DUBAI: George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite for a rom-com, Netflix gives us an inspiring Syrian refugee story, and we return to Wakanda as Arab audiences gear up for an autumn of surefire hits.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira
Due out: Nov. 10
The follow-up to what is widely regarded as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s finest film to date, 2018’s “Black Panther,” will surely be among the year’s biggest box-office blockbusters, even allowing for the fact that the late Chadwick Boseman cannot reprise his acclaimed performance as T’Challa/Black Panther. Marvel wisely chose not to recast the role, and the character’s demise serves as the jumping-off point for the sequel. With the resource-rich nation of Wakanda (the only source of the fictional metal vibranium) now perceived as weak following its king’s death, its leaders must fight off invading forces from a number of parties aiming to exploit its wealth of energy reserves.
Director: Sally El-Hosaini
Starring: Nathalie Issa, Manal Issa, Ahmed Malek
Due out: TBC
This Netflix movie, which will open the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, is based on the real-life story of Sara and Yusra Mardini, the Syrian refugees and competitive swimmers who dived into the water to drag a dinghy of fellow refugees across the Aegean Sea for hours to reach safety. Yusra went on to compete in the Olympics as a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. The film was written by BAFTA-winner Jack Thorne and directed by Egyptian filmmaker Sally El-Hosaini. Kinda Alloush, who plays the sister’s mother, Mervat, told Arab News earlier this year: “‘The Swimmers’ is so interesting, because every bit of it is true to life, with all the characters still living, including these two famous swimmers. Working with German actor Matthias Schweighöfer, Ali Suliman from Palestine, and Ahmed Malek from Egypt also brought a real multicultural spirit to the project.”
‘See How They Run’
Director: Tom George
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody
Due out: Sept. 8
There’s some serious talent in the ensemble cast of this joint US-British whodunnit set in the 1950s in London’s famed West End theater district, where a famed Hollywood director is murdered as he prepares to adapt a hit play for the silver screen. Much will depend on the chemistry between the film’s central double-act — jaded veteran cop Inspector Stoppard (Rockwell) and idealistic rookie Constable Stalker (Ronan) — as they investigate the seedy glamor of London’s theatrical district.
‘The Woman King’
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega
Due out: Sept. 15
This historical epic focuses on the Agojie — an all-female unit of warriors who were protectors of the former West African kingdom Dahoney in the 1800s. The excellent Davis plays the veteran General Nanisca, who is responsible for training the next generation of warriors to fight for their way of life against would-be colonizers, aggressive neighbors, and the slave trade.
‘Don’t Worry Darling’
Director: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine
Due out: Sept. 22
Styles makes his debut as a leading man in this psychological thriller about a young couple — Alice and Jack Chambers — living in a surface-perfect company town in California called Victory. The town was created Jack’s employers, a mysterious company running the secret “Victory Project.” Jack is a workaholic, and Alice becomes consumed by a desire to find out more about what exactly he’s working on. Her investigation does not go down well in the community.
Director: Parker Finn
Starring: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner
Due out: Sept 29
The super-creepy trailer suggests this will be a genuinely frightening psychological horror. Traumatized by an incident with one of her patients, Dr. Rose Cotter starts to witness a stream of horrific incidents all preceded by seeing someone with a rictus grin across their face. As her present becomes more and more bizarre, the doctor is forced to delve into her dark past to try and find a way out of the nightmare.
Director: David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington
Due out: Oct. 7
With a cast that also boasts Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Robert De Niro, Rami Malek and Taylor Swift, hopes are high for the acclaimed filmmaker’s latest release. It’s set in the Dutch capital in the 1930s and follows a trio of close friends who become the prime suspects in a homicide case which turns out to be part of a shocking secret US plot. “A lot of this actually happened,” the film’s trailer claims.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan
Due out: Oct 20
DC is pinning its hopes on Dwayne Johnson to outperform Marvel at the box-office this fall. Johnson stars as the titular antihero who’s just escaped after almost 5,000 years of incarceration. His (very) old-school approach to justice and punishment sees the Justice Society of America (who include Hawkman, Atom Smasher, Cyclone and Doctor Fate) get involved. They attempt to modernize Adam’s approach and persuade him to join them in their battle against the sinister Sabbac, who is possessed by a powerful demon.
‘Ticket to Paradise’
Director: Ol Parker
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts
Due out: Oct. 20
Two of the world’s biggest living movie stars team up in this rom-com about a divorced couple who travel to Bali in an attempt to dissuade their daughter Lily from marrying a local man she has just met. The pair work together to sabotage Lily’s wedding — believing that they are preventing her from making the same mistakes they themselves made by getting married in the first place. Expect top-class snark from the two stars, who are working together for the fifth time.
Director: Mark Mylod
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Ralph Fiennes
Due out: Nov 17
The intriguing trailer for this horror/black comedy had us hooked immediately. Fiennes plays celebrity chef Slowik, who runs an exclusive restaurant called Hawthorne on a remote island where he practices molecular gastronomy to create meals that are acclaimed as conceptual art. When young couple Margot and Tyler visit Hawthorne, however, they quickly begin to realize that something is very wrong with their host and his food.