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Netflix Is Closing Out 2018 With One Hell of an Original Film Slate

There will be no time to chill with an upcoming film schedule this damn good.
Saulnier Hold The Dark
By  · Published on August 12th, 2018

Netflix gets more than its fair share of flack for the movies it offers, the movies it doesn’t, and the mixed-bag quality of its original offerings, but even its harshest critics will have to admit some excitement at their fall slate of Netflix Originals. The official announcement of films premiering on the service from September through December is below, but there are a few highlights worth mentioning first.

For my money the two most thrilling titles are coming from established genre filmmakers who’ve yet to disappoint. First up is Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark which despite only being his fourth feature is a definite must-see. His debut (Murder Party) is good fun, but both Blue Ruin and Green Room are flat-out masterpieces, so yeah, we’ll be watching this tale of man vs nature in the wilds of Alaska the very moment it comes available. Gareth Evans has even fewer films to his name, but when two of them are The Raid movies you’d be a fool to skip whatever he makes next. Apostle looks to be less action-oriented with its cult story line, but Evans is the man behind V/H/S/2‘s “Safe Haven” segment so he knows his way around creepy cults.

Also praiseworthy is the number of feature films from female directors including Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, Sara Colangelo’s The Kindergarten Teacher, and Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro. The big one, though, is the adaptation of the best-selling novel Bird Box from director Susanne Bier (and Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer). Sandra Bullock headlines the post-apocalyptic thriller.

Other big names coming to the small screen include 22 July from Paul Greengrass which explores the tragic and devastating mass slaughter of 77 people in Norway a few years back, Orson Welles’ unfinished final film The Other Side of the Wind, and Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical Roma. And if all else fails, if none of this has piqued your interest yet, there’s also a new movie premiering in December starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

Sierra Burgess


Director: Ian Samuels / Writer: Lindsey Beer
Cast: Shannon Purser, Kristine Froseth, Noah Centineo, Chrissy Metz, RJ Cyler, Alan Ruck, Lea Thompson

The film is a modern rom-com retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story set in high school. The story centers on Sierra, an intelligent teen who does not fall into the shallow definition of high school pretty but, in a case of mistaken identity that results in unexpected romance, she teams with the popular girl in order to win her


Documentary Feature
Director: Madeleine Gavin

City of Joy follows the unlikely friendship that develops between devout Congolese doctor Dr. Denis Mukwege (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler, and a charismatic Congolese human rights activist who join forces to create a safe haven for women survivors in the middle of violence-torn Eastern Congo.


Director/writer: Nicole Holofcener
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Thomas Mann

Anders Hill, long ensconced in “the land of steady habits”- the affluent hamlets of Connecticut that dot the commuter rail line – is finally ready to reap the rewards of a sensible life. Into his mid fifties and newly retired, his grown son’s college tuitions paid in full, Anders decides he’s had enough of steady habits: he leaves his wife, buys a condo, and waits for freedom to transform him. Stripped of the comforts of his previous identity, Anders embarks on a clumsy, and heartbreaking journey to reconcile his past with his present. The film is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Ted Thompson.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*

THE ANGEL (9/14)

Director: Ariel Vromen / Writer: David Arata
Cast: Marwan Kenzari, Hannah Ware, Toby Kebbell, Waleed Farouq Zuaiter, Maisa Abd Elhady, Sasson Gabay, Miki Leon, Ori Pfeffer, Slimane Dazi

The Angel is the true story of Ashraf Marwan, who was Egyptian President Nasser’s son-in-law, and special advisor and confidant to his successor Anwar Sadat, while simultaneously one of Israeli Intelligence’s most precious assets of the 20th century.


QUINCY (9/21)

Documentary Feature
Directors: Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks

Quincy is an intimate look into the life of icon Quincy Jones. A unique force of nature in music and popular culture for 70 years, Jones has transcended racial and cultural boundaries; his story is inextricably woven into the fabric of America. Beyond his own acclaim as a trumpeter, producer, conductor, composer and arranger, Jones’s inimitable gift to discover the biggest talents of the past half of the century is unprecedented. He has mentored and cultivated the careers of young talents, from Lesley Gore and Michael Jackson to Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith. With his boundless energy, Jones has also awakened many generations to the significance of humanitarian issues. Directed by Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks, Quincy seamlessly threads personal vérité moments with private archival footage to reveal a legendary life like no other.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director: Haifaa al-Mansour / Writers: Adam Brooks and Cee Marcellus
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Lyriq Bent, Ernie Hudson and Lynn Whitfield

Violet Jones has a seemingly perfect life — a high-powered job, an eligible doctor boyfriend, and a meticulously maintained, flawless coiffure. But after a life-changing event doesn’t go according to her plan, and a hair-raising incident at the hairdresser, her life begins to unravel. Eventually, Violet realizes that she was living the life she thought she was supposed to live, not the one she really wanted.


Director: Jeremy Saulnier / Writer: Macon Blair
Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, Julian Black Antelope

Retired naturalist and wolf expert Russell Core journeys to the edge of civilization in northern Alaska at the pleading of Medora Slone, a young mother whose son was killed by a pack of wolves. As Core attempts to help Medora track down the wolves who took her son, a strange and dangerous relationship develops between
the two lonely souls. But when Medora’s husband Vernon returns home from the Iraq War, the news of his child’s death ignites a violent chain of events. As local cop, Donald Marium, races to stop Vernon’s vengeful rampage, Core is forced on a perilous odyssey into the heart of darkness.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director/writer: Tamara Jenkins
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Kayli Carter, Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch, Desmin Borges, Tracee Chimo, Maddie Corman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Emily Robinson and Denis O’Hare

The new film from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Tamara Jenkins is the bracingly funny and moving story of Richard and Rachel, a couple in the throes of infertility who try to maintain their marriage as they descend deeper and deeper into the insular world of assisted reproduction and domestic adoption. After the emotional and economic upheaval of in vitro fertilization, they’re at the end of their middle-aged rope, but
when Sadie, a recent college drop out, re-enters their life, things begin to look up.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director/writer: Sara Colangelo
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Anna Baryshnikov, Rosa Salazar with Michael Chernus and Gael Garcia Bernal

When a Staten Island kindergarten teacher discovers what may be a gifted five year-old student in her class, she becomes fascinated and obsessed with the child—spiraling downward on a dangerous and desperate path in order to nurture his talent.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


APOSTLE (10/12)

Director/writer: Gareth Evans
Cast: Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, and Michael Sheen

London, 1905. Prodigal son Thomas Richardson has returned home, only to learn that his sister is being held for ransom by a religious cult. Determined to get her back at any cost, Thomas travels to the idyllic island where the cult lives under the leadership of the charismatic Prophet Malcolm. As Thomas infiltrates the island’s community, he learns that the corruption of mainland society that they claim to reject has infested the cult’s ranks nonetheless – and uncovers a secret far more evil than he could have imagined. Apostle is a harrowing occult fable where the only thing more horrifying than madness is the sinister reality behind it.


Documentary Feature
Director: Johanna Demetrakas

1977, a book of photographs captured an awakening — women shedding the cultural restrictions of their childhoods and embracing their full humanity. Feminists: What Were They Thinking? revisits those photos, those women and those times — and takes aim at our current culture revealing all too vividly the urgent need for continued change.

22 JULY (10/10)

Director/writer: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Øigarden, Jonas Strand Gravli, Isak Bakli Aglen,, Maria Bock, Torbjørn Harr, Seda Witt, Ola G. Furuseth

In 22 July, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass tells the true story of the aftermath of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack. On 22 July 2011, 77 people were killed when a far-right extremist detonated a car bomb in Oslo before carrying out a mass shooting at a leadership camp for teens. 22 July uses the lens of one survivor’s physical and emotional journey to portray the country’s path to healing and reconciliation.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


SHIRKERS (10/26)

Documentary Feature
Director: Sandi Tan

An inspired labor of love for zine-making teens Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic—or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared. More than two decades later, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. Magically, too, she returns to the film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*

DOVLATOV (10/26)

Director/writer: Aleksey German
Cast: Milan Marić, Danila Kozlovsky, Helena Sujecka

Acclaimed upon it’s premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, the film charts six days in the life of the brilliant, ironic writer Sergei Dovlatov, who saw far beyond the rigid limits of 70s Soviet Russia. Together with his friend and poet Joseph Brodsky, he fought to preserve his own talent and integrity while seeing their artist friends getting crushed by the iron-willed state machinery, which they would later escape by emigrating to New York, losing all they had back home.


Director: Orson Welles / Writers: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar
Cast: John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Paul Stewart, Dennis Hopper

In 1970, legendary director Orson Welles began filming what would ultimately be his final cinematic opus with a cast of luminaries that included John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg and Welles’s partner during his later years, Oja Kodar. Beset by financial issues, the production ultimately stretched to 1976 and soon gained
industry-wide notoriety, never to be completed or released. More than a thousand reels of film languished in a Paris vault until March 2017, when producers Frank Marshall (who served as a production manager on Wind during in its initial shooting) and Filip Jan Rymsza spearheaded efforts to have Welles’s vision completed more than 30 years after his death. Featuring a new score by Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand and assembled by a technical team including Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski, The Other Side of the Wind tells the story of famed filmmaker J.J. “Jake” Hannaford, who returns to Hollywood after years in self-exile in Europe with plans to complete work on his own innovative comeback movie. A satire of the classic studio system as well as the new establishment who were shaking things up at the time, Welles’s final film is both a fascinating time capsule of a now-distant era in movie making as well as the long-awaited “new” work from an indisputable master of his craft.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Documentary Feature
Director: Morgan Neville

Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville tells the provocative story of legendary director Orson Welles during the final 15 years of his life. No longer the “wonder boy” flush with success from Citizen Kane, Welles in 1970 had become a graying artist in exile whose luck had run out. His long-gestating feature project The Other Side of the Wind was meant to be his Hollywood comeback. For years he struggled to complete it, filming with a devoted crew whenever he could make enough money from acting gigs and commercial appearances. In 1985, Welles died, leaving his final testament unfinished. The negative stayed in a vault for decades, until now. Comprised of never-before-seen footage of Welles on set and original interviews with cast and crew, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is the untold final chapter of one of the greatest careers in film history: brilliant, innovative, defiant and unbowed.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*

Outlaw King


Director: David Mackenzie / Writers: David Mackenzie, Mark Bomback, Bash Doran, James MacInnes, David Harrower
Cast: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Stephen Dillane

The untold, true story of Robert the Bruce who transforms from defeated nobleman to outlaw hero during the oppressive occupation of medieval Scotland by Edward I of England. Despite grave consequences, Robert seizes the Scottish crown and rallies an impassioned group of men to fight back against the mighty army of the tyrannical King and his volatile son, the Prince of Wales.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Directors/writers: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Cast: Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson, Tom Waits

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a six-part Western anthology film, a series of tales about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*

GIRL (11/16)

Director: Lukas Dhont / Writer: Lukas Dhont, Angelo Tijssens
Cast: Victor Polster, Arieh Worthalter

With the support of her father, a 15-year-old girl born in a boy’s body pursues her dream of becoming a professional ballerina. Winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film at this year’sCannes Film Festival as well as the Best Actor Prize for Un Certain Regard.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director/writer: Alice Rohrwacher
Cast: Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher, Agnese Graziani, Tommaso Ragno, Sergi López, Natalino Balasso, Gala Othero Winter, David Bennent, Nicoletta Braschi

Winner of Best Screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Alice Rohrwacher’s film follows the adventures of a man living on the margins of his society who can seemingly travel through time.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director/writer: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Marina de Tavira, Yalitza Aparicio

The most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón, Roma follows Cleo, a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s. Cuarón’s first project since the groundbreaking Gravity in 2013, Roma will be available in theaters and on Netflix in December.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director: Thom Zimny / Writer: Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen on Broadway is a solo acoustic performance written and performed by Tony Award, Academy Award, and 20-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen. Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography ‘Born to Run,’ Springsteen on Broadway is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and his very personal stories. In addition, it features a special appearance by Patti Scialfa.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*

BIRD BOX (12/21)

Director: Susanne Bier / Writer: Eric Heisserer
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Colson Baker, Lil Rel Howery, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Tom Hollander, BD Wong, Danielle MacDonald

In the wake of an unknown global terror, a mother must find the strength to flee with her children down a treacherous river in search of safety. Due to unseen deadly forces, the perilous journey must be made blindly.
*Will have a limited theatrical release*


Director: Clay Kaytis / Writers: Matt Lieberman
Cast: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson

A holiday adventure from producer Chris Columbus and director Clay Kaytis that tells the story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. After staking out Santa’s arrival, they sneak into his sleigh, cause it to crash and nearly derail Christmas. As their wild night unfolds, Kate and Teddy work together with Santa – as you’ve never seen him before – and his loyal Elves to save Christmas before it’s too late.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.