Directed by Steven Soderbergh; Starring Rooney Mara,Channing Tatum, and Jude Law
Supposedly this is Steven Soderbergh's last film before he retires (sure, sure), and I've always enjoyed his approach to female characters (last year's double bill of 'Haywire' and 'Magic Mike,' for instance). This film follows a woman (Rooney Mara) who seeks therapy and anti-anxiety medication to cope with her husband's (Channing Tatum) impending release from prison. The tone of the trailer plays well with the anxiety theme, as we watch Mara's character descend into cuckoo-town, but knowing Soderbergh, this film is a hell of a lot more than your typical crazy lady fare.
Directed by Park Chan-wook; Starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Matthew Goode
When a young woman's father dies in a tragic accident, her mentally unstable mother sends for an uncle the girl never knew she had to come live with them. There's something strange and dark, but ultimately alluring, about the man, with whom the young woman quickly becomes infatuated.
Directed by Paul Feig; Starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock
I am so incredibly pumped for 'The Heat,' even though the first two trailers haven't been as full of laughs as I'd hoped. Paul Feig, who brought us 'Bridesmaids' in 2010 (a movie I never grow tired of), re-teams with Melissa McCarthy for this comedy about two mismatched lady police officers -- like a buddy cop movie, but with women in the lead! I know the trailers aren't so great, but Paul Feig's track record is fantastic, and aside from 'Bridesmaids,' he's also been at the helm of two of the most underrated and tragically short-lived TV series in recent history -- 'Freaks and Geeks' and 'Undeclared' -- and the script comes courtesy of Katie Dippold, who writes for 'Parks and Recreation.'
'The Brass Teapot'
Directed by Ramaa Mosley; Starring Juno Temple, Alia Shawkat, Alexis Bledel, and Michael Angarano
First of all, the cast for 'The Brass Teapot,' the debut feature from female director Ramaa Mosley, is amazing. Second, the concept sounds delightful: a couple comes across a brass teapot that gives them money when they hurt themselves, or each other, allowing for some pretty dark comedy, which you can check out in the clip below:
Directed by Shane Carruth; Starring Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz
Shane Carruth hasn't made a film since 2004's time travel indie drama 'Primer' -- it's exciting enough to see his first feature in nine (!!!) years, but the synopsis and teaser are fascinatingly enigmatic: a man and a woman are drawn into the life cycle of an ageless organism and fight to maintain their identities as reality begins to fade. It sounds like an abstract exploration of a relationship, and that's the kind of idea that sells me before I've even seen a frame. The teaser is just icing on the cake:
'Stories We Tell'
Directed by Sarah Polley; Starring Pixie Bigelow, Deirdre Bowen, and Geoffrey Bowes
Sarah Polley's 'Take This Waltz' made my top 10 of 2012, and this year she returns with 'Stories We Tell,' a documentary that explores the way memory creates falsehood overtime as she interviews members of her own family about a particularly important subject. I haven't read reviews of the film, but early buzz out of the Toronto International Film Festival from my colleagues was glowing, and many urged me not to read too much about the documentary, lest I spoil myself on something truly great.
'Girl Most Likely'
Directed by Shari Springer Bergman and Robert Pulcini; Starring Kristen Wiig, Matt Dillon, Annette Bening and Darren Criss
A playwright stages her own suicide to get her ex back, but ends up taking in her mother, who's addicted to gambling. The plot sounds like the sort of messy-headed, regressive female stuff that I love ('Young Adult,' 'Bridesmaids') -- a comedy with a dark streak and some really deep, honest stuff at the center. The film comes from the directing team that brought us 'American Splendor' and the HBO film 'Cinema Verite.'
'The To-Do List'
Directed by Maggie Carey; Starring Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader and Alia Shawkat
Originally titled 'The Hand Job' and changed for obvious reasons, this film comes from writer/director Maggie Carey, wife of Bill Hader. It follows a young and sexually-inexperienced woman who feels increasing pressure from her friends to have more sexual encounters before she heads off to college. The film is packed with stars like Donald Glover, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, and Clark Gregg, and the trailer is surprisingly cute:
Directed by Kimberly Peirce; Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and Judy Greer
Based on the novel by Stephen King, which was previously adapted twice, this horror flick follows a tortured and bullied high school girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers, and uses them against her tormentors. Chloe Grace Moretz has chosen some daring roles for a 15-year-old girl -- from 'Kick-Ass' to 'Let Me In,' she plays with ideas of what is acceptable for a girl her age and challenges us to see her as more than a teen girl. Through her and her performances, we can perhaps open our minds about our own young sisters and daughters, and their maturity.
Another reason to get excited for 'Carrie' is director Kimberly Peirce, who directed the fiercely poignant and heartbreaking 'Boys Don't Cry.'
'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
Directed by Francis Lawrence; Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Katniss Everdeen broke the Young Adult fiction mold when she hit the big screen last year, showing us that there are indeed good role models out there for young women. Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss is self-reliant, provides for her family and takes her younger sister's place in a harrowing tournament that forces teens to kill each other for the entertainment of privileged spectators. Furthermore, she doesn't need a guy to save her, and she doesn't need a boyfriend. If the sequel is just as smart, count me in.
Directed by Lars Von Trier; Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf and Christian Slater
Lars Von Trier is back with a follow-up to 'Antichrist' and 'Melancholia,' two brilliant and visually stirring films that explored the complexities of two very different and troubled women. Like those films, 'Nymphomaniac' also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, this time as a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is rescued from a beating by a man, to whom she tells the story of the many sexual encounters that led her to where she is now. Like his previous two films, I expect 'Nymphomaniac' to be an intellectually rewarding, thought-provoking, and challenging watch.