The Cast: Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins Jr., Dustin Milligan, Gene Simmons
Writer/Director: Mike Judge
The Gist: Away from the confines of 20th Century Fox, who all but abandoned his first live-action film and buried his second, Judge looks to be finally getting the treatment he deserves on this comedy about the manager of a food extract company (Bateman) who is threatened with a lawsuit from one of his employees (Collins) after he loses one of his testicles to a freak bottling plant accident. Kunis co-stars as a grifter who befriends the employee and Affleck plays Bateman’s dim-witted pal.
Director: Leslie Cockburn
Fest Cred: Tribeca
The Gist: In a doc that couldn’t be any more timely, Cockburn examines the subprime mortgage crisis from the perspectives of both the bankers who lent the money and made a killing to the borrowers who found themselves with foreclosed homes in a scheme that Cockburn suggests was racially motivated.
The Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Jenna Kawar
Writer/Director: Cherien Dabis
Fest Cred: Sundance, Seattle, Cannes, Los Angeles
The Gist: Dabis’ debut dramedy has been racking up praise and awards including the Cannes Director’s Fortnight FIPRESCI Prize since debuting at this year’s Sundance, telling the semi-autobiographical story of a Palestinean single mother (Faour) who is granted a U.S. green card and sets out to start a new life for her and her son (Muallem) in Illinois, though that goal is complicated by the start of the Iraq war.
The Cast: Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci, Piper Perabo, Christopher Meloni, Emily VanCamp
Director: Àlex Pastor and David Pastor
The Gist: Funny how a summer blockbuster can change things. The late Paramount Vantage has dusted off this horror thriller made in ’07 about “four young, attractive people” (the studio’s description, not mine) — including the newly minted Cpt. Kirk, Chris Pine — who attempt to find a safe haven in the midst of a global epidemic of a mysterious and lethal virus.
The Cast: Juan Fernandez, Giselle Irrazabal, Nieves Cabrera
Director: Lisandro Alonso
Fest Cred: Cannes, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, AFI, Thessaloniki
The Gist: Argentinean helmer Alonso didn’t have too many distractions to contend with when he pulled into Tierra del Fuego, the setting for his spare, atmospheric drama about a boat worker journeying along the barren island to visit his mother.
The Cast: Eli Wallach, Lawrence Pressman, Daniel Sauli, Annie Parisse, Ronald Guttman, Victoria Clark
Writer/Director: Jeremy Davidson
Fest Cred: Stony Brook
The Gist: Mary Stuart Masterson, whose own directorial debut “The Cake Eaters” came out earlier this year, lends a helping hand as a producer on her husband Davidson’s first film that finds Wallach playing a survivor of the “Kastner train” exchange, in which the leader of a Jewish organization struck a deal for a group of Jews to be spared from being transported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, only to be assassinated years later, coming to terms with his family’s ties to that event 50 years later. New Yorkers can look for it at the Quad Cinema, but Cinetic will also release the film online.
The Cast: Fernando Tielve, Déborah François, Michiel Huisman, Iddo Goldberg
Director: Alexis Dos Santos
Fest Cred: Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlinale, San Francisco
The Gist: Threesomes, crazy costumes and wild parties are just a part of the sophomore feature from Dos Santos, which follows Axl (Tielve) and Vera (François), two young, foreign-born bohemians in London as the former pursues his long-estranged father and the latter attempts to forget her recent heartbreak.