Stories" - Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, often at each other's throats apparently. Meanwhile, suspense fans will have Stephen King's "It," Darren Aronofsky's "Mother!" and "Happy Death Day," a recurring nightmare that's sort of "Groundhog Day" reimagined as a horror flick. And for those who wait all year for awards season, there'll be film fest favorites like the arts world satire "The Square" and the coming-of-age-slash-coming-out drama "Call Me By Your Name."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CALL ME BY YOUR NAME")

ARMIE HAMMER: (As Oliver) Is there anything you don't know?

SUFJAN STEVENS: (Singing) Boundless by the time I cry...

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET: (As Elio) If you only knew how little I know about the things that matter.

MONDELLO: All this before Thanksgiving, after which the things that matter, at least to Hollywood, will be brightly wrapped Christmas presents, including "The Last Jedi" and "The Greatest Showman." But we'll save those for next time. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS JOSS' "DRINK ME HOT")

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