"The Place Beyond The Pines," Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to 2010's "Blue Valentine" -- again with Ryan Gosling -- has added star-power in the form of Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes and dives deep into themes of male violence and anxiety. Gosling stars as a motorcycle stunt driver and loner who starts moonlighting as a bank robber (no, this is not a sequel to "Drive") to fulfill his newfound fatherly duties shared with baby-mama Mendes. Things are complicated when, during a job, he attracts the attention of a young cop -- enter Bradley Cooper. With "Pines" we expect Cianfrance to again seduce us with a moody, emotionally devastating tale -- this time in the shape of a crime thriller.
“Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out”
Marina Zenovich’s follow-up to her explosive 2008 documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” will play both Toronto and the New York Film Festival this fall in a bid to stir up more debate. The first film, which raised new questions about the behavior of the judge in the original legal case against Polanski, had such an impact that it prompted renewed efforts by Polanski’s lawyers to have the case dismissed and led to the filmmaker being placed under house arrest in Switzerland for nine months. This sequel of sorts takes a look at all of that aftermath, Polanski’s eventual release and what happens next in what remains a seemingly intractable fight against injustice for both sides.
Fans of playwright and screenwriter-director Martin McDonagh love him for his unabashedly dark and deranged sense of humor. In his follow up to the tragically underrated "In Bruges," "Seven Psychopaths" looks to push the dark hilarity to new heights. Boasting the likes of Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton, Olga Kurylenko and Abbie Cornish, it's hard to imagine this tale of screenwriter's block and high stakes dognapping being short of deliriously entertaining -- if not pure genius.
Stuart Blumberg co-wrote the 2010 comedy “The Kids Are All Right” with director Lisa Cholodenko, and the open question is whether he was able to bring that same mixture of heart, raunchy humor and believable relationship dynamics to his directorial debut (written with actor Matt Winston). The cast is a powerful mix of indie-film talent, with Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim Robbins starring in a story about sex addicts struggling with recovery. Unlike Steve McQueen’s deadly serious “Shame,” Blumberg’s treatment of the subject should prove to be both more accessible and less bleak.
"To The Wonder"
Based on reactions to its recent Venice debut, Terence Malick's "To The Wonder" looks to be as divisive as 2011's "The Tree of Life" (sans the dinosaurs and origins-of-life themes). That we have two of the director's films within two years is a treat in itself for fans, and a field-day for haters. Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams star in the dialogue-sparse story of love and its many seasons. Affleck plays a man torn between two loves, European Marina (Kurylenko) and home-town flame, Jane. With lensing from Emmanuel Lubezki, Malick's long-time collaborator, expect magic hour lighting, a leisurely and meditational pace. For Malick fans, "To The Wonder" will likely be a many-splendored thing, if not as satisfying as the director's many-years-in-the-making nature vs. grace instant classic.
Steve Greene, Jay A. Fernandez, Peter Knegt, Sophia Savage and Nigel M. Smith contributed to this article.