When Are Venice, Telluride and Toronto's Buzzed-About Movies Hitting Theaters?
You've read the reviews, now find out when you can see the films.
When the Toronto International Film Festival wraps up tomorrow, it will mark the end of the nearly-three-week-long first wave of autumn's film festivals, in which Oscar hopefuls premiered to industry audiences in Venice, Telluride and Toronto. A number of these films — including Steve Jobs, Ridley Scott's The Martian and Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa — received rave reviews. But when will these and other buzzed-about titles from these early festivals be playing at a theater near you?
Three films that made appearances on the festival circuit — Black Mass, Everest and Sicario — are already playing in at least some theaters. Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, which screened at all three festivals, is playing nationwide while Venice opener Everest is playing in roughly 545 IMAX and premium large-format theaters before expanding nationwide on Sept. 25. Suspenseful Mexican cartel drama Sicario, which premiered at Cannes before screening in Toronto, opened in New York and L.A. on Friday and will expand to more cities on Sept. 25 before playing everywhere on Oct. 2.
As for eight more buzzed-about titles (presented in alphabetical order), read on and plan your moviegoing accordingly.
Anomalisa (Venice, Telluride, Toronto): Dec. 30 in New York and L.A.
Paramount just acquired the Charlie Kaufman co-directed, Kickstarter-funded stop-motion animation film but the studio has already set an end of year release date in New York and L.A., letting it qualify for an awards run. The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney said in his review: "Whether in his screenplays for Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or his directing debut, Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman's surreal, cerebral chronicles of despair, obsession and failure are like nothing else out there. So it was a given that his first animated feature, Anomalisa, co-directed with stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson, was going to be another idiosyncratic entry in a small but wildly distinctive body of work. However, that doesn't nearly do justice to the beguiling poignancy and emotional nuance of this funny-sad, haunting meditation on depression, disguised as a melancholy love story."
Beasts of No Nation (Venice, Telluride, Toronto): Oct. 16 on Netflix in all territories where the streaming service is available as well as in select Landmark theaters in the U.S. via a Bleecker Street partnership.
THR's Todd McCarthy called Netflix's Cary Fukunaga-directed first original feature film, about an African warlord (Idris Elba) who trains children to become soldiers, "grim, grueling and gripping."
The Danish Girl (Venice, Toronto): Nov. 27 in New York and L.A.
THR's Rooney praised stars Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne's work in this film about the transgender artist who became the first person to undergo a sex-change operation. "Ultimately, the film's chief strength is as a vehicle for Redmayne, following his Theory of Everything Oscar win with another full-immersion physical and emotional transformation into a brave real-life figure," Rooney wrote, earlier saying of Redmayne's work, "Some of the loveliest moments of his performance are when the actor quietly disappears into Lili, with a coy smile, a delicate hand gesture, a studied rearrangement of the drape of her arm or the positioning of her feet on the floor."
THR's awards analyst, Scott Feinberg, predicted the film could land a number of Oscar nominations including possibly one for best picture, also praised the lead actors, saying of Vikander, "this is a career-changing film for her" and arguing that Redmayne could become the first performer to win Oscars in back-to-back years since Tom Hanks did so in the early '90s. "Redmayne…gives a ballsy (forgive me), no-holds-barred, truly transformational performance of such sincerity and sensitivity that even those fiercely resistant to the idea of transgenderism may reconsider their position," Feinberg wrote.
Demolition (Toronto): April 8, 2016
Sure Toronto opener Demolition doesn't hit U.S. theaters for more than six months, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't already plan to see the Fox Searchlight film when it arrives on the big screen. THR's Jordan Mintzer wrote in his review, "Jake Gyllenhaal changes gears for Demolition – a film that once again puts his character through the wringer, though in ways that are offbeat, exuberant and occasionally quite hilarious. Those three terms best describe this lively new dramedy from Quebecois director Jean-Marc Vallee, which tells the story of a Wall Street financier whose wife dies in a car accident, leaving him to pick up – or in this case, tear apart – the pieces of a life that never really felt like his own. It’s a unique take on what could otherwise be a morbidly depressing tale of loss and grief, dishing out tons of energy and spats of devilish humor…resulting in a rocky but highly enjoyable ride."
The Martian (Toronto): Oct. 2
The star-studded space epic was praised by THR's McCarthy, who wrote of the film, "Ridley Scott goes back to the future, a familiar destination for him, and returns in fine shape in The Martian. Although technically science fiction by virtue of its being largely set on a neighboring planet, this smartly made adaptation of Andy Weir’s best-selling novel is more realistic in its attention to detail than many films set in the present, giving the story the feel of an adventure that could happen the day after tomorrow. Constantly absorbing rather than outright exciting, this major autumn Fox release should generate muscular business worldwide."
Room (Telluride, Toronto): Oct. 16 in select theaters; Nov. 6
Lenny Abrahamson's drama about a mother and child held captive for years in a small room earned praise for the work of its two main actors, Brie Larson and her on-screen son Jacob Tremblay. THR's McCarthy said of the "involving" adaptation of Emma Donoghue's celebrated novel, "real credit is due the lead actors, with Larson expanding beyond the already considerable range she’s previously shown with an exceedingly dimensional performance in a role that calls for running the gamut, and Tremblay always convincing without ever becoming cloying."
Feinberg noted that the film's Telluride premiere prompted tears and standing ovations from the audience, leading him to "suspect that a number of major Oscar noms are within reach," including ones for both Larson and Tremblay and possibly ones for adapted screenplay and best picture. Of Larson, Feinberg wrote, "the 25-year-old proves once again, as she last did in 2013's remarkable Short Term 12 (for which she was criminally snubbed), that she is not only one of the top talents of her generation, but particularly terrific opposite even younger thespians." Tremblay, meanwhile, he said, "gives one of the all-time great performances by a child actor and would become one of the youngest people ever nominated for an Oscar."
Steve Jobs (Telluride): Oct. 9 in New York and L.A., expanding on Oct. 16 before going wide on Oct. 23
The Aaron Sorkin-scripted, Danny Boyle-directed biopic of the late Apple co-founder debuted to rave reviews at the Telluride Film Festival, including one from THR's McCarthy: "How do you get to the bottom of a character like Steve Jobs, a figure so towering and complex that he could arguably serve as the basis of a film as ambitious as Citizen Kane? If you’re a dramatist with the character insight and verbal dexterity of Aaron Sorkin, you make him the vortex of a swirling human hurricane, the puppet master who kept all around him on strings, the impresario of a circus dedicated to the creation and dramatic unveiling of technological wonders that changed the world. Racing in high gear from start to finish, Danny Boyle’s electric direction temperamentally complements Sorkin’s highly theatrical three-act study…this Universal release is clearly positioned as one of the prestige titles of the fall season, and will be high priority viewing for discerning audiences around the world."
Even though star Michael Fassbender "doesn't closely physically resemble" Jobs, McCarthy notes, "he fully delivers the essentials of how we have come to perceive the man: Along with intellectual brilliance and force of personality, the actor also taps into the man’s frequently unreachability, power to inspire, unswerving faith in his own instincts, attention to the smallest detail, utter lack of sentimentality and the certitude that can come from occupying a different, loftier realm. Most of all, you get the strong sense from Fassbender of a mind that is always several steps beyond everyone else’s, one that allows him to shift gears without taking a breath."
Truth (Toronto): Oct. 16
THR's McCarthy said of the film about Dan Rather and his producer Mary Mapes reporting, based on documents that may have been forgeries, that George W. Bush had received special treatment while serving in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, "It may be yesterday’s news, but there’s still plenty of juice left in Truth, a crackerjack journalism yarn in which big-name actors play big-name real-life characters who became embroiled in a controversy that still raises partisan hackles…Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford lead a first-rate cast in an engrossing drama for which great media interest should translate into solid specialized-release box office for Sony Pictures Classics."