Fest Five: 5 Films to Watch at the New Orleans Film Fest

05:00 October 06, 2014
By: Fritz Esker

The New Orleans Film Fest runs from October 16-23 this year and the number of choices can be a bit overwhelming.  Here’s five movies worth checking out.

American Heist (http://neworleansfilmfestival.org/film/info/2121/american-heist) - Oct 22, 8:45 p.m., Joy Theater - This indie heist thriller was filmed in New Orleans and stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and Hayden Christensen as brothers involved in a bank robbery. While there hasn’t been the level of buzz for this as the other films profiled in this article, I’m a sucker for crime films and can’t wait to see a movie at the renovated Joy Theater.

Black and White (http://neworleansfilmfestival.org/film/info/2108/black-and-white); Oct 16, 7:00 p.m., the Civic; October 22, 7:30 p.m., the Prytania - This year’s opening night selection features Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer as grandparents fighting a custody battle over their biracial daughter. Costner’s an underrated actor and it should be nice to see him flex his dramatic muscles in this one.

Foxcatcher (http://neworleansfilmfestival.org/film/info/2150/foxcatcher); Oct 21, 8:15 p.m., Canal Place - Director Bennett Miller is not prolific. He made Capote in 2005 and Moneyball in 2011 before Foxcatcher, which tells the true-life story of an unstable millionaire (Steve Carell, getting Best Actor buzz for his performance) who invites a pair of sibling wrestling stars (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) to train at his estate. Tragedy ensues. Both of Miller’s previous films were excellent, so this is likely to be well worth seeing.

The Imitation Game (http://neworleansfilmfestival.org/film/info/2157/the-imitation-game); Oct 19, 6:45 p.m., the Prytania - Right up there with Steve Carell for Best Actor buzz is Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays British codebreaker Alan Turing in this World War II biopic/thriller. Turing was one of the war’s unsung heroes, but he was also a closeted homosexual who was persecuted for his secret (homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain at the time).

Whiplash (http://neworleansfilmfestival.org/film/info/2171/whiplash); Oct 23, 7:45 p.m., Canal Place - The hype has been building for this drama since it took top honors at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Often referred to by critics as “Full Metal Drumkit,” the film tells the story of a drum prodigy (Miles Teller) and his battle of wills with a demanding but brilliant teacher (J.K. Simmons). Simmons’ supporting performance is supposedly electric and a contender for year-end awards consideration. Teller is a young actor to watch, coming off an excellent performance in last year’s The Spectacular Now (which was terrific, so see it if you haven’t).

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