After creating a buzz at film fests, this year's independent films offer small but worthwhile stories with performances that could break out to capture audiences, critics and awards.
The following highlight some of the star-studded stand-outs that could be this year's
Black Swan or
My Week with Marilyn
Release dates: November 4 in North America, followed by the UK and Scandinavia
Starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Julia Ormond. An adaptation of Colin Clark's memoir about his time with Monroe on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. Premieres at the New York Film Festival.
A Dangerous Method
Release dates: November 10 in Germany, 23 in North America and 30 in France
Starring Viggo Mortensen ( The Road) as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender ( X-Men: First Class) as Carl Jung, Keira Knightley as the psychoanalysts' patient, and Victor Cassel. Director David Cronenberg ( A History of Violence) adapts Christopher Hampton's play, A Talking Cure. Screens at Venice, Toronto and New York film fests.
Release dates: October 12 in France, November 23 in the US, followed by other markets
A black-and-white crowd-pleaser about a Hollywood silent movie star concerned about talkies when a scandal rocks his career. Stars Jean Dujardin ( OSS 117), James Cromwell ( Babe), John Goodman ( Monsters Inc.) and Malcolm McDowell ( A Clockwork Orange). Screened at Cannes and will play the Toronto Film Festival.
Release dates: December 9 in North America
Madonna's sophomore directorial effort, a romantic drama that focuses on the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson juxtaposed with the story of a contemporary couple - a married woman and Russian security guard. Starring Andrea Riseborough ( Made in Dagenham) and Abbie Cornish ( Sucker Punch) and playing the Venice and Toronto film festivals.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Release dates: October 21 in the US, then opens in Sweden, Germany, the UK and France
This psychological thriller features newcomer Elizabeth Olsen, the sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley, playing a haunted young woman who escapes a sinister cult and struggles to adjust. Also stars John Hawkes of Winter's Bone.
Release dates: September 30 in the US, followed by the UK, France and more
Starring Michael Shannon ( Revolutionary Road) and Jessica Chastain ( The Tree of Life, The Help), about a family coping with the father's mental illness and apocalyptic visions. Director Jeff Nichols was the winner at Cannes.
Release dates: December 1-2 in Russia and the US, followed by the UK and others
Starring Ralph Fiennes in his directorial debut. This adaptation of Shakespeare's war drama is given a contemporary Balkan War setting. The revenge story of a banished former hero who allies with a sworn enemy, played by Gerard Butler ( 300, RocknRolla). Played at the Berlinale and will screen at the Toronto Film Festival.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Release dates: September 28 in France, October in the UK in October and December in the US
Stars Tilda Swinton ( The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as the mother of a teenage mass murderer trying to face her son's crime. Based on Lionel Shriver's book and costarring John C. Reilly ( Chicago). Played Cannes and screens at Toronto's film fest.
Release dates: September 30 in the UK, November in the US
Controversial director Lars von Trier delivers his best-reviewed film starring Kirsten Dunst (Best Actress at Cannes) and Charlotte Gainsbourg in a dystopian tale about a wedding on the eve of the end of the world. The ensemble cast includes Kiefer Sutherland ( 24), Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård and his son Stellan Skarsgård ( True Blood). Plays Toronto and New York film festivals.
The Rum Diary
Release dates: October 28 in the US, followed by November in the UK and France
Starring Johnny Depp, who produced this film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel about an American journalist on a booze-driven adventure in 1950s Puerto Rico. Directed by Bruce Robinson ( Withnail & I) with Aaron Eckhart ( Rabbit Hole) and Amber Heard ( Pineapple Express).
Among the other contenders vying for attention: Young Adult by director Jason Reitman ( Up in the Air) with Charlize Theron, Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close as a woman disguised as a man, and Like Crazy featuring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in the Grand Jury winner from Sundance.