After highlighting 50 titles confirmed to arrive this fall, we now turn our attention to the festival-bound films either without distribution or awaiting a release date. Looking over Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival titles, we’ve rounded up 25 movies — most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks — that we can’t wait to see.
Check out our 25 most-anticipated festival premieres below, and let us know what you’re most looking forward to.
The Age of Shadows (Kim Ji-woon)
Returning to South Korea after his foray into Hollywood action with the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led The Last Stand, Kim Ji-woon‘s next feature is The Age of Shadows, which marks WB’s first-ever produced feature in the country. Led by Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host), this ’20s-set thriller follows the Heroic Corps, an anti-Japanese independence organization that existed under the Japanese colonial period in South Korea. It’s set to premiere at Venice and stop by TIFF, and the intense trailer’s gorgeous production design has us hoping we’ll see it picked up sooner rather than later. – Jordan R.
The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour)
Since Ana Lily Amirpour burst onto the scene with her bold, minimalist Iranian vampire western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, we’ve kept an eye out for her follow-up, and the details so far certainly don’t disappoint. But really, what more can you say about a film described as a Texas-set “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story” with a “dope soundtrack,” especially when it stars the likes of Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, and Keanu Reeves? With its mind-boggling concept and stellar cast, The Bad Batch should have no problem attracting attention. – Amanda W.
Brimstone (Martin Koolhoven)
Thanks to the announcement of the Venice and Toronto line-ups, here’s one film that recently entered our radar and we can’t wait to see. Starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Kit Harington, and Carice van Houten, Brimstone follows a woman in a frontier community who goes on the run after being haunted by a pastor. Setting up quite a tension-filled story, hopefully this, alongside The Witch, makes for one of the better religious-tinged thrillers of 2016. – Jordan R.
Buster’s Mal Heart (Sarah Adina Smith)
After leaving an all-too-brief impression in The Master, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and Short Term 12, Rami Malek is finally getting his well-deserved due on television. He’s also found time to take part in a few features, one being the curious Buster’s Mal Heart. Following a mountain man who is on the run and attempting to recall why, its placement in TIFF’s Vanguard section has us thinking this could be something quite unexpected. – Jordan R.
City of Tiny Lights (Pete Travis)
If you didn’t see his break-out role in one of the century’s best comedies, Four Lions, then we imagine Riz Ahmed first landed on your radar as the doomed assistant to Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. Along with his high-profile performances in The Night Of, Rogue One, and Jason Bourne this year, one of the two TIFF films he has is the starring vehicle City of Tiny Lights. Directed by Dredd‘s Pete Travis, it follows Ahmed as a London detective who gets entangled in a missing-girl case as a complex web of lies bubble up. It sounds like the perfect case for Bill Camp’s Dennis Box. – Jordan R.
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo)
Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo is back this year with the Anne Hathaway-led sci-fi film Colossal, which also includes the impressive mix of Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, and Austin Stowell. It follows a woman who moves back to her hometown after losing her job and boyfriend in New York, then discovers that she is somehow strangely connected to a giant creature that has materialized over Seoul and is wreaking havoc on the city. Vigalondo has excelled in being able to work with any premise he offers up, and this looks like to be his most exciting yet in both scope and dramatic caliber. – Jordan R.
Free Fire (Ben Wheatley)
Following up High-Rise, Ben Wheatley is back with an action thriller about an arms deal gone wrong in 1978 Boston. Details so far are enticing — besides boasting an executive producer credit from Martin Scorsese, the film also showcases Room star Brie Larson in a major role, and an eclectic cast featuring Noah Taylor, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Wheatley regular Michael Smiley. The helmer’s promised a stylish, hard-boiled crime movie, and considering his past efforts with writing partner Amy Jump, Free Fire should make for a satisfyingly dark, violent offering. It’s set to premiere at TIFF, and A24 will release the film in 2017. – Amanda W.
I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang)
We were sold on Feng Ziaogang‘s I Am Not Madame Bovary based on its teaser trailer, which largely features beautiful paintings before moving into even more gorgeous imagery with a peculiar circular aspect ratio. Stunning cinematography aside, the plot itself has us intrigued, following a café proprietor who is attempting to get retribution in a decade-long fight for divorce. – Jordan R.
Into the Inferno (Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer)
We just got a new Werner Herzog documentary, and another is coming to Telluride and TIFF. After diving into the world of the Internet, he’s going into the next-most treacherous place on earth: volcanoes. Co-directed by volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer — no relation to Herzog’s filmmaking colleague, Joshua Oppenheimer — the documentary takes them across the world as they explore the most dangerous volcanoes on earth. Expect the existential pondering to be particularly fiery. – Jordan R.
Jackie (Pablo Larraín)
When’s the last time a director had three films in the same year? With the highly recommended The Club arriving in the early months and his drama Neruda being one of Cannes’ best, Pablo Larraín is back with the Natalie Portman-led Jackie Kennedy biopic. Along with being set in the first four days of her life after the assassination of her husband, there are a number of factors for us to get excited for, perhaps most notably a score by Under the Skin‘s Mica Levi. – Jordan R.
Katie Says Goodbye (Wayne Roberts)
After Martha Marcy May Marlene, Simon Killer, James White, and Afterschool, we look forward to anything from Borderline Films. Their most recent producing effort, a late addition to TIFF, is Katie Says Goodbye, which marks the directorial debut of Wayne Roberts. It follows Olivia Cooke‘s character as she attempts to get out of her dead-end waitress job after meeting a new mechanic (Christopher Abbott) in her small town. It seems things don’t go as planned, as is the case with most films from Borderline, in what is hopefully another strong character study. – Jordan R.
The Lost City of Z (James Gray)
The only thing about The Lost City of Z that has us worried is Paramount’s departure as distributor — and the root concern is how soon we’ll be able to see James Gray‘s new film, which follows his deeply felt The Immigrant. (The four features that came before it don’t hurt, either.) Whether this is the epic adventure its source material might lead to, an intimate, Herzogian story of mad passion, a bit of both, or ultimately none of these things, a craftsman of Gray’s strengths stepping outside their comfort zone (e.g. not setting a movie in New York City) is an attraction all its own. – Nick N.
Message from the King (Fabrice Du Welz)
After being a highlight of Marvel’s latest adventure, Chadwick Boseman is finally getting his own slick-looking revenge thriller with Message From the King. Coming from Alléluia director Fabrice du Welz, and also starring Teresa Palmer and Luke Evans, the film follows Boseman as a South African in L.A. who gets involved with the criminal underworld after his sister is killed. If this has the style of the director’s latest feature, we’re in for quite a treat. – Jordan R.
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)
Following Saint Laurent, my pick for last year’s greatest film, Bertrand Bonello shifts towards a project that, sadly, couldn’t be more relevant. The story of young men and women who decide to blow up a Paris shopping mall, Nocturama will undoubtedly spark a conversation — in no small part because Bonello has never flinched away from the worst things people can do to each other. Based on what he recently told me, it could become one of our terrorism age’s first significant films. – Nick N.
On the Milky Road (Emir Kusturica)
It’s hard to know what to expect or even hope for with the new Emir Kusturica film. The Serbian renaissance man hit career highs early on with the likes of The Time of Gypsies and Underground, with a few strange dalliances into American filmmaking (e.g. Arizona Dreams) along the way. In recent years, his film output has been overshadowed by stranger projects, like the village of Drvengrad, which he had built for a film and now has taken up residence in. Still zeroing in on the unrest in the Balkans, Kusturica finds himself extrapolating on his short segment from Words with Gods to explore different critical junctures in the history of his country. There’s not much else we currently know about On the Milky Road, and outside a few set shots of a luminescent Monica Belluci frolicking in water, there’s little to go on. With a talent such as Kusturica, the sky may be the limit, and here’s hoping that, this time, it’s the film itself that emerges as the production’s most talked-about, intriguing aspect. – Nathan B.
The Promise (Terry George)
Cornering the market on love stories set within the Ottoman Empire, Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) have partnered on The Promise. Co-written by Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha), the film concerns Chris, an American journalist, Michael, a medical student with “old-world traditions,” and a woman named Ana, the three of whom find themselves in a love triangle as the Empire crumbles around them. Soaring romance, love triangle, historical setting, and war? Some obvious check marks are being hit; hopefully with a bit of zeal, while we’re at it. – Nick N.
(Re)ASSIGNMENT (Walter Hill)
For already stirring up controversy due to a cisgender actress playing a transgender role, not to mention using transgender surgery as the central plot for an action thriller, we imagine (Re)ASSIGNMENT will be a major talking point at TIFF. That said, a new Walter Hill movie is a new Walter Hill movie. It stars Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver, and TIFF describes it as a “jaw-droppingly audacious revenge thriller.” – Jordan R.
The Rehearsal (Alison Maclean)
The NYFF main slate largely consists of well-established and years-in-the-making auteurs, which inevitably means that the “smaller” selections get a bit overshadowed, even if only on first glance. One such item that’s caught my eye is U.S. premiere The Rehearsal, the new film from Alison Maclean (Jesus’ Son) that adapts the debut novel by Eleanor Catton, a New Zealand author who’d go on to bigger things with her Man Booker-winning follow-up, The Luminaries. The Rehearsal is a finely drawn, conceptually adventurous novel (in its theatrical focus, often reminiscent of Rivette) attuned to the many particular feelings that come with entering a new school and trying to make something of yourself in light of others’ expectations — easy-to-connect-with, hard-to-translate material that may have been nailed down by Maclean. – Nick N.
Safari (Ulrich Seidl)
After directing some of the most acclaimed films of the century thus far with his Paradise trilogy, Austrian director Ulrich Seidl is back with a new feature. As with much of his work, Safari looks to stretch the boundaries of the documentary form as he explores African trophy hunting — certainly inviting controversy, as the teaser shows a number of hunters before offering a glimpse at one of their kills. – Jordan R.
The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan)
If this were the early aughts, the coming of a new Jim Sheridan film would automatically be cause for celebration. At that time, Sheridan was known as the chronicler of Irish woes, with the likes of My Left Foot, In the Name of Father, and The Boxer to his credit. However, since 2002’s In America, Sheridan’s directorial talent has been mostly in service of mediocre Hollywood pictures such as Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Brothers, and the woeful Dreamhouse. All the more reason, then, to anticipate Sheridan’s adaptation of Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture, the tale of a young woman who finds herself at the mercy of the notorious Irish “troubles” and lands in a mental hospital where she spends more than half a decade. Intriguing not just because it reconnects Sheridan to the Ireland he’s most familiar with, Secret Scripture also features Rooney Mara and Vanessa Redgrave as two versions of the lead character at two different places along the line, and offers the director another crack at exploring an incarcerated life, this time from a female perspective. – Nathan B.
Souvenir (Bavo Defurne)
As if taking part in two of the most celebrated films of the year, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come and Paul Verhoeven’s Elle wasn’t enough, Isabelle Huppert will also bring the new drama Souvenir to TIFF (where she’ll give a masterclass). Following the actress as a factory worker who starts a relationship with an up-and-coming boxer, spurring a revisit to her famous past. As has been proven time and time again, with Huppert in the lead, it’s sure to be one to see when it premieres at TIFF. – Jordan R.
Trespass Against Us (Adam Smith)
Rising in the ranks the last few years, Michael Fassbender has achieved the sort of weight to get projects moving forward based on his attachment alone. While he’s sought after for what seems to be every major tentpole, thankfully he’s using some of his powers for good, giving light to international independent projects. Seeming to be in the budget area of Frank and Slow West, he’ll be seen in Trespass Against Us, which is coming from commercial and music video helmer Adam Smith, this year at TIFF. Co-starring Brendan Gleeson and with an original score from The Chemical Brothers, it follows a family of Irish Travellers and Fassbender as an outlaw named Chad Cutler who’s looking to escape his life of crime. Check back for our review. – Jordan R.
Una (Benedict Andrews)
Teaming three of the finest actors working today, Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn and Riz Ahmed, Una is described as a provocative love story that unfolds like a thriller about two people forced to revisit a passionate yet illicit relationship they had years ago. Coming from Australian theater director Benedict Andrews, there’s not much else known about the film, but considering the caliber of projects the aforementioned actors usually attach themselves to, it could be TIFF’s breakout hit. – Jordan R.
A United Kingdom (Amma Asante)
Following up Belle, Amma Asante‘s next drama teams David Oyelowo with Rosamund Pike. A United Kingdom is about the true story of Prince Seretse Khama from Botswana who roused controversy when he decided to marry a white woman from London in the 1940s. With two actors at the top of their game and a director deserving of a drama with a bigger scope, this one is quite promising, and the recent trailer has us only looking forward to it more. Strangely, it’s currently without U.S. distribution; hopefully, that’s remedied following a premiere. – Jordan R.
Yourself and Yours (Hong Sang-soo)
As unwise as it may be to enter any movie presuming foreknowledge, the consistency of Hong Sang-soo‘s cinema, premise- and quality-wise, is higher than just about any working filmmaker’s, and so reading a synopsis for his new feature — in which a man searches for his ex-girlfriend while she, a twin, or a doppelgänger “has a series of encounters with strange men” – sets the fan’s heart aflutter. The first teaser told us nothing, and we’re content to go in with nothing else known. – Nick N.
Considering the sheer breadth of premieres, there’s a considerable number of additional features we’re looking forward to. They include The Bleeder, Frantz, The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez, Austerlitz, My Entire High School Sinking in the Sea, Planetarium, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Barry, Brain on Fire, Burn Your Maps, Carrie Pilby, Catfight, JT + The Tennessee Kids, Rage, Strange Weather, The Wasted Times, Wakefield, Paris Can Wait, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, ARQ, Maudie, ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, The Ivory Game, Lady Macbeth, and Headshot. We’ll be covering many of those, and much more, so check back here as we cover Venice, TIFF, NYFF, and more fall festivals.