NEXT’s 2023 Fall Screens Guide

Grab a light jacket and make the trek to your local theatre (or just your couch)

There’s a chill in the air, which means summer is officially over. That means it’s the perfect time to take in some moving images. From highly anticipated Hollywood dramas like Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon to spooky screenings at Toronto’s rep cinemas to the soon-to-be talked about streaming series. So, grab a light jacket and make the trek to your local theatre (or just your couch) — they’ll be happy to see you!

Stop Making Sense (Courtesy of TIFF)

Stop Making Sense (Courtesy of TIFF)

Stop Making Sense

In theatres now

What: Movie
Where: In theatres, Hot Docs Cinema
Genre: Concert documentary
Why you should watch: Not a mere nostalgia trip, Jonathan Demme captures the Talking Heads at the top of their game and the height of their inventiveness. Demme’s hand-held cameras and intimate shots of the band bring viewers into the performance with random acts of dancing seizing viewers the word over. Timeless.

I Like Movies

On Netflix

What: Movie
Where: Netflix
Genre: Comedy-drama
Why you should watch: One of the best Canadian films of 2022 is now available on Netflix — and is a must-see. An impressive debut from Canadian film critic turned writer-director Chandler Levack — who is assisted in her first film by a stellar cast, including leads Isaiah Lehtinen as the endearing, self-absorbed teenaged film freak and Krista Bridges as his undeclared mentor who runs the small-town video store where he works. A beautiful coming-of-age story that’s also about obsession, dreams and the interim reality that exists before beginning to achieve some of these goals as the lead character wrestles with feeling lost in a small town not big enough for his dreams.

John David Washington as Sergeant Joshua Taylor in The Creator (2023)

John David Washington as Sergeant Joshua Taylor in The Creator (2023)

The Creator

In theatres now

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Science-fiction
Why you should watch: Timely look at AI-powered future world with hints of Blade Runner that morphs into The Mandalorian and The Last of Us as our hero tries to save a kid and humankind — and stuff “blows up real good.” This inventive sci-fi flick deserves a bigger audience than it’s getting for its great special effects and a story deeper than anything the MCU has been feeding us lately. Read the full review.

Our Flag Means Death

Available now (New episodes Thursdays)

What: Series, Season 2, 8 episodes, 28 mins.
Where: Crave
Genre: Comedy
Why you should watch: Not a mere nostalgia trip, Jonathan Demme captures the Talking Heads at the top of their game and the height of their inventiveness. Demme’s hand-held cameras and intimate shots of the band bring viewers into the performance with random acts of dancing seizing viewers the word over. Timeless.

The Morning Show

Available now (New episodes Wednesdays)

What: Series, Season 3, 10 episodes, 50 mins.
Where: Apple TV+
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: This Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon vehicle feels remarkably of-the-moment as it tackles billionaire takeovers of legacy media, January 6 trails, the ongoing assault on women’s rights to choose as well as sexism and racism in media, and other pressing issues of the moment. All of this is done in the midst of Succession-levels of wealth for many of the characters, with whose travails we are asked to empathize. The show’s bling level explodes this season with the network takeover attempt by Elon Musk-esque billionaire Paul Marks (Jon Hamm) though the dashing leading man bears no physical resemblance to the reptilian Twitter killer. Ultimately, the compelling issues, expertly explored makes the glare from the characters’ platinum lifestyles less jarring.

Shoresy

Available now (New episodes Fridays)

What: Series, Season 2, 6 episodes, 20 mins.
Where: Crave
Genre: Comedy
Why you should watch: We said it about the first season of this Letterkenny spinoff, this hockey-drenched look at small-town Canada — and so much more — and it’s true of the latest edition, Shoresy is dumb as fuck and smart as hell. Now, instead of fighting for the team’s survival, Shoresy and the awesome collection of returning characters must stay focused to maintain a record-setting winning streak — and to beat an invading team of American hockey players determined to thwart them. Great cast; smarter than it looks.

Rheingold (2022)

Rheingold (2022)

Goethe Films at the Lightbox

Tue., Oct. 3, Thurs., Oct. 5 and Tue., Oct. 10

What: Movie Series
Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox
Genre: Various
Why you should watch: The TIFF Bell Lightbox is partnering with the Goethe Institute to bring the best of German cinema to Toronto. This year’s films include Rheingold (2022), a crime drama by Fatih Akin about an Iraqi-German rapper who gets involved in drug running; Axel Ranisch’s Orphea in Love (2022), a modern, musical version of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice; and the indie ensemble comedy set in a music club, Leif in Concert (2019), by Christian Klandt.

The Humans (2021)

The Humans (2021)

Thanksgiving at the Revue

Sat., Oct. 7 to Mon., Oct. 9

What: Movie Series
Where: Revue Theatre
Genre: Various
Why you should watch: If you aren’t going out of town to visit family this Thanksgiving and you won’t be cooking dinner for an army of close friends, maybe you’ll enjoy spending the holiday in a dark room with strangers! Join the Revue theatre for its lineup of Thanksgiving-themed films, including the 2021 indie drama The Humans (Sat., Oct. 7), the 1987 slasher Blood Rage (Sun., Oct. 7 and Mon., Oct. 8), the crime drama, Four Brothers (Tue., Oct. 9), and the classic reunion drama, The Big Chill (Mon., Oct. 8).

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

Thurs., Oct. 12

What: Miniseries
Where: Netflix
Genre: Horror
Why you should watch: At this point, Mike Flanagan has created a cottage industry out of adapting horror literature into Netflix content. From Haunting of Hill House (2018) to Gerald’s Game (2017) to The Midnight Club (2022), Flanagan has effectively translated (and sometimes distorted) the breadth and scope of these well-loved novels to the miniseries format. If you enjoy a good jump scare (and can tolerate long dialogue scenes), Flanagan’s Haunting anthology series is a Gothic literature guilty pleasure, and his upcoming adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” promises to be much the same.

Frasier

Frasier

Frasier

Thurs., Oct. 12

What: Series
Where: Paramount+
Genre: Comedy
Why you should watch: The latest beneficiary (or victim) of the TV reboot craze is our favourite radio host/therapist, Dr. Frasier Crane. In the new series, Frasier returns to Boston to be closer to his adult son, Freddy. Sadly, David Hyde Pierce won’t be returning to the series, and we won’t have that iconic Seattle skyline. But if you missed the tasteful suits, slapstick scenarios and opera references of the original series, you’ll be delighted with Frasier’s return to your TV (or laptop … or phone).

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Anatomy of a Fall

Fri., Oct. 13

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Justine Triet’s knotty courtroom drama is poised to be the latest Cannes Palme D’Or Winner to wind up as one of the most-talked-about films of the year (think of 2019’s Parasite and last year’s Triangle of Sadness). Following the investigation and trial of a woman accused of murdering her husband, this tangled psychological study of a couple in crisis, featuring a blistering performance by Sandra Hüller, will certainly give audiences a lot to talk about.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu with Live Score by The Invincible Czars

Fri., Oct. 13

What: Movie
Where: Fox Theatre
Genre: Horror
Why you should watch: There is no shortage of Halloween-themed screenings in the city this month, but a double feature of two indisputable horror classics scored by a live band just might take the cake. Don’t miss the chance to see the ground-breaking German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the horror masterpiece Nosferatu back to back with an original score. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Silver Dollar Road

Fri., Oct. 20

What: Movie
Where: Prime Video
Genre: Documentary
Why you should watch: Fresh from its premiere at TIFF, Raoul Peck’s documentary Silver Dollar Road tells the timely (yet timeless) story of a family’s ties to tradition, to history and to their land. The Reels family has lived on the same piece of land in North Carolina for generations, but they have gone to court defending their right to stay on it. Silver Dollar Road explores the inheritance of slavery, the dangers of gentrification and the resilience of a family.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

Fri., Oct. 13

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Documentary
Why you should watch: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is a strong contender for the biggest tour of all time … and it isn’t nearly over. The accompanying concert film, imaginatively titled Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, will have a theatrical run this fall (one year before the actual tour comes to Canada) and has already beaten pre-sale ticket records. The pop star has set her sights on the multiplex, and I guess it’s up to you if that’s for better (our theatres could certainly use the attendance boost) or for worse.

imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival

Tue., Oct. 17 – Sun., Oct. 29

What: Film festival
Where: Various theatres
Genre: Various
Why you should watch: The always innovative imagineNATIVE festival celebrates its 26th year this fall. The extensive program features documentaries, fiction, experimental films and visual art. Don’t miss the opening night film, Fancy Dance, starring Lily Gladstone as Jax, who steps in to take care of her niece after her sister goes missing. Other highlights include the personal documentary I Am Love (Kymon Greyhorse) and the abduction thriller Redlights (Eva Thomas).

Neon

Thurs., Oct. 19

What: Series
Where: Netflix
Genre: Comedy/ drama
Why you should watch: Netflix’s upcoming action/comedy follows three friends who move to Miami, FL, to try their luck at a career in reggae. But the reggaeton world is not as easy to navigate as they hoped. Set in a subculture not often seen on screen, Neon might be bold and funny enough to break through the overwhelming number of series and films being released on Netflix every season.

What Doesn’t Float

What Doesn’t Float

Bleeding Edge Presents: What Doesn’t Float

Fri., Oct. 20

What: Movie
Where: Revue Theatre
Genre: Indie
Why you should watch: For more adventurous viewers, The Bleeding Edge screening series (which brings the most exciting independent films from the U.S., Europe and Canada to Toronto) will screen Luca Balser’s What Doesn’t Float, starring Pauline Chalamet (sister of Timothée). What Doesn’t Float is a New York anthology film that follows two locals at the ends of their ropes.

Priscilla

Fri., Oct. 27

What: Movie
Where: In theatres and Netflix
Genre: Biopic
Why you should watch: After the success of last year’s Elvis, in which Baz Luhrmann wielded his bombastic style to tell the outsized tale of the star’s rise and fall, it’s entirely fitting that Sofia Coppola would use her careful, minimalist approach to tell his wife, Priscilla’s, story. Shot in Toronto, Priscilla is based on Presley’s own memoir, “Elvis and Me”, and appears, from the trailer, to be a sober, melancholic reflection on fame, love and coming of age.

Jessie Buckley in Fingernails

Jessie Buckley in Fingernails

Fingernails

Fri., Oct. 27 (Apple+ on Fri., Nov. 3)

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Like a number of other 2023 releases (including Foe, The Beast and Dream Scenario), Christos Nikou’s Fingernails straddles the genres of drama, romance and science fiction. The Toronto-shot indie follows Anna (played by Jessie Buckley), who works at a mysterious institute that can gauge the sincerity of romantic feelings in a relationship. She begins to doubt her relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan (Jeremy Allen White) and develops feelings for her co-worker Amir (Riz Ahmed). Fingernails could tap into our current fears around AI and alienation and how this will affect our capacity to love.

The Killer

When: Fri., Oct. 27

What: Movie
Where: In theatres (and Netflix on Fri., Nov. 10)
Genre: Thriller
Why you should watch: Based on Alexis “Matz” Nolent’s graphic novel about a contract killer in an existential crisis, The Killer is the highly anticipated return of director David Fincher. It’s also, hopefully, a return to form after 2020’s divisive Mank. Starring Michael Fassbender as the titular hitman, The Killer will deliver on familiar Fincher features like muted tones, sharp editing, pristine compositions and violence.

Fellow Travelers

Sat., Oct. 28

What: Miniseries
Where: Paramount+
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Based on Thomas Mallon’s novel of the same name, the miniseries spans decades in the lives of two gay men (played by Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey) who begin a relationship under the shadow of the regressive McCarthy era. Through this changing relationship, we see the tectonic shifts in 20th century America, from anti-Vietnam protests to the drug-fueled ’70s and the outbreak of AIDS in the ’80s.

The Perfect Date: Halloween 45th Anniversary Screening

Tue., Oct. 31

What: Movie
Where: Revue Cinema
Genre: Horror
Why you should watch: What could be more perfect than watching Halloween on Halloween? Well, maybe John Carpenter’s 1978 film itself — still considered the pinnacle of the slasher genre, featuring a perfectly distilled vision of evil (in the form of Michael Meyers) — presented on a new digital restoration. Sure to attract an enthusiastic crowd, the Revue’s screening of Halloween is indeed the perfect date … if that date is October 31st.

Fitting In

Thurs., Nov. 2

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Coming of age
Why you should watch: If you feel compelled to support home-grown film this fall, check out the coming-of-age indie film, Fitting In. Directed by Molly McGlynn, the film follows a teen girl as she receives a reproductive diagnosis, unable to undertake the sex life she has planned, she embarks on a bid for self-discovery and satisfaction. Starring Maddie Ziegler, Fitting In takes on an often-ignored side of women’s experiences with humour and care.

All the Light We Cannot See

Thurs., Nov. 2

What: Series
Where: Netflix
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: If prestige period-piece miniseries are your thing, you have an embarrassment of riches this fall. There’s Lessons in Chemistry, The Buccaneers, Fellow Travelers and the World War II drama All the Light We Cannot See. A blind girl, Marie-Laure Leblanc (Aria Mia Loberti), broadcasts a radio show amongst the ruins of a French town, which have captured the imagination of a Nazi soldier. Mark Ruffalo plays her father and a possible jewel thief.

Quiz Lady

Fri., Nov. 3

What: Movie
Where: Disney+
Genre: Comedy
Why you should watch: If you’re a fan of romps featuring regular women pulling off high-stakes gambits, you should make time for Quiz Lady, another TIFF highlight. Directed by Jessica Yu, Quiz Lady follows Anne (Awkwafina), a shy, buttoned-up quiz show fan who has to use her smarts to pay for her irresponsible mother’s gambling debts with the help of her turbulent big sister Jenny (Canadian icon, Sandra Oh).

The Marvels

The Marvels

The Marvels

Fri., Nov. 10

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: As the sort-of sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, The Marvels comes out at a time when the chokehold Marvel films had on the box office (and in film culture discourse) seems to be losing grip. The plot follows Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) who, after taking revenge on the Kree, is sucked into a wormhole (stay with me) and feels her power intermingled with two heroes, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), creating the Marvels. If there’s still some juice left in the Marvel machine, maybe The Marvels will recapture the fans.

 

Dream Scenario

Fri., Nov.10

What: Movie
Where: In theatres
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Nicholas Cage gives what might be a career-best performance as Paul, a university professor who mysteriously appears in strangers’ dreams. The unexplained phenomenon turns the average, slightly passive Paul into an overnight celebrity, with all the benefits and pitfalls that entails. Directed by Kristoffer Borgli (who helmed 2022’s buzzy and boundary-pushing Sick of Myself), Dream Scenario takes a measured, oddly funny look at cancel culture and the pursuit of success. Another TIFF highlight — this one with a star at the premiere.

Sort Of

Fri., Nov. 17

What: Series
Where: CBC Gem
Genre: Comedy
Why you should watch: Don’t miss the premiere of the third season of CBC’s breakthrough hit, Sort Of. If you haven’t been watching, the series follows Sabi Mehboob as they navigate the complexities of being non-binary, being Pakistani-Canadian, dealing with confusing relationships and the changeable nature of frienships. Starring Bilal Baig (who also created the show with Fab Filippo) in a touchingly deadpan performance, Sort Of vividly captures the awkwardness of young adulthood, the difficulty of reconciling identity and expectation, and the constant pursuit of self-definition.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Fri., Oct. 20

What: Movie
Where: In theatres and Apple+
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Perhaps the most anticipated film of the fall is Martin Scorsese’s revisionist western, Killers of the Flower Moon. Based on the book of the same name, the film tells the true story of a mysterious series of murders that took place in the 1920s on land belonging to members of the Osage Nation. Starring his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio and the magnetic Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon is a passion project that has taken Scorsese into the dark heart of American exceptionalism and capitalist greed.

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