Movie Maniac

Fall movie preview, from A (as in angels) to Z (as in zombies)

As the debris and dust settles from all of the explosive summer blockbusters, it’s time to take a breath and settle in with some mellower fare at the multiplex (but not too mellow).

Here’s a look at what’s coming to the movies this fall (release dates are subject to change).

Friday, Sept. 6

“It: Chapter Two” — This sequel to the 2017 horror smash based on Stephen King’s novel finds the now-grown Derry kids returning to their hometown to face off again with Bill Skarsgard’s absolutely frightening Pennywise the clown. I’ll be watching this with my eyes closed the whole time.

Sept. 13

“The Goldfinch” — Adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a young New Yorker (Ansel Elgort) grieving his mother’s death who is pulled into a gritty underworld of art and wealth. Those don’t sound like too bad of worlds to be in.

“Hustlers” — In this based-on-a-true-story tale (a magazine article, no less), a crew of savvy former strip, er, exotic dance club employees (Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles) band together to turn the tables on their smarmy Wall Street clients.

Sept. 20

“Downton Abbey” — The megahit TV series spawns a movie continuing the story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century. Most of the original cast returns, including Matthew Goode, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith.

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Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra,” in theaters Sept. 20. Francois Duhamel 20th Century Fox

“Ad Astra” —Anyone who knows the Kansas state motto knows the title means “to the stars.” An astronaut (Brad Pitt) goes on a dangerous mission (aren’t they all?) across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and a doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

“Rambo: Last Blood” — There they go, throwing that “last” word around again like it means anything, as Sylvester Stallone returns to his iconic role to exact revenge for a “final” mission (there they go throwing that word around, too).

Sept. 27

“Abominable” — Animated comedy for the kiddies about a magical Yeti who must return to his family. Yetis seem to be hot right now, go figure.

Oct. 4

“Joker” — Joaquin Phoenix blasts into the outlandish role that could be his best performance to date in this original standalone origin story of the iconic villain named Arthur Fleck, a failed comic disregarded by society.

Oct. 11

“The Addams Family” — Animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a strange, ghoulish family. With the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz.

“Gemini Man” — Two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “The Life of Pi”) directs Will Smith as an over-the-hill hitman who faces off against a younger clone of himself.

Oct. 18

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — Angelina Jolie returns for this sequel, as Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) begin to question the family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play. The always welcome Michelle Pfeiffer also stars.

From left, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone) return in “Zombieland: Double Tap,” in theaters Oct. 18. Jessica Miglio Columbia Pictures

“Zombieland: Double Tap” — The further adventures of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock as they continue to face off against zombies. Director Ruben Fleischer returns, as does the now-pedigreed Oscar-nominated (and winning) cast: Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. It’s been a whole decade since the original film — let’s hope “Double Tap” doesn’t fall prey to the “took-too long-for-a-sequel” curse.

Oct. 25

“Black and Blue” — Action thriller about a rookie cop (Naomie Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam.

“The Current War” — The story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michel Shannon) to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. Also starring Tom Holland, sans Spider-Man suit.

Nov. 1

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From left, Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton star in “Terminator: Dark Fate,” in theaters Nov. 1. Kerry Brown Paramount Pictures

“Terminator: Dark Fate” — Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor, who must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid-like Terminator from the future. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong are also back.

“Motherless Brooklyn” — Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, a lonely private detective with Tourette’s syndrome tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend. Edward Norton directs and stars along with Bruce Willis.

Nov. 8

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Ewan McGregor stars in “Doctor Sleep,” in theaters Nov. 8. Warner Bros.

“Doctor Sleep” — Years after the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrence (Ewan McGregor) tries to protect a young girl from a cult that preys on children with special powers to remain immortal. Redrum, indeed.

“Midway” — The story of the battle of Midway gets the action movie treatment. Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “White House Down”) directs quite a hefty cast that includes Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid and Ed Skrein.

“Last Christmas” — Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”) directs this romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh.

Nov. 15

“Charlie’s Angels” — Reboot of the 2000 action comedy based on the 1970s television series, with a new generation of private detectives working for the mysterious unseen “Charlie.” Elizabeth Banks directs and stars as Bosley with new angels Naomi Scott, Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska. Netflix heartthrob Noah Centineo also stars, because apparently the movie didn’t already have enough pretty people in it.

“Ford v Ferrari” — American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) overcome great odds to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966. This looks like serious awards bait.

“The Good Liar” — A career con artist (Ian McKellen) meets a well-to-do widow (Helen Mirren) online and is surprised to find that — egads! — he may actually care about her. Ew, feelings!

Rod Pocowatchit is an award-winning independent filmmaker and SAG/AFTRA-eligible actor who has written and directed four feature-length films, all made in Kansas. He has been a journalist for 29 years and is also an internationally award-winning page designer.