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Fall movie preview

2019 could be one of the richest and entertaining autumn movie seasons of the decade

"Ford v Ferrari" starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon. Photo credit: Merrick Morton ??" © 20th Century Fox

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Here's my chronological rundown of 20 films I'm keen to see. And I easily could have added 10 more!

Downton Abbey (Sept. 20) -- Just when we thought we'd have to be content with rewatching Julian Fellowes' masterpiece of a historical period piece series, we're getting a feature film. The year is 1927, and King George V and Queen Mary are about to visit Downton Abbey. Thank you, Julian Fellowes!

Rambo: Last Blood (Sept. 20) -- Talk about an alternative choice for the non-Abbey crowd. The fifth and final installment of the franchise could be horrible, or fantastically terrible, or just fantastic.

The Laundromat (Sept. 27) -- Didn't Steven Soderbergh retire a half-dozen years and a bunch of movies ago? Thank goodness that didn't stick. The prolific and versatile director returns in an insurance-fraud comedy-drama starring Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman.

Dolemite Is My Name (Oct. 4) -- Remember Eddie Murphy? Movie star? Funniest man in the world? Not only is Murphy hosting Saturday Night Live this year, he's starring as blaxploitation filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore (who created the character of Dolemite) in a 1970s period piece from director Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow). Just the sight of Murphy in a pink bowler and a pink suit with wide velvet collar is enough to get the countdown clock running to this release.

Joker (Oct. 4) -- If Joaquin Phoenix DOESN'T get Oscar-nominated for his performance as Arthur Fleck aka the Joker in this stand-alone origin story, it will be a huge upset.

Lucy in the Sky (Oct. 4) -- The Oscar buzz is nearly as buzzy for Natalie Portman's performance as an astronaut who gets involved in an ill-fated affair. Very loosely based on a true story, Lucy in the Sky marks the feature directorial debut of the talented TV showrunner Noah Hawley (Bones, Fargo, Legion).

Parasite (Oct. 11) -- A class conflict fable from the fertile mind of director Bong Joon-ho, who has given us such unique feature films as The Host (2006) and Okja (2017), the best movie ever about a genetically modified Super Pig.

The Lighthouse (Oct. 18) -- Willem Dafoe (eyeing a possible fifth Academy Award nomination) and Robert Pattinson (who, like Kristen Stewart, has proved to be a first-rate actor post Twilight) star in a grainy, black-and-white horror film.

The Irishman (Nov. 1) -- One of the great directors in cinema history, Martin Scorsese, takes on the Jimmy Hoffa story in a film starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, and the running time is about a half-hour longer than Avengers: Endgame? I'm OK with that.

Harriet (Nov. 1) -- The wonderful Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou, Black Nativity) directs the greatly talented Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale) in the Harriet Tubman story.

Motherless Brooklyn (Nov. 1) -- Edward Norton has been relatively quiet since 2014, but that's in part because he's the writer, producer, director AND star of this 1950s crime noir thriller about a detective with Tourette's syndrome whose mentor is murdered.

Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1) -- Honestly, I have no idea where we are on the Terminator timeline these days, so I'm happy to see this sequel/reboot set nearly three decades after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and I'm REALLY happy not only Arnold Schwarzenegger but also Linda Hamilton are returning.

Marriage Story (Nov. 6) -- Count me psyched any time Noah Baumbach (Margot at the Wedding, Mistress America) is releasing one of his signature dramatic comedies. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as a divorcing couple.

Doctor Sleep (Nov. 8) -- The Shining has been playing in heavy rotation on premium cable lately, and that 1980 horror classic is still scary as ... heck. What you might not have known is Stephen King wrote a sequel in 2013, and here comes Ewan McGregor as the grown-up Danny Torrance.

Klaus (Nov. 8) -- Netflix enters the original animated feature game with a Santa Claus origin story; that's right, a Santa Claus origin story, from Despicable Me creator Sergio Pablos.

Ford v Ferrari (Nov. 15) -- Matt Damon is the American auto designer Carroll Shelby (as in the Shelby Mustang) and Christian Bale is the British driver Ken Miles in this mid-1960s race car period piece. Early reviews have been universally positive.

The Report (Nov. 15) -- Adam Driver makes the buzz list again with this Sundance hit about a U.S. Senate staffer looking into the CIA's use of torture in the 2000s.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nov. 22) -- Somehow, some way, Tom Hanks hasn't been nominated for an Academy Award since Cast Away in 2001, and Hanks hasn't won since his triumphs for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump in the 1990s.

Don't be surprised to see one or both "slumps" end with Hanks' work as the beloved TV host Fred "Mister" Rogers.

Dark Waters (Nov. 22) -- In the vein of Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action, this is a based-on-a-true-story thriller about the lawyer who unearthed tragedy-inducing corruption by a chemical company behemoth. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins.

Frozen II (Nov. 22) -- Six years after the release of a terrific animated film that would go on to drive tens of millions of parents crazy IF THEY HEARD THAT "LET IT GO" SONG ONE MORE TIME, here's the sequel.

Which includes an updated version of "Let It Go."

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