Fall 2017 Movie Preview – Oscar Edition 

From Venice to Toronto, film festivals signal the beginning of the movie award season. Here are the upcoming movies we’ll be talking about come Oscar time:


“mother!” – A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice. (Paramount Pictures) Release date: Sept. 15th wide

“Victoria & Abdul”
– The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria's (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity. (Focus Features) Release date: Sept. 22nd limited

“Battle of the Sexes” – In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennismatch between women's World #1 Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today. (Fox Searchlight) Release date: Sept. 22nd limited


“Blade Runner 2049”
– Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. (Warner Bros.) Release date: Oct. 6th wide

“Wonderstruck” – Based on Brian Selznick's critically acclaimed novel Ben and Rose are children from two different eras who secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known, while Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his home and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out on quests to find what they are missing that unfold with mesmerizing symmetry. (Amazon Studios & Roadside Attractions) Release date: Oct. 20th limited

“Suburbicon” – Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns... the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) must navigate the town's dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit, and violence. This is a tale of very flawed people making very bad choices. This is Suburbicon. (Paramount Pictures) Release date: Oct. 27th wide


“Last Flag Flying”
– In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-unites with ex-Marines Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) on a different type of mission: to bury Doc's son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Doc decides to forgo burial at Arlington Cemetery and, with the help of his old buddies, takes the casket on a bittersweet trip up the East Coast to his home in suburban New Hampshire. Along the way, Doc, Sal and Mueller reminisce and come to terms with shared memories of the war that continues to shape their lives. (Amazon Studios) Release date: Nov. 3rd

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated. (Fox Searchlight) Release date: Nov. 10th

“Coco” – Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history. (Disney/Pixar) Release date: Nov. 22nd wide

“Darkest Hour” – A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history. (Focus Features) Release date: Nov. 22nd

“Molly’s Game” – MOLLY'S GAME is the true story of Molly Bloom a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe. (STX Films) Release date: Nov. 22nd limited

“Call Me By Your Name” – A sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. (Sony Pictures Classics) Release date: Nov. 24th limited


“The Disaster Artist”
– The real life story of writer/director Tommy Wiseau, the man behind what is often referred to as "The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies," The Room, is brought to life, chronicling the odd film's troubled development and eventual cult success. (A24 Films) Release date: Dec. 1st limited

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – In Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. (Walt Disney Pictures) Release date: Dec. 15th wide

“Downsizing” – A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself. (Paramount Pictures) Release date: Dec. 22nd limited

“The Post” – In June 1971 The New York Times, the Washington Post and the nation’s major newspapers took a brave stand for freedom of speech and reported on the Pentagon Papers, the massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned four decades and four US Presidents. At the time, the Post’s Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) was still finding her footing as the country’s first female newspaper publisher, and Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), the paper’s volatile, driven editor, was trying to enhance the stature of the struggling, local paper. Together, the two formed an unlikely team, as they were forced to come together and make the bold decision to support The New York Times and fight the Nixon Administration’s unprecedented attempt to restrict the first amendment. Steven Spielberg directs. (20th Century Fox) Release date: Dec. 22nd limited

“Phantom Thread” – Continuing their creative collaboration following 2007's "There Will Be Blood," three-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the untitled new film from Paul Thomas Anderson. The writer/director will once again explore a distinctive milieu of the 20th century. The new movie is a drama set in the couture world of 1950s London. The story illuminates the life behind the curtain of an uncompromising dressmaker commissioned by royalty and high society. (Focus Features) Release date: Dec. 25th limited

*** Note: Official film summaries are provided by the studios. Limited release dates are determined by the studios, please check films’ official websites for release dates near you.

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Free "It" Screening in Palm Springs 

I enjoyed the new "It" (review and interviews coming soon) and if you want to see one of the most anticipated movies of the year, pick up your free tickets at MIX 100.5 in Palm Springs (1321 N. Gene Autry) weekdays between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our screening is on Wednesday, Sept. 6th at 7:30 p.m. at Regal Rancho Mirage 16. Pick up your tickets soon!

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Best Movies of 2017…So Far! Oh, and the Worst! 

As we march toward awards season, let’s take a look back at the best movies of 2017 so far. Guess what? Thrillers take the cake! Take a look at my favorite films of the year…so far.

Here are the runners-up (in no particular order):

The Beguiled
It Comes at Night
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Lego Batman Movie
I, Daniel Blake
John Wick: Chapter 2
My Scientology Movie
The Lovers
A United Kingdom
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
The Wedding Plan
Megan Leavey

What about the worst?

These films all have a common denominator – interesting premise but faltered at the end. From “Transformers: The Last Knight” to “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the movies mentioned below showed some promise but then we all walked out of the theatres feeling empty! AND I REALLY HATE THAT FEELING!!!!

Transformers: The Last Knight
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Fifty Shades Darker
The Mummy

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Why I Love "Logan Lucky" 

Steven Soderbergh leaves retirement to direct the NASCAR heist action-comedy “Logan Lucky.” Is it worth your time and money? You better believe it! Check out my review of “Logan Lucky.”

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"Annabelle: Creation" is a Scary, Smart Shriek-Quel! 

“Annabelle: Creation,” the prequel to the first “Annabelle” plays a part in the ever-expanding “The Conjuring” universe. We now know how the doll became demonic. But, is this worth your time and money? Check out my movie review of “Annabelle: Creation.”

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