Every week, the Criticwire Survey asks film and TV critics two questions. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.) Send suggestions for future questions to sam at indiewire dot com.
Q: With summer over, the fall movie season is in full swing. What are you most looking forward to in the rest of 2014?
John DeCarli, Film Capsule
I’m most looking forward to checking out the films at this year’s New York Film Festival. New works by Cronenberg, Godard, Assayas and more are all intriguing, but I’m most excited about Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice.” “The Master” keeps growing in richness and complexity, and points to Anderson’s continuing maturity as a filmmaker. And “Inherent Vice,” sadly, will be the lone film projection amidst a sea of DCP in the festival’s main slate.
Josh Spiegel, Movie Mezzanine
For film, my most anticipated film is Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice,” because… it’s a Paul Thomas Anderson film. How could it not be?
Tony Dayoub, Cinema Viewfinder, Slant Magazine
The movie I’m most excited about is “Inherent Vice,” mostly because I want to see if Paul Thomas Anderson can continue his unprecedented streak. Not only is there not one bad movie in his filmography, they keep getting better and better.
Ethan Alter, Film Journal International, NYCFilmCritic
The boring answer is Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”: having read the book now, I’m excited (and only a little trepidatious) to see him handle more overtly comic material than he has in quite some time, in addition to returning to the ’70s L.A. milieu some seventeen years after Boogie Nights. The less-obvious answer is Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery”: the documentary filmmaker has been on a remarkable run of late (“Boxing Gym” and “At Berkeley” were two of my favorite movies of their respective years) and the idea of turning him loose in London’s National Gallery to document the workings of that particular institution is genuinely thrilling. The embarrassing answer is “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”: I probably shouldn’t admit to laughing at the first one as much as I did and the fact that this one swaps in the hilarious Adam Scott for exiting sourpuss John Cusack could make it the “Empire Strikes Back” of hot tub-assisted time travel sequels.
Jason Osder, director, “Let the Fire Burn”
I can’t resist Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence.” I also can’t believe I am writing this, as I was one of those people who had real ethical and narrative problems with Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing,” to which “Silence” is a companion piece. Out on the festival circuit at the same time as “Killing,” I continued to think on it and talk to a lot of people about it. I met Joshua, read about the effect his film was having around the world and especially in Indonesia. I started to understand his quiet brilliance. None of this is the way my formal film mind thinks a film is supposed to work!… and then I finally started to get it. By the time awards season rolled around, I was rooting for the film.
Since then, I have been anticipating “The Look of Silence.” What if Oppenheimer is able to deftly pick up, not so much where he left off in “The Act of Killing,” as where we are now, having discussed it for two years? It is safe to say that rarely has any film generated so much critical discussion. Now, having been disgusted, offended, persuaded, won-over, impressed, and awed, now a new film promises to show a new side. Oppenheimer has already changed cinematic history and now there is an act 2 that was part of the grand design all along.
Richard Brody, New Yorker
My idea of vulgar auteurism is: His or her previous films were good, so the new one will probably be good, too. That’s why the movie I’m most looking forward to this fall is the compilation film “The New York Film Festival Main Slate”; this year’s selection is — judging from sense-memory, the excitement I felt upon its announcement compared with that of previous years — the best in twenty-five years or more (though I’ll put the notion to the test at some point). I’m especially delighted that the list includes new films by some of the best directors around (such as Pedro Costa, Hong Sang-soo, Matias Piñeiro, Abderrahmane Sissako, and Eugène Green) and some superb American independent films (independents were present at the start, with “Hallelujah the Hills” in 1963 and “Nothing But a Man” in 1964, but have largely been left out in recent years); and, of course, I’m impatient to see Alain Resnais’s last film “Life of Riley” there. Then there’s Jean-Luc Godard’s “Adieu au Langage”; I’ll spare the langage on this for now; of course it should be seen at the festival, but it’s even better that it will be in theatrical release (on Oct. 29), because the way to see a new film by Godard is to see it about ten times — not in order to understand it but for pleasure.
Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat, Film Racket
I feel like a lot of the choices are pretty obvious: “Gone Girl,” “Interstellar,” “Foxcatcher,” etc. That being the case, I’m going to answer with a twist and say that I’m really excited to see “Left Behind.” This is a film based a best-selling end-times Christian novel that was already filmed once, with Kirk Cameron in the lead. It was one of the worst, most painfully inept movies I’ve ever seen. Now they’ve remade it with Nicolas Cage in the central role. Cage’s career has, of course, largely gone down the tubes, with one barely released low-rent actioner after another. All this would seem to make “Left Behind” a veritable maelstrom of awfulness. But — and this is a big “but” — it’s also, as the cinematic cliché says, so crazy it just might work. I honestly can’t even begin to fathom what this film might be like, and that intrigues me to no end. No matter what, I won’t miss it.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Birdman” and “Selma.”
Sean Chavel, FlickMinute
Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” It already looks ahead of its time.
Danny Bowes, Salt Lake City Weekly
The last time Shahrukh Khan and Farah Khan worked together, the meta masterpiece “Om Shanti Om” resulted, so despite the fact that Anurag Kashyap has a new movie coming out (I hear some obscure Westerners named Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan have pictures coming out too, but you couldn’t prove it by me) my most-anticipated fall release is “Happy New Year.” The premise is, Shahrukh, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, and Sonu Sood want to pull off a massive heist but in order to do so they have to enter a dance competition. (Pertinent piece of information, being that this is a a dance movie: director Farah Khan is the best choreographer the cinema has seen since Busby Berkeley.) There’s no downside here.
Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit, First Showing
Excluding all of the awards contenders and likely critical darlings that others will cite, I’ll simply say that the film I’m personally most looking forward to is Kevin Smith’s “Tusk.” It looks like a blast, the script read really well, and I’m always down to watch Michael Parks put on an acting clinic. Count me in for this one in a big bad way.
John Keefer, 51 Deep
I cannot stop watching “The Skeleton Twins” trailer, so it must be my most anticipated upcoming film.
Adam Batty, Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second
My most anticipated film of the fall is Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language.” As a longtime fan of Godard I’ve come to expect a certain degree of coolness when it comes to the early word on his latter-day projects, with “Film Socialisme” and “Notre Musique” both opening to mixed reviews here in the UK, but with “Goodbye to Language” a chorus of cheers were heard within moments of the film playing Cannes earlier this year, giving this latest film, if you’ll excuse the pun, an extra dimension of anticipation.
Gary M. Kramer, Philadelphia Gay News
I am most interested in seeing the Argentine films “Wild Tales,” “Juaja,” and “Two Shots Fired.”
Liz Shannon Miller, Indiewire
I’m really excited to see how “Big Hero 6” works. A vaguely originalish property that looks to feature strong comedy and superhero action? Hopes are very very high for this one.
Nell Minow, Beliefnet
I was lucky enough to spend a day at Laika to see the sets and characters for “The Boxtrolls” and to speak to the cast at Comic-Con, and so I am beyond excited about seeing the film. Laika’s mantra is “No perfect circles, no straight lines, no right angles,” and their fabulously crooked world was created by an entire timeline of human creative history, from Bronze Age technology through to mind-bending advances in CGI algorithms and 3D printers. And the story looks utterly enchanting. I’ve read both “This is Where I Leave You” and “Gone Girl” and the trailers look even better than the books. I’m also looking forward to the prestige pictures with lots of lovely English actors and plummy accents: “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything.” And “Dear White People” and “Book of Life” both look like instant classics.
Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute
“Gone Girl” (so sue me; dandy book, stellar film team). Runner up: “This Is Where I Leave You” (dandy book, stellar film team).
Luke Y. Thompson, Topless Robot
I’m not a big Iñarritu fan, but am looking forward to “Birdman,” because we do need more Michael Keaton on our screens. I’ve already seen “The Boxtrolls” and “The Zero Theorem” — would like to see Bill Plympton’s new feature but I fear I may have missed my chance. As a fan of unconventional animation I’m also hoping very much to see “Rocks in My Pockets,” a cartoon about multiple generations dealing with depression.
Sean Axmaker, Cinephiled, Parallax View
been on pins and needles waiting for the only trilogy that matters to
finally conclude this fall with “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”
Okay, just kidding there. As I no longer really visit the festival
circuit beyond my hometown Seattle festival and the Vancouver fest just
north of me, I look forward to “Whiplash.” The original short was a
great little shot of power games and intimidation nightmare. Everything
I’ve heard puts this at the top of my fall list. Plus it may just bring
back memories of my high school jazz band days, which were clearly much
Monica Castillo, Movie Mezzanine
“Dear White People”: When I first heard about this movie from its
Sundance hoopla, it caught my attention with its billing as a satirical
look at racism on a college campus. After all, that isn’t your typical
Sundance synopsis. Word spread, and by the time I tried to make festival
screenings in New York and Boston, they were sold out. In a year full
of mainstream discussion about race and privilege in America, I can’t
think of a better time to continue that dialogue.
Jeff Berg, ABQ Free Press, Las Cruces Bulletin
Days in Vietnam, “Tracks” (more than all the others), “Birdman,” “Fury,” “Ft.
Bliss,” “White Bird in a Blizzard,” “Wild,” “Mr. Turner.”
Kristy Puchko, Cinema Blend
The movie I’m most looking forward to this fall
is hands down “Birdman.” Yes, it’s
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s latest. Yes, it’s been getting huge festival
buzz. But for me, it’s all about Michael Keaton. As a child of the ’80s, Keaton
is imprinted on my very soul through repeated watchings of everything from “Batman” and “Beetlejuice” to “Mr. Mom”
and “Johnny Dangerously.” I seek out
anything he deigns to appear in (yup, even “RoboCop”
and “Need for Speed”). But “Birdman” has me especially excited.
Between its meta content and seemingly bonkers brand of humor, I’m counting
the days until it screens for press here in the States.