Fall movie preview 2022: Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, Dwayne Johnson, Julia Roberts in films we can’t wait to see
The season’s most promising titles have us asking: How could that have happened? Who did the crime? And do we need another ‘Pinocchio’?
Movies based on true stories that rocked the nation. Movies inspired by timeless fables known the world over. Movies from the creative imaginations of some of the greatest filmmakers of our time.
The films I’m most keen to see in the fall of 2022 run the gamut. Let’s get to it.
‘Pinocchio’ (Sept. 8)
We just can’t resist that little liar. Carlo Collodi’s 1883 work “Le Avventure di Pinocchio” has been adapted and interpreted at least 30 times, from the 1940 Walt Disney animated classic through Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” (2001), with weird and wacky efforts such as the Belgian film “Pinocchio in Outer Space” (1965) and the 1996 slasher movie “Pinocchio’s Revenge” in between. If you asked me if we needed another “Pinocchio” movie, my first reaction might be, “Welllllll….” but if you asked me if I’d like to see what Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” “The Polar Express”) does with the story, I’m all-in. Zemeckis’ musical fantasy stars Tom Hanks, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key and Cynthia Erivo.
‘The Woman King’ (Sept. 15)
It’s already well-established that Oscar/Emmy/Tony winner Viola Davis is one of the most versatile actors in the world, and Davis is set to conquer new horizons in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic, which is based on the true story of the Agojie, a 19th century, all-female warrior unit in what was once known as the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa. Davis will portray Gen. Nanisca, who trains the next generation of recruits as she prepares to protect the kingdom from European forces.
‘Don’t Worry Darling’ (Sept. 23)
Actor-filmmaker Olivia Wilde made a serious splash with her debut feature film “Booksmart” in 2019, which announced the arrival of a major directorial talent. And the buzz is deafening for her sophomore effort—a 1950s film noir psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, Chris Pine and Wilde. The trailers for “Don’t Worry Darling” offer the promise of a sexually charged mystery with a bit of a “Twilight Zone” vibe.
‘Amsterdam’ (Oct. 7)
Another period-piece mystery, this one set in the 1930s. The always provocative David O. Russell (“Three Kings,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle”) directs, with arguably the most exciting ensemble cast of any movie this year: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers (!), Timothy Olyphant, Michael Shannon, Taylor Swift, Rami Malek and Robert De Niro. In this darkly comedic tale, Bale, Robbie and Washington play three close friends, each of whom is a suspect in a murder.
‘Till’ (Oct. 14)
In the first week of 2022, we saw Adrienne Warren deliver Emmy-level work as Mamie Till-Mobley in the ABC limited series “Women of the Movement,” a resonant and valuable reminder of one of the most infamous and still infuriating and horrific stories of the 20th century: the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till. Now the gifted Nigerian American director Chinonye Chukwu directs “Till,” with Jalyn Hall as Emmett and Danielle Deadwyler (who was so great in the 2021 Western “The Harder They Fall”) as Mamie. Like the mini-series, “Till” is said to focus largely on Mamie Till-Mobley’s brave and relentless pursuit of justice for her son.
‘Black Adam’ (Oct. 21)
The DC Extended Universe expands in a big way with this ambitious project starring Dwayne Johnson, who as you might have noticed has done a little advance publicity work for the film on social media and at fan conventions, etc., etc. “Black Adam” tells the story of the supervillain anti-hero who is freed from prison after some 5,000 years and is in quite the mood. By the looks of things, he’s either going to save the world or destroy it. With Aldis Hodge as Carter Hall/Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Al Rothstein/Atom Smasher, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomez/Isis and Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate. Imagine the business cards for this group!
‘Ticket to Paradise’ (Oct. 21)
In a fall filled with heavy stories, murder mysteries and big-time action flicks, how about a nice romantic comedy starring two of the most enduring stars in the world, George Clooney and Julia Roberts? Two decades after Clooney and Roberts coupled up in the “Ocean’s” movies, they play divorced parents who learn their daughter is getting married in Bali—so they make haste to try to prevent her from making the same mistake they made a quarter century earlier. Hmmmm, I wonder where this could take us! “Ticket to Paradise” director/co-writer Ol Parker wrote the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” movies and also foisted “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” on us. I’m really, really, REALLY hoping “Ticket to Paradise” is more like “Exotic” than “Here We Go Again,” which turned out to be more like a deadly threat than a promise.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ (Nov. 11)
One can already imagine the packed theaters thrilling (we hope) to perhaps the most anticipated sequel of the year, with the great Ryan Coogler once again behind the camera for this story of the leaders of the kingdom of Wakanda doing battle in the wake of the death of King T’Challa. The late Chadwick Boseman will undoubtedly be missed, but hope remains high for the 30th film in the MCU. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke and Angela Bassett are among those reprising their roles from “Black Panther.”
‘The Menu’ (Nov. 18)
Yes chef! Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult play a young couple who journey to Hawthorne, a famed restaurant on a remote island, where the renowned celebrity Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) provides an immersive dining experience for just a dozen diners at a time, and let’s just say there are some dark and potentially lethal items in store and they’re not on the menu. “He’s not just a chef, he’s a storyteller,” one character says about Slowik, and if that sounds a bit … unsettling, it should.
‘She Said’ (Nov. 18)
Based on the 2019 book of the same name by Jodi Kantor, “She Said” looks to be a “All the President’s Men” type of journalistic thriller focusing on the work of Kantor (played by Zoe Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan), the New York Times reporters who exposed Harvey Weinstein’s long and horrific history of sexual abuse and misconduct. With Patricia Clarkson as the editor for Kantor and Twohey, and Andre Braugher as Dean Baquet, who was executive editor of the Times during the period in question.