Looking toward some box office gems
'Pearl' and 'Blonde' among upcoming movies
Greg W. Locke
The box office situation is somehow getting worse. This past weekend’s top two films were Barbarian ($10 million) and Brahmastra Part One: Shiva ($4.4 million). Everything else made under $4 million, including a Brad Pitt action film, Bullet Train, one of the biggest movies ever made, Top Gun: Maverick, and several superhero films (DC League of Super-Pets, Thor: Love and Thunder, and the re-release of Spider-Man: No Way Home).
While I would love to say this suggests the end of the Men-In-Tights era, I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I think there’s just a lot of competition, including late summer weather, the U.S. Open, the NFL, and tons of new shows.
And, of course, the new releases haven’t exactly been great. So this week, we’re looking at some of the movies coming out soon that you should be looking forward to between now and mid-November, when things should pick back up.
Here’s at least one pick from (almost) every coming release weekend …
Pearl (director Ti West), Sept. 16: Whoa. So after missing Ti West for what felt like a decade, in 2022 we get two films from him?! Excellent. Pearl is a prequel to X, the film West released with actress Mia Goth this year. X was fantastic and Pearl looks to be the same. If you like horror films, you should be looking forward to this one. I’m not a huge horror person myself, but I do love West. The guy makes gorgeous, interesting, stylish flicks. And his partnership with Goth seems to be extremely legit.
Blonde (Andrew Dominick), Sept. 16: As expected, this one is getting a mixed bag of press and hype. Cinephiles know what Andrew Dominick is capable of, and that’s really all that matters. Sure, it’s about Marilyn Monroe and stars Ana de Armas, and is based on a book by Joyce Carol Oates. Those are all important facts, but I’m excited about this one because Dominick makes classics. And this one looks, to me at least, like a new classic. Here’s hoping it’s less fan service and more creative storytelling, like last year’s wonderful Spencer.
God’s Creatures (Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer), Sept. 30: I don’t know much about this one aside from two things: (1) it’s an A24 film and (2) Emily Watson is the lead. That’s all I need to know. Watson is, for my money, one of the most overlooked actors out there. And, of course, at this point A24 has the kind of sterling reputation for picking quality projects and directors that I watch everything they release. I don’t think I’m alone in that conquest.
Bros (Nicholas Stoller), Sept. 30: The always hilarious Billy Eichner finally goes big with this lead role in a film he wrote with director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, Neighbors). This one looks like a sure-thing fun time at the movies. Also, wouldn’t it be fantastic if a rom-com about gay men took the No. 1 spot at the box office? Here’s hoping.
Tár (Todd Field), Oct. 7: Before he died, Stanley Kubrick had taken on Todd Field as a protege figure in his life. Field went on to direct two classics following Kubrick’s passing, 2001’s In the Bedroom and 2006’s Little Children. In the decades since, he’s had a lot of false starts. Now, finally, 16 years after his last film, Field returns with Tár, starring Cate Blanchett in what a lot of festival pundits are calling a surefire Best Actor performance. I’m just glad Field is back. Needless to say, this epic drama about a female conductor has me very hopeful. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being a serious Best Picture contender.
Halloween Ends (David Gordon Green), Oct. 14: Not much to say here. My guy DGG wraps up his own little Halloween trilogy with what I’m sure will be a fun time at the movies for horror heads.
Amsterdam (David O. Russell), Nov. 11: At long last, the inevitable new David O. Russell ensemble piece. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington lead this beautifully rendered 1930s-set comedy. Bale looks to be going big for a film that, to my eye, looks quite a bit like a Coen Brothers flick. Can’t wait. Also starring in the film are Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, Rami Malek, Mike Myers, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldana, and my guy Michael Shannon. DOR makes watchable, fun flicks with amazing performances and cinematography. I’ll always watch his stuff, even if the quality varies.
Armageddon Time (James Grey), Nov. 11: I’ve historically been a little cold on James Grey films. Always like them, never love them. This one, though, has me feeling excited. In addition to featuring a pretty incredible cast (Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Chastain, etc.), it looks to me to be a visual celebration of New York City in a way we haven’t seen in a while. I’ll go to every Grey film, and with this one, I even have my hopes up. Don’t be surprised if this is the one that finally makes Grey something of a household name in the film world.
The Son (Florian Zeller), Nov. 18: This one appears to be a spirit sequel of sorts to writer/director Florian Zeller’s 2020 masterpiece The Father. The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Vanessa Kirby, Anthony Hopkins, and Laura Dern, and is what in 2022 we refer to as “an adult film.” They used to put a lot of these up on the big screens, but these days they mostly show up in the form of a limited series on a streaming service. I doubt that the receipts for this one will be too impressive, but look for The Son to be in some awards season conversations. Hopkins did win the Oscar last time he worked with Zeller, after all. Should be great.
She Said (Maria Schrader), Nov. 18: I don’t know much about this one, to be honest. I love the cast (Carey Mulligan, Samantha Morton, Zoe Kazan, Jennifer Ehle, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher) and the subject matter (The New York Times coverage that essentially starts the #MeToo movement). Should be interesting. Here’s hoping the subject matter is handled not just responsibly, but in a way that is worthy of the movement.