Fall, holiday movie season looks Star (Wars) struck

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Forty years of “Star Wars” storytelling leads to the ninth episode “The Rise of Skywalker,” starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and John Boyega. USA TODAY

The ninth and final Star Wars arrives near the end of 2019, but don’t miss the treasure of offerings well before then.

Finally the story of abolitionist and slave savior Harriet Tubman hits the big screen, along with car creator Carroll Shelby and Mr. Rogers.

And if that’s not enough, try a “Frozen” sequel, a Scorsese mob movie, a holiday love story and even a Stephen King novel.

Here’s a sampling of what to expect at movie theaters in Southwest Florida and beyond to close out the decade.

In case you missed it: The best movies of 2019 (so far), ranked

SEPTEMBER

“It: Chapter 2” (Sept. 6) — The sequel to the 2017 horror hit based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel and set 27 years later with the Derry kids returning to their hometown to face off again with Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise.

“The Goldfinch” (Sept. 13) — Donna Tartt’s 2013 best-seller hits the big screen in this coming-of-age drama starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman.

“Hustlers” (Sept. 13) — Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians) star in this true-story tale about exotic dancers who scam Wall Streeters.

“Ad Astra” (Sept. 20) — Another space adventure fearing Brad Pitt as an astronaut trying to rein in his estranged father, Tommy Lee Jones, into the far reaches of space.

“Rambo: Last Blood” (Sept. 20) — Another Rambo film? Yo, absolutely. Sylvester Stallone returns as a Vietnam War veteran in this fifth installment of the franchise. Think Liam Neeson in “Taken” with a Sly spin.

“Downton Abbey” (Sept. 20) —  The PBS hit show from 2010 to 2015 hits the big screen, with many of the main actors and actresses (Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, to name a few) reprising their roles.

“Abominable” (Sept. 27) — A DreamWorks animated film about a lost Yeti named Everest who’s literally lost his way and some teens help him find his way home.

“Judy” (Sept. 27) — Renee Zellweger portrays Judy Garland when the star arrives in London in 1969. It is an adaptation of the Broadway play “End of the Rainbow.” 

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“The Laundromat” (Sept. 27) — Independent cinema pioneer Steven Soderbergh directs this story about the Panama Papers, the leaked financial documents that exposed thousands of offshore accounts and imperiled many. It stars Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman.

OCTOBER

“Joker” (Oct. 4) — Joaquin Phoenix stars as The Joker of DC Comics fame.

“The Current War” (Oct. 11) — A real-life story about the “war of currents” between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Edison, while Michael Shannon is Westinghouse. Nicholas Hoult plays Nikola Tesla to make it interesting.

“Lucy in the Sky” (Oct. 4) — Remember that story from 2007 when an astronaut drove from Houston to Orlando wearing a diaper in an astro love triangle? Natalie Portman plays that woman in the film that also stars Zazie Beetz and Jon Hamm. 

“Gemini Man” (Oct. 11) — Will Smith plays himself, twice. He’s an assassin up against his younger clone in this 3-D film Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) directs. 

“The Addams Family” (Oct. 11) — It’s hard to believe it’s been 28 years since the longtime television show hit the big screen. Before rolling your eyes like Uncle Fester about another Addams Family offering, this one will be pretty cool as a 3D animate version. And Snoop Dogg provides the voice of Cousin Itt. 

“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” (Oct. 18) — Ten years after the original, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone unite in this sequel.

“Jojo Rabbit” (Oct. 18) — Taika Waititi takes a break from “Thor” films for this World War II satire, co-starring Scarlett Johansson and Waititi, himself, as Adolf Hitler.

NOVEMBER

“The Irishman” (Nov. 1) — When you hear “Martin Scorsese” and “crime film” in the same sentence, you take notice. And it only makes sense that this movie features the likes of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for this story about hitman and Jimmy Hoffa associate Frank Sheeran (De Niro). And Pacino plays Hoffa. 

“Harriet” (Nov. 1) — The incredible history of the Underground Railroad more and more is being told through novels and TV shows, and now comes a movie. Kasi Lemmons plays Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist and activist who risked her life time and again to shepherd slaves to freedom. 

“Motherless Brooklyn” (Nov. 1) — Edward Norton co-wrote, directs and stars in this crime drama set in 1950s New York. Norton plays a sleuth with Tourette syndrome tracking down the killer of his mentor, played by Bruce Willis. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin also star in this film based on a Jonathan Lethem 1999 novel

“Last Christmas (Nov. 8) — What’s the holidays without a holiday film? Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) and Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) co-star in a film about a depressed Christmas supply store worker who wants a storybook romance.

“Midway” (Nov. 8) — A look at a pivotal World War II battle in the Pacific. It will be tough to top the 1976 original (in Technicolor!) starring Henry Fonda, Charlton Heston, Glenn Ford, among others. The new version features Ed Skrein, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid and others. 

“Doctor Sleep” (Nov. 8) — This adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel is also a sequel to “The Shining,” with Ewan McGregor portraying as Dan Torrance (the child in “The Shining”).

“Playing With Fire” (Nov. 8) — Three firefighters rescue children from a blaze and end up caring for them. John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo star in the comedy. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson also co-stars in this horror-thriller. 

“Honey Boy” (Nov. 8) — Shia LaBeouf wrote the screenplay that’s based on his relationship with his father growing up in Southern California. 

“Ford v. Ferrari” (Nov. 15) — Many are revved up about this action-drama starring fast cars and superstars. Matt Damon stars at automotive designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale is British racer Ken Miles. The true story is about Ford’s effort to build a car to defeat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race.

“Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) — If you haven’t watched the first “Frozen” yet from 2013, there’s still time. Rent, stream or borrow a DVD to catch up before this much-anticipated animated sequel returns. The latest tale follows Elsa, Anna and Olaf traveling beyond their homeland to save their kingdom.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Nov. 22) — Tom Hanks plays Mr. Rogers. Do you really need to know more?

“Knives Out” (Nov. 27) — Think Agatha Christie in this whodunit starring an array of talent, including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans and Lakeith Stanfield, among others. 

“The Two Popes” (Nov. 27) — There’s not many movies about popes, so this may be worth checking out. Jonathan Pryce plays the future Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in this drama of a Vatican transition of power.

DECEMBER

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Dec. 20) — The final film of the nine-part Luke Skywalker saga, starring of course Mark Hamill along with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. 

“Cats” (Dec. 20) — The film version of the popular Broadway musical features director Tom Hooper— in his second musical film following 2012’s Les Misérables — and executive producer Steven Spielberg.

“1917” (Dec. 25) — The tale of two British soldiers at the height of World War I, directed by Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” James Bond films “Skyfall” and “Spectre”). 

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