It's been a banner fall for movies, and the annual Lone Star Film Festival is about to give locals a taste of some more good stuff, presenting nearly 40 feature films and short film programs November 7-10 at the AMC Palace 9 in downtown Fort Worth.
Although we encourage you to attend as many of the offerings as your heart desires, below are six films that should be at the top of your list. Oh, and don't forget to check out the new Sundance Square Plaza located nearby, which features three fountains, four giant umbrellas and a huge gathering area.
August: Osage County (November 9)
This is the film that's most likely to sell out first, as it features many of the biggest names in Hollywood: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney and Abigail Breslin, among others. Based on the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, it's a dark comedy that'll have you cringing when you're not laughing.
Blood Brother (November 10)
Blood Brother is an acclaimed documentary that won both the Grand Jury and Audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival; it also played at the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival. It follows Rocky Bratt, a man who decided to move to India and dedicate his life to orphans with HIV and AIDS. His discoveries while undertaking the seemingly immense challenge will have even the hardest of hearts shedding a few tears.
Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self (November 8)
If that mouthful of a title seems familiar, it's because it first premiered as a play in Dallas in 2011. Writer/director Eric Steele, who's been pretty much everywhere on the Dallas film scene, was able to transform the one-act play into a feature film, keeping original star Barry Nash in the title role. It's a motivational speech for the ages, and one you won't want to miss.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (November 10)
The life of former South African president Nelson Mandela has never been told in full on screen, most likely because his life contains so many remarkable moments. But director Justin Chadwick and star Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) attempt to touch on as many big things as they can, including Mandela's 27 years in prison and his rise to the highest office in his land.
Nebraska (November 9)
Writer/director Alexander Payne, last seen winning an Oscar for co-writing 2011's The Descendants, is back with another story about his native Nebraska. Starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte and filmed in black and white, it's the story of a possibly senile man who thinks that he's won millions of dollars that are just waiting for him in, you guessed it, Nebraska.
Tim's Vermeer (November 7)
This documentary, directed by Teller of Penn & Teller fame, has the honor of opening the festival on Thursday night. It follows the quest of Texas inventor Tim Jenison to figure out exactly how Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer was able to paint so photo-realistically in the 17th century, when photography didn't exist. Jenison and producer Farley Zeigler will be in attendance.