After looking at 20 of our favorite fall films thus far and another 20 we’re looking forward to, our last fall preview explores the festival line-ups. From Venice to Toronto to NYFF to a few question marks, the below 20 films either have yet to secure distribution or a release date. While it might be wishful thinking, we’re hoping the forthcoming reaction to the respective features is enough to see some of these in theaters by year’s end, but in all probability, the majority will unspool over the next year.
Considering the hundreds of titles premiering there a few we had to leave off (Return to Ithaca, Far From Men, The Face of an Angel, Hungry Hearts, Cymbeline, Tokyo Tribe, Burying the Ex, Samba, and Hill of Freedom come to mind), but below, one can find the selections we’re most looking forward. As is the case with fall festival, many surprises are bound to occur along the way, so stay tuned for our reviews and let us know what you want to see most.
99 Homes (Ramin Bahrani)
With Spider-Man consuming his life, it’s been four years since Andrew Garfield took part in a respectable drama and while Martin Scorsese‘s Silence is on the docket to shoot this year, before that we’ll get one of our most-anticipated films of the year. 99 Homes, set to premiere at Venice and then stop by Toronto, comes from the talented Ramin Bahrani, and follows Garfield as a construction worker , who is unemployed and must save his family’s home after it’s foreclosed. To do so, he links up with a shady realtor (Michael Shannon), for a pairing we can’t wait see. – Jordan R.
The Cobbler (Thomas McCarthy)
While we’ll touch on a certain star hopefully returning to something promising later in this feature, the same case can be made for Adam Sandler. It seems like he’s made enough money from his execrable films (minus the underrated That’s My Boy) the last five years, and is looking to get a little more serious. Along with Jason Reitman‘s Men, Women & Children, he’s taken the lead in this fantastical Thomas McCarthy-directed tale. After the director has created the environment to give Peter Dinklage and Richard Jenkins career-best performances, hopefully the same is in store for Sandler. – Jordan R
The Cut (Fatih Akin)
The latest film from Fatih Akin (Head-On, The Edge of Heaven) will finally premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival and it’s easily one of our most-anticipated of the year. The Cut follows Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past) as a man who, after surviving a genocide, is on a search to reunite with his twin daughters. With Akin drawing inspiration from Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, Sergio Leone, and Bernardo Bertolucci, if it’s not yet on your radar, it’s time for it to appear. – Jordan R.
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)
After the enveloping aural and visual experience that was Berberian Sound Studio, Peter Strickland has returned with what looks to be his riff on Ingmar Bergman‘s Persona. The Duke of Burgundy, world premiering at Toronto International Film Festival before a release by IFC Films, follows an amateur butterfly expert whose wayward desires test her lover’s tolerance. Produced by Ben Wheatley, it sounds quite enticing, so check back for our review. – Jordan R.
Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve)
Although Mia Hansen-Løve may not yet be as widely known as her partner, she’s hardly inferior. What’s brought to her films, too, is an uncannily strong eye and ear for atmosphere, building each scene from distinct physical and formal elements until their convergence leads us to a rapturous climax. Considering how well she’s implemented music in the past, tackling the rise of the electronic / house scene — chronicled with the assistance of her brother and co-scribe, Sven Hansen-Løve, himself a veteran of said scene — in a multi-national narrative is simply too tantalizing to resist. (Has Greta Gerwig ever made anything worse, for that matter?) I’d be mighty hesitant to say anything yields potential to be generation-defining when it’s sight-unseen, but… well, what promise there is nevertheless. Eden, indeed, sounds like paradise. – Nick N.
Good Kill (Andrew Niccol)
The last decade or so hasn’t been kind to Andrew Niccol. After showing promise with his directorial debut Gattaca and his writing follow-up The Truman Show, choices such as The Host and In Time felt less than inspired. With that said, Good Kill could mark a timely, smart return to promising drama for the writer-director. The project follows Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot who begins to question his job as he continues to kill those in the Middle East from his comfortable Nevada outfit. – Jordan R.
The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)
Coming off one of the most acclaimed documentaries of, well, all-time, with The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer is staying in the same arena for his follow-up. After exploring the mass killings by Indonesian death-squad leaders in the 1960’s, this new feature focus on a family that confronts the man who murdered their son. It has the makings for another eye-opening, chilling documentary and it’ll be stopping by Venice, TIFF and NYFF before a release next year by Drafthouse Films. – Jordan R.
Madame Bovary (Sophie Barthes)
On a streak like few other actresses, after Only Lovers Left Alive and The Double earlier this year, both Maps to the Stars and Tracks will be coming this fall, but that’s not all Mia Wasikowska has in store. After taking on Jane Eyre, the actress will be returning to adaptations of classic novels with a new take on Gustave Flaubert‘s Madame Bovary. Directed by Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls), the ensemble also includes Laura Carmichael, Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans, Logan Marshall-Green, and Henry Lloyd-Hughes, and we imagine distribution will be snatched up quickly. – Jordan R.
Manglehorn and The Humbling (David Gordon Green and Barry Levinson)
Yes, this one is a bit of cheat, but the latest works from David Gordon Green and Barry Levinson have a major connecting factor: Al Pacino, and hopefully a new step in his career as of late. Considering the storied actor hasn’t take a part in a feature we’ve admired in perhaps the last decade, both of these dramas, debuting at Venice and TIFF, signal great promise. To a greater extent, there’s a meta-quality at work with both characters playing down-and-out individuals in different walks of life. – Jordan R.
Miss Julie (Liv Ullman)
Following a much-respected ‘50s adaptation, a much-forgotten ‘90s spin, and innumerable college lectures provided in every decade since its publication, you’d figure the world doesn’t really need another take on Miss Julie — until you see this particular spin is written and directed by Liv Ullmann, with a central onscreen team of Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. I don’t care if it’s a tale told 100 times over: I think I’d like if that quartet gave me the story a hundred times more. – Nick N.
A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor)
Following All is Lost and Margin Call, director J.C. Chandor is compiling quite a streak, recently assembling Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, Alessandro Nivola, David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks and Catalina Sandino Moreno for this period crime drama. Featuring our leads as the heads of an oil business that begin to clash with the criminal underworld of New York City, we can’t wait to see the results. While it has yet to confirm a festival bow, it’s said to be nearly done, so hopefully we’ll get it this year, courtesy of A24. – Jordan R.
Pasolini (Abel Ferrara)
Will Abel Ferrara solve the long-dormant mystery of who killed Pier Paolo Pasolini? I don’t worry about getting an answer when our possible path to it is a fellow madman’s passion project, given onscreen life by one of our best living actors and a rather notable lookalike. His second film this year to address corrupt lives of the powerful, more specifically how they spill between the personal and public spheres; what a pleasure it would be to have both in theaters by 2014’s end. – Nick N.
Pawn Sacrifice (Edward Zwick)
A former David Fincher project that was quickly snatched up Edward Zwick, Pawn Sacrifice will be making its debut at Toronto International Film Festival this year looking for acquisition. Scripted by Locke and Eastern Promises‘ Steven Knight, the drama takes a look at the real-life battle between American’s Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and Russia’s Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) during the “Match of the Century” in 1972 in Reykjavik. Hopefully Knight has crafted a script that can match the intensity of his last directorial effort. – Jordan R.
Phoenix (Christian Petzold)
While she can currently be seen alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman in Anton Corbijn‘s A Most Wanted Man, Nina Hoss has reteamed with Barbara director Christian Petzold for this new drama. One of our most-anticipated of the year, Phoenix follows the actress as a concentration-camp survivor who searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband who might have betrayed her to the Nazis. Set to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, it’s one of the most promising from the event. – Leonard P.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson)
Returning after seven years, the next project from Sweden’s Roy Andersson (Songs from the Second Floor, You, the Living) is one that arrives with great expectations as he caps off his trilogy. Capturing a series of vignettes, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has had comparisons to the work of Luis Buñuel, so one can certainly count us in. Set to screen at Venice and TIFF, hopefully a distributor picks it up not long after its premiere. – Jordan R.
Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog)
It may not be ready for a TIFF or Telluride debut, but we’re hoping Werner Herzog‘s Queen of the Desert will sneak in before the end of the year, per the original plan. Led by Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, James Franco, and Damian Lewis, the film follows legendary cartographer Gertrude Bell, a diplomatic explorer who negotiated with Arab nations and helped establish the countries of Iraq and Jordan. Given Herzog’s epic eye for both visuals and grand characters, this would be near the top of our most-anticipated list. – Jordan R.
She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich)
Returning to theatrical features after well over a decade, Peter Bogdanovich‘s latest project will be making its bow at Venice Film Festival shortly. Formerly titled Squirrels to Nuts and now going by She’s Funny That Way, the project follows a Broadway director (Owen Wilson) who gets involved with a prostitute-turned actress (Imogen Poots). Also starring Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Punch, and Will Forte, Bogdanovich is a voice missed in today’s world of comedies, and it’ll be nice to have him back. – Jordan R.
Time Out of Mind (Oren Moverman)
After the acclaimed drama The Messenger and the more divisive Rampart, Oren Moverman is returning with his third project, Time Out of Mind. World premiering at Toronto International Film Festival before heading to New York Film Festival, the film follows Richard Gere as a homeless man in New York who sets to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Jena Malone). Moverman has proven he can muster up fantastic performances from those involved, so hopefully this one gets acquired for a release this year. – Jordan R.
While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach)
Noah Baumbach, following what may very well be his best film — certainly his most humane and compassionate, if nothing else — has set high expectations, something not the slightest bit helped by how long While We’re Young has been attempting to get off the ground. How (or if) he’s changed, post-Frances, and how (of if) it collides with a long-gestating screenplay should be interesting on its own, though a new Baumbach film is a new Baumbach film regardless of context, and that’s mostly what matters right now. Good or bad, his typically upper-class lens on everyday living is always worth discussing in some sense. – Nick N.
The World of Kanako (Tetsuya Nakashima)
With his previous feature Confessions earning a spot among our best films of 2010, it’s been a long wait for the next project from Japan’s Tetsuya Nakashima, and it looks to be worth it. The World of Kanako, which follows an ex-cop searching for his missing daughter, has already stirred up controversy in its native land upon a release this summer for its brutality, and we can’t wait to see what the director has in store. – Jordan R.
Which festival titles do you hope will get released this year?