Fall into Films | Film Beat | Indy Week


You're either already pumped about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Blade Runner 2049, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League or you've read your fill about them—maybe both. Here are twelve fab fall films less liable to inspire déjà vu. (Remember: the smaller the distributor, the slipperier the release date; IMDB's "Showtimes & Tickets" feature is a great way to track the film you're looking for.)

WOODSHOCK (Sep. 22) It's hard to say exactly what Woodshock is about beyond its star, Kirsten Dunst, tripping in a cabin by herself. But the beautiful, melancholic atmosphere evoked by the visuals and sound design promise a rich sensory experience, if not a coherent narrative. The directors, fashion stars Kate and Laura Mulleavy (of Rodarte fame), have hovered on the edges of the film world for years, hobnobbing with actors and designing costumes for Black Swan. Fans of visual experimentation will want to see what else they can do. —Ryan Vu

THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Oct. 6) If you've seen Tangerine, easily the best film of 2015, you need no other incentive to catch director Sean Baker's latest. It's set in a Florida motel called The Magic Inn, tricked out in the garish colors of nearby Disney World and home to a diverse assortment of social outcasts. The focus is a young mother and her daughter, a cute little troublemaker who delights in riling up the motel manager (Willem Dafoe). As in Baker's other films, an almost Old Hollywood-style comedy emerges from the often bleak working-class realism. That interplay makes Baker a vital chronicler of late-stage American life. —RV

UNA (Oct. 6) Una is a portrait of the relationship between a precocious young woman, played alternately by Ruby Stokes and Rooney Mara, and an older neighborhood man (Ben Mendelsohn). Based on Blackbird, the play by David Harrower, this probing character study unsettles easy definitions of desire, consent, and power. The film is buoyed by some of the sharpest acting of Mara's career in her portrayal of the passionate, slightly unhinged title character. —Laura Jaramillo

WONDERSTRUCK (Oct. 20) The year's most promising family movie seems like a can't-miss proposition. Restless indie-film pioneer Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, Carol) adapts the work of Brian Selznick, the author-illustrator behind Hugo, Martin Scorsese's all-ages masterpiece. Wonderstruck tells two parallel stories, in 1927 and 1977, following two deaf children in New York City. The older tale is told in period style, silent and monochrome. Word is that the film got a five-minute standing ovation at Cannes. —Glenn McDonald

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (Oct. 27) Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos's psychological thriller is already drawing comparisons with the best of Polanski. It also looks unnerving as hell. Colin Farrell stars as a successful surgeon and family man whose home life is slowly infiltrated by a young man he thinks he's mentoring. A dark undercurrent has always run through Lanthimos's films, but this follow-up to 2015's The Lobster takes a step away from sometimes impenetrable absurdism and toward recognizable genre territory. If shell-shocked festival reviews are to be believed, no compromises were necessary. —RV

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