Hollywood Reporter Critics' 25 Favorite Films From the Fall Fests

6:50 AM 9/14/2018

by THR Staff

New movies from Barry Jenkins and Orson Welles (!), a lesbian-centric royal farce and Jonah Hill's directorial debut are among the picks (below, in alphabetical order).

'If Beale Street Could Talk,' 'The Other Side of the Wind,' 'Mid90s'
'If Beale Street Could Talk,' 'The Other Side of the Wind,' 'Mid90s'

  • 22 July

    Venice, Toronto

    Netflix/YouTube

    Paul Greengrass' pulse-pounding depiction of the deadly lone-wolf terrorist attacks that shook Norway in 2011 evolves into a gripping courtroom drama and a deeply emotional account of a family's struggle to move on. — David Rooney

    Read the full review here.

  • American Dharma

    Venice, Toronto

    Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

    Errol Morris interviews Steve Bannon, alt-right ideologue and onetime Donald Trump adviser, weaving in photos, old movie clips and Twitter feeds. The result is an electrifying work of detached passion and intelligence. — Deborah Young

    Read the full review here.

  • The Announcement

    Venice

    Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

    A handful of men in 1963 Istanbul try to get to Istanbul Radio headquarters to announce a successful military coup in Ankara in the third feature from Turkish director Mahmut Fazil Coskun. A mix of bone-dry comedy and a deadly serious meditation on the transience of those in power, it’s a precision-tooled little gem. — Boyd Van Hoeij

    Read the full review here.

  • Ben is Back

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Peter Hedges’ drama starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges as a woman and her addict son offers another in a string of impressive turns by the young actor as well as one of the best performances Roberts has ever given. The film never behaves like an "important" film, focusing instead on the specificity of one sick young man and the family that loves and fears him in almost equal measure. — John Defore

    Read the full review here.

  • Boy Erased

    Telluride, Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Lucas Hedges is splendid as a young gay man, and Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe equally so as his religious parents, in Joel Edgerton's richly humanistic, emotionally stinging anti-gay-conversion-therapy drama. — Stephen Farber

    Read the full review here.

  • The Favourite

    Venice, Telluride

    Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

    A towering Olivia Colman (best actress winner at Venice) plays an ailing 18th century English queen, with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as rivals vying to access her power in the fabulously entertaining, sumptuously crafted, delectably witty latest from Yorgos Lanthimos. — D.R.

    Read the full review here.

  • First Man

    Venice, Telluride, Toronto

    Courtesy of Universal Pictures

    Ryan Gosling's thoughtfully internalized performance as Neil Armstrong anchors Damien Chazelle's sober, contemplative account of the first successful manned mission to the moon. The film boasts visceral tension and, yes, even suspense, in addition to stunning technical craft. — D.R.

    Read the full review here.

  • Gloria Bell

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Chilean writer-director Sebastian Lelio (Oscar winner for A Fantastic Woman) continues his winning streak with this joyously bittersweet reboot of his 2013 Spanish-language film Gloria. The new version's secret weapon is a finely etched and vanity-free lead performance by Julianne Moore as a lonely middle-aged divorcee. — Stephen Dalton

    Read the full review here.

  • Halloween

    Toronto

    Universal/Fantastic Fest

    David Gordon Green takes the Michael Myers saga back to its start, with a direct sequel to John Carpenter's landmark slasher film that delivers both fan service and honest-to-god moviemaking of the sort rarely seen in horror spinoffs. Carpenter should be pleased, and so should genre buffs — for once, this is a pic their less-geeky girl/boyfriends should enjoy. — J.D.

    Read the full review here.

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Barry Jenkins' gifts as a ravishing visual stylist and a storyteller of transfixing emotional intensity are in full evidence in his lustrous, bluesy, beautiful and faithful (almost to a fault) adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel about African-American lives ruptured by injustice. — D.R.

    Read the full review here.

  • In Fabric

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    In Peter Strickland’s demonically good latest, a red dress proves to be possessed and hungry for blood. How do you make a frock into a fearsome antagonist? First by embracing the silliness of the notion while simultaneously treating it with unrepentant reverence. As with any artist who speaks their own enthralling language, Strickland transcends what, in many hands, would feel derivative. — Keith Uhlich 

    Read the full review here.

  • Mademoiselle de Joncquieres

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    A rarely-better Cecile de France stars as a young widow who, against her better judgment, falls head-over-heels in love with a libertine rake in French filmmaker Emanuel Mouret’s sparkling period drama, a delicious variation on Les liaisons dangereuses. — B.V.H.

    Read the full review here.

  • Mid90s

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Making a dazzling directorial debut, Jonah Hill tracks a few months in the life of a preteen who discovers skateboarding (Sunny Suljic in an emotionally transparent turn). The movie feels both personal and like the product of a serious artist's observational distance. — J.D.

    Read the full review here.

  • Non-Fiction

    Venice, Telluride, Toronto

    Courtesy of Ad Vitam Distribution

    The latest from France's Olivier Assayas is a witty, resonant, richly perceptive comedy set in a Parisian publishing world gripped by change. Guillaume Canet stars as a conflicted editor, but a brilliant Juliette Binoche all but walks off with the film as his frustrated actress wife. — Jon Frosch

    Read the full review here.

  • The Old Man & the Gun

    Telluride, Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Robert Redford stars as real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, who escaped from prison 16 times over the course of a long career, in writer-director David Lowery's warm, gritty and enjoyable character piece. The rapport between Redford and Spacek (as a widow Tucker charms) makes one regret they’d never worked together before. — Todd McCarthy

    Read the full review here.

  • The Other Side of the Wind

    Venice, Telluride

    Courtesy of Netflix

    After a 48-year limbo, the fascinating final dramatic feature by Orson Welles has arrived — largely edited by others, but, in its kaleidoscopic look at the final day in the life of an old Hollywood director, still rich with the themes and late-career style of the great one. — T.M. 

    Read the full review here.

  • The River

    Venice, Toronto

    Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

    Kazakh auteur Emir Baigazin delivers a luminous, quietly forceful portrait of five brothers living on a farm on the Kazakh plains, where the sudden intrusion of the modern world brings corruption, temptation and deceit. — D.R.

    Read the full review here.

  • Roma

    Venice, Telluride, Toronto

    Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

    Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical family drama, set in Mexico City circa 1970, concentrates less on the kids than on the often confounding adults around them. An immersive bath in luxuriantly beautiful black-and-white images, this is the work of a great filmmaker in absolute control. — T.M.

    Read the full review here

  • Rosie

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Dublin's homelessness problem is the subject of this quietly heartbreaking portrait of regular people coping with a desperate situation directed by Paddy Breathnach (Viva) and anchored by a beautifully modulated turn from Sarah Greene as a mother struggling to find accommodation for herself, partner and four kids. — Leslie Felperin 

    Read the full review here.

  • Shadow

    Venice, Toronto

    'Shadow' set photography by Xiaoyan Bai; Courtesy of Perfect Village Entertainment

    A military commander battles his way through personal, political and physical power games in this stunningly mounted period film from Zhang Yimou, inspired by the yin-and-yang symbol and Chinese ink-brush painting. There are moments of top-notch action choreography, but the star of the show is the strikingly gorgeous, often almost bi-chrome visual universe. — B.V.H.

    Read the full review here.

  • The Sisters Brothers

    Venice, Toronto

    Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

    John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed star in Jacques Audiard's lovingly crafted first English-language effort, a delightful and richly detailed comic Western about a pair of assassin brothers chasing a thieving prospector.  — T.M. 

    Read the full review here.

  • A Star is Born

    Venice, Toronto

    Neal Preston/Warner Bros.

    Bradley Cooper makes a flawed, but deeply felt and gutsy directing debut and headlines opposite a captivating Lady Gaga in this third remake of the drama about the meteoric rise of one musical talent while another crashes and burns. It’s a durable tale of romance, heady fame and crushing tragedy, retold for a new generation with heart and grit. — David Rooney

    Read the full review here.

  • Vox Lux

    Venice, Toronto

    Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

    A magnificently ballsy Natalie Portman stars as a superstar diva who's a victim of random violence in actor turned director Brady Corbet's stylish, original and deliciously rich treatise on toxic fame and terrorism. — S.D.

    Read the full review here

  • Widows

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Viola Davis is outstanding as the leader of a group of women out to take back their lives after their criminal husbands and lovers are killed in Steve McQueen's gripping, sociologically rich and excitingly shot crime drama. — T.M.

    Read the full review here

  • Wild Rose

    Toronto

    Courtesy of TIFF

    An incandescent Jessie Buckley stars as a Scottish woman desperate to break into the country music scene — much to the chagrin of her mother, played by Julie Walters — in this entirely lovable, toe-tapping delight directed by Tom Harper. — L.F.

    Read the full review here

    A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

comments powered by Disqus