Life
Esther O'Loughlin 20 Sep 2019 12:16pm

Five anticipated films of autumn/winter 2019

A look at some of the films that created buzz at the recent Toronto, Venice and Telluride film festivals - traditionally bellwethers for awards season. From Trey Edward Shults’ heartfelt portrait of a family breakdown in Florida to an absurdist World War II satire about a 10-year-old wanna-be Nazi

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Caption: Five upcoming films you shouldn't miss

Ad Astra

Brad Pitt stars as major Roy McBride, an astronaut tasked with single-handedly saving the world from a series of unexplained power surges that may or may not be caused by his long-presumed-dead astronaut father (Tommy Lee Jones). Directed and co-written by James Gray, critics have lauded the film as visually spectacular, positioning lonely characters within extreme landscapes and action sequences.

Hustlers

Inspired by true events surrounding the 2008 economic collapse, this film tracks how ambition and greed can undo the underdogs as much as the wealthy. It follows a group of strippers, led by Jennifer Lopez and guest starring Cardi B, who get their own by hustling Wall Street clients. They have to step up their game in the wake of the crash, and things spiral out of hand. The film is its own success story: the third directed and penned by Lorene Scafaria (known for capturing humour amid realistic character relationships), who after years of hustling to get it made was given just eight months to do so. More than a comedy about pole dancers, she says it’s “a film about gender and economics”.

Waves

This up-close-and-personal narrative of an African American family in Florida, directed by Trey Edward Shults, shoves aside typical big-screen drama for character-driven story about how different individuals identify in family. Focus pivots between energetic teenager Tyler and his shy but strong-willed little sister Emily, as they struggle with their family roles under a tough-love father (Sterling K Brown). Waves is a story driven by what Variety is already calling “career-making performances”.

JoJo Rabbit

Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Rangnarok, The Hunt For the Wilderpeople) delivers signature brazen humour to this satirical World War II film about a 10-year-old German boy who gets swept up in Nazi propaganda and sees a goofy Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi) as his imaginary friend. His worldview is overturned when he discovers and befriends a Jewish girl his mother is hiding in the house. A strong supporting cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant. An anti-hate film has never been so funny, although Rotten Tomatoes warns the blend of jokes and “serious ideas” may not be “to everyone’s taste”.

The Irishman

Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses”, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited mob and teamsters movie reunites the director with two actors he’s arguably done his best work with – Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci – along with Al Pacino. Using face-changing VFX technology, the story spans decades to trace the role of mob hitman Frank Sheeran (DeNiro) in the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). It’s a chilling look at the ties between crime and politics, and at 3.5 hours will be Scorsese’s longest feature.