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60 Must-See New Movies to Watch This Fall Season

UPDATED: After some relatively quiet COVID-era seasons, this fall is stuffed with a ton of new films, from awards contenders to festival entries and blockbusters to boot.

“Triangle of Sadness,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Blonde,” “Avatar: The Way of Water”

November 2022

“The Wonder” (November 2, in select theaters; November 16, streaming on Netflix)

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio returns with his first feature since 2018’s darling “Gloria Bell” — itself a remake, starring Julianne Moore, of his 2013 film “Gloria.” The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind “A Fantastic Woman” and Orthodox Jewish lesbian drama “Disobedience” directs Florence Pugh in the Irish gothic “The Wonder.” Adapted from “Room” author Emma Donoghue’s novel, the 1862-set psychological thriller centers on an 11-year-old girl who remains alive and well despite not eating for months, with Pugh playing the nurse assigned to observe her in their tiny village.

The ensemble cast includes Tom Burke (“Mank”), Niamh Algar (“Censor”), Elaine Cassidy (“Disco Pigs”), Kíla Lord Cassidy (“The Doorman”), Toby Jones (“First Cow”), Dermot Crowley (“The Death of Stalin”), Brían F. O’Byrne (“Little Boy Blue”), and Ciaran Hinds (“The Terror”), with Donoghue, Lelio, and Alice Birch penning the script.

“The Wonder” promises a richly ambitious portrait of the 19th-century phenomenon of “fasting girls” who, in the Victorian era, claimed to have magical powers that enabled them to survive on a diet of, well, nothing. Pugh has a busy fall ahead, touting Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” as well as this film, which heads into festival season as one of Netflix’s titles to watch. —RL

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Wonder.”

“Bardo” (November 4, in select theaters; December 16, streaming on Netflix)

Just like his “Birdman,” the actual title of “Bardo” is much longer. It’s really “Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths).” And like with “Birdman,” Alejandro González Iñárritu says he’s delivering an “epic comedy.” Little is known about the plot, but Daniel Giménez Cacho plays a journalist and Iñárritu shot the film over five months last year in Mexico City. Darius Khondji is handling DP duties after Bradford Young had been believed to be involved with the production initially, and it’ll shake up the Iñárritu style: Emmanuel Lubezki had shot the director’s last two features.

It’s also been a while since we’ve seen a new Iñárritu picture: “The Revenant,” and its three Oscars (including a second Best Director in a row for the Mexican auteur), was seven years ago now. With Netflix handling the release and positioning it for Oscar season, there’s no reason to assume the film, premiering at prime awards season launchpad Venice, won’t go far. —CB

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Bardo.”

“Causeway” (November 4, in theaters and streaming on AppleTV+)

Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence stars as a soldier struggling to adjust to civilian life in New Orleans after returning home from combat in Apple Original Film “Causeway,” produced by A24 and Lawrence’s Excellent Cadaver, along with IAC Films and IPR.VC. “Causeway” co-stars Tony and Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry, along with “Only Murders in the Building” alum Jayne Houdyshell. Director Lila Neugebauer makes her feature debut after helming episodes of “Maid” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” as well as executive producing the film. “Causeway” is written by novelist Ottessa Moshfeg, Luke Goebel, and Elizabeth Sanders.

After “Causeway,” Lawrence is expected to star as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in Adam McKay-directed biopic “Bad Blood,” as well as lead “No Hard Feelings” and Paolo Sorrentino’s mafia informant drama “Mob Girl.” —SB

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Causeway.”

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”

Roku

“Weird: the Al Yankovic Story” (November 4, streaming on Roku)

With seemingly every major musician of the past 50 years getting the biopic treatment these days, two things were inevitable: 1) Someone would make a movie about “Weird Al” Yankovic, and 2) It would be infinitely wackier than the likes of “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That will indeed be the case when Roku rolls out “Weird, the Al Yankovic Story” this fall.

The film tells a semi-fictionalized account of the Yankovic’s rise to stardom, with Daniel Radcliffe donning the Hawaiian shirt and accordion to play the legendary parody artist. Radcliffe has spent his post-“Harry Potter” years quietly carving out a niche for himself as an indie film star who revels in delightfully bizarre projects. Though playing Weird Al is his highest profile role since he put down his wand, the material is firmly in his new wheelhouse.

The actor recently said Eric Appel’s film (which Yankovic co-wrote), is as weird as anything he’s ever done. “I did one shot the other day and Al walked up to me afterward and was like, ‘Is that the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to do?’” Radcliffe said. “I was like, ‘It’s top two, with the only other one being Paul Dano riding me like a Jet Ski at the beginning of ‘Swiss Army Man.’” With that description, it sounds like the film is already in good company. —CZ

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.”

“Is That Black Enough for You?!?” (November 2022 TBA, in select theaters; November 11, streaming on Netflix)

Former film critic Elvis Mitchell’s first feature promises a sprawling look at the explosion of Black cinema in the 1970s, ranging from the blockbuster hits of Blaxploitation to arthouse sensations like “Killer of Sheep.” Filtered through the lens of his own upbringing, the movie promises to correct the canon of film history by positioning the dominance of Blackness onscreen in tandem with other major developments within Hollywood and on its margins.

Having served not only as a writer but curator and radio host over the years, Mitchell has developed a penchant for speaking with major directors and stars, who get a voice here, too: The movie compliments its historical journey with a list of interviews that includes everyone from Laurence Fishburne and Samuel L. Jackson to Zendaya. The Netflix release is poised to do well on the platform in the wake of Kino Lorber’s “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” package performing on the service a few years back, and should inspire the industry to think harder about how much Black filmmakers and actors have played a central role in its success. —EK

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Marvel/Disney

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (November 11, in theaters)

After “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman died in 2020, the world held its breath to see how Disney and Marvel would pivot the franchise that he so perfectly led. Now, “Wakanda Forever” offers an answer to Boseman’s fallen T’Challa. While the plot remains mostly under wraps, the first trailer for the MCU sequel shows a mournful procession for T’Challa, with Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Letitia Wright reprising their respective roles as Wakanda leaders. A battle against an oceanic empire awaits as Tenoch Huerta plays Namor, the Submariner, along with Mabel Cadena as Namora and Dominique Thorne as Ironheart. Ryan Coogler returns to direct “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” from a script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole.

Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, and Martin Freeman additionally star. Actress Nyong’o previously noted that “Wakanda Forever” felt like a “spiritually and emotionally correct” way to honor Boseman’s legacy. “He left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in,” Nyong’o said. “I know that for sure.” —SB

Watch the first teaser for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

“The Son” (November 11, in theaters with further expansion to follow)

French playwright turned Oscar-winning screenwriter returns to his stage trilogy he first adapted to the screen with 2020’s “The Father” for “The Son.” The Sony Pictures Classics drama is expected to shake up the awards race with bows in Venice and Toronto.(The film will not, however, be headed to Telluride, as it’s billed as a TIFF North American premiere.)

As with “The Father,” “The Son” finds a family grappling with the past as 17-year-old Nicholas (breakout star Zen McGrath) moves in with his father Peter (Hugh Jackman) two years after a bitter divorce from Kate (Laura Dern), with whom Nicholas no longer feels safe living. But Peter is now living with Beth (Vanessa Kirby) and a new baby, and things come to a head when Peter is offered a dream job in Washington and buried mistakes of yesteryear resurface.

Zeller also reunites with Anthony Hopkins, the “Father” Best Actor upset winner over Chadwick Boseman last year, for this drama about a teenager in the throes of a mental health crisis. Zeller co-wrote the script with British playwright Christopher Hampton, also an Oscar-winning co-writer on “The Father.” That film took an almost Lynchian approach to realizing the subjective experience of dementia through Hopkins’ eyes; expect “The Son” to be an equally unsettling chamber experience set in tight spaces. —RL 

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Son.”

Eo

“EO”

HIFF

“EO” (November 18, in theaters)

Told through the eyes of a modest donkey — often literally — Jerzy Skolimowski’s madcap, visually experimental “remake” of Robert Bresson’s 1966 black-and-white drama “Au Hasard Balthazar” has plenty of nods to his compatriot classmates and little to do with Skolimowski’s previous films. The titular donkey, onomatopoeically named (it is “Hi-Han” in France), is freed from a circus in central Poland and briefly becomes a hardcore “ultra” fan at a local soccer team, before being whisked away for more adventures, taking in the vastness of life along the way. Eo even meets Isabelle Huppert, a privilege any living being can look back on their years proudly for. (In Cannes’s answer to a Marvel cameo, the gasp Huppert’s appearance produced at last night’s press screening is one for the ages.)

The fact that Eo has no control over his destiny — our narrator, remember, is a literal donkey — makes for a somewhat anarchic viewing experience. There aren’t a series of human conversations to grab on to. There is seemingly no plot. In Bresson’s version, it’s the humans around the donkey who are the true center of the story. Not so in “EO.” This is Donkeyvision, and we’re better off for it. —AS

Read IndieWire’s full review of “EO.”

“The Inspection” (November 18, in theaters)

A former marine who was kicked out of his house for being gay at 16 — and then spent 10 years on the streets before joining the corp — emerging filmmaker Elegance Bratton has used his personal experience as a lens into powerful stories about similarly marginalized people, most recently in his 2019 documentary “Pier Kids,” about the lives of Black, homeless queer and trans youth who live on the Christopher Street Pier.

Bratton’s narrative feature debut finds him continuing to mine the details of his own life to a certain extent, as “The Inspection” tells the story of a Marine Corps enlistee (Jeremy Pope) who’s subjected to severe hazing from his training instructor and a fellow recruit (Bokeem Woodbine and Raúl Castillo, respectively) because of his sexual orientation. Selected as the closing night film at this year’s New York Film Festival — a massive vote of confidence — and slated to be released by A24 as one of the distributor’s marquee fall titles, “The Inspection” is poised to mark the arrival of a major new artist. —DE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Inspection.”

Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy in the film THE MENU. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

“The Menu”

Eric Zachanowich

“The Menu” (November 18, in theaters)

For his pitch-black horror comedy skewering elitist foodie culture, “Succession” director and EP Mark Mylod has assembled a veritable feast of talent. Horror it-girl Anya Taylor-Joy stars apposite Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, John Leguizamo, Janet McTeer, Hong Chau, and Judith Light in this delicious ensemble romp that skirts the line between devilish and delightful.

Taylor-Joy and Hoult play a young couple who travel to a remote island in search of an exclusive high-end tasting menu, which the manically eccentric chef (Fiennes) turns into a high-stakes race for survival. A delicious mash-up of genres and a well-seasoned ensemble cast makes “The Menu” look like one of the most enticing items on the fall schedule. —JD

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Menu.”

She Said

“She Said”

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

“She Said” (November 18, in theaters)

Will there be a starrier premiere than when Maria Schrader’s “She Said” debuts at the New York Film Festival in the coming weeks? Or, put more succinctly, will there be a weirder premiere? The film, which is based on the bestselling memoir “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,” follows New York Times journalists Megan Twohey (played by Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (played by Zoe Kazan) as they attempt to crack open the case against Harvey Weinstein, eventually igniting what we’d come to know as #MeToo.

The film will reportedly take a “Spotlight”-like approach to the material — i.e. digging into the meticulous, often heartbreaking nature of good journalism — and (we’re just guessing here) will likely makes some of Weinstein’s former compatriots feel pretty damn bad. Good! The story behind Twohey and Kantor’s work is a thrilling, necessary one, and with these two actresses playing the parts, we’re guaranteed an acting showcase to boot. While it promises to be one of the tougher sits of the season, it’s also one of the most essential. —KE

Watch the first trailer for “She Said.”

Bones and All

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists

“Bones and All” (November 23, in theaters)

Call Timothée Chalamet a cannibal if you dare: The Oscar nominee reunites with “Call Me by Your Name” auteur Luca Guadagnino for the highly-anticipated twisted love story between a ravenous couple on the road, played by Chalamet and “Waves” breakout Taylor Russell. “Suspiria” scribe David Kajganich adapted “Bones and All” from Camille DeAngelis’ novel of the same name.

Set in the underbelly Ronald Reagan’s America, Maren (Russell) and Lee (Chalamet) will do anything it takes to survive across a thousand-mile road trip…including devour those in their path. “Bones and All” will premiere at the Venice Film Festival followed by a Spotlight screening at the New York Film Festival. Director Guadagnino described the insatiable romance at the beating heart of the film as an “extreme” take on the “intensity and impossibility of love.” And yes, Guadagnino quite bluntly put it: “Bones and All” will gnaw at you due to the very “literal aspect of it being a movie about cannibal lovers.” Sink your teeth into that. —SB

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Bones and All.”

Devotion, Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell

“Devotion”

screenshot/Sony

“Devotion” (November 23, in theaters)

Rising filmmaking star JD Dillard takes on a sweeping historical drama that few people know about: not only does “Devotion” follow events around America’s “forgotten war” (that would be Korea), it also tracks the story of U.S. Navy aviator Jesse L. Brown, one of the few Black pilots during the era. Dillard’s got the canny casting down pat, too, with Jonathan Majors taking on the role of Brown, and “Top Gun: Maverick” breakout Glen Powell returning to the cockpit as Brown’s unexpected ally, Tom Hudner.

It’s the kind of thrilling old-school war film we don’t get too much of these days, but its bolstered by Brown’s own incredible story of boundary-breaking and self-reliance in the face of a time and a place that didn’t put much stock in the possibility that a Black man could, quite literally, soar. Also of note: it’s a story that hinges on the friendship between two men, a deep bond that everyone could stand to see lit up large on the big screen. —KE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Devotion.”

“The Fabelmans” (November 23, in theaters)

The tagline for Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” may as well be, “You’ve seen the movies, now meet the man.” At the age of 75, the world’s most revered commercial filmmaker seems to have finally made his very own “Roma,” a tribute to childhood and the obsession with cinema that led to his iconic filmography. The cast is intriguing enough, with Paul Dano and Michelle Williams as the director’s parents, Seth Rogen as his uncle, and Gabrielle LaBelle as the semi-fictionalized Spielberg dubbed Sammy Fabelman.

But what’s “The Fabelmans” actually about? Spielberg shares a writing credit with his usual late-period collaborator Tony Kushner, so it’s safe to assume the movie isn’t some covert “E.T.” sequel and more invested in the affection for movie magic in personal terms. Spielberg’s more recent undertakings, “West Side Story” and “Ready Player One,” have demanded a much larger scale than this one promises — but hopes are high that “The Fabelmans” won’t just help explain Spielberg’s filmmaking ambition; it will provide a welcome excuse to revisit it in all its splendor. —EK

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Fabelmans.”

"Nanny"

“Nanny”

Sundance

“Nanny” (November 23, in theaters; December 16, streaming on Prime Video)

Ghosts are everywhere in Nikyatu Jusu’s atmospheric feature directorial debut (and major Sundance winner) “Nanny,” though few of them look like we’ve come to expect from decades of horror films. Sometimes, it’s just a feeling, a particular twist of the wind. Sometimes, it’s a photograph. Sometimes, it’s a story. And, sometimes, just sometimes, it’s a whole person, gazing out from beyond, well, somewhere. From the start, there is a queasy energy to Jusu’s get-under-your-skin film, one made all the more unsettling to her dedication to showing a full-spectrum leading lady (your usual final girl, she is not) caught in a surprising milieu.

Aisha (Anna Diop) is a Senegalese immigrant who has arrived in New York City with her own American Dream, though one that should really not feel so out of reach: she just wants her adorable young son Lamine, who is back in Senegal, to join her. When she gets a new job nannying for an affluent couple with a cute kid (Rose Decker), the steady paycheck seems destined to get Aisha and Lamine on the right track. But the real cost is one Aisha could never have seen coming. —KE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Nanny.”

"White Noise"

“White Noise”

Netflix

“White Noise” (November 25, in select theaters; December 30, streaming on Netflix)

Noah Baumbach has been making movies for almost 30 years, and yet this fall marks the release of his very first adaptation. And, to put it mildly, the “Marriage Story” filmmaker isn’t starting small. Based on Don DeLillo’s totemic 1985 novel of the same name — a dense, canonical, mordantly apocalyptic meditation on everything from academia to consumer culture and the nature of “modern death,” which has a life of its own — “White Noise” comes pre-baked with a degree of difficulty that would seem miles removed from the acidic Rohmerian squabble-fests that have become Baumbach’s stock-in-trade, and rumors of a ballooning $100 million budget don’t do much to suggest that the project is any less ambitious than it sounds.

Adam Driver stars as Jack Gladney, a professor of Hitler studies at a liberal university everywhere and nowhere all at once. Greta Gerwig plays Jack’s fourth wife, Don Cheadle one of his fellow teachers, and André Benjamin and Alessandro Nivola two other residents of this doomed suburban idyll, all of whom find their futures clouded by an Airborne Toxic Event that fractures their lives in wildly unexpected ways (let’s just say there’s a reason why those budget rumors are credible enough to believe). “White Noise” has folly written all over it, which is precisely why it could turn out to be one of the best movies of the fall. —DE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “White Noise.”

December 2022

Women Talking

“Women Talking”

ORION PICTURES RELEASING LLC. All Rights

“Women Talking” (December 2, in theaters)

How do you follow something as self-revealingly vast and powerful as Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell”? The answer, it would seem, is with patience. Polley hasn’t exactly been sitting on the sidelines since 2012 — her subsequent projects include the excellent miniseries “Alias Grace” — but she appears to have chosen her next feature with great care. And that’s for the best, as Miriam Toews’ “Women Talking” is not something that should be adapted lightly.

A novel based on the horrific events at an ultraconservative Mennonite community in Bolivia, where seven men were accused of drugging and raping 130 women over the course of four years, “Women Talking” begins with the women in a similar colony realizing that the attacks have been perpetrated by people they know, and not demons sent to punish them for their sins. Like Toews’ book, Polley’s film hinges on the urgent conversations these women (played by the likes of Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, and Jessie Buckley), have in a hay loft as they plot their next move. Contained within a small space but obviously fraught as can be, “Women Talking” is poised to be the most high-profile work of Polley’s career so far. —DE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Women Talking.”

“Empire of Light”

Searchlight Pictures

“Empire of Light” (December 9, in theaters)

It’s been a minute since Sam Mendes directed a movie that might be regarded as personal — the Englishman followed his lo-fi 2009 road trip dramedy “Away We go” with two “Bond” mega-blockbusters, a one-take war epic, and a boatload of glitzy Broadway productions — but “Empire of Light” appears to find him making up for lost time. Easily (and, one would hope, reductively) described as Mendes’ “Belfast,” the Searchlight drama stars Olivia Colman, Toby Jones, and Colin Firth in a story that takes place in and around an English coastal cinema during the 1980s.

Billed as a tribute to the human spirit and the magic of the movies (imagine a cliffside “Cinema Paradiso” with a stiff upper lip), and shot by Roger Deakins (whose images don’t need any schmaltz or soaring music to argue for the majesty of film), “Empire of Light” seems poised to determine if history will remember Mendes as a refined studio director, or as a singular artist who saw the big screen as his canvas. —DE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Empire of Light.”

Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio"

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Netflix

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (December 9, streaming on Netflix; TBA 2022, in select theaters)

The title says it all, of course: The reigning king of gothic fantasy has turned his lens to one of the great fantasy stories of all time, and with stop-motion animation to boot. Just as Tim Burton translated his sensibilities into that delicate, handmade craft years ago, del Toro is poised to funnel the same haunting, allegorical style that made “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone” so meaningful into a fresh take on the classic Carlo Collodi story.

Yes, it’s been done many times before, but never set against the backdrop of Fascist Italy in the 1930s, with the wooden boy coming to life as a huge troublemaker rather than a sweet and curious explorer. Expect a bleak and disturbing adventure elevated by stunning, storybook visuals produced with sizable resources that only Netflix would provide. That much is a given. What’s yet to be seen is how much del Toro builds on considerable expectations to reinvent the Pinocchio story by establishing, once and for all, that this is very much not a story for kids — nor is the animation form as a whole. —EK

Watch the first trailer for “Pinocchio.”

The Whale

“The Whale”

A24

“The Whale” (December 9, in theaters)

In everything from his debut “Pi” to “The Wrestler,” Darren Aronofsky has excelled at disguising sensitive portraits of broken men as disturbing psychological thrillers. That tendency is once again on display with “The Whale,” an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about an obese man who attempts to reunite with his estranged teenage daughter after abandoning her for his late gay lover. Aronofsky’s first outing with A24 is intriguing enough given the filmmaker’s track record and the acclaim for the play — but the movie’s real ace-in-the-role is Brendan Fraser as its lead.

The actor has quietly launched a new career chapter that was somewhat visible in Steven Soderbergh’s “No Sudden Move” but is almost certain to reach a whole new level here. As the overweight man in question, Fraser is poised to give an astonishing, warts-and-all performance as the 600-pound protagonist that’s reportedly queasy and poignant in equal measures. The only question is what to call his inevitable career revitalization, but “the Brendan Fraser renaissance” will do for now.—EK

Read IndieWire’s full review of “The Whale.”

avatar way of water

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (December 16, in theaters)

How do you top the biggest movie of all time? (Or at least the one with the biggest worldwide lifetime gross at $2.85 billion?) You add water and a healthy dose of time: it’s been 13 years since “Avatar” came out. A few additional cast members are joining the mix: Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, and Oona Chaplin — and pretty much the entire cast of the original film is already set to return. Yes, even Sigourney Weaver, whose character died in the first movie, is playing a different character this time around, rumored to be the daughter of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

Little remains known of the plot except that you’ll be exploring more of the alien world Pandora, and that avaricious outsiders will be angling to exploit it. And also… the story won’t end here. You’ll have three more “Avatar” sequels to go after this one. —CB

Check out a first look at “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (December 21, in theaters)

The late, great Whitney Houston left an indelible hole in pop culture when she died in 2012, and it’s only fitting that her legendary life will finally be memorialized in a big-budget musical biopic. With the voice of an angel and a few too many years under the harsh glow of super stardom, her recent legacy became marred by a tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown and addiciton issues.

Written by Anthony McCarten and executive produced by Clive Davis, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” will likely brush over the tougher aspects of her story, instead preferring to revel in her lasting music and singular voice. “Eve’s Bayou” and “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons will helm the project, with British actress Naomi Ackie playing Houston. —JD

“Corsage”

IFC Films

“Corsage” (December 23, in theaters; February 7, VOD)

“There is an air of quiet death in this house, and I do not like the way it smells,” Reynolds Woodcock announces over breakfast in “Phantom Thread.” Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary (“Phantom Thread” co-star Vicky Krieps) appears to feel the same way about Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, the difference being she has finally got used to its odor. It doesn’t help that, by Christmas 1887, a quiet death is exactly what “Elise,” the now-40-year-old spouse of ruler and busybody Franz Joseph (Florian Teichtmeister), seems destined for.

No chance. In the hands of Krieps and Austrian director Marie Kreutzer (who directed the Golden Bear-nominated “The Ground Beneath My Feet”), the Empress Elisabeth of “Corsage” is an irreverent, often immature, and tremendously endearing first lady with an insatiable desire to determine her own future. Having helped establish the doomed Joint Monarchy and reigned in Vienna for longer than any ruler’s wife, Elise certainly occupies a special place in the hearts and minds of Austrians. —AS

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Corsage.”

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Netflix

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (November 23, in select theaters; December 23, streaming on Netflix)

Detective Benoit Blanc is back! And, this time, he’s got a cadre of big name stars in a wonderful locale all trying to beat the wrap on a twisted mystery. Rian Johnson’s delightful “Knives Out” was both a massive hit and a true treat, and now the filmmaker brings his burgeoning franchise to Netflix, who is all in on letting Daniel Craig solve all the Hercule Poirot-like mysteries he can, with a staggering array of big names to assist him (or, more likely, try to block the wily investigator).

In the first sequel, Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects. Those suspects include characters played by Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista. Netflix announced in March 2021 that the streamer was purchasing the rights to the “Knives Out” franchise and greenlighting two sequels in a deal worth an estimated $450 million, making it the biggest film purchase in Netflix history. Crime does pay! —KE

Read IndieWire’s full review of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

Bill Nighy appears in Living by Oliver Hermanus, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Number 9 Films/Ross Ferguson.

“Living”

Sundance

“Living” (December 23, in theaters with further expansion to follow)

South African director Oliver Hermanus is getting his due attention stateside following his astonishing Apartheid-era gay drama “Moffie” from 2019. “Living” pairs Hermanus with screenwriter and novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (ever the master of devastating tomes like “Never Let Me Go” and “The Remains of the Day”) for a 1950s London spin on Akira Kurosawa’s end-of-life story “Ikiru.” That film was in turn inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s 1886 novella “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Here, Bill Nighy plays a bureaucrat reflecting on his life when faced with a terminal illness. “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” actress Aimee Lou Wood, stage actor Alex Sharp, and “The Souvenir” breakout Tom Burke round out the cast.

Hermanus was tapped to direct after passing through a grilling from Ishiguro, who also vetted Nighy for the role after a night out in London nerding out over the British films from the 1930s through ‘60s. “Living” looks to be the sort of Sony Pictures Classics title that aims straight for the hearts of voters and older audiences, an elegiac look at a life lived (and not), led by a veteran British character actor getting the starring vehicle he so deserves. —RL 

Watch the first teaser for “Living.”

“The Pale Blue Eye” (December 23, in select theaters; January 6, streaming on Netflix)

Christian Bale leading a period horror movie about a series of murders at West Point? Consider us enlisting for duty! Scott Cooper last scored with horror buffs on 2021’s “Antlers.” In adapting Louis Bayard’s 2006 novel, he’s now assembled an astonishing cast. Set in the 1830s, Bale plays the lead investigator looking into the crimes, and he’s assisted by Henry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe, then a cadet at the military academy. Also on hand: Gillian Anderson, Timothy Spall, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lucy Boynton, and 91-year-old legend Robert Duvall, last seen earlier this year in Netflix’s Adam Sandler basketball drama “Hustle.”

Wilmington, Pennsylvania’s Westminster College steps in for West Point in the thriller, which started shooting last November but had already been picked up by Netflix months before that. Cooper’s quietly put together a strong filmography: “Crazy Heart,” “Out of the Furnace,” “Black Mass,” “Hostiles.” Netflix snapping up “The Pale Blue Eye” as fast as it did may suggest another winner here. —CB 

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