Movie News & Reviews

Five movies that critic Jon Niccum is looking forward to this fall

In “Snowden,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the soldier turned NSA intelligence officer turned whistleblower.
In “Snowden,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the soldier turned NSA intelligence officer turned whistleblower. Open Road Pictures

Of course the moviegoing public fervently looks forward to the megareleases “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” But here are five films earning advance buzz that offer more intriguing alternatives to the multiplex merchandise.

Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activitie

▪ “Snowden” (Sept. 16): Patriot or traitor? Director Oliver Stone (“Platoon”) supplies his cinematic opinion with a biopic of CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of classified NSA documents to the press before seeking asylum in Russia. Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the title role, and Shailene Woodley plays girlfriend Lindsay Mills.

▪ “American Honey” (Sept. 30 in some cities): Shot throughout the Midwest, including Kansas and Missouri, “American Honey” follows a roving band of young scammers as they sell magazines, do drugs and fall in love. Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Elvis’ granddaughter Riley Keough star in this multiple winner from Cannes (where director Andrea Arnold earned a Jury Prize).

▪ “The Birth of a Nation” (Oct. 7): Controversy typically aids indie prestige pictures such as “The Birth of a Nation,” filmmaker Nate Parker’s drama about the brutal 1831 rebellion led by slave Nat Turner. But the Sundance hype took a U-turn when news resurfaced that Parker and co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of raping a fellow Penn State student. Will this become an Oscar contender or industry pariah?

▪ “Loving” (Nov. 11): Another Cannes breakout presents the true story of biracial wedded couple Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga). After being arrested in 1962 for violating Virginia miscegenation laws, they were ordered by a judge to leave the state for 25 years, leading to a pioneering Supreme Court case that redefined civil rights.

▪ “Bad Santa 2” (Nov. 23): The poster promises the sequel will be “Wilder. Drunker. Badder.” But that’s a tall order for “Mean Girls” director Mark Waters, who hopes to replicate the misanthropic genius of Terry Zwigoff’s 2003 black comedy. Willie (Billy Bob Thornton), Marcus (Tony Cox) and an adult Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) all return for Christmas shenanigans.

Jon Niccum is a filmmaker, freelance writer and author of “The Worst Gig: From Psycho Fans to Stage Riots, Famous Musicians Tell All.”

[ How “Light Between Oceans” came to life on a remote New Zealand outpost ]

Coming soon

Sept. 2

“The 9th Life of Louis Drax”

“Life, Animated”

“The Light Between Oceans”


“Our Little Sister”

Sept. 9

“Complete Unknown”

“The Disappointments Room”


“When the Bough Breaks”

“The Wild Life”

Sept. 15

“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week”

Sept. 16

“Blair Witch”

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”

“Hieronymous Bosch, Touched by the Devil”

“Operation Avalanche”


Sept. 23

“The Dressmaker”

“The Hollars”

“The Magnificent Seven”


Sept. 30

“Deepwater Horizon”


“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

“Queen of Katwe”

Oct. 7

“The Birth of a Nation”

“The Girl on the Train”

“The Great Gilly Hopkins”

“Middle School”

Oct. 14

“The Accountant”


“Kevin Hart: What Now?”

Oct. 21

“Boo! A Madea Halloween”

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

“Keeping Up With the Joneses”

“A Monster Calls”

“Ouija: Origin of Evil”

Oct. 28



Nov. 4

“Doctor Strange”

“Hacksaw Ridge”


Nov. 11

“Almost Christmas”


“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”


“Shut In”

Nov. 18

“The Edge of Seventeen”

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Nov. 23


“Bad Santa 2”

“Bleed for This”


“Rules Don’t Apply”

Dec. 2

“Keep Watching”


Dec. 9

“The Bye Bye Man”

“Miss Sloane”

“Nocturnal Animals”

“Office Christmas Party”

Dec. 16

“Collateral Beauty”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Dec. 21

“Assassin’s Creed”



“The Space Between Us”

Dec. 25



“Why Him?”

Coming soon, no KC dates

“20th Century Women”

“American Honey”

“American Pastoral”

“La La Land”

“Man Down”




“Trespass Against Us”