SCREEN TIME: Atlanta’s fall film productions
New releases across genres share spotlight with other fall film events
Among the many feature films shot in Atlanta, the superhero epics tend to draw the most attention. Thankfully, the fall film schedule spotlights locally produced releases that cut across multiple genres — although, inevitably, another Marvel movie sneaks in there.
The House with a Clock in its Walls (Sep. 21) The 1973 children’s novel of the same name, featuring illustrations by the famously morbid Edward Gorey, becomes a special effects-heavy fantasy adventure with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. Presumably this marks a big change of pace for director Eli Roth, who specializes in grisly horror films like Hostel as well as the recent Death Wish remake. Look for an appearance by the Asa Griggs Candler Jr. mansion on Briarcliff Road. (You can also catch family-friendly frights on Oct. 12 with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.)
Night School (Sept. 28) After her breakthrough in 2017’s Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish storms the cinema in leading roles. First up is this Kevin Hart comedy with a class of misfits (including Rob Riggle and Mary Lynn Rajskub) trying to get their GEDs, with Haddish as their formidable teacher. Produced by Atlanta native Will Packer.
Venom (Oct. 5) The popular, divisive Spider-Man villain gets his own stand-alone film, directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer. Tom Hardy plays a journalist who gets infected by alien goo and turns into a huge, fanged antihero. Due to complicated rights issues, this is produced by Sony, not Disney-owned Marvel Studios — expect a Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man.
First Man (Oct. 12) Damien Chazelle, director of Whiplash and La La Land, helms one of the season’s big Oscar contenders. Judging from the trailer, this biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) stresses the risks and suspense of NASA missions in the 1960s, including the moon landing. Co-starring Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, and Shea Whigham.
The Hate U Give (Oct. 19) Based on a successful young adult novel and sharing themes with the Black Lives Matter movement, this drama depicts an African-American prep schooler (Amandla Stenberg) who becomes radicalized after police shoot her unarmed best friend.
Nobody’s Fool (Nov. 2) In her other local production of the season, Tiffany Haddish plays an exuberant ex-con whose release from jail complicates the life of her corporate-climbing sister (Tika Sumpter). Featuring a revenge subplot about tracking down an online catfisher, this seems like an unusually raucous comedy from Atlanta movie mogul Tyler Perry.
Boy Erased (Nov. 2 in limited release, Atlanta TBD) In this heavy-hitting drama, Lucas Hedges plays a teenager outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) and pressured to attend a gay conversion therapy program. Adapted from Garrard Conley’s memoir, the film was directed and written by Joel Edgerton, who also plays the program’s head therapist.
The Front Runner (Nov. 7 in limited release, Atlanta TBD) This light-hearted political film casts Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, who was briefly the 1988 presidential frontrunner until a sex scandal derailed his campaign. Director Jason Reitman is best known for Juno and Up in the Air. This is Reitman’s second 2018 release after Tully. The 1988 Democratic National Convention was held in Atlanta — coincidence?
Celebrating celluloid: Established in 1987, Atlanta’s annual Out on Film Festival (outonfilm.org) presents LGBTQ shorts and feature films from Sept. 27-Oct. 7, including Yen Tan’s 1985, Jamal Sims’ When the Beat Drops and T. Cooper’s documentary Man Made, about Atlanta’s Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world. Screening locations include Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and Plaza Theatre.
For a different kind of cinematic celebration, Emory Cinematheque’s fall program presents “Hitchcock/Hitchcockian.” With free screenings on Wednesdays, the university presents highlights of suspense maestro Alfred Hitchcock’s career from 1927’s The Lodger to 1959’s North by Northwest, as well as three episodes of the TV show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Don’t miss the chance to see these old-school classics on the big screen.
Coming Attractions: Director Jeremy Saulnier, whose previous films Blue Ruin and Green Room were two of the most suspenseful films of the decade, returns with Hold the Dark. The Alaska-set thriller stars Jeffrey Wright as a wolf expert investigating a mysterious disappearance, and is scheduled to debut on Netflix on Sept. 28. Don’t lose this one among Netflix’s constant additions.