Your Guide to the 21 Movies You Need to See in Fall 2017

From 'mother!' to 'Jigsaw', here's the movies we're ready to check out this fall.

Fall Movies
Complex Original

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Fall Movies

Writing every Fall Movie Preview intro feels formulaic at this point. First, we'll lament the movies of this summer—"yes, they were garbage with the exception of Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and an underrated indie film here." And then we'll set our sights to the fall, with it's explosion of Oscar bait and late in the year comic book blockbusters, always with the hopes that each year will be better in terms of diversity than the year before. 

Yeah, we might be a little bit jaded but there is a bright spot here already in fall movie season! We start with It here, which opened last weekend to having the biggest horror opening of all time, but It's insane box office weekend and generally positive reviews are frankly making us feel optimistic about this season's batch of movies. So here's what we're looking forward to from the Oscar bait to the Razzie shoo-ins. 



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Release Date: September 8
Director: Andy Muschietti
Stars: Bill Skarsgard, Chosen Jacobs, Sophia Lillis

You'll Like This If You Like: The Babadook

In a year that’s already seen one trash Stephen King adaptation take a major bellyflop at the box office (lookin’ at you, The Dark Tower), It remains a single ray of creepy ass hope that 2017 can restore our faith. The first and only theatrical adaptation of King’s iconic and nostalgic horror novel, It had a lot to prove during production—the director drafted to handle the project only has one so-so horror movie under his belt (2013’s Mama) and the first promotional images of Pennywise looked frankly pretty hilarious. But then came the first trailer and the announcement that it would in fact be rated “R”, and all our doubt seemed almost silly: this thing looks absolutely terrifying. It might not manage to be quite as iconic as the Tim Curry miniseries back in 1990, but I can almost guarantee it’ll be scarier. (And when we’re talking about disturbing clowns, that’s really the whole point.) – Aubrey Page


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Release Date: September 15
Director: Darren Aronofsky 
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer

You'll Like This If You Like: Black Swan

Sometimes marketing is all you need. In the era of 3 minute trailers that leave you able to piece most of the film together by the time you finally watch it, an idiosyncratic auteur like Arronofsky trolling us is more than welcome. Macabre mood? Check. Jennifer Lawrence teasing out the bait for her next awards sweep? Check. The goddess Michelle Pfeiffer on board? BIG BONUS. Unlike every other film on this list, mother! leaves us with literally no expectation or even precedent. A true breath of fresh air, even if the mystery only ratchets up expectations beyond possibility of actually delivering. Great gimmick, hopefully it's a great movie too.—Frazier Tharpe

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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Release Date: September 22
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth

You'll Like This If You Like: John Wick

With the theaters so stuffed with remakes and reboots, it’s tempting to want to cling to any original property like it’s the singular answer to Hollywood’s woes. The first Kingsman was one of those original movies, a genre-smashing, high octane movie that was so proud of its bloody action and juvenile sense of humor that it was almost impossible to dislike. Those qualities (along with Samuel L. Jackson’s brilliant villainous turn) gave it a surprisingly healthy run at the box office and a subsequent cult following. A few years later, and we’ve got a sequel on the way, but if the trailer is any indication, it’s about to turn everything up to 11. Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Julianne Moore have joined the cast, and the action looks as gloriously fucked up as ever. There’s no guarantee it’ll shine as bright as the first, but at the very least, you can bet the Kingsman franchise is gonna go out fighting. – Aubrey Page

American Made

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Release Date: September 29
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson

You'll Like This If You Like: Any other Tom Cruise movie

Tom Cruise gets back in the cockpit as a good ol’ boy pilot seduced away from his dull job of doing round-trips to Bakersfield and into the glamorous world of flying covert missions for the government, then the Medellin Cartel run by Pablo Escobar. The film is based on a true story of the Reagan administration’s scheme to secretly quash a communist rebellion in Central America, which in turn, opened up opportunities to traffick gargantuan quantities of cocaine on the return leg of these blacklisted flights. In the trailer, Cruise continues to not at all resemble a 55 year-old man, bringing his singular intense charisma to a character that’s the polar opposite of his clean-living, Scientology-addled self—roles Cruise almost always satisfyingly sinks his teeth into. Sara Wright plays Cruise’s exasperated Southern belle wife and Domhnall Gleeson looks like he’s having fun as the ethically ambiguous government liaison. The trailer begins with our hero crash-landing a plane in suburbia, then taking off on a BMX bike as white girl wafts off him. I hope Cruise keeps making movies like this until he’s 70. — John Flynn

Blade Runner 2049

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Release Date: October 6
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford

You'll Like This If You Like: Blade Runner

The original Blade Runner has endured due to its vision of a grimy future, its purposeful ambiguity and its bold wrangling with the differences between humanity and artificial intelligence. In this remake, Ryan Gosling takes up Harrison Ford’s former role as a police officer that hunts escaped replicants, who serve as a slave class to humanity, making our species wary of what they might get up to should they gain agency over their lives. In the sumptuous trailer, action abounds amid truly stunning set-pieces that colorfully span from super-futuristic to post-apocalyptic. Gosling channels his nonplussed killer from Drive, Ford shows up as a charming touchstone as he always does for his reboots and Jared Leto seeks to redeem his piss-poor performance in Suicide Squad (a mix of Heath Ledger with Jamie Kennedy from Malibu’s Most Wanted) with a turn as grey-pupiled replicant producer with a hearty God-complex. With Robin Wright and Dave Bautista also popping up, the sequel appears game to intriguingly expand upon the original’s intricate universe—only this time in HD. — John Flynn

The Florida Project

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Release Date: October 6
Director: Sean Baker
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince

You'll Like This If You Like: Moonlight

Like his debut Tangerine before it, The Florida Project finds Sean Baker shocking the world once more with his impressive eye and an intoxicating tale. Set in the shadows of Disney in Orlando, we peek into the more ratchet (and, at times, disturbing) side of life, as the youngster and her squad live through one eye-opening summer. Standout performances by newcomers Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite compliment (and, at times, supercede) Willem Dafoe's brilliant take as a motel manager who is both tired of the bullshit and trying to find ways to help these kids survive.

Also, Drake says it's "the best movie you will see this year", so go see it. — khal

Happy Death Day

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Release Date: October 13
Director: Christopher Landon
Starring: Jessica Routhe, Israel Broussard

You'll Like This If You Like: Groundhog's Day

So, we'll admit that this entry on the list isn't likely to garner Oscar nominations or even critical accclaim, but doesn't Happy Death Day look like so much fun? The 80s feeling slasher flick, follows Tree, a sorority girl who gets brutally murdered at her birthday party—talk about a bummer! But the twist here is that Tree keeps waking up the next morning, alive and in a strange dorm room, with complete memory of what happened to her the night before. From Blumhouse, who brought us Get Out, the structure is well known, but is full of promise to work for a horror film. And just judging from the amazing poster aloneHappy Death Day might be the best way to spend this Friday the 13th.—Kerensa Cadenas


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Release Date: October 13
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad

You'll Like This If You Like: Hidden Figures

Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer responsible for desegregating schools in Brown v. Board of Education and the first African American Supreme Court justice, has a backstory too. Marshall is the true story of what went into the making of this important American figure. The movie depicts one of his first cases, when he was just a young, confident, and sometimes naive lawyer for the NAACP, when he was called upon to defend a black driver (Sterling K. Brown) who was accused of assaulting and attempting to murder his white employer, a white woman named Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson). Boseman's old hat to the biopic game at this point, so there's no doubting that his performance will be incredible. — Julia Pimentel

The Foreigner

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Release Date: October 13
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan

You'll Like This If You Like:Taken

After watching his daughter get blown up by a bomb planted by the IRA, Jackie Chan tracks down a government official (Brosnan) with connections to the terrorist organization and starts demanding the names of the bomb-planters so he can exact his revenge. Brosnan stalls, so Chan starts unleashing a Taken-esque bonanza of old-man ass-whupping. The usually cheery, Chan wears a grey, haggard face that wordlessly communicates his motivation and the greatest stuntman-actor ever shows that he can still drop jaws with his defiance of gravity. Brosnan, the most James-Bondsy-looking of the James Bonds, affects an Irish brogue as a grey fox bureaucrat that’s just barely keeping himself together as Chan rampages circles around him. After Red and The Expendables offered fogies a chance to be cheeky action stars, Chan aims in a different direction as a man doggedly pursuing revenge because he doesn’t know what else to do with himself. And look, if you don’t like movies about old, capable men summoning their remaining powers as they pursue revenge through violent means, then we don’t have anything in common. — John Flynn


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Release Date: October 27
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Starring: Laura Vandervoot, Tobin Bell

You'll Like This If You Like: Saw

You thought the Saw series was a wrap because the main killer was dead? Nah, they managed to eek out like three of the sequels after his demise. With Jigsaw, the question is "how do these elaborate death traps keeping getting made if the architect behind them (and his voice) been dead?" Who knows, but if you're down for some gory horror around Halloween this might be the movie you need to see. — khal


Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

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Release Date: October 27
Director: Angela Robinson
Starring: Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote, Rebecca Hall

You'll Like This If You Like: Logan 

If, like me, you’ve been experiencing superhero fatigue after watching yet another predictable universe expansions or origin story or sequel or prequel, don’t use that to write off Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. This is an origin story unlike any other. It explores the complicated and sexy origin story of the Wonder Woman comics by exploring the life of Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston, the author of the original comics, his wife, and their mysterious relationship with one of his students, Olive Byrne. Judging from the trailer, it looks like it might outsex Fifty Shades of Grey (not hard to do)...which is incentive enough to check it out.— Julia Pimentel

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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Release Date: October 27
Director: Yorgos Lathimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman

You'll Like This If You Like: The Lobster

Sure, there are some ~spooky~ movies lined up for this fall season, but The Killing of a Sacred Deer is shaping up to be one of the most horrifying movies of the year about a surgeon (Colin Farrell) who strikes up a bond with a very, very creepy seeming teenage boy. The trailer alone is enough to swear you off Ellie Goulding forever. The movie sees The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos team up with Colin Farrell (bearded!) again, ensuring maximum psychological weirdness even before we get into the casting of Nicole Kidman and what her Very Good Acting can bring to a movie with such a chilling and dark atmosphere.— Julia Pimentel​



Thor: Ragnarok

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Release Date: November 3
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo

You'll Like This If You Like: Guardians of the Galaxy

It's no secret that the Thor films are some of the worst projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it's dope to see that Thor: Ragnarok actually looks dope. Part of that might be the obvious lifting of quirky, throwback sensibilities in a Guardians vein for this film, but it also packs a bunch of starpower. Cate Blanchett as Hela? Check. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie? Double check. Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Hulk? Triple check. Motherfucking Jeff Goldblum?! This could be the most fun Thor's had in ages. — khal


Justice League

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Release Date: November 17
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller

You'll Like This If You Like: The Avengers (or, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I guess)

With the DC Extended Universe in its infancy (at least compared to the MCU), it might feel a bit early to bring the squad together as the Justice League, but we need more than Batfleck to keep this ship afloat. Adding Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, as well as The Flash and Cyborg? We're getting some intriguing reasons to still keep up with DC's movie universe. With the fate of a Superman-less world in their hands (and an entire franchise to keep pushing), DC has to stick the landing. With this much starpower, it should be easy money. — khal


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ReleaseDate: November 17
Director: Dee Rees
Starring: Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke

You'll Like This If You Like: Fences

This robust period drama, based on a novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan, tells the story of a white family who move to rural Mississippi in the 1940s, when Jim Crow was officially the law of the land. Director Dee Reese has remained ultra-faithful to the movie’s source material, and maintains certain literary elements of the novel, like multiple narrators. The result is an intelligent, traumatic but ultimately powerful story of racism, family, and how to challenge societal norms. —Julia Pimentel


Call Me By Your Name

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Release Date: November 24
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet

You'll Like This If You Like: Carol

Before Call Me By Your Name hits theaters in November, there might need to be some sort of emotional support group set up for those to deal after seeing the film. Elio is a a young man who lives in Italy with his parents and fills his summers with the types of typical teen debauchery one would expect. But when Oliver, an academic who comes to stay at his parents home, shows up—the pair is all longing looks and passionate bonding. This looks to already be one of the most romantic films of the year and early buzz says you'll never look at a peach in the same way again.—Kerensa Cadenas

The Disaster Artist

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ReleaseDate: December 1
Director: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen

You'll Like This If You Like: This Is The End (or, you know, The Room)

It’s safe to say that James Franco’s directing career has been… a little unreliable. He’s been working on and helming a seemingly impossible number of movies solidly since 2012, but it looks pretty certain that The Disaster Artist will be far and away his best work yet. Telling the behind-the-scenes story of the making of actual alien Tommy Wiseau’sThe Room, The Disaster Artist has already been hailed as a surprisingly wonderful (and most importantly hilarious) comedy of errors—so much so that it’s already garnered an Oscars-adjacent release date. The cast, as you likely predicted, is totally insane, with Franco, Seth Rogen, Bryan Cranston, Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan all in major roles, and likely legendary appearances from Sharon Stone and Wiseau himself. For those who’ve already seen and loved The Room, The Disaster Artist is an obvious must, and for those who haven’t? You’ve got a few months to peep the original schlock masterpiece. Get on it. – Aubrey Page

Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi

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ReleaseDate: December 15
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver

You'll Like This If You Like: All of the Star Wars

The Force Awakens' gave us just as many questions as we got answers, and with a film literally titled The Last Jedi, Star Wars fanatics are eager to see, well, what the hell does that mean. Luke Skywalker's back with his robo hand and the power of the Jedi, and Rey appears to be down to soak in all of the knowledge he's willing to share. Carrie Fisher's making what will more than likely be her final hurrah in the Star Wars universe, and John Boyega's Finn still has to figure himself out. Also, with the last film ending on a high note, one has to imagine that shit is about to get REALLY real for the Resistance. — khal

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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Release Date: December 20
Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black

You'll Like This If You Like: Tropic Thunder, the original Jumanji, Zathura, and Central Intelligence

A dweeb, a football star, a conceited pretty girl and a chill gal get sucked into a video game and become a gigantic explorer (Johnson), a tiny sidekick (Hart), a rotund scientist (Black) and a scandalously dressed “killer of men,” respectively. This novel take on the reboot takes place in a jungle swarming with hippos, rhinos and motorcycle riding bad guys as each of the teenagers come to grips with their new, substantially altered appearances. Johnson charmingly reacts to his own body, while Hart channels the insecurity that driven his stand-up mixed in with some staunchly specific refusals (“you don’t get in water with a backpack”). Black seems tailor-made for this role as he valley-girl-roasts his rotund body and if you look closely, Nick Jonas pops up doing an Indiana Jones type thing. By sticking to only the most barebones elements of the original’s plot, this reimagining feels simultaneously fresh and nostalgic, giving each character plenty of comedic material as they avoid getting gobbled. Fingers crossed for the return of Van Pelt. — John Flynn


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Release Date: December 22
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry

You'll Like This If You Like: I Am Legend

Listen, anticipated doesn't have to mean we think it's going to be "great." This movie, which finds Will Smith re-teaming with the visionary who gave us Suicide Squad, has the potential to be a fun mess. (And that's a compliment!) Just try watching the trailer, which posits one bit of incongruous mythology after the next. It's fantasy, but grounded in realism! It's rooted in gang and crime settings...but there's a magic wand! And an even more magic sword! Fairies! Orcs! Themes of racism!  This movie's gonna be a tonal mess. And also legally available to watch in the comfort of our own homes. I can't wait to press play and marvel at the way it falls apart...or witness Will Smith reclaim his blockbuster glory in a true Christmas miracle.—Frazier Tharpe

The Greatest Showman on Earth

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Release Date: December 25
Director: Michael Gracey
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Zac Efron

You'll Like This If You Like: La La Land

Hugh Jackman is really over Wolverine—after the gritty yet emotional success of Logan, Jackman has jumped straight into what looks like a surefire contender for feel-good movie of the year. Part-biopic and part-musical, The Greatest Showman on Earth tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the self proclaimed father of show business, who creates the circus in the 1800s. Zac Efron plays his business partner, and Zendaya is as magical as ever playing a trapeze artist who seduces Efron. And since the movie is all about being over the top and grand, director Michael Gracey decided to truly go for it and make it a musical with songs penned by La La Land’s Oscar-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. — Julia Pimentel

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