Filmfests Several notable film festivals hit Bay area screens over the next few months, providing savvy moviegoers an alternative to the big-budget Hollywood fare that will soon dominate the multiplex (and the rest of this preview). Up first is the Independents Film Festival (independentsfilmfest.com), presented by the Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network, which takes over the Wyndham Westshore from Sept. 6-9 and promises to highlight creativity and originality in independent filmmaking. Up next is the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (tiglff.com), which takes place from Oct. 4-12, and highlights the best in LGBT filmmaking while offering something for everyone no matter their sexual orientation. And finally — shameless plug alert — there’s CL’s own Reel Terror Film Festival, returning for a fourth horrifying year of scary movies, except we’ve pushed the date back to Nov. 16 (it had been late October). That change allowed us to relocate the fest from CL Space to the gorgeous Villagio Cinemas at Carrollwood and to book some high-profile guests. Stay tuned to cltampa.com for announcements soon!
The Wolf of Wall Street Director Martin Scorsese returns to his beloved New York, only this time his restless camera will prowl the mean streets of the world’s financial center. The Wolf of Wall Street tells the true story of a big-time stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio) who piles up huge profits before running afoul of the law. The intriguing supporting cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonez, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin and Jon Bernthal. Hollywood has yet to produce the definitive film on the 2008 financial crisis. If Scorsese can’t crack that egg, no one can. Nov. 15.
American Hustle Sure, Jennifer Lawrence fans are probably more excited for the actress’s other big fall release (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, out Nov. 22), but for my money American Hustle is the must-see movie of Oscar season 2013. Director David O. Russell’s follow-up to Silver Linings Playbook (my pick for best movie of 2012) will re-team Lawrence with Playbook’s Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro (yes!), along with Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises) and Amy Adams (Man of Steel), both of whom did superb non-superhero acting in Russell’s The Fighter. (Louis CK and Michael Pena — both awesome in their own rights — co-star.) The heavyweight cast takes on the 1970s Abscam scandal (it sank a bunch of high-ranking politicos) in all its period glory. If I could only see one movie in the next four months (the horror!), this would be it. Dec. 25.
Also on the radar…
Captain Phillips The true story of a 2009 ship hijacking by Somali pirates stars Tom Hanks as the titular captain and is directed by action auteur Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum). Warning: May cause seasickness right there in the theater. Oct. 11.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, The Wire) as Nelson Mandela in a glossy biopic? Say no more, I’m in! Nov. 29.
Inside Llewyn Davis The latest from the Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) follows a young folk singer making his way in Greenwich Village in 1961, and features songs by Grammy- and Oscar-winner T. Bone Burnett. Dec. 6.
The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug Round One of The Hobbit was an underwhelming bore, but these Peter Jackson behemoths are something of a Christmas tradition in my family. You ready, Rosey? Dec. 13.
Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney in this true story of how the film Mary Poppins came into existence. Emma Thompson plays the skittish writer whom Uncle Walt must convince to let him make the movie. Mid-December.
The Monuments Men An all-star cast including George Clooney (who also directs), Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman takes on the (mostly) true story of a bunch of American G.I.s. who rescued Europe’s art treasures from the Nazis during World War II. Hoping for some combo of Inglourious Basterds and The Great Escape. Dec. 18.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues Ron Burgundy is back and classier than ever in this long-anticipated comedy sequel. Original cast-members Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd and David Koechner are all back, joined by the likes of Harrison Ford, Kristen Wiig, Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Jim Carrey and Sacha Baron Cohen. Seems like a can’t-miss comedy. Famous last words. Dec. 20.