Fall back into the movie theater after a summer that certainly had some lackluster moments, cinematically. We head into awards season and it shows with films begging for accolades, such as Judy and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Oscar just loves a dead celebrity with a legacy and personal problems.
Locally, Reeling 2019, the 37th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival celebrates being the second longest running festival of its kind in the Windy City. Opening night includes The Shiny Shrimps and a party on Sept. 19. The festival continues through Sept. 19 with a complete schedule at ReelingFilmFestival.org .
The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival officially announces its Out-Look section spotlighting LGBTQ+ themes here. Only one is represented from the United States with Jennifer Reeder’s Knives and Skin about high school students disappearing in a too close for comfort Illinois town. Look for other films like Carmilla and Seahorse from the U.K., the Chilean prison drama The Prince and the French film Portrait of a Lady set in the 18th century. A full line up is at ChicagoFilmFestival.com .
Here’s a list of more movies rolling out in the next few months. Remember, all dates are subject to change and reflect current Chicago market release schedules.
—Hustlers: ( Sept. 13 ) Buried under single dollar bills is a hidden part of history where strippers and hustlers team up to take on rich men by drugging and robbing them. Jennifer Lopez is the experience swindler that leads a pack of an all-star cast that includes body positive performer Lizzo and Transparent’s Trace Lysette in minor roles.
—Downton Abbey: ( Sept. 20 ) The award-winning series Downtown Abbey opens its doors on the big screen this fall. A royal visit turns the Crawley house upside down as King George V and Queen Mary pop in for a bit. Catty Maggie Smith and Dame Penelope Alice Wilton supply the humor and a 1927 gay bar raid happens decades before Stonewall.
—Ad Astra: ( Sept. 20 ) Brad Pitt is slated for five films possibly released in 2019; in this one, he’s lost in space. Look for an Orange Is the New Black cast member cameo in a solar system of stars—and one monkey almost steals the show!
—Judy: ( Sept. 27 ) Expect Renee Zellweger to take home the trophies come award season after portraying Judy Garland in the late years of her life. The soundtrack features Zellweger teaming up with gay friends Sam Smith and Rufus Wainwright and is released the same day as the film.
—Where’s My Roy Cohn?: ( Sept. 27 ) The notoriously homophobic and anti-Semitic McCarthy-era prosecutor—who was gay, Jewish and would years later become a mentor to real estate mogul Donald Trump—is the focus of this new documentary by director Matt Tyrnauer.
—Joker: ( Oct. 4 ) Warner Bros. is not kidding around with this character that has terrorized heroes for decades. Joaquin Phoenix takes over the role that has—so far—been immortalized by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto. Robert De Niro also appears.
—Lucy in the Sky: ( Oct. 4 ) Natalie Portman plays an astronaut who forges a relationship with a colleague ( Jon Hamm ), then gets sucked into a black hole of emotions when things go south.
—Pain and Glory: ( Oct. 4 ) Gay director Pedro Almodovar presents Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in the story of an aging filmmaker reflecting back on his creative life.
—The Addams Family: ( Oct. 11 ) Bette Midler is the Grandmama voice in The Addams Family cartoon and Christina Aguilera sings on the soundtrack. What could go wrong?
—Maleficent: Mistress of Evil: ( Oct. 18 ) The Addams Family release date was moved up to not compete with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Angelina Jolie returns as the title character of a queen that the drag queens seem to love, joined this time around by Michelle Pfeiffer. Expect gay fans and children to keep this franchise alive for part three.
—JoJo Rabbit: ( Oct. 18 ) A queer character pops out of the rabbit hole of JoJo Rabbit. Set in World War II, a German boy keeps company with his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler. Scarlett Johansson and Rebel Wilson are part of the cast.
—End of the Century: ( Oct. 18-24 ) Gene Siskel Film Center screens the Spanish film Fin de Siglo about a relationship between two men in three acts.
—Good Kisser: ( Oct.25-31 ) Pucker up as three women navigate a tryst together in the indie project Good Kisser. Director Wendy Jo Carlton appears at several screenings with a complete schedule at SiskelFilmCenter.org .
—Cat People: ( Oct. 25 and Oct. 31 ) Director Paul Schrader’s Cat People is purrrfectly shown on 35mm at the Gene Siskel Film Center this Halloween season. A David Bowie theme song, incest and blood are all part of the fun in this 1982 erotic tale starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell .
—The Sideshow: ( Oct. 26 ) This 1928 B-picture—presented in 35mm by the Chicago Film Society at the Music Box Theatre—depicts a small-town sideshow troupe and features among the cast members “Little Billy” Rhodes, who years later would appear in The Wizard of Oz. Music Box’s house organist Dennis Scott accompanys the film.
—Waves: ( Nov. 1 ) Writer-director Trey Edward Shults explores the dynamics of a Black South Florida family.
—Doctor Sleep: ( Nov. 8 ) Halloween isn’t over yet with a highly anticipated follow up to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel novel. I guess the title The Shinin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo was already taken. Ewan McGregor plays Danny Torrance, who beats on a redrum before checking in once again at the Overlook Hotel. Hopefully the housekeeper has picked up in room 237.
—Charlie’s Angels: ( Nov. 15 ) Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey team for the theme song for the reboot of Charlie’s Angels—and we are here for it. Bisexual Kristen Stewart stars as Sabina Wilson who changes wigs more often than a Lips drag queen.
—Frozen 2: ( Nov. 22 ) A part two for musical lovers that can’t “Let It Go.” Wicked’s Idina Menzel and Tootsie’s Santino Fontana return to the voice cast in this popular Disney Animation Studio franchise.
—A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: ( Nov. 23 ) Tom Hanks plays PBS icon Fred Rogers in a storyline involving a journalist profiling Rogers’ life. Young lives are changed—and hopefully they depict the gay policeman Francois Clemmons in the process. The film was pushed back to a November release date because Hanks needs more awards.
—Cats: ( Dec. 20 ) Want more felines after your screening of Cat People? The trailer of the live action cats may be scratched into our memories forever. The Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot is brought to life with pop stars Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift.
—Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: ( Dec. 20 ) Christmas comes early for sci-fi fans in the third installment of the Skywalker saga. Even the now deceased Carrie Fisher is back after unreleased footage from past films. Will C-3PO finally come out of the closet?
—Little Women: ( Dec. 25 ) Director Greta Gerwig follows up Lady Bird with her protege Saoirse Ronan and another version of Little Women. This one jumps back and forth in time instead of following the traditional narrative as in the past, and co-stars Emma Watson, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep.