We’ve entered the thick of festival season. Telluride’s just concluded, Venice is wrapping up. The Toronto International Film Festival is gearing up, then comes Fantastic Fest in Austin, New York Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival. With these, comes a slew of trailers ponying for critics’ attention, and by extension award season buzz. Of course, they can’t all be winners. Are you ready for a preview?
Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs.
Hot off her Oscar win for La La Land, Stone offers a powerful turn as an unexpected feminist icon. Little Miss Sunshine helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris re-team with Carell for a biopic that could be a heavy hitter in the acting categories. Following Telluride and TIFF, Battle of the Sexes will open in theaters on September 22nd.
Takashi Miike’s 100th journey is an adaptation of the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL manga. Manji, a samurai who cannot die, crosses paths with Rin Asano, a young girl whose parents were killed. Manji swears to help Rin Asano avenge her parents’ deaths.
Okay, so Miike’s mental live-action anime adaptation is unlikely to get Oscar buzz. But it’s playing at Fantastic Fest, and us Overlords are stoked about it. Blade of the Immortal hits ambush theaters on November 3rd.
The latest from master of art-horror Kiyoshi Kurosawa is perhaps his most mainstream film yet, a throwback to 1980s sci-fi. An advance crew of three aliens journey to Earth in preparation for a complete takeover of the planet. They snatch not only bodies but memories, beliefs, values—everything that defines their conquests as human—leaving only hollow shells, which are all but unrecognizable to their loved ones. This disturbing parable for our present moment, replete with stunning images—including a drone attack and a bit of Clockwork Orange-style murder and mayhem—is also a profoundly mystical affirmation of love as the only form of resistance and salvation.
Following its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, this Japanese horror offering will play NYFF, where we’ll be reviewing it. While no US release has yet been announced, NEON’s got the rights, so expect this genre stunner to be coming your way soon(ish).
It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). While Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Adapted from André Aciman’s novel, Call Me By Your Name has been thrilling critics since its Sundance debut last January. Director Luca Guadagnino has previously thrilled with the SWINTON vehicles A Bigger Splash and I Am Love. So Pajibans should mark their calendars. After it’s played TIFF and NYFF, Guadagnino’s lauded latest will come to theaters on November 24th.
Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, GERALD’S GAME delivers pitch-perfect performances in a faithful adaptation where the horrors of the mind are much worse than what’s in front of you.
Not all festival fare will draw Oscar attention. But horror fans will likely drool over Mike Flanagan’s Stephen King adaptation. Flanagan’s made a name for himself with horror flicks like Oculus, Hush, and Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel that had no right to be as good as it was. Gerald’s Game will hit Fantastic Fest ahead of its Netflix debut on September 29th.
In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Writer/director Scott Cooper’s follow-up to the gangster biopic Black Mass stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, and Q’orianka Kilcher. This intriguing Western played Telluride ahead of TIFF. Though star-studded, it’s currently seeking U.S. distribution.
The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he’s ever done.
Yorgos Lanthimos, the director behind The Lobster, reunites with Colin Farrell, and loops in Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone. We’re sold. Once it’s hit TIFF, Fantastic Fest, and London, The Killing of A Sacred Deer will open in select theaters on October 27th.
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a portrait of an artistically inclined young woman (Saoirse Ronan) trying to define herself in the shadow of her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and searching for an escape route from her hometown of Sacramento.
Gerwig made a name for herself with stirring turns in films like Frances Ha, Nights and Weekends, Damsels In Distress and 20th Century Women. Now, the acclaimed actress turns to writing and directing with this intriguing coming-of-age dramedy that stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, and Timothée Chalamet. Following its premieres at Telluride, TIFF and NYFF, the already buzzed about Lady Bird will hit theaters on November 10th.
In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraq invasion.
Linklater’s bittersweet follow-up to Everybody Wants Some!! will make its world premiere at the New York Film Festival at the end of this month, before opening in theaters November 3rd. Can your heart handle it?
Noah Baumbach revisits the terrain of family vanities and warring attachments that he began exploring with The Squid and the Whale in this intricately plotted story of three middle-aged siblings (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel) coping with their strong-willed father (Dustin Hoffman) and the flightiness of his wife (Emma Thompson).
Techinically this is an Adam Sandler/Netflix movie. But it’s written and directed by Baumbach and premiered at Cannes ahead of its NYFF presentation. So, it can’t be that bad. Right? Right!? The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) hits Netflix on October 13th.
Set against the backdrop of the Mississippi Delta during the Jim Crow era after World War II, Mudbound is both a timeless and timely film following two families - one black, one white - bound together by the hardships of farm life.
This striking historical drama marks writer/director Dee Rees’ long-awaited theatrical follow-up to her critically heralded debut Pariah. Starring Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks, Mudbound won rave reviews out Sundance, and will play at TIFF and NYFF before hitting Netflix and select theaters on November 17th.
At the height of the Cold War, circa 1962, two workers in a high-tech US government laboratory (Sally Hawkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) discover a terrifying secret experiment, in this otherworldly fairytale from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).
I’m deeply, deeply jealous of every single person who gets to see this before I do. Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, and Richard Jenkins also star in del Toro’s alluring follow-up to his woefully underrated Crimson Peak. After playing at festivals in Venice, Toronto, Stiges, and London, The Shape of Water will finally open on December 8th.
Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square”, an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for “The Square”. The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.
Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, this satirical drama starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary was Winner Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2017. And sure, it sounds dry, but this trailer gives you a taste of its bizarre and biting brand of humor. The Square will play at TIFF and NYFF before opening in theaters October 27th.
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja - feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself - while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.
You had me by implying “supernatural lesbian thriller.” And I don’t get what’s going on with this poster, but I’m into it. Following TIFF, Fantastic Fest, and NYFF, Thelma will open on November 10th.
A grieving mother takes drastic measures in an attempt to catch her daughter’s killer. Challenging the police to solve the case, she posts a series of billboards that threaten the fabric of rural, Missouri.
Only In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh could take a premise this dark and spin it into something hilarious, yet heartbreaking. Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, and Caleb Landry Jones co-star in this ensemble black-comedy. But it’s Frances McDormand who’ll likely be the focus of its award season campaign, holding it down as a gruff, no shit taking, crotch-kicking mom on a mission. Once its thrilled audiences at TIFF, Fantastic Fest and London, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will come to theaters on November 10th.
In 1977, following the death of his single mother, Ben (Oakes Fegley) loses his hearing in a freak accident and makes his way from Minnesota to New York, hoping to learn about the father he has never met. A half-century earlier, another deaf 12-year-old, Rose (Millicent Simmonds), flees her restrictive Hoboken home, captivated by the bustle and romance of the nearby big city. Each of these parallel adventures, unfolding largely without dialogue, is an exuberant love letter to a different bygone era of New York. The mystery of how they ultimately converge, which involves Julianne Moore in a lovely dual role, provides the film’s emotional core.
Fans of the YA novel on which this movie is based will be happy to hear its author Brian Selznick penned Wonderstruck’s screenplay. Aside from boasting Moore and Michelle Williams, Haynes’s latest is drawing buzz, because he’s the filmmaker wwho’s brought us such beautiful, heart-pummeling films as Far From Heaven, Carol and Velvet Goldmine. Well, that and its rave reviews out of Cannes, Melbourne, Locarno, San Sebastián and Telluride. Following its bow at NYFF, Wonderstruck will come to theaters on October 20th.
Plot synopses pulled from festival websites, IMDB, and press releases.