Blue Is the Warmest Color (10/25)
Is a three-hour movie about lesbians too much? Not with these lesbians. As 15-year-old Adèle, a wanna-be teacher, Adèle Exarchopoulos gives the kind of explosive performance awards are made for. And she's nearly matched by Léa Seydoux as Emma, the blue-haired beauty who teaches her plenty. Ignore critics who were irked that Blue is filtered through the male gaze of writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche. The film is unique and unforgettable.
Out of the Furnace (12/6)
Remember Scott Cooper, who directed Jeff Bridges to an Oscar in 2009's indie hit Crazy Heart? Now Cooper is back with a Pennsylvania steel-town thriller about an ex-con (Christian Bale) looking for payback from a mobster (Woody Harrelson).
Dallas Buyers Club (12/6)
Matthew McConaughey, who keeps on performing acting miracles, lost 50 pounds to play a character based on Ron Woodroof, a Dallas homophobe who is diagnosed with HIV in 1986 and gets into the dodgy business of smuggling illegal alternative medicines to find a cure.
The Past (12/20)
For this Paris-set tale of secrets and lies, Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) won the Best Actress prize at Cannes. She plays the ex-wife of an Iranian (Ali Mosaffa) who finds danger in her relationship with an Arab (Tahar Ramin). Look for Asghar Farhadi's spellbinder to lead the race for Best Foreign Film.