After a summer of blockbusters and romantic comedies, Transformers and Smurfs, it is at long last time for some quality film. With awards season approaching, the best films of the year will soon begin coming out at a rapid pace , and these five seem to stand above the rest.
The Artist — This black-and-white silent film took Cannes by storm and is beloved by everyone who has seen it. Set in ’20s Hollywood, it is the story of a silent film star (played in a career defining performance by Jean Dujardin) who fears his career may be fading with the arrival of talking pictures. At the same time, he develops a relationship with a young dancer (Bérénice Bejo) who is working to get her big break. Also featuring John Goodman, Malcom McDowell and James Cromwell, this film seems very likely to become one of the biggest of the fall.
The Ides of March — Certainly the best cast of the fall with, (deep breath); George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle and Max Minghella, this political thriller made its debut at the Venice Film Festival. Based on a play by Beau Willimon the film, directed by Clooney, tells the story of a press secretary (Gosling) who manages to put the campaign of his presidential hopeful boss (Clooney) in trouble during primary season. Particularly good in the standout cast are Wood, as an eager intern, and a harried and sympathetic Hoffman.
Like Crazy — The Grand Jury prize winner at Sundance tells the story of a college couple, he’s American, she’s British, whose relationship is tested when she is deported for overstaying her visa. Unable to return to the country the two slowly drift apart as they try to stay together. While not as grand as many other films this fall, this small indie is largely helped by the performances of Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence and, in particular, Felicity Jones. Be sure to bring tissues.
Shame — Michael Fassbender bares his soul, and his body, in this his second film with director Steve McQueen. Playing a 30-something sex addict living in NYC, Fassbender enjoys encounters anywhere and almost everywhere before his life is turned upside down with the arrival of his depressed and aimless younger sister, played by Carey Mulligan. Fassbender already picked up the Best Actor prize in Venice for the film, and it surely won’t be the last one he takes home for his work here.
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy — A good old fashioned British whodunit from literary master John le Carré, Tinker stars basically every major male British talent over the age of 30. It also benefits from having director Tomas Alfredson whose vampire pic Let The Right One In was one of the most stylish foreign films of recent memory. Add to that a score that, for anyone who has yet to see the trailer, is wildly hypnotic and mesmerizing, and you get one of the best thrillers to come around in some time.