Florida Film Fest's Spotlight category gives you a leg up on upcoming movies 

Next big things

click to enlarge Love and Friendship

Love and Friendship

The Festival always offers a "Spotlight" category. No, it isn't a tribute to last year's Oscar-winner for Best Picture. It's simply a way of shining a light on movies that have already received distribution deals and, with a few exceptions, are not competing for awards. That distribution status makes the films notoriously difficult to screen in advance. In fact, Orlando Weekly was able to screen only one Spotlight film this year, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. And though it might be wise to keep all 13 on your planning radar, four of this year's Spotlight films deserve special mention.

click to enlarge High-Rise
  • High-Rise

High-Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley, is a British science-fiction thriller set in the 1970s and based on J.G. Ballard's bleak novel of the same title. It stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss, and, at least based on those names and the trailer, looks irresistible.

Love & Friendship reunites director Whit Stillman with Chlöe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale (who starred in his Last Days of Disco), this time as the heroines of an epistolary Jane Austen novel, Lady Susan. Early reviews have praised the naturalism and modernity Stillman brings to the 19th-century milieu.

Louder Than Bombs stars Jesse Eisenberg. If that weren't reason enough to give it a try, it was fairly well-received at both Cannes and Toronto.

Lastly, who can resist Werner Herzog? OK, well a lot of sane people, actually. But that still doesn't mean you should miss his latest project, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, in which Herzog ponders the internet.

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