The 10 most exciting movies at the 2014 New York Film Festival
The New York Film Festival (September 26 - October 12) brings the best new cinema to NYC from all over the world—here are the 10 films we’re most excited about.
The latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) receives its world premiere at this year’s NYFF, and it’s the first time a work by the “unfilmable” novelist Thomas Pynchon has been brought to cinematic life. Back with PTA after The Master, Joaquin Phoenix plays a hippie private dick in late-’60s L.A. who’s dragged into a web of corruption. Expect something druggy, strange, surreal and—knowing Anderson’s track record—totally compelling.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Saturday, October 4
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, December 12
This sure-to-be-incendiary documentary is by Laura Poitras, the filmmaker-journalist to whom Edward Snowden leaked mindblowing information about the NSA and the eye-opening reach of global surveillance. The name of Poitras's film reflects the codename that Snowden used before he identified himself to her and two other journalists in Hong Kong in June 2013. The NYFF has the film's world premiere, so it's sure to be a huge talking-point when it's unveiled.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Friday, October 10
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, October 24
It’s a combination to kill for: Director David Fincher teams up with Gillian Flynn to bring her mind-bending best-seller to the big screen. Ben Affleck stars as the panicked husband whose wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears into thin air, leaving him a suspect. Fincher makes this well-thumbed story his own—Gone Girl is unexpectedly blackly funny stuff. Not that we expected anything else from the guy behind Zodiac and Fight Club.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Friday, September 26
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, October 3
4/10Two Days, One Night
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are Europe's star directing duo of art-house cinema, having nabbed the Palme d’Or twice at Cannes. Their latest finds Oscar winner Marion Cotillard roughing it as a factory worker who has to persuade 14 colleagues, one by one, to vote for her to keep her job. The end result is raw, knotty and ultimately uplifting.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Sunday, October 5
When does it open in movie theaters?Wednesday, December 24.
This story of the beyond-intense relationship between a young drummer (Miles Teller) and his ferocious musical mentor (J.K. Simmons) cleaned up at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Grand Jury and Audience prizes. Our critic Joshua Rothkopf said of the film's willingness to take difficult paths: "How breathtaking it is to see a story go there."
When does it screen at the NYFF?Saturday, September 28
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, October 10
Veteran British writer-director Mike Leigh (Naked) returns with the pet project he’s been waiting years to complete: the story of the later life of radical painter J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall spits, grunts and mumbles his way—brilliantly, we might add—through the title role. The big question is: How much of Mr. Turner is a reflection of Leigh’s own life as an artist for more than 50 years?
When does it screen at the NYFF?Friday, October 3
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, December 19
7/10Tales of the Grim Sleeper
British documentary-maker Nick Broomfield is known for films such as Kurt & Courtney and Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, in which his slightly bumbling but always inquiring personality takes center stage while ruffling feathers left and right. Here, Broomfield takes a slightly different, more removed but ultimately more affecting approach when looking at the despairing reality surrounding a notorious serial-killer case in Los Angeles. It's compassionate and wise.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Monday, October 6
When does it open in movie theaters?The film will play on HBO in 2015.
This Italian film, shot on grainy 16mm, from sophomore writer-director Alice Rohrwacher (Corpo Celeste), won the Grand Prix at Cannes in May—the festival's second prize. It's a delightfully intimate and immediate portrait of a young family trying to live off the land in the Italian countryside. The eldest daughter is played by Rohrwacher's sister, Alba, and the film riffs on their shared childhood.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Friday, October 3
When does it open in movie theaters?Hopefully during 2015.
Michael Keaton riffs on his own past as Batman in this bonkers, Manhattan-set tale of a onetime blockbuster actor looking to resurrect his career by putting on a Broadway play. Birdman is from the hand of Alejandro González Iñárritu, but it marks a distinct turn toward the light for the filmmaker behind the portentous state-of-the-world tales Babel and 21 Grams.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Saturday, October 11
When does it open in movie theaters?Friday, October 17
10/10Goodbye to Language
French film pioneer Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou) is still innovating, infuriating and enlightening at 83. His latest film—a mix of personal essay and dramatic episodes—is in 3-D, mixes various formats, is packed with quotes and frenetic edits, and has a "plot," impossible to unpack here. Anyone who is curious (and brave) simply has to see it: Godard offers a movie experience unlike any filmmaker on the planet.
When does it screen at the NYFF?Saturday, September 27
When does it open in movie theaters?Wednesday, October 29