Tuesday, August 08, 2017

5 Off My Head: NYFF Selections

The Main Slate line-up for this year's New York Film Festival was announced today and as usual it's an international phantasmagoria of cinematic somethings. Most thrilling, to little ol' me, is the confirmation of something most of us suspected - Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name is playing the fest! Maybe you've heard me mention that movie once or twice? At least now I know I'll be seeing the thing earlier than its Thanksgiving release date (the festival runs September 28th to October 15th), even if that's coming later than it has for most of my world-hopping festival chasing colleagues. (I'm really flattering myself, calling real movie critics colleagues, but hey, if I don't flatter myself...) 

Anyway you can peruse the entire line-up right here at this link, but I figured I'd highlight five titles that immediately pop out from the list. Oh and I'm going to ignore Call Me By Your Name (too obvious) as well as the Opening Night Film (Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying) and the Centerpiece Film (Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck) and the Closing Night Film (Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel) for this because they'd eat up three of these spots right off the bat (I'll let you guess which of those four films I am not looking forward to) and there's plenty of love to spread below the line.

5 Movies From NYFF I'm Psyched To See

Lady Bird - This one is Greta Gerwig's directorial debut, so duh. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, and CMBYN's Elio himself Timothée Chalamet, who I guess will really be making the rounds over those couple of weeks. I love Saoirse and am excited to see how Gerwig uses her but I'm most excited to see Laurie Metcalf hopefully given a juicy film role, which come far too few between. 

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) - Looks like it'll be a girlfriend-boyfriend tag-team with Gerwig facing off with her plus-one Noah Baumbach and his new movie! In the wake of Frances Ha Baumbach's always going to be a yes, although I'm a little wary by this thing starring Adam Sandler. Don't get me wrong, Punch-drunk Love is probably my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson movie and everything, so I know Sandler is capable of greatness, but he's been especially foul over the past couple of years - can I even look at him now? The rest of the cast helps - Ben Stiller (of course) and Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, oh yeah.

The Florida Project - This is Sean Baker's new film, following up on the glorious high of Tangerine two years ago. I'm sold on that alone. It's about a six-year-old little girl running wild around a motel on the outskirts of Disney World in Orlando, and it's also got a big role for Willem Dafoe (yay) as the motel's manager.

Madame Hyde - This is an "eccentric comedic thriller" starring Isabelle Huppert as "a timid and rather peculiar physics professor" who GETS HIT BY LIGHTNING and becomes a totally different person, "a newly powerful Mrs. Hyde with mysterious energy and uncontrollable powers." COME ON NOW.

Zama - The new movie from Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, whose last movie, 2010's The Headless Woman, blew me away. I've been waiting a decade for this! The sad thing is I have gone a decade without sitting myself down to watch Martel's earlier films, The Holy Girl and La Ciénaga, about which i have also heard terrific things, so this finally kicks me in the tail to do that.


Runners-up: Everything, for real, I want to see everything. But specifically there's Kiyoshi Kurosawa's spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers called Before We Vanish. There's BPM (Beats Per Minute), the new movie from the director of the terrific Eastern Boys and is about ACT UP's work in the 80s; I heard huge raves about that at Cannes. There's Arnaud Desplechin's film Ismael’s Ghosts, which stars Mathieu Almaric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, and Marion Cotillard, wow. Similarly (amazing cast speaking) Mudbound from Dee Rees stars Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jonathan Banks, and Jason Clarke, among others. And then there's The Square, the new movie from Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure) which won the Palme d'Or.

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