By Indiewire | Indiewire June 21, 2012 at 1:11PM
Even as Cannes announced its lineup, speculation and predictions loomed about what was in store for the triad of major festivals of the very early fall (or, technically, the very late summer).
The 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run August 29 to September 8th, while Toronto will celebrate its 37th edition September 6-16. And then of course there's Telluride, which goes down on Labor Day weekend.
A lot of high-profile films were unready in time for Cannes, including Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Behind The Pines" and Lauren Cantet's "Foxfire." And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's time to let the serious speculation begin: Which films will be the mammoths of the fall festival circuit?
Among the possible, likely, or essentially assured filmmakers who will premiere at Venice, Telluride or Toronto are Ben Affleck, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kathryn Bigelow, Susanne Bier, Brian De Palma, James Gray, Harmony Korine, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Manoel de Oliveira, Francois Ozon, Nicolas Winding Refn, David O. Russell and Joe Wright.
Here's a list of 50 films, all new movies that haven't played anywhere yet, and that Indiewire's editorial team hopes to see during the Telluride, Venice and Toronto.
"Anna Karenina," directed by Joe Wright, written by Tom Stoppard (from the novel by Leo Tolstoy)
The latest from Joe Wright ("Atonement," "Hanna") seems like a lock for Venice's 2012 competition given Wright's history with the event ("Atonement" premiered there), and its release date in the U.K. (September 7). Expect to see it pop up shortly after at TIFF to get the awards buzz underway, ahead of its November 9 stateside release. The film finds Wright re-teamed with his "Atonement" leading lady Keira Knightley for an expressionistic take on the Russian classic. Jude Law, Aaron Johnson and Kelly MacDonald co-star.
"Argo," directed Ben Affleck, written by Chris Terrio (from an article by Joshuah Bearman)
With an October 12 release date, expect to see Ben Affleck's third directorial offering following "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," to premiere at either Venice or TIFF ("The Town" premiered in Venice). The film -- starring Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler and Alan Arkin -- is arguably Affleck's most ambitious project to date, finding the director working outside of the U.S. for a period piece based on true events. Adapted from a 2007 story in Wired magazine, "Argo" chronicles the CIA's covert operation to rescue six employees of the U.S. embassy in Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis. Affleck heads the cast as the agent who hatched the plan.
"At Any Price," directed by Ramin Bahrani, written by Bahrani and Hallie Elizabeth Newton
Ramin Bahrani ("Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop," "Goodbye Solo") is not necessarily known for working with big stars, but his latest, "At Any Price," features Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, and Kim Dickens ("Footloose"). Bahrani, a master of mise-en-scene, puts his characters in middle America, where the family's farming business is threatened, and father and son, once at odds with each other over the future of the business, must deal with an investigation into their farm.
"The Bling Ring," written and directed by Sofia Coppola and "A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III," written and directed by Roman Coppola
A year after their father Francis Ford's "Twixt" landed with a bit of thud in Toronto, both Sofia and Roman Coppola seem poised to bring their latest to the fall festival circuit. And their respective projects sure look interesting. Two years after controversially taking the Golden Lion in Venice for "Somewhere," Coppola could return with a film that stars Emma Watson as part of a gang of Beverly Hills burglars (its based on a real-life story... just ask Orlando Bloom). It just wrapped, so it might not be ready in time. Though her brother Roman seems more likely to head to Venice (or perhaps Toronto or Telluride instead) with his first film since 2001's "CQ," "A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III." The film -- which stars Bill Murray alongside none other than Charlie Sheen -- is about a graphic designer's life sliding into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him. Neither film has a release date set.
Continue to the following pages for the rest of our picks.
"The Broken Circle Breakdown," directed by Felix von Groeningen, written by von Groeningen and Carl Joos
Flemish film director von Groeningen's latest film is about a couple whose child falls ill, was recently picked up by The Match Factory, becoming the first ever Flemish film to be represented by them. Von Groeningen's 2009 film "The Misfortunates" won Best Film at the 2010 International Istanbul Film Festival, picking up a Golden Tulip award.
"Cloud Atlas," written and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer (from the novel by David Mitchell)
Mystery surrounds the German-produced adaptation of David Mitchell's postmodern instant classic novel "Cloud Atlas." In the novel, six stories across various times (from the distant past to the distant future) are told in cascading contexts; that is, one narrator tells the tale of the next. While the Wachowski's (who, of course, brought us "The Matrix") were not universally praised for their last go at directing, "Speed Racer," the film still has its ardent fans. And no one's stopped listening to the directorial duo. But let us not forget that the Wachowski's are not going this alone. They are joined by German director Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), who has been busy lately, with films like "Three" and "The International." With the Wachowski's and Tykwer's history in smashing genres and a killer cast (Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Hugo Weaving, and Xun Zhou), "Cloud Atlas" has us on the edge with anticipation. It was recently announced the film would have an October 26 release date, so a flashy debut at one of the fall fests seems perfect.
“The Company You Keep,” directed by Robert Redford, written by Lem Dobbs (from the novel by Neil Gordon)
Gordon’s 2003 novel concerns a former Weather Underground radical who is flushed out 30 years after his activist youth by a young journalist that discovers his identity. The film version stars Redford and Shia LaBeouf in the leads, but the thriller’s supporting cast overflows with brilliant character actors: Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Richard Jenkins. (Brit Marling and Anna Kendrick rep the younger contingent.) The material keeps Redford in the politically rich terrain that has most interested him recently (“The Conspirator,” “Lions for Lambs”) but has not led to box office or awards success. This ninth directing effort, however, has the benefit of strong source material and the kind of high-caliber cast that could draw serious attention.
"The East," directed by Zal Batmanglij, written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling
Ever since breaking out of the gate with his stellar directorial debut "Sound of My Voice," all eyes have been on Zal Batmanglij's anticipated (and much bigger) follow-up "The East," which finds him re-teamed with "Sound of Voice" co-writer/star, Brit Marling, and distributor Fox Searchlight. When we caught up with him in late April, Batmanglij told Indiewire that he was in the midst of editing the film, so chances are it will be ready for the fall festival circuit. The film sounds a lot like "Sound of My Voice: Marling stars as a contract worker tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, only to find herself falling for its leader. Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond and Patricia Clarkson all star.
"The English Teacher," directed by Craig Zisk, written by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton
TV director Craig Zisk makes his feature debut with "The English Teacher," an indie comedy. Michael Angarano, the "Snow Angels" actor who hasn't quite found his breakout role yet, will star as a failed playwright who returns to his hometown and falls in love with his English teacher, played by Julianne Moore. It seems pretty straightforward, but it's never smart to write off anything with Julianne Moore.
"Foxfire," written directed by Lauren Cantet (from the novel by Joyce Carol Oates)
French director Cantent won the Palme D'Or in 2008 for "Entre les murs," a semi-autobiographical film based on the experiences of Francois Begaudeau, author of the novel the film was based off. This year, Cantet brings to life another author's work--Joyce Carol Oates' "Foxfire," a story of five girls growing up in a troubled atmosphere who form their own gang. Shot in Ontario, Canada and previously adapted by Annette Haywood-Carter in 1996 featuring a young Angelina Jolie, Cantet casts newcomers in his latest endeavor. Producers say they are prepping the film for a release at the Toronto Film Festival this September.
"Gambit," directed by Michael Hoffman, written by Joel & Ethan Coen
Hoffman's film is a remake of the 1966 comedy "Gambit" starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted update stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz as a London art dealer and a Texas steer roper who plot to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting. The film had been in development for several years with stars including Jennifer Aniston and Hugh Grant rumored to be involved before it finally got off the ground in 2011. The film is slated for this October. [Devin Lee Fuller]
“Gangster Squad,” directed by Ruben Fleischer, written by Will Beall (from the book by Paul Lieberman)
Fleischer’s “Zombieland” follow-up “30 Minutes or Less” fizzled, but this epic real-life story of cops battling New York gangster Mickey Cohen in 1949 L.A. is Fleischer’s bid to cement his reputation as a serious filmmaker. With Sean Penn, Giovanni Ribisi, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena and Robert Patrick toting guns and fedoras, it’s a tough-guy extravaganza that looks to be more fun than Michael Mann’s Depression-era “Public Enemies.” And given that Martin Scorsese’s Boston-set cops-and-gangsters flick “The Departed” took best picture and three other Oscars in 2009, it’s not far-fetched for Warner Bros. to throw this into the late summer early-awards-season game, just in case. (It opens in theaters Sept. 7.)
"Gebo and the Shadow," written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira (from the play by Raul Brandão)
De Oliveira continues to make us feel like slackers, as he finishes yet another film at the tender age of 103. De Oliveira has impressed recently with his "The Strange Case of Angelica" and "Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired GIrl," and with "Gebo" he adapts the play by Raul Brandao that tells the story of a man in 19th Century Portugal who sacrifices himself to save his fugitive son.
"Hyde Park on Hudson," directed by Roger Michell, written by Richard Nelson
Bill Murray stars as FDR in "Hyde Park on Hudson," a historical drama surrounding the visit of King George VI to the US in 1939. Yes, that's the same king who stuttered his way through Best Picture winner "The King's Speech" in 2010, though this time around he's played by Samuel West. The film also stars Laura Linney as Roosevelt's close friend, Margaret Suckley. You can expect a big Oscar push come awards season; Michell's last film was the weakly received "Morning Glory," but 2006's "Venus" led to an Oscar nomination for Peter O'Toole, so it will not be surprising if this film does the same for Murray.
"I Am Divine," directed by Jeffrey Schwarz
There will never be another movie star like Divine, the 300-pound drag queen who made an unforgettable cult sensation out of herself in the early films of John Waters. We all know about the dog shit, but we don't know much about the man behind the movie star. "Vito" director Jeffrey Schwarz will unearth the life story of Harris Glenn Milstead, Divine's real-life counterpart, in "I Am Divine."
"Imogene," directed by Shari Springer-Berman and Robert Pulcini.
"Imogene" has a really great logline: A playwright has to move in with her crazy mother after faking a suicide attempt to get her ex-boyfriend's attention. Now, hold on to your hats, because I'm about to tell you who's playing this mother-daughter pair: Annette Bening and Kristen Wiig. We're going to miss seeing Kristen Wiig on SNL every week, but if she's going to be taking on roles like this, we can't complain. Plus, it's being helmed by "American Splendor" directors Shari Springer-Berman and Robert Pulcini.
"Inside Llewelyn Davis," directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
A new Coen brothers' film is always a heavily anticipated event. Their follow-up to "True Grit" is "Inside Llewelyn Davis," a drama about a singer-songwriter navigating the music scene in New York City during the 1960s. Oscar Isaac stars as the titular Llewelyn Davis, and Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan also have major roles in the film. The film is said to be loosely based off of Dave Van Ronk's "The Mayor of MacDougall Street." Considering the Coen brothers' Oscar-friendly track record, "Inside Llewelyn Davis" could be yet another contender this coming awards season. But the film does not yet have a release date, and filming started this year so we may have to wait a bit longer.
"In the House," written and directed by Francois Ozon
Francois Ozon's follow-up to his French hit "Potiche" comes out in France in October, making it more than ready to premiere in either Venice or Toronto. The film, which was nabbed by the Cohen Media Group for U.S. distribution out of Cannes, stars a stellar ensemble that includes Kristin Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner. Ozon based his screenplay on Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga’s “The Boy in the Last Row,” which was performed earlier this year at the Bucharest National Theatre. The play’s storyline follows a high school teacher who becomes entangled with a student’s invasion of a classmate’s privacy sparked by an essay assignment.
"Life of Pi," directed by Ang Lee, written by David Magee (from the novel by Yann Martel)
As anyone who's seen "Prometheus" can attest to: "Life of Pi" looks awesome. The teaser, which essentially amounts to a thrilling scene from the film, is currently playing before "Prometheus" (and oddly not available online), and the reaction's been through the roof. Ang Lee's anticipated 3D adaptation of Yan Martel's beloved adventure novel isn't set for release until November 21, but the director does have a history with Venice (he won the Golden Lion twice, for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Lust, Caution"), so there's a chance it might play there. A TIFF kickoff might be more likely, given the film's high budget and Oscar hopes.
"The Lines of Wellington," directed by Raoul Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento, written by Carlos Saboga
Raoul Ruiz's widow, also his editor and director in her own right, Valeria Sarmiento took over the directorial reins to his 19th Century period piece "Lines of Wellington" after the prolific Chilean director ("Mysteries of Lisbon," "Klimt") died last year. The film takes a look at the 1810 Battle of Bussaco, documenting the French invasion of Portugal. It stars John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, and Mathieu Amalric, all actors that promise to stun in this dark and dreary look at an understudied moment in European history.
"Looper," written directed by Rian Johnson
Johnson reteams with "Brick" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this science fiction crime noir, his first film since 2009's lukewarmly received "The Brothers Bloom." Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, a hitman for an organization that sends criminals from the future to be executed in the past. Joe stumbles when is he is tasked with killing his future self (Bruce Willis), and he accidentally allows him to escape. Joe must capture and kill his older self before the organization executes him for his failure. Hopefully, "Looper" will provide a trippy hit of sci fi and action like "Inception" did back in 2010.
"Lore," directed by Cate Shortland, written by Shortland, Robin Mukherjee and Rachel Seiffert
Shortland, who previously directed the 2005 film "Somersault" with Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington, returns now with "Lore," based around a family of five siblings who make a 900km trek to their grandparent's house in the middle of World War Two. Adapted from author Rachel Seiffert's "Dark Room" and shot in Germany, the film had its premiere at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival and is slated for release in Germany in October of this year.
"Love Is All You Need" directed by Suzanne Bier, written by Anders Thomas Jensen
Bier and her regular collaborators, scripter Anders Thomas Jensen and cinematographer Morten Søborg venture into romantic comedy territory after Best Foreign Language Oscar winner "In A Better World," and Bier's equally dramatic Danish film's "After The Wedding," "Brodre" and "Open Hearts." "Love Is All You Need," set in Italy, stars Pierce Brosnan, Paprika Steen, Trine Dyrholm ("In A Better World") and Kim Bodnia. THR reports the plot revolves around a bunch of people looking for love, their passions and happiness, jealousy and loneliness -- which tells us nothing about the actual storyline -- but we're excited nonetheless. Sony Pictures Classics holds the US rights, and given it's an Italian co-production, Venice seems like a good bet.
"Lowlife" directed by James Gray, written by Gray and Ric Menello
The currently-titled "Lowlife" reteams Gray with Joaquin Phoenix for the fourth time ("The Yards," "We Own The Night," "Two Lovers') and adds Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Dagmara Dominczyk to the mix. The Weinsteins just picked up the title. Cotillard plays a woman immigrating from Poland during the 1920s whose dreams turn into a nightmare when she is forced to prostitute herself for medicine after her sister becomes gravely ill during their voyage to Ellis Island and is being held there. Phoenix plays the sleaze who convinces her to sell her body, while Renner plays the magician she falls for and whom offers her an escape from the life that's trapped her. These actors are extremely hot properties right now, Cotillard having earned rave reviews for Cannes' Jacques Audillard pic "Rust and Bone" and this summer's "The Dark Knight Rises," Phoenix with Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated "The Master" and Renner poised to add yet another franchise ("The Bourne Legacy") to his repertoire ("The Avengers," "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol").
"The Master," written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Most definitely one of the most anticipated -- and likely -- films to head the way of the major fall festivals, Paul Thomas Anderson is back with "The Master." A veiled take on scientology, the film follows a charismatic intellectual (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who launches a faith-based organization in the 1950s called "The Cause." A drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes his right-hand man but as the faith begins to gain a fervent following, the drifter finds himself questioning his mentor. Also starring Amy Adams and Laura Dern, the film wrapped last fall and ran some very well-received footage at Cannes. The Weinstein Company is releasing it theatrically October 12th, so a fall festival debut seems all but assured.
"Only God Forgives," written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
When Ryan Gosling was handed the script to "Only God Forgives," written by his "Drive" director Nicholas Winding Refn, he said "It's the strangest thing I've ever read and it's only going to get stranger." People, this is the guy who used "Lars and the Real Girl" to help launch his career! The story doesn't sound too weird, though. Gosling stars as Julien, who killed a cop ten years ago and has lived in Bangkok since. Julien's mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) leads up the family's drug smuggling service, but the real drama comes when his brother (Tom Burke), who helps him run a boxing club, murders a prostitute and a retired cop, Chang, the Angel Vengeance is brought in to help the police get to the bottom of it all. Intense!
"Passion," written and directed by Brian De Palma (from the film "Love Crime," written by Alain Corneau and Natalie Carter)
While Brian DePalma's latest (a remake of the recent French art house thriller, "Love Crime," that starred Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier) didn't go to cameras until earlier this year, footage of the potboiler screened for buyers at Cannes, meaning that it's likely it will be ready for festivals come late August. Look for the Rachel McAdams/Noomi Rapace starrer to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where DePalma won Best Director for "Redacted" in 2007.
"The Place Behind The Pines," written and directed by Derek Cianfrance
It took Derek Cianfrance a decade to get "Blue Valentine" made, but since its massive success, he has wasted no time putting together this follow-up. Boasting an all-star cast, "The Place Beyond The Pines" sees Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle stuntman who considers committing a crime to provide for his child. Sounds a bit like "Drive," right? Perhaps. But this one has the ensemble to beat in 2012: Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta and Bruce Greenwood. It apparently just missed the Cannes deadline, suggesting Venice, Telluride and/or Toronto as a good bet.
"Quartet," directed by Dustin Hoffman, written by Ronald Harwood (based on his play)
Actor Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for his directorial debut with "Quartet," a film adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play that centers around four retired opera singers and their plans to celebrate composer Verdi's birthday. Hoffman's cast includes the great Dame Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connolly. Filming began last September in locations around the U.K. and is slated for a 2012 release.
“Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” directed by Marina Zenovich
Zenovich’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” got a major boost from its premiere at Sundance in 2008, followed by a Cannes screening, which not only had audiences chattering about the film’s lively resurrection of an infamous, decades-old celebrity scandal, but also prompted Polanski’s lawyers to re-attempt to dismiss the original case based on evidence presented in the film. “Wanted and Desired” won several Emmys after its HBO airing, and then Polanski was detained in Switzerland in 2009 and put under house arrest for 10 months. Throughout, Zenovich has trained her cameras on the fallout from the first film and Polanski’s evolving predicaments, much as Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky did when their “Paradise Lost” documentary affected real-life events. By early summer Zenovich was putting the finishing touches on the new doc, so barring any new developments in the case the fall fest circuit seems a likely launch pad.
"Seven Psychopaths," written and directed by Martin McDonagh
McDonagh's short "Six Shooter" won the 2006 Oscar for Best Live Action Short. The Irish playwright's feature debut as screenwriter-producer-director was the woefully underrated "In Bruges" (2008) in which Colin Farrell gives a career-best performance alongside Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes and Clémence Poésy. The cast of his second feature (after exec producing his brother John Michael McDonagh's 2011 film "The Guard"), Los Angeles-set "Seven Psychopaths," is even better with Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko (take a moment to compose yourself). The film follows Farrell as a screenwriter struggling with his script (also titled "Seven Psychopaths"); he finds inspiration when he gets sucked into some dognapping schenanigans with friends (Rockwell and Walken) when the Shih Tzu of a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing. The only problem is that he needs to stay alive long enough to write it all down. For those familiar with McDonagh, this all sounds very much in line with his black comedy oeuvre that includes stage plays "The Pillowman," "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." CBS Films co-financed and will handle US distribution.
"Silver Linings Playbook," written and directed by David O. Russell (from the novel by Matthew Quick)
Although David O. Russell's last film, "The Fighter," didn't play at either TIFF or Venice before going on to net two Academy Awards, don't count out on his latest from doing the festival circuit. Why? Simple: It's being distributed by The Weinstein Company. The film should be ready for TIFF, with a November 21st U.S. release date already locked down. "Silver Linings" stars Bradley Cooper as a former high school teacher who moves back in with his mother after completing a four-year stint in a mental institution. Jennifer Lawrence plays his love interest, while Julia Stiles stars as Lawrence's older sister. Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro round out the cast.
"Something In The Air," written and directed by Oliver Assayas
French director Assayas, who recently sat in the jury for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, centers his latest film around a teenager in 1970s Europe amongst social and political turmoil. Production took place in France, Italy and the U.K, with the film's language set to be derived from all three places. Slated for a November 2012 release, Assayas' last two films, "Summer Hours" and "Carlos" were well-received by critics.
"Song for Marion," written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams
Paul Andrew Williams won the New Director's Award at 2006's Edinburgh Film Festival for "London to Brighton," a crime drama that deals with issues like prostitution and mob violence. His latest project, currently in post-production, chronicles the story of an aged man who becomes involved with a choir after his wife, who was a member, falls ill with cancer. Shot in Newcastle upon Tyne, County Durham and other U.K. locations, the film boasts acting legends Terrance Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, with a well-known supporting cast comprising of Gemma Arterton and Christopher Ecclestone.
"Spring Breakers," written and directed by Harmony Korine
We never thought we'd say this, but the next Harmony Korine movie looks like a lot of fun. Perish the thought! The film -- a tale tale of teen bank robbers -- features a bizarre cast of teen celebs (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens!) alongside none other than James Franco. The Miami production was well-documented, and the pictures actually looked like a lot of fun. One thing's for sure: This should be a big step away from "Trash Humpers."
"Stoker," directed by Park Chan-wook, written by Wentworth Miller
Everyone in Hollywood seems to want to work with Park Chan-wook, the South Korean auteur behind "Oldboy" and the Vengeance trilogy. His next of his two upcoming films will feature Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Jacki Weaver and Matthew Goode, in a script written by TV star Wentworth Miller. Not much is known, but it's apparently influenced by Dracula as well as Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt." Count us in.
“Thanks for Sharing,” directed by Stuart Blumberg, written by Blumberg and Matt Winston
Sex addiction was the hot topic last fall, when Steve McQueen’s “Shame” hit the Venice-Telluride-Toronto trifecta in 2011. But this directing debut from “The Kids Are All Right” co-writer Stuart Blumberg promises to leaven the darkness with some humor, just as “Kids” took a challenging premise and spun light but poignant fun from its story of lesbian mothers grappling with the sudden intrusion of their children’s sperm donor. Indie stalwarts Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad star as the main sex addicts — with Gwyneth Paltrow along for the ride — which surely will help this film take full advantage of its fall festival potential.
"To The Wonder," written and directed by Terrence Malick
It's wise to keep anticipation under control for Malick's three upcoming films in various stages of production. Yes, the master auteur is working more quickly these days, but with his record of five films in approximately forty years it's pointless to rush him. That being said, we'll be first in line when "To The Wonder" bows. It's cast includes Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen and Amanda Peet. Affleck plays a philandering man who falls hard for a European woman (Kurylenko), but once their marriage deteriorates he reunites with a former flame (McAdams) from his hometown. Bardem's role has been said to be that of a Priest who gives Affleck's character advice. So essentially we have some of our favorite actors working with cinematic magicians Malick and DP Emanuel Lubezki in a film about love. Yes, please.
"Trouble With The Curve," directed by Robert Lorenz, written by Randy Brown
As an Academy Award nominated producer for 2003's "Mystic River" and an Oscar-nominated producer for "Letters from Iwo Jima," Lorenz's films bring as much star power as they do acclaim. Known for collaborating with superstar Clint Eastwood, Lorenz teams up with the actor again in his latest project, which projects another all-star cast. The film has had a quick turnaround in a slated late-September release after starting shooting in March 2012 in Atlanta. Eastwood plays an aged baseball scout who takes his daughter on his last recruiting trip. Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard are some of the actors who co-star in the film, and this will be Eastwood's first acting gig since 2008's "Gran Torino."
"Under the Skin," directed by Jonathan Glazer, written by Walter Campbell (from the novel by Michel Faber)
Glazer brings Scarlett Johansson to the limelight with his adaptation of Michel Faber's sci-fi novel. In post-production (filming took place in Scotland last year), the film centers around an alien who takes the form of an attractive woman who lures in men. Though this film sounds very similar to the 1995 sci-fi thriller "Species," it seems to be a lot scarier and emotion-driven, driving the protagonist (alien Johansson) to question her own actions. A release date is not yet known, but it was shot last year so it seems a likely candidate for fall festival season.
"Untitled Greta Gerwig Project," written and directed by Greta Gerwig
We don't know anything about the new Greta Gerwig film, which the rising indie star wrote and directed last year. She dropped a hint about it during interviews for Whit Stillman's "Damsels in Distress," but otherwise, mum's the word. Gerwig hasn't stepped behind the camera since her mumblecore days, when she collaborated with Joe Swanberg on "Nights and Weekends."
"Warm Bodies," written and directed by Jonathan Levine (from the novel by Isaac Marion)
Perhaps it is no surprise that ultra-hip director Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness," "50/50") is taking a stab at zombies. Isaac Marion's 2011 novel of the same name was put on the fast-track to adaptation, with Levine writing the screenplay. In it, R (Nicholas Hoult ("X-Men: First Class," "Skins")) is a zombie who falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his victims. Bonus treats: John Malkovich, "The Daily Show"'s Rob Corddry, and Dave Franco (baby brother of that other Franco) are also in this one.
"What Maisie Knew," directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne (from the novel by Henry James)
"What Maisie Knew" is a modern adaptation of Henry James' novel of the same name. The film follows a young girl (Onata Aprile) who shuttles between her divorced parents' homes, observing their new relationships as they develop. Julianne Moore plays her rock star mother and Steve Coogan plays her art dealer father. McGehee and Siegel's last film was the little seen "Uncertainty," but the impressive cast (Alexander Skarsgård also stars) may increase the film's profile. "Uncertainty" premiered at TIFF in 2008, so "What Maisie Knew" may have a festival life as well. The film does not yet have a release date.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by Mark Boal
All eyes are on the Oscar-winning duo’s follow-up to 2009 best picture winner “The Hurt Locker,” which had been launched at Venice and Toronto the year before. To add intrigue to the super-mysterious hunt-for-Osama bin Laden project, Bigelow and Boal managed to stir up political controversy and a Congressional investigation because of the alleged leak of classified info to them by the Obama White House for use in the movie. With 2011’s indie darling Jessica Chastain in the cast, and Joel Edgerton primed for a Jeremy Renner-like breakout, the film could trace a similar awards path to “Hurt Locker” if it has the same vitality, grit and riveting characters. And if Sony hadn’t pushed the release back to Dec. 19, it could have affected the presidential election, too.
Austin Dale, Jay A. Fernandez, Devin Lee Fuller, Peter Knegt, Bryce J. Renninger, Sophia Savage, Nigel M. Smith and Srimathi Sridhar contributed to this article.