If the summer blockbuster season is getting you down, don't worry, there is only a couple of months left and this fall, it looks like each week will be packed with quality selections at your local arthouse and three more have just been dated.
Probably one of the most talked about films on the Croisette this year -- aside from Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" and obviously Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" -- was Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty" presented by Jane Campion and starring Emily Browning. Riding high into Cannes thanks to a provocative, eeriely beautiful trailer the film severely divided audiences. It's a cold, enigmatic picture about a young woman who takes up a job as a curious kind of call girl, one who allows herself to be drugged to sleep so that men can indulge in their sexual fantasies with her, while she has no knowledge of what has transpired. Browning gives a terrific performance, but the film is a tough sit, that will infuriate as many viewers as it does enrapture them. IFC Films will release the film on October 28th and in a weird way, it's kind of the perfect Halloween movie.
Yes, we know about a week ago it was reported that Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" was hitting theaters on October 7th but that has changed slightly -- it has now moved one more week to October 14th. Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes and based on Thierry Jonquet‘s novel “Mygale,” the film is a revenge tale that tells the story of a plastic surgeon (Banderas) on the hunt for the men who raped his daughter, in a blend of horror, thriller and melodrama. This too was a bit of a divisive one at Cannes, getting mixed reviews, but it will still be worth a peek if only because it's a bold step outside the norm for Almodovar and we're definitely curious to see how he's put together this odd tale.
Finally, if you had any doubt that Michael Shannon is one of the finest actors working right now, "Take Shelter" will quickly convince you. Reteaming with his "Shotgun Stories" director Jeff Nichols, the film which has already graced Sundance and Cannes, is a smart and beautifully constructed mood piece of paranoia and anxiety that follows a man whose life slowly becomes consumed by his belief that a deadly, apocalyptic storm is on the way. While some may shy away from the film's stranger plot turns and character choices, this writer was enthralled, and it's certainly one of the finest American films so far this year. Shannon has never been better, Nichols establishes himself as a young director with a unique voice and as a whole, it's an unsettling, Roman Polanksi-esque psychological slow burn. When it hits theaters on September 30th in limited release (it goes wide in October) we strongly urge you to check it out.