Since 1976 the Toronto Film Festival(TIFF) has been a fairly big event in the film industry as it usually releases many movies that go on to achieve Oscar nominations and many times even wins. Films like Chariots of Fire, Downfall, Crash, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire have all premiered at the festival which has made TIFF one of the showcase festivals for movies trying to get picked up by distributors. TIFF just wrapped up over this past weekend and I have actually payed much closer attention to the films coming out of TIFF this year than in the past so I thought I would share some of the movies I’m most excited to check out whenever they eventually get a wide release in theaters or DVD/Blu-ray release.
The Master is certainly the most buzzed about movie from TIFF despite the fact that it didn’t win film of the show because of the huge amount of hype the movie has generated by writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson is known for his excellent character films such as There Will Be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, and Magnolia; all of which have been incredibly well received with There Will Be Blood garnering 8 Oscar nominations and 2 wins. The Master follows a man named Freddie(Joaquin Phoenix) who gets wrapped up in a cult like group led by a man named Lancaster Dodd(Philip Seymour Hoffman) in the 1950s. It has been widely speculated that the film will parallel the early beginnings of Scientology which has had many speculators very interested in the project. I’m unsure of when this film is getting a wide release, but I can hardly wait to see exactly what all the talk is about.
Opens October 12
Argo is Ben Affleck‘s latest film which covers some recently declassified information regarding the Iran Hostage Crisis. During the crisis the US was able to rescue six of the hostages by convincing the Iranian government that they were members of a film crew who were scouting locations for a movie. The movie has a very odd premise, but the fact that Affleck is directing and starring in this movie is enough to get me interested. After seeing The Town I was convinced that Affleck has some pretty legitimate directing skills. I’m also very excited by the rest of the cast which includes Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and Titus Welliver. This movie appears to be a very smart and interesting historical thriller which has me all the more excited.
Opens October 26
Cloud Atlas appears to be a very interesting story about the nature of man kind and relationships that takes place over hundreds of years and several different generations. In other words, the scope for this movie looks to be absolutely massive. While I’m not entirely sure what the plot of this movie is going to be, based on the trailers I think that the themes look to cover some very interesting philosophical, existential, and possibly theological questions about mankind and the human condition. I am incredibly intrigued by everything I’ve seen so far, and can’t wait to see the full movie. This movie looks to be incredibly polarizing as many movies of this scope and nature are. The Wachowski Siblings did an outstanding job with the Matrix and I’m hoping they can hit a similar mark with this film’s themes and ideas. The movie also has an absolutely huge cast made up of stars like Tom Hanks,Hugo Weaving,Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, and Keith David. I may not know much about the movie, but I still can’t wait to see what direction this film takes in exploring many of these big universal questions.
Opens September 28th
Looper is a movie I first heard about almost a year ago and was immediately excited for two reasons. The first reason was the core talent which is writer/director Rian Johnson who did an absolutely outstanding job on his indie film Brick and made a very different and also successful follow-up with The Brothers Bloom. The second reason I got immediately excited was because of the fact that it was Rian Johnson doing a time-travel movie. I’m a sucker for time-travel movies so I always get excited to see a big budget film that tackles the mind-bending subject. Whenever I heard that Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were the leading roles with some support from Jeff Daniels and Emily Blunt I had a hard time containing my nerdgastic excitement. This feels like a movie that has been personally crafted to my taste so needless to say I have been very excited. For any one who is a fan of the sci-fi genre or just great storytelling I highly recommend you join me in giving it a watch.
I honestly don’t know much about this movie as I really have only watched the above trailer and read a short synopsis for this film. What really catches my attention about this movie is the lead actors Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul. I’m big fan of Winstead’s work, but unfortunately she hasn’t had that Oscar level performance to promote what she is actually capable of. The early buzz is very much in favor of Winstead claiming that this may be the performance that gets her the attention she deserves. I’ve actually only seen Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad(in which he is fantastic), but I’d like to see him do something different. The movie centers on a woman named Kate who is trying to break her alcoholic tenancies after she loses loses her job as an elementary school teacher. The movie looks to be dramedy despite the fact that it is covering this difficult subject of trying to get clean from alcohol. This is a subject you don’t see covered often in film so I’m very interested to see what Smashed does with this tale of becoming sober.
Opening October 12
I’m generally not a huge fan of comedies as I find them to usually be formulated and and shallow, but Seven Psychopaths appears to be a comedy cut from a very different cloth than what is generally popular in comedies. I haven’t seen any of Martin McDonagh‘s films, but what is really exciting to me about this film is the naturally funny cast made up of Colin Farrell,Abbie Cornish,Sam Rockwell,Woody Harrelson, and the always hilarious Christopher Walken. All of these guys are people I already find funny, and throw them into this incredibly absurd plot of a crime lord’s Shih tzu getting kidnapped by an unemployed actor/screenwriter and you have some potentially hilarious material. The humor an this movie seems to be going for absurd, but smart which is a brand of comedy I certainly can’t resist. This is a comedy that I hope to catch once its hits theaters.
In all honesty, the only reason I want to see this movie is because it stars Michael Shannon as a mafia hitman who is trying to take care of his family despite his deadly career. The fact that Chris Evans,James Franco, and Winona Ryder are all playing supporting roles in this film is just icing on the cake. I’m hoping that this is a character study that delves into the mind of a hitman rather than a straight action movie based on the same premise. Nevertheless I am very interested in checking this film out as I hear than Shannon delivers an incredible performance.
Opens September 28
This movie is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky the creator of the classic Cartoon Network shows Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars:Clone Wars(2D animation). Nuff said
Silver Lining’s Playbook
Opening November 21
Silver Lining’s Playbook is the movie that one film of the show at TIFF which automatically puts it on my radar. It is also David O. Russell‘s latest film which appears to be a dramedy that follows an ex-teacher who has some very deep psychological trauma that becomes attracted to a girl who actually has plenty of psychological problems of her own. The movie seems to be about exploring their relationship and how they deal with each other’s deep baggage. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, and Chris Tucker which is a pretty exciting cast, and I’m very excited to see how the chemistry is between each of them. I’m hoping this ends up being a dramedy in the same vein as last year’s surprisingly excellent Crazy,Stupid, Love.