"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.
"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!
"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.