‘Brad’s Status’

Few actors play an insecure 40-ish guy as well as Ben Stiller does. Here, he’s a California father a bit bewildered that his newly post-teen son endlessly overachieves him. This comedy was written and directed by Mike White (“School of Rock”), who knows that bittersweet chuckles surpass routine belly laughs. (Sept. 22)

‘Battle of the Sexes’

Pretty much everyone is fond of Emma Stone, Steve Carell and “Little Miss Sunshine,” from directing duo Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton. Here that dream team melds comedy and drama to re-create the 1973 tennis challenge between former World No. 1 professional tennis player Billie Jean King and her showboating anti-feminist adversary, ­ex-champion Bobby Riggs. (Sept. 29)

‘Blade Runner 2049’

This sequel to Ridley Scott’s adored cyberpunk classic just might top it. Harrison Ford returns to the futuristic world of dirty cops and rebellious cyborgs, with Ryan Gosling as the LAPD officer who inherited his beat. Director Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Sicario,” “Arrival”) has never shot a bad foot of film and cinematographer Roger Deakins is the Rembrandt of his craft. Excellent pedigree all around. (Oct. 6 in 3-D and Imax)

‘The Snowman’

Michael Fassbinder launches a potential crime horror franchise, playing a Norwegian police detective who investigates the disappearance of a woman who is missing during the winter’s first snowfall. Soon he finds it’s connected to serial killings — literal cold cases — reaching back decades. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) understands chills. (Oct. 20)


George Clooney’s return to directing follows a droll script from his old buddies the Coen brothers. Matt Damon plays a prim 1950s dad who turns very, very forceful when a violent criminal gang moves into the territory. Looks like the no-holding-back violence of “No Country for Old Men” meets the lunatic comedy of “Raising Arizona.” (Oct. 27)

‘Thor:  Ragnarok’

The Marvel assembly line has a remarkable knack for banging out sequels no one ever asked for and making us love them anyway. Exciting new arrivals here include Cate Blanchett as an evil goddess, Jeff Goldblum as an evil master of gladiator games, and reliably hilarious director Taika Waititi, whose charmingly offbeat “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” was high on the list of 2016’s best films. (Nov. 3)

‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in a thriller about a surgeon whose fatal operating table error makes his patient’s teenage son obsessed with revenge. Early trailers promise a chilling, Kubrickian descent into dark weirdness. While director Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth,” “The Lobster”) creeps out many viewers, I see that as a bonus feature of his work, not a flaw. (Nov. 3)

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

When her daughter’s murder triggers a minimal police response, a tough-as-nails woman takes things into her own hands. You can’t top a cast that includes Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, whose “In Bruges” is among the best dark comedies of the 2000s. (Nov. 10)

‘Last Flag Flying’

The setup is irresistibly intriguing — a sequel of sorts to the 1973 Jack Nicholson film “The Last Detail.” Bryan Cranston steps into something like the volatile Nicholson part, Steve Carell plays a soft-spoken veteran and Laurence Fishburne is another ex-serviceman joining them in a road trip up the Eastern Seaboard. Richard Linklater directs, and it’s being conspicuously released in the run-up to awards season. (Nov. 10)

‘Lady Bird’

No, it’s not a biopic about the wife of President Lyndon Johnson. Greta Gerwig’s track record is exceptional. In her debut as a solo writer/director, she has the amazing Saoirse Ronan playing a rebellious student at a conservative Catholic high school in California who dreams of starting over in the Big Apple. Multidimensional female characters are their own breed of superhero. (Nov. 20)

Colin Covert