Come on now, you’ve seen the Lincoln trailer, and no matter how many great actors are in that film, wild war horses couldn’t keep us awake. Spielberg’s turning his fourth quarter vault into the Reader’s Digest—just leave that thing in the bathroom. We’re in for some kicky stuff this Friday (Craig…Daniel Craig), but your subconscious may be wondering “Whatever shall I do after after Bond?” Never fear, P-town is here—with ten up and comers you didn’t even know you need to see.
1. Sightseers, November 30, 2012 (UK), US TBA
Directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List, The ABCs of Death), starring Steve Oram and Alice Lowe. This black comedy is up for Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Actress. No description is better than the trailer—just watch it.
2. The Grandmasters, December 18, 2012 (China), US TBA
Directed by Kar Wai Wong (My Blueberry Nights, Chunking Express, In the Mood for Love), starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang and Chen Chang. The story of Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man, who taught actor and martial arts instructor Bruce Lee. Gorgeous.
3. Citadel, November 9, 2012 (Limited)
Irish Director Ciaran Foy’s feature debut is a horror thriller starring Aneurin Barnard and James Cosmo. After his pregnant wife is attacked, Tommy (Barnard) is left a widower with severe agoraphobia. Trapped near the housing block where the crime took place, the single father believes the same gang is now coming after his child; he tries to fight his paralyzing fear with help from a “vigilante priest” (Cosmo). Interestingly, the idea for the film came about from the director’s own experience (similar to Joe Cornish and Attack the Block)—when he was 18, he was attacked by a group of youths and became agoraphobic himself. Citadel won the Midnighter Award at SXSW.
4. Berberian Sound Studio, Now Playing at the AFI Fest, US TBA
Directed by Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga), starring Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappellaro and Cosimo Fusco. Sound engineer Gilderoy (Jones) is hired to create the sound mix for an Italian horror movie. Surrounded by violent images and stabbing, screaming, torturous sounds, the meek and lonely Gilderoy begins to lose his mind. Strickland’s twisted psychological thriller explores terror through the power of sound.
5. Mental, Premiering at the Rome Film Festival, US TBA
Directed by P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding, Confessions of a Shopaholic), starring Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber and Anthony LaPaglia. Collette and Hogan, together again! After committing his wife to an institution, Barry (LaPaglia) finds himself overwhelmed with his five daughters who, “if they aren’t mental, they’re just unpopular,” so he hires a hitchhiker as their new nanny. Hi-Jinks!
6. Holy Motors, November 9, 2012
Directed by Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge, Boy Meets Girl), starring Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli. Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) plays all the roles of his life…and others? Here’s a great interview with Carax.
7. In Their Skin, November 9, 2012
Directorial feature debut by Jeremy Power Regimbal, starring Selma Blair, James D’Arcy, Rachel Miner and Joshua Close. The Hughes family is looking for a new start after the death of their young daughter, but their country house provides no respite. The new neighbors have something more in mind than friendship. In Their Skin is already getting good reviews for the actors’ performances and a smart screenplay that makes this not just another home invasion film.
8. The Sheik and I, December 7, 2012 (Limited)
A documentary, directed by Caveh Zahedi (I Am a Sex Addict), starring Caveh Zahedi, Beckett Zahedi and Michael Patten. Commissioned (and funded) to make a film about “art as a subversive act,” Zahedi’s lastest is now banned in the United Arab Emirates for blasphemy. Given three rules (no frontal nudity; no demeaning the prophet Mohammad; and no disparaging Sharjah’s absolute ruler, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi), the director decided to test the third rule’s limits and got himself into a world of trouble.
9. Saving Mr. Banks, December 20, 2013
Directed by John Lee Hancock (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Blind Side), starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Rachel Griffiths, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Ruth Wilson and Kathy Baker. A behind-the-scenes look at Walt Disney’s (Hanks) pursuit of author P.L. Travers (Thompson), to get the rights to her novel, and make the 1964 Mary Poppins film.
10. Mood Indigo, April 10, 2013 (Belgium), US TBA
Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Green Hornet), starring Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris and Omar Sy. Based on Boris Vian’s L’Écume des Jours, Chloë (Tautou) marries an inventor, Colin (Duris) and becomes ill while on their honeymoon—but this is no ordinary ailment—there’s a water lily growing in her lung. The only thing that can help her is a bit of hair of the dog, so to speak; Chloë must be surrounded by flowers…and from then on, things only get more surreal.
Cindy Davis has a movie growing in her head.