As Cannes came to a close last month, speculation and predictions immediately loomed for what was in store for the triad of major festivals of the very early fall (or, technically, the very late summer). The 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run August 28 to September 7th, while Toronto will celebrate its 38th edition September 5-15. And then of course there's Telluride, which goes down on Labor Day weekend.
A lot of high profile films weren't ready in time for Cannes, including new ones from Wes Anderson, George Clooney, Alfonso Cuarón, Xavier Dolan, Atom Egoyan, Spike Lee, Terrence Malick, Steve McQueen, Kelly Reichardt, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and Lars von Trier (!). And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
So let the serious speculation begin: Which films will be the mammoths of the fall festival circuit? Here's a list of 50 possibilities, all new movies that haven't played anywhere yet, and that Indiewire's team hopes to see during Telluride, Venice and Toronto (including trailers when available).
"American Hustle" (directed by David O. Russell)
David O. Russell's 1970s true story about two con artists forced to help police bring down the corrupt mayor of New Jersey is on everyone's radar for two reasons: "Silver Linings Playbook" and Bradley Cooper's funky new 'do. Last year's Russell-helmed Best Picture nominee debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, making the Canadian festival the frontrunner for the "American Hustle" premiere. Both films have a Christmas Day release (that’s when "SLP" went wide), and you better believe "American Hustle" hopes to duplicate the box office and awards runs of "SLP." [Ben Travers]
"Amour Fou" (directed by Jessica Hausner)
"Amour Fou" is inspired by the life and death of the German poet, dramatist and philosopher Heinrich von Kleist and his death in a double suicide with his lover Henriette Vogel. The film addresses the "ambivalence and absurdity inherent in the very concept of two people committing suicide because of their love for one another." Christian Friedel and Birte Schnölik star as Henrich and Henriette. Directed by Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner, it seems like a good bet for Venice (where her previous film, "Lourdes," premiered). [Madeline Raynor]
"August Osage County" (directed by John Wells)
Nothing coming out this fall screams Oscar quite like "August: Osage County." Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts (who wrote the screenplay as well), the film stars none other than Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts as an extremely dysfunctional mother and daughter (alongside Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis and Abigail Breslin as other members of the family)). Though unless distributor the Weinstein Company is really confident festival reviews will be stellar, they might want to hold it off the circuit and wait to gather anticipation until its November release. But since this is a wishlist... [Peter Knegt]
"Captain Phillips" (directed by Paul Greengrass)
With two installments of the Bourne series under his belt, Paul Greengrass has proven his keen ability to sustain a thrill. His forthcoming film, "Captain Phillips," is sure to be just as charged. Based on the real-life events surrounding a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, the film stars Tom Hanks as the title character. It's not Greengrass' first time tackling real subject matter -- in 2006 he directed the 9/11 dramatization "United 93." The like-minded adventurous writing chops of Billy Ray ("The Hunger Games," 'State of Play") promise some bracing action. "Captain Phillips" also stars Catherine Keener, Max Martini and John Magaro, and is set for release on the Oscar-friendly date of October 11th (which also makes a Toronto a reasonable bet). [Julia Selinger]
"The Counselor" (directed by Ridley Scott)
You have to go back to 2008 to find a live-action film starring Brad Pitt that didn't premiere at a festival. That being said, that film was "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and it was as much of an Oscar lock six months out as Pitt's latest, "The Counselor," is right now. Directed by the long time Oscar snubee Ridley Scott, the thriller co-starring Michael Fassbender is the first original screenplay from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy. Every name I just mentioned screams Oscar, especially in 2013 for various reasons. With a plum November 15 release date and plenty of buzz factors, "The Counselor" may not need any early exposure. Still, we can dream. [Ben Travers]
"The Dallas Buyers Club" (directed by Jean-Marc Vallée)
Considering how few major American narrative films have tackled HIV/AIDS history -- especially in the past decade -- it's a little unnerving on the surface to see one finally arrive that tackles the epidemic, and from the perspective of a womanizing, homophobic man who, in 1986, was diagnosed with full blown HIV/AIDS. The real-life story sees him come to terms with his homophobia through his experiences smuggling alternative medicine with an HIV positive transexual woman (played by Jared Leto) -- which could prove a bit trying if it overdoes a tolerance theme. But the director (Quebec's Jean-Marc Vallée, who made "C.R.A.Z.Y."), and the cast (Matthew McConaughey plays the lead) are promising enough to make us have hope this doesn't turn into a "Philadelphia" for the 2010s. And given the director's nationality and its award season hopes, we'll likely find out for sure in Toronto [Peter Knegt]