1. Together -- The reviews of Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodysson's cheeky but sincere comedy about that great '60s invention -- the commune -- have been nothing short of stellar. Many are thrilled with its balance, which avoids being neither condemning nor glorifying. "Together has an almost perfect-pitch grasp of those messy, idealistic, vibrant times, when everyone was trying to reinvent himself from the ground up," says Newsweek's David Ansen. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14
2. Mulholland Drive -- This is a theatrical version of the TV series writer-director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) was planning before ABC pulled the plug. All we need to know is it's a thriller set in L.A., with a cast that includes, of all people, retired musical queen Ann Miller. "More than anything else, Mulholland Drive is an incredible cinematic experience," writes Premiere's Glenn Kenny. "You laugh, you wince, you fall in love, you hold your breath, you cringe, you mutter 'Oh my God.'" 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
3. Brotherhood of the Wolf -- Christophe Gans directs this genre-crossing adventure about a French scientist (Samuel Le Bihan) and his Iroquois blood brother (Mark Dacascos) sent to solve the mystery of a murderous beast in 18th century France. "This imaginative mix of seemingly disparate film styles and genres unifies into a uniquely entertaining movie experience," says Reeling Reviews' Laura Clifford. 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18
4. Calle 54 -- Fernando Trueba's documentary of several concert performances features some of Latin jazz's giants: the late Tito Puente, Bebo and Chuco Valdes, Gato Barbieri and Cachao, just to name a few. "The film is such a pure expression of the director's love for the music, a love so infectious it should leave you elated," gushes The New York Times' Elvis Mitchell. 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18
5. Italian for Beginners -- Lone Scherfig directed this latest film from the same Dogme movement that brought us The Celebration and The Idiots. In a provincial Denmark suburb, the lives of several lonely singles intersect while taking a class in Italian. "A carefully calculated and charmingly dissection of language as the vehicle to another's heart and soul," says Ed Gonzalez in Slant magazine. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17
6. The Don and Bill Show: Slightly Bent -- Anyone who saw Don Hertzfeldt's animated short Rejected at last year's fest knows that the man has a subversive sense of humor and, ultimately, no fear. We can't wait to rip through this 10-film mini-package that includes another showing of Rejected. 11 p.m. Friday; 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16
7. Chopper -- Writer-director Andrew Dominik poured over police records, court transcripts, news bits and interviews with prisoners in his research for this sort-of biopic of Australian mega-criminal Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read. Eric Bana has won praise for this, his first major role. "Intense, confronting, uncomfortably funny and often brilliantly made," writes The Australian's Lynden Barber. 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17
8. Waking Life -- Very early reviews are very mixed about this animation offering by director Richard Linklater, who has two at this festival and who has seemed a bit lost in his post-Slacker era. The Bakshi-esque animation seems to be the bit here in a story of a man drifting through his own dreams. Reunites (by voice at least) Before Sunrise co-stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
9. Tape -- Linklater directed this, the fourth in a series of IFC Productions' InDigEnt films shot on digital for no less than $150,000. Ethan Hawke (yet again) and Robert Sean Leonard are former friends who recount their rivalry over a girl (Uma Thurman). "As the film progresses and voices are raised the audience is dealt a very interesting and compelling film," says Film Threat's Anthony Miele. 9:45 Saturday, Oct. 13
10. Tempted -- Writer-director Bill Bennett didn't just shoot this suspense thriller in New Orleans; he blanketed it with local flavor and actors. Burt Reynolds stars as a dying businessman who hires construction worker Peter Facinelli to test trophy-wife Saffron Burrows' resolve, but we're more excited to see attorney/actor Michael Arata as a devious lawyer (insert joke here), as well as other locals. 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
Note: It doesn't qualify because we've seen it, but a must-see at this year's festival is Jean-Luc Godard's 1964 classic, Band of Outsiders (7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15). "All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun," as Godard once said, and here he proves it in spades.
- Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring co-star in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, one of the much-anticipated new releases screening at this weekend's New Orleans Film Festival.