This weekend, the 53rd New York Film Festival kicks off with the premiere of The Walk, the Robert Zemeckis-directed story of Philippe Petit’s (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) famous 1974 high-wire walk between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. The festival — which spans from September 25 through October 11 – will feature many premieres, as well as notable films that premiered at other festivals, that will all factor into this year’s Oscar race. So, with that, here are five huge films we’re looking forward to at this year’s New York Film Festival.
As previously mentioned, The Walk is the festival’s opening night film, concluding with New York Film Festival’s opening night party, which is always a tough ticket. The Walk is only Robert Zemeckis’ second live action film since way back to his 2000 hit, Cast Away. And once again, along with Flight, Zemeckis tries to scare the living piss out of anyone who has a fear of heights — this time by telling the story of Philippe Petit’s very illegal 1974 high-wire act between the two World Trade Center towers. As a fan of Man on Wire, it will be interesting to see how Zemeckis makes this remarkable event into a full-length narrative film.
Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg’s first film since 2012’s Lincoln will make its debut at the New York Film Festival. What was forever known as Steven Spielberg’s Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller is the story of a lawyer (Tom Hanks) tapped with the task of negotiating with the Soviet Union for the release of a U.S. pilot who was shot down while spying. I think I can sum up the anticipation with just, “This is Steven Spielberg’s first movie since 2012,” and leave it at that.
I’m cheating because I’ve already seen Steve Jobs (a full write-up will come closer to the film’s NYFF debut), but we can’t just ignore the festival’s centerpiece film. Less a biopic than a series of vignettes, Steve Jobs (directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin) essentially offers three acts over the course of a 15-year period in Jobs’ (Michael Fassbender) life, all that happen to occur before huge presentations: The original Macintosh, Jobs’ post-Apple Next computer, and the iMac. In these three moments, Boyle and Sorkin try to frame the mindset, successes and regrets of one of the most important figures of the last 30 years. (And I think they succeed, but more on that later.)
Also, as long as we are talking about films I’ve already seen that will be playing at NYFF, if you are in town and get a chance to see The Lobster, for heaven’s sake, please see The Lobster.
Carol was the talk of Cannes and, if pretty much everyone who has seen this film is to be believed, your 2015 Best Actress will most likely be Cate Blanchett for playing the title role. In the 1950s New York City, a young woman (Rooney Mara) falls in love with an older woman named Carol. What follows is reported to be a heartbreakingly beautiful film about love, which has everyone who has seen it talking non-stop about it (almost to a fault).
The closing night movie — a biopic of jazz legend Miles Davis — has been a pet project of star and director Don Cheadle for a long, long time. And it’s hard not to be curious about a project that means so much to a guy like Cheadle. The usual reservations exist for what is yet another musician-based biopic, but it’s hard to ignore Cheadle’s chutzpah in getting this made. And in a world where it seems like everyone gets a biopic these days, it’s about time that Miles Davis got his due.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.