The 30 most exciting fall films to keep your eye on

Don’t book your autumn without making room for these promising fall films—the best of Hollywood, the art house and beyond.

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  • Fall films: Bachelorette

  • Fall films: Keep the Lights On

  • Fall films: The Master

  • Fall films: How to Survive a Plague

  • Fall films: Not Fade Away at the New York Film Festival

Fall films: Bachelorette

Ah, fall: the weather less hellish, the movies less pummeling. We don’t mind some summer spandex come the season for it, but there’s no denying our relief when the awards-worthy fall films start cropping up. This autumn boasts an enviable slate of movies that have us stoked—serious titles from major names like Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and Atonement’s Joe Wright (Anna Karenina). Hoping to join the auteur club will be The Sopranos creator David Chase, making his feature debut with the rock-tinged period piece Not Fade Away, the centerpiece selection of this year’s 50th edition of the New York Film Festival. Elsewhere, several essential documentaries will have their NYC bows, such as the AIDS-awareness chronicle How to Survive a Plague and the drum-god exposé Beware of Mr. Baker, about Cream’s feisty skins man, Ginger Baker. And what if, after all that, you still desire teeth-rattling explosions? Daniel Craig’s James Bond returns in the massively anticipated Skyfall, already whispered to be a return to form for the franchise. (And in the next theater over, tweens will be squealing as Twilight concludes its five-film saga, perhaps not a moment too soon.) Only time will tell as the days grow shorter, but we’ve got great expectations for when the lights go down. Here, the best in fall films.

Bachelorette

Move over, Bridesmaids—there’s something raunchier in town. Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher throw a prewedding shindig for an old high-school friend and engage in some serious girls-gone-wild behavior. (Sept 7)

Keep the Lights On

Keep the Lights On

A hit at this year’s Sundance, this exquisite romantic drama from indie filmmaker Ira Sachs follows a gay couple (Thure Lindhart and Zachary Booth) as they deal with breakups, breakdowns and the hedonistic underbelly of ’90s NYC. (Sept 7)

The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated new movie casts Joaquin Phoenix as an Eisenhower-era drifter and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic author-cum-religious-guru. The latter, of course, is not based on any real-life figure in particular. Nope, no sir. (Sept 14)

How to Survive a Plague

How to Survive a Plague

Not a history of AIDS nor its human cost, David France’s essential chronicle of the fight against the disease (and misinformation) is far more inspiring: a record of the activist response—mainly from ACT UP—that resulted in organized pressure placed on the Centers for Disease Control and workable treatments. (Sept 21)

(Left to right)  John Magaro as Douglas, Braham Vaccarella as Joe, Jack Huston as Eugene and Will Brill as Wells in NOT FADE AWAY, from Paramount Pictures.

50th New York Film Festival

Our city’s most estimable festival turns a half century old, so expect a soiree of epic proportions up at Lincoln Center—along with the usual handpicked selection of Euro-auteur head-scratchers and the occasional Hollywood prestige pic, like this year’s centerpiece selection, Not Fade Away (left), the first feature from Sopranos creator David Chase. (Sept 28–Oct 14)


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