Spring is typically a slower time for movies in this neck of the woods. The blockbuster season has passed, and it’s generally too early for films that première at Venice or Toronto to get a release. Despite that, there are still plenty of films to get excited about. After the jump, check out the 6 films I am most looking forward to seeing this Spring.
Releases: September 12
I haven’t been the biggest fan of Woody Allen’s last few films, so it’s quite a pleasant surprise that I find myself rather excited about this film. I’ve watched a lot of Allen lately, and I think where he shines are films with female leads. His male leads (and co-leads, for that matter) are often just versions of Allen himself, but his female characters, well they have depth. The gorgeous Cate Blanchett has received almost universal praise for her portrayal of Jasmine, a woman used to the finer things in life who loses both her lifestyle and her sense of self.
Tim Winton’s The Turning
Releases: September 26 (limited)
In this 3 hour epic (it even has an intermission – how old school!), 17 Australian directors from diverse disciplines and backgrounds each create a chapter of the novel by multi award-winning Australian author Tim Winton. The film has a very special limited release, with each patron receiving a 40 page programme guide. I’m very much looking forward to seeing something a bit different and I’m hoping this is an Australian film I can get excited about.
Releases: October 3
Alfonso Cuarón – this name alone is good enough reason to get excited. The writer-director isn’t a prolific filmmaker, but everything he creates is compelling and wonderfully executed. I’ve tried not to read anything about this film, as I firmly believe that less is more when going into Gravity. However, watch this trailer and tell me if your heart doesn’t stop for a second. The extremely positive reviews coming out from the film’s early festival screenings in Venice and Telluride only service to heighten my anticipation.
I’ve seen this film but I am really excited about other people getting a chance to experience and discuss it. It’s the sort of film which pops up in conversation months after viewing. The Act of Killing is quite easily one of the most unusual and confronting documentaries ever made. I have seen it once and doubt I will never see it again – it caused me to question morality, grief, victims vs heroes, war and a multitude of other weighty topics. The film challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact (for film) their real-life mass-killings in whichever way they wish. The results, are astounding. Not an easy watch, but a worthwhile one.
Stranger by the Lake
Releases: October 17 (limited)
Winner of the Queer Palm, and Best Director (Un Certain Regard) awards at this year Cannes Film Festival, Stranger by the Lake has received much praise for both intense, erotic story and its beautiful construction. Why do people fall for bad guys, even when they know that they’re bad? This film pushes that idea to its thrilling limits. For those in Sydney, Stranger by the Lake will open the Queer Film Festival on Thursday 19 September.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Releases: November 21
Jennifer Lawrence won me over as the fearless protagonist in The Hunger Games, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing her reprise the role. The rich, intriguing world on display in the first film is one I’m very keen to revisit and further explore. The film is based on the second book in the series, which in my opinion is the strongest. There is a much stronger political element in play, and the tension between the haves and the have-nots rapidly escalates.
By Sam McCosh