The 10 Most Anticipated Films of the 2013 New York Film Festival

By  · Published on September 25th, 2013

Film festival season is off and running, what with TIFF wowing the international crowds with all its surefire award season contenders and Fantastic Fest blowing a hole a mile wide in the great Texas sky of genre flicks, and before we can even catch our breath (or rest our tired, tired eyes), the New York Film Festival is ready to blast us with still more wonderful films. We’re tired, but we’re also excited. Film festival feelings are complicated.

NYFF kicks off later this week with the highly anticipated premiere of Captain Phillips. For the next two weeks, Gotham will be inundated with a murderer’s row of big time films – from buzzy titles from Cannes and TIFF to premieres of fresh new features, all the way up to some of the biggest (and yet to be seen!) films of the awards season. With plenty of films we’ve been wanting to see for months (and, in some cases, years) now, NYFF is looking pretty swanky this year, and we can’t wait to dive right in. Until then, here are ten films we’re most looking forward to seeing (and we think you’ll agree).

Captain Phillips

The buzz on this Paul Greengrass joint has been steadily building since it was shown to a select group of awards journalists pre-TIFF. See what they did there? Awards journalists, and their response has been quite solid. Is this fact-based tale about the capturing of a ship by Somalia pirates home to one of the best Tom Hanks performances in years? That’s what we’re hearing – and the film’s recent rash of trailers seem to be pushing that in a surprisingly subtle and very effective way.

Inside Llewyn Davis

If you’re not anticipating the latest from the Coen Brothers, we don’t know what to tell you.


In some ways, we never thought that we’d see Spike Jonze’s latest – it seems like we’ve been hearing about his tale of a man who falls in love with his computer’s new operating system for years now and there’s certainly been a few bumps on the road to a final print. After all, Jonze hasn’t made a feature since 2009, leading man Joaquin Phoenix still has a strange haze about him, and the last minute replacement of that operating system’s voice (from Samantha Morton to Scarlett Johansson) may have been brushed off as a small hitch in voiceover work but it sure sounds major. But everything we’ve seen from the film looks excellent so far, so here’s hoping that the Closing Night Film meets our sky-high expectations.


Alexander Payne. Black and white. Bruce Dern. Will Forte. Father-son road trip. This thing just seems gravitas.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

No, Ben Stiller, we were not anticipating your remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye classic. Yes, we were put off by the fact that Hollywood has been trying to redo this thing for almost twenty years. Sure, the revolving door of talent that was attached during those two decades all sounded just sort of awful. Nope, we didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt. And then you had to roll out those trailers and suddenly, yup, this all made sense. Give us the whimsy, Stiller, we’re ready now.

All Is Lost

In a perfect world, this film would be Robert Redford’s final big screen role – after all, who wouldn’t want to end a storied career with a production that only stars them as a man on the edge of a (nervous breakdown) shipwreck? But Redford has some bills to pay (Sundance is expensive, you guys), so we’ll soon see him in the Captain America sequel – perhaps after he wins an Oscar for this one. Guys, he doesn’t even have a volleyball to talk to.

About Time

Love Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis tries to lighten up a predictably heavy festival slate with his latest – a romantic comedy about a time traveler (the very charming Domhnall Gleeson), the girl whose heart he tries to win (Rachel McAdams), and the father who shares his same gift (Bill Nighy). Get ready for dry British humor and wet movie tears.

The Immigrant

Okay, Joaquin Phoenix, you’re back. James Gray’s latest features the incandescent Marion Cotillard as a recent immigrant who falls prey to Phoenix’s evil pimp, and it sounds like the fallout is going to be something to see.

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Forgive the carryover from TIFF, but we missed it in Toronto and that will not be happening again. The captivating Cannes winner is smack in the middle of its fall festival run and the praise for Abdellatif Kechiche’s unflinching portrayal of the troubled romantic relationship between a pair of passionate young ladies doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This is the film people have been talking about since May, and we can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about.

Secret Screening

A not entirely scientific review of NYFF attendees’ wish list for the Secret Screening most often turned up major interest in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, a fervent hope that was frequently smacked down by other people with better information. Seems they were right – with the news that Wolf could be delayed, it seems unlikely we’ll see it at NYFF (even if past Secret Screenings included unfinished cuts of both Hugo and Lincoln and both were eventually ready for that year’s award season, a report from THR firmly says it will not be a part of the NYFF conversation). Other persistent possibilities? The Monuments Men and American Hustle— two films we’d love to unexpectedly see.

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The New York Film Festival runs from September 27 until October 13 in New York City.