5. How To Survive a Plague (September 21)
Director: David France
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Why is it a "Must See"? A chronicle of AIDS activism in New York, David France's acclaimed doc -- which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival -- shows how a group of men and women fought against a homophobic establishment to help bring life-saving drugs to America.
A powerful piece of American history that too few are aware, "How To Survive a Plague" deserves just as much of an audience as all the Oscar baity fall fare that fills most of this list (not to say this doesn't deserve a slot in the best doc race).
Check out the trailer below:
6. The Impossible (December 21)
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Why is it a "Must See"? Speaking of Oscar baity fare, Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" definitely fits that bill. Based on a true story, the film is an account of a family caught in the mayhem of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Early word on the film -- which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month -- has been very strong. And the just-released trailer certainly suggests a powerful experience:
Check out the trailer below:
7. Amour (December 19) & 8. Rust and Bone (November 16)
Directors: Michael Haneke ("Amour") and Jacques Audiard ("Rust and Bone")
Casts: Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, William Shimell ("Amour"); Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust and Bone")
Distributors: Sony Pictures Classics (both)
Why Are They "Must Sees"? An un-deux punch of acclaimed French imports care of Sony Pictures Classics comes with Michael Haneke's "Amour" and Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone."
The former focuses on an elderly couple, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who are coping with a stroke that paralyses Anne's body, while the latter follows an unemployed man (Matthias Schoenaerts) who falls in love with a killer whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) who loses her legs in an accident.
Both love stories are alums of the Cannes Film Festival (where "Amour" earned Haneke his second Palme d'Or), and together the films are something of a redux to 2009. That year saw Haneke's "The White Ribbon" (which also won the Palme d'Or) and Audiard's "A Prophet" come out via Sony Classics, and both receive Oscar noms for best foreign language films.
Check out the trailers below:
9. Promised Land (December 28)
Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook
Distributor: Focus Features
Why is it a "Must See"? A last minute addition to the fall schedule (though there will surely be more to come), Focus Features is releasing Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" at the tail end of 2012.
The film -- scripted by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski -- takes on the hot topic of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) through a story of a corporate salesman (Damon), who seeks drilling rights in distressed communities, and a local man (Krasinski), who looks to oppose the sale. The film could put Damon head-to-head with BFF and "Argo" director-star Ben Affleck (who, as we know, co-wrote "Good Will Hunting" with Damon, a film also directed by Van Sant) this award season.
The film has yet to release a trailer.