The Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Michael K. Williams, Molly Parker, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Director: John Hillcoat
The Gist: Surely Hillcoat knew what he was getting into when he began lobbying to turn Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel into his follow-up feature to “The Proposition.” However, that was during a simpler time when McCarthy’s eventual Pulitzer Prize-winner hadn’t been accepted as part of Oprah’s Book Club and the film’s distributor, the Weinstein Company, was in better financial shape. After several wildly mixed test screening reviews, a few scratched release dates and Esquire’s recent rave that the film is “the most important movie of the year,” audiences will at long last be able to see Mortensen and Smit-McPhee as a father and son who travel a desolate America with the goal of reaching the coast amidst cannibals and other wayward denizens of the desolate country.
The Cast: Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Arsenio Hall, Byron Minns, Kym Whitley
Director: Scott Sanders
Fest Cred: Sundance, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Seattle, Karlovy Vary
The Gist: A raucous festival favorite, “Dynamite” is a loving homage to the Blaxploitation genre that reunites “Thick as Thieves” director Sanders with star Michael Jai White, who plays the explosive titular character, an ex-CIA agent who goes up against the Italian mob when his brother is murdered and traces a conspiracy that leads all the way to the White House.
The Cast: Catalina Saavedra, Claudia Celedón, Alejandro Goic
Director: Sebastián Silva
Fest Cred: Sundance, Rotterdam, Seattle, Edinburgh, Karlovy Vary
The Gist: Earning both a World Cinema Jury Prize for dramatic feature and actress Saavedra at Sundance in January and subsequent acclaim at the New Directors/New Films series in New York, Chilean filmmaker Silva’s second feature revolves around the hired help (Saavedra), who comes to believe after two decades in their service that she is part of the family until an incident with the family’s eldest daughter and the introduction of an additional housekeeper force her to reevaluate her place in their world.
“New York, I Love You”
The Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman, Ethan Hawke, Blake Lively, Orlando Bloom, Julie Christie, John Hurt
Directors: Faith Akin, Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner
The Gist: We already know that Scarlett Johansson’s arty directorial debut about one obsessive-compulsive’s quest for a Coney Island dog didn’t make the cut for this stateside companion to 2007’s anthology film “Paris, Je T’aime,” but her “Other Boleyn Girl” co-star Portman’s short remains, as does the Mira Nair-directed one she stars in opposite Irfan Khan. All in all, it will be 12 films all once again revolving around the theme of finding love in the big city.
“The Private Lives of Pippa Lee”
The Cast: Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Winona Ryder
Director: Rebecca Miller
Fest Cred: Berlinale, Edinburgh
The Gist: Miller assembled quite the cast for her fourth film, an adaptation of her own novel about a woman (Wright Penn) who hits middle age and discovers her husband (Arkin) is having an affair, which leads her to reflect on her past and explore life outside of the retirement community they live in together.