Coming soon: 40 unmissable movies

The best new films of 2013 and beyond

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The line between the arthouse and the mainstream is thinning by the year (seriously, Michael Haneke just got a Best Picture nomination!) but here are a few movies you’re unlikely to find in your local multiplex this year.

  • Child of God

    James Franco loves to push the boundaries. While most will know him as the goofy, likeable star of ‘Pineapple Express’ and the ‘Spider-Man’ movies, he also has an increasingly prominent sideline in experimental filmmaking, often exploring ideas of homoeroticism in American cinema, including tributes to both ‘Cruising’ and ‘My Own Private Idaho’.

    With ‘Child of God’, Franco draws his directorial sensibilities a little closer to the mainstream, with what seems to be a relatively straightforward adaptation of ‘The Road’ author Cormac McCarthy’s 1960s-set novel. Then again, considering the book includes graphic scenes of necrophilia and sexual deviancy, we’re not expecting it to be a huge multiplex smash. Franco will appear in the film in a supporting role, while the lead part of Lester Ballard, the violent maniac who goes to live in a cave in the hills, will be taken by relative newcomer Scott Haze.

    Child of God’ is out in 2013.

    Child of God
  • Chavez

    No, not the ailing leader of Venezuela. This is the other Chavez – Cesar, the Mexican-American union man who galvanised workers in California and across the south-western US. The actor Diego Luna gets behind the camera to direct this true-life story. Following his superb turn in ‘End of Watch’, ascendent character actor Michael Peña stars as Chavez, with Ugly Betty herself, America Ferrera playing his wife.

    Chavez was in born in Arizona in 1927 to a family of farmers. In the late 1960s he led a boycott against grape growers – which, at its height, had over 13 million Americans refusing to buy Delano grapes. To his supporters, Chavez’s vision extended beyond unionism – he was champion of the rights of the poor and the marginalised. The grape strike became known as La Causa, the Cause.

    Chavez’ is out in 2013.

    Chavez
  • ...Eleanor Rigby: His and Hers

    Here we have two films, both written and directed by newcomer Ned Benson. Each tells the story of how a married couple in New York copes with a ‘life-altering, emotional experience’. The filmmakers haven’t revealed the nature of the crisis (the title could seem to suggest a missing child). But one film is told from the perspective of the wife (Jessica Chastain); the other is from the point of view of her husband (James McAvoy).

    It’s an intriguing premise that, we’re hoping, might explore how much we all invent our own truths in a relationship. The supporting cast is pretty dazzling, featuring Isabelle Huppert, Viola Davis and William Hurt. As for Jessica Chastain, with an Oscar nod for ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ in the bag, there must be actresses pushing pins into voodoo dolls. Right now, she’s walking away with all the best roles in Hollywood.

    The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His’ and ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers’ will be out in 2013.

    ...Eleanor Rigby: His and Hers
  • Untitled London Project

    © Sophie Molins

    It can’t be long before this latest film from Joanna Hogg gets a proper title, but for now we’ll have to make do with ‘London Project’. The film has already been widely talked about for a number of reasons – partly because it marks the acting debut of former Slits singer Viv Albertine, which gets middle-aged critics right where they live; partly because Hogg’s last two films ‘Unrelated’ and ‘Archipelago’ were very popular with the arthouse crowd; and partly because actor Tom Hiddleston, who starred in Hogg’s first two films and makes a cameo this time around, has been constantly in the media for one reason and another (‘Avengers Assemble’, ‘The Hollow Crown’, etc), and won’t stop talking about how excited he is to see the film completed.

    Well, we’re right there with you, Tom: a drama themed around a person’s relationship both with the person they love and the city they live in, this sounds like an intriguing take on the romantic drama.

    ‘Untitled London Project’ will be out (under another name, presumably) in 2013.

    Untitled London Project
  • Queen of the Desert

    Werner Herzog has spent the best part of 40 years making films about extraordinary men. Now for something different: the German director is shooting a film about an extraordinary woman. She is Gertrude Bell – an archaeologist, spy, mountaineer, and, as a member of the British administration in Iraq after WWI, in part responsible for creating the modern Middle East.

    Naomi Watts stars as Bell, who taught herself Persian and headed to Iran in 1892. R-Patz (we’ll have to start calling him Robert Pattinson again at some point) plays T.E. Lawrence – the British army officer immortalised by Peter O’Toole in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Jude Law will also appear as Henry Cadogan, a penniless British diplomat Bell fell in love with in the 1890s. But don’t go expecting parasols and picnics along the Tigris. This is Werner Herzog after all, and Bell is a controversial figure among some historians.

    ‘Queen of the Desert’ is out in 2013.

    Queen of the Desert
  • Nymphomaniac

    Lars von Trier’s attempts to shock the cinemagoing audience (and indeed the world at large) have always veered wildly between the obvious and desperate and the genuinely artful and thought-provoking. On the back of his ill-advised comments about Hitler at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, some predicted that von Trier would become persona non grata in respectable film circles.

    But ‘Nymphomaniac’ proves that, in fact, the opposite is true: this two-part film tracking an ageing, sex-crazed woman’s life from birth to maturity sees the director assembling his most impressive cast yet, with regulars like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard appearing alongside Hollywood superstar Shia Labeouf, erstwhile ‘Billy Elliott’ Jamie Bell and fallen icon Christian Slater, among many others. All the early rumours have focused on von Trier’s intention to feature real sex throughout the film – as he did in ‘Antichrist’ – but whether this means a cameo appearance from Little Shia remains to be seen. We shudder at the thought.

    Nymphomaniac’ is out in 2013.

    Nymphomaniac

Child of God

James Franco loves to push the boundaries. While most will know him as the goofy, likeable star of ‘Pineapple Express’ and the ‘Spider-Man’ movies, he also has an increasingly prominent sideline in experimental filmmaking, often exploring ideas of homoeroticism in American cinema, including tributes to both ‘Cruising’ and ‘My Own Private Idaho’.

With ‘Child of God’, Franco draws his directorial sensibilities a little closer to the mainstream, with what seems to be a relatively straightforward adaptation of ‘The Road’ author Cormac McCarthy’s 1960s-set novel. Then again, considering the book includes graphic scenes of necrophilia and sexual deviancy, we’re not expecting it to be a huge multiplex smash. Franco will appear in the film in a supporting role, while the lead part of Lester Ballard, the violent maniac who goes to live in a cave in the hills, will be taken by relative newcomer Scott Haze.

Child of God’ is out in 2013.


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