With AFI FEST presented by Audi just one week away, fellow FSR-er and AFI FEST attendee Kate Erbland and I went through the impressive list of films on the schedule and selected the ones we are most looking forward to seeing. To the credit of those putting together this year’s AFI FEST, I found myself practically highlighting the entire schedule grid as I saw film after film that had already been on my “to-see” list. From films I have been anticipating for the past few months (Shame) to ones I had not heard of until now (Butter), this year’s AFI FEST looks to be one of its strongest lineups yet.

AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE.

After the break, check out my list of my top ten most anticipated films of this year’s AFI FEST. Which films are you planning on seeing at this year’s AFI FEST?

J. Edgar


J. Edgar boasts some serious star power with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role and Clint Eastwood in the director’s chair, but I have been most looking forward to seeing what Armie Hammer brings to the table since his breakout role as the Winklevi twins in last year’s The Social Network. I am admittedly apprehensive at the “aging” done to DiCaprio throughout the course of the film (where were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button artists for this?), but overall this film caught my interest back when the trailer first debuted and I have been looking forward to it ever since.

The Dish & The Spoon


Greta Gerwig has proven herself to be a talent to watch and in lieu of a trailer, the scene I found of her with Olly Alexander (who plays a teenager Gerwig’s character befriends) discussing why we celebrate Thanksgiving left me wanting to see more. I am interested to see how their relationship (with Gerwig as a woman recently scorned and Alexander an abandoned teen) plays out throughout the film.

Rampart

It is no secret Woody Harrelson is funny, but I am always more interested when he is serious. In Rampart, Harrelson plays dirty cop Dave Brown and the various characters in his life from his two ex-wives to his two estranged daughters to those trying to convict him to the homeless man who could be his undoing should be an interesting mix to watch Harrelson to bounce off of. The potential twists these characters (and stellar cast portraying them) promise quickly put this film on my must-see list. Plus I will unapologetically see anything Ben Foster is in.

Kill List

I have long been a fan of thrillers, especially when they have a bit of a horror bent and was bummed I missed this one when it premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The idea of a solider becoming a contract killer is unsettling enough, but to then have things apparently spin out of control definitely ups the ante. It sounds like the twists and turns in Kill List keep its audience guessing and I for one am looking forward to trying to unravel things before the credits roll.

My Week with Marilyn


I have been a fan of Michelle Williams since her days on Dawson’s Creek (don’t judge) and have enjoyed watching the choices she has made as she has ascended into true movie star territory. I think she looks spot on as Marilyn and know she has the acting chops to make this a performance worth watching. Simply watching her flip the switch from her public persona to her “true” self behind closed doors in just the trailer sucked me into Marilyn’s world.

Butter


The cast list for Butter alone grabbed my attention with names like Jennifer GarnerHugh JackmanTy BurrellAlicia SilverstoneRob CorddryOlivia Wilde, and Phyllis Smith. The film seems like it may have shades of Election with Garner filling the role of the uptight, type-A perfectionist hell bent on winning her town’s annual butter carving contest. I am also excited to see TV stars Burrell (Phil Dunphy on Modern Family) and Smith (Phyllis on The Office) taking to the big screen alongside such heavy hitters.

Melancholia


Melancholia has been making the festival rounds this year and although reactions seem to be mixed, I have been intrigued by the look and story of the film since the first trailer came out. A wedding paired with the end of the world? Call me a cynic, but it was imagery that resonated with me.

Jeff, Who Lives At Home


Jason Segel and the Duplass brothers? Count me in. Festivals can get weighed down with heavier fare and Jeff, Who Lives At Home sounds like a solid comedy to help lighten the mood. The simple premise of a man running an errand to get wood glue sounds silly, but in the hands of Segel (a man who made vampire puppets charming) I think this will be just as heartfelt as funny.

The Artist


As an admitted music nerd, the idea of a throwback film to the days before “talkies” focusing more on the performance and music had my interest immediately. Film it in black-and-white and give me a few dance numbers and I am pretty much sold, but the idea of telling the story of a silent movie star dealing with the advent of talking in films through the dying medium that he is struggling to stay apart of should provide an interesting commentary on the film itself.

Shame


Michael Fassbender shot to the top of my radar this year after his performances in both Jane Eyre and X-Men: First Class. In Shame, Fassbender rejoins director Steve McQueen (having previously worked together on Hunger) and his performance looks nothing less than captivating. I am looking forward to seeing how the film takes on the taboo subject of sex addiction and yes, am also anticipating the “guest star” that has been getting as much buzz as the film itself. Bring on the NC-17 rating.

Keep your eyes peeled for Kate’s own Most Anticipated List, debuting later today.


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