December 11, 2019

Must-See Fall Movies

Drama and comedy, prestige pictures and popcorn flicks, biographies and classic remakes — there’s a little bit of everything at movie theaters this fall. Find your favorites here in our guide, highlighting Jewish participants.

As the creator of the hit TV show “This Is Us,” Dan Fogelman knows a thing or two about emotional multigenerational drama, so there are high hopes for the film “Life Itself,” which he wrote and directed. Opening Sept. 21, four days before the “This is Us” season premiere on NBC, the family saga set in New York and Spain features an ensemble cast that includes Mandy Patinkin, Annette Bening, Jean Smart, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and Antonio Banderas.

The documentary “Science Fair” will restore your faith in the next generation’s ability to change the world as it follows brilliant, inspiring students from around the world who prepare to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Among the hopefuls is Abraham Riedel-Mashaan, who is Jewish and one of a trio of Kentucky teens who have built an innovative 3D-printed stethoscope. The film, opening Sept. 21, won the Festival Favorite Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The fourth movie version of “A Star Is Born” comes to the screen Oct. 5, with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (also making his directorial debut) in the classic romance between an ingénue and her mentor. In this telling, Cooper plays a washed-up, alcoholic rock star to Gaga’s talented singer-songwriter on the rise, with Andrew Dice Clay as her father.

A still from “The Samuel Project.” Photo curtsey of Memosha Films

A teenager’s (Ryan Ochoa) art project becomes the catalyst for revelations about his grandfather’s escape from Nazi Germany in “The Samuel Project,” starring Hal Linden in the title role. The winner of Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, it opens at Laemmle’s Music Hall and Town Center 5 Theatres on Oct. 5.

The story of NASA’s efforts to put a man on the moon, “First Man” has a script by “Spotlight” Oscar winner Josh Singer, and stars Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, with Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin. Opening Oct. 12, the film reunites Gosling with Damien Chazelle, who directed him in “La La Land.”

In the heyday of disco in the late 1970s, Manhattan’s Studio 54 was the place to be: a decadent playground where the rich, famous and beautiful indulged their wildest fantasies. The club was the brainchild of two Jewish college friends from Brooklyn — Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager — whose lives took very different paths. Rubell, the spotlight-loving party boy, died of AIDS, while Schrager, who remained behind the scenes, became a successful hotel magnate. Opening Oct. 12, the documentary “Studio 54” is the story of their disco dream and how it imploded.

Based on memoirs by writers David and Nic Sheff, “Beautiful Boy” stars Timothée Chalamet, the “Call Me by Your Name” breakout sensation, as a methamphetamine-addicted young man, and Steve Carell as the father who is desperate to help him. It co-stars Amy Ryan and Maura Tierney, and opens in theaters Oct. 12.

Celebrity biographer Lee Israel profiled the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead and Estée Lauder in her best-selling books. But when her style fell out of favor and she couldn’t get published, the desperate writer turned to fraud, selling forged letters from the famous. Melissa McCarthy stars in the movie based on Israel’s book, which opens Oct.19.

Still from “The Overlord.”
Photo curtsey of Memosha Films

The latest extravaganza from producer J.J. Abrams is a war movie with a twist. Set on the eve of D-Day and opening Nov. 9, “Overlord” is about American paratroopers on a mission behind enemy lines who discover supernatural forces at work in a Nazi-occupied village.

The voices of Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot and Idina Menzel will be heard in the animated family adventure “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” a sequel to the 2012 hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” opening Nov. 21.