Fantastic Toronto Film Fest 2012 Gala & Special Presentation Line-Up
Wow, does it look like a fantastic year. The 37th Toronto International Film Festival just announced a total of 62 unique Gala and Special Presentation films as part of the lineup at this year's festival, which runs September 6th to 16th up in Toronto, Canada. This is our 6th year covering. I know at start of every fest I always say how amazing the line-up seems, but this year's TIFF selections are especially outstanding, so many movies I'm very excited about and many more I'm just curious/anxious to see. The highlights for me are Cloud Atlas and Looper, but you can check out the full first half of Toronto 2012 films listed below.
Here's a look at the first half of the TIFF 2012 film line-up unveiled. Starting with the Gala world premieres.
(dir. Rian Johnson, USA)
In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. Also starring Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels.
A Royal Affair
(dir. Nikolai Arcel, Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany)
A Royal Affair is a gripping tale of brave idealists who risk everything in their pursuit of freedom for the people. Above all, it is the story of a passionate and forbidden romance that changed an entire nation. Starring Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander.
(dir. Ben Affleck, USA)
When militants storm the U.S. embassy in 1979 Tehran, six Americans manage to slip away. Knowing it's only a matter of time before they are found, a CIA "exfiltration" specialist comes up with a plan to get them out of the country: a plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies. Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Kyle Chandler.
The Company You Keep
(dir. Robert Redford, USA)
Jim Grant (Robert Redford), a civil rights lawyer and single father, must go on the run when a brash young reporter (Shia LaBeouf) exposes his true identity as a former 1970s radical fugitive wanted for murder. Sparking a nationwide manhunt, Grant sets off on a cross-country journey to clear his name. Also starring Susan Sarandon, Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Stanley Tucci, Chris Cooper and Nick Nolte.
(dir. Hur Jin-ho, China)
As war looms in Shanghai, glamorous libertine Mo Jietu (Cecilia Cheung) runs into playboy Xie Yifan (Dong-gun Jang), an ex-boyfriend who's never stopped loving her. She persuades him to play a treacherous game: Xie must seduce the innocent and naïve Du Fenyu (Zhang Ziyi) and then dump her. But the game becomes increasingly dangerous as Xie falls in love with Du, leading them all to tragic and shocking consequences.
(dir. Gauri Shinde, India)
Money, fame and a knowledge of English. In India, these 3 factors play a huge role in how society judges an individual. English Vinglish is the story of Shashi, a woman who does not know English and in turn is made to feel insecure by her family and society at large. The film is the lighthearted yet touching and transformational journey of Shashi. Circumstances make her determined to overcome this insecurity, master the language, teach the world a lesson on the way to becoming a self assured and confident woman. This film marks the comeback of India's biggest female star, Sridevi.
Free Angela & All Political Prisoners
(dir. Shola Lynch, USA/France)
Legendary radical activist Angela Davis' words and actions made her a revolutionary icon in the 1960s. The documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners tells the dramatic story of how a young philosophy professor's social justice activism implicates her in the botched kidnapping attempt of a judge that ends in bloody shootout. Newsweek asks: what would prompt Angela Davis, "the daughter of the black bourgeoisie, to take a desperate turn to terrorism?"
(dir. Mike Newell, United Kingdom)
Based on the Charles Dickens classic. Orphan Pip rises from humble beginnings thanks to a mysterious benefactor. Moving through London's class-ridden world as a gentleman, Pip uses his new status to pursue Estella, a beautiful, heartless heiress he's always loved. The shocking truth behind his fortune will have devastating consequences for everything he holds dear. Starring Holliday Grainger, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Jeremy Irvine.
Hyde Park on Hudson
(dir. Roger Michell, United Kingdom)
In June 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Academy Award® nominee Bill Murray) and his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams) host the King and Queen of England (Samuel West and Olivia Colman) for a weekend at the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park on Hudson in upstate New York. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support. But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR's domestic establishment. Seen through the eyes of Daisy (Academy Award nominee Laura Linney), Franklin's neighbour and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but also a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship.
(dir. Ruba Nadda, Canada)
One afternoon, on a typical day at work, Adib is confronted with devastating news: His eldest daughter, Muna, has gone missing in Damascus. Now Adib, who has not been back in over 30 years, must return to Syria and deal with his secret past in order to find her. Inescapable is a thriller about a father's desperate search for his daughter and the chaos of the Middle East he left behind. Starring Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei and Joshua Jackson.
Jayne Mansfield's Car
(dir. Billy Bob Thornton, USA/Russia)
Jayne Mansfield's Car is a funny, poignant and searching look at three generations of fathers and sons in the South during the tumultuous ‘60s. It follows the family's heartfelt — and sometimes hilarious — struggles with long-held resentments, secrets, the memories of war, and how life, death and loss shaped them all. Starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, Billy Bob Thornton and John Hurt.
(dir. Liz Garbus, USA)
Nearly 50 years after her death, two boxes of Marilyn Monroe's private writings and musings were discovered in the home of her acting coach. These papers, brought to life in this innovative documentary film by some of our contemporary icons and stars, give us a new understanding of Monroe — revealing her carefully guarded inner life. Featuring Elizabeth Banks, Lindsay Lohan, Evan Rachel Wood, Ben Foster, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, Viola Davis, Jeremy Piven, Ellen Burstyn, Adrien Brody, Marisa Tomei and Glenn Close.
(dir. Deepa Mehta, Canada/ United Kingdom)
"Born in the hour of India's freedom. Handcuffed to history." Midnight's Children is an epic film from Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta, based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Salman Rushdie. At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, as India proclaims independence from Great Britain, two newborn babies are switched by a nurse in a Bombay hospital. Saleem Sinai, the illegitimate son of a poor Hindu woman, and Shiva, the offspring of wealthy Muslims, are fated to live the destiny meant for each other. Their lives become mysteriously intertwined and are inextricably linked to India's whirlwind journey of triumphs and disasters. Starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Shriya Saran, Siddharth, Ronit Roy, Rahul Bose, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Soha Ali Khan, Anita Majumdar, Zaib Shaikh and Darsheel Safary.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
(dir. Mira Nair, USA)
Based on the best-selling novel of the same title, that was translated into 25 languages, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting international political thriller that follows the story of a young Pakistani man chasing corporate success on Wall Street, who ultimately finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American dream, a hostage crisis and the enduring call of his family's homeland. Starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.
Silver Linings Playbook
(dir. David O. Russell, USA)
An intense, loving, emotional and funny family story from The Fighter director, David O. Russell. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence find themselves partners in a secret arrangement to rebuild their broken lives. Robert De Niro yearns to get closer to his son (Cooper), as he tries to keep the family afloat with his compulsive bookmaking. Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker co-star.
(dir. Hideki Takeuchi, Japan)
Ancient Roman architect Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) is too serious. His inability to keep up with the fast-moving times costs him his job. When a friend takes the dejected Lucius to the public bathhouse to cheer him up, Lucius accidentally slips through time and resurfaces in a modern-day public bath in Japan. There, he meets aspiring young manga artist Mami (Aya Ueto), along with others of the "flat-faced clan." Shocked by the many inventive aspects of Japan's bathing culture, Lucius returns to ancient Rome and garners tremendous attention when he implements these novel ideas back in Rome. As he time-slips back and forth between ancient Rome and modern- day Japan, Lucius' reputation as the ingenious, new bath architect begins to grow.
(dir. Sergio Castellitto, Italy/Spain/Croatia)
Gemma visits Sarajevo with her son, Pietro. Sixteen years ago they escaped the war-torn city while the boy's father remained behind and later died. As she tries to repair her relationship with Pietro, a revelation forces Gemma to face loss, the cost of war and the redemptive power of love. Starring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch.
A Few Hours of Spring
(dir. Stéphane Brizé, France)
Forty-eight-year-old Alain Evrard is obliged to return home to live with his mother. This situation causes all the violence of their past relationship to rise to the surface. Alain then discovers that his mother has a fatal illness. In the last months of her life, will they finally be capable of taking a step toward each other?
(dir. Joe Wright, United Kingdom)
The third collaboration of Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley with acclaimed director Joe Wright, following the award-winning box office successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, is a bold, theatrical new vision of the epic love story, adapted from Leo Tolstoy's timeless novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart. As Anna (Knightley) questions her happiness and marriage, change comes to surround her. Also starring Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
At Any Price
(dir. Ramin Bahrani, United Kingdom/USA)
Set in the competitive world of modern agriculture, ambitious Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) wants his rebellious son Dean (Zac Efron) to help expand his family's farming empire. However, Dean has his sights set on becoming a professional race car driver. When a high- stakes investigation into their business is exposed, father and son are pushed into an unexpected situation that threatens the family's entire livelihood.
(dir. Ziad Doueiri, France)
In the aftermath of a suicide bombing, an Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv discovers a dark secret about his wife.
(dir. Neil Jordan, United Kingdom)
Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence. Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan.
(dir. Costa-Gavras, France)
We are slaves to the Capital. We tremble when it trembles. We celebrate when it grows and triumphs. Who will set us free? Should we liberate ourselves? We should at the very least know those who serve it and how. This is the story of the unstoppable ascent of Marc Tourneuil, an expendable servant of the Capital who became its undisputed master. Starring Gad Elmaleh and Gabriel Byrne.
Caught in the Web
(dir. Chen Kaige, Japan/China)
The story of three women whose worlds collide, Caught in the Web is a social commentary about the ‘sound bite' society we are becoming, where perception becomes reality and judgments based on limited facts quickly spread, without regard for the truth or the damage they could cause. Starring Mark Chao, Chen Hong and Gao Yuanyuan.
(dirs. Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, USA)
The powerful, inspiring epic Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. Starring Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant.
The Deep (Djúpið)
(dir. Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland/Norway)
On a cold night a few miles off the coast of Iceland in March 1984, a fishing boat sank with all of its men. Miraculously surviving after five hours in the ocean, the exhausted young hulk washes ashore — only to find himself on a deadly lava field. Starring Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.
(dir. Marco Bellocchio, Italy/France)
Italy is cleaved by Eluana Englaro's drama, who will die after 17 years spent in a vegetative state. This national tragedy will touch and transform various characters, each of them with their own ideology and beliefs. A senator is struggling with his vote on a law he profoundly disagrees with, torn between his conscience and his loyalty towards the leaders of his party. His daughter Maria, a pro-life activist, is protesting in front of the clinic where Eluana is hospitalized. Roberto and his brother are there in opposition, demonstrating for stronger secular values — yet it is with Roberto, the "enemy" that Maria falls in love. These and other converging stories are connected by a unique emotional thread: a reflection on the meaning of life. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Toni Servillo, Alba Rohrwacher, Michele Riondino, Maya Sansa, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Brenno Placido, Fabrizio Falco, Gian Marco Tognazzi, Roberto Herlitzka.
Dreams for Sale
(dir. Nishikawa Miwa, Japan)
After losing their restaurant in a fire, a husband and wife come up with a strange plan to rebuild their shattered finances: marrying the husband off to a series of lonely women and defrauding them. Starring Matsu Takako, Abe Sadavo and Tanaka Lena.
End Of Watch
(dir. David Ayer, USA)
Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as young Los Angeles police officers Taylor and Zavala as they patrol south central's meanest streets, creating a riveting portrait of the city's most dangerous corners and the cops who risk their lives there every day.
Everybody Has A Plan
(dir. Ana Piterbarg, Argentina)
Everybody Has A Plan tells the story of Agustín (Viggo Mortensen), a man desperate to abandon what he has gradually come to feel is an unfulfilling existence after years of living in Buenos Aires. Following the death of his identical twin brother Pedro, Agustín sets out to begin his life anew by assuming Pedro's identity and returning to the mysterious Tigre Delta region where the brothers had spent their childhood. Soon after his homecoming, however, Agustín finds himself unwittingly embroiled in the deadly criminal underworld that his brother had been part of.
(dir. Laurent Cantet, France/Canada)
The latest film from Palme d'Or winner Laurent Cantet (Entre les murs) is a vivid adaptation of the celebrated Joyce Carol Oates novel about a small-town girl gang in the 1950s. Starring Ali Liebert and Tamara Hope.
(dir. Noah Baumbach, USA)
An aspiring dancer (co-writer Greta Gerwig) moves to New York City and becomes caught up in a whirlwind of flighty fair-weather friends, diminishing fortunes and career setbacks, in the new film from director Noah Baumbach (Margot at the Wedding, Greenberg).
Ginger and Rosa
(dir. Sally Potter, United Kingdom)
London, 1962: Two teenage girls, Ginger and Rosa, are inseparable. They play truant together, discuss religion, politics and hairstyles, and dream of lives bigger than their mothers' frustrated domesticity. But as the Cold War meets the sexual revolution, the lifelong friendship of the two girls is threatened. Starring Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening and Alessandro Nivola.
(dir. Margarethe von Trotta, Germany)
Hannah Arendt is a portrait of the genius that shook the world with her discovery of "the banality of evil." After she attends the Nazi Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, Arendt dares to write about the Holocaust in terms no one has ever heard before. Her work instantly provokes a furious scandal, and Arendt stands strong as she is attacked by friends and foes alike. But as the German-Jewish émigré also struggles to suppress her own painful associations with the past, the film exposes her beguiling blend of arrogance and vulnerability — revealing a soul defined and derailed by exile. Starring Janet McTeer and Barbara Sukowa.
(dir. Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark)
The Hunt is a disturbing depiction of how a lie becomes the truth when gossip, doubt and malice are allowed to flourish and ignite a witch-hunt that soon threatens to destroy an innocent man's life. Following a tough divorce, 40-year-old Lucas has a new girlfriend, a new job and is in the process of re-establishing his relationship with his teenage son, Marcus… but things go awry with just a story — a random lie. And as the snow falls and the Christmas lights are lit, the lie spreads like a virus. The shock and mistrust get out of hand, and the small community suddenly finds itself in a collective state of hysteria, while Lucas fights a lonely fight for his life and dignity. Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen and Annika Wedderkopp.
(dir. Ariel Vromen, USA)
The Iceman is the true story of Richard Kuklinski: loving husband, devoted father, ruthless killer. He is believed to have killed more than 250 people between 1954 and 1985. Starring Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Michael Shannon and Ray Liotta.
(dirs. Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman, USA)
Imogene is the story of a moderately successful New York playwright who stages a fake suicide attempt in order to win back her ex- boyfriend — only to end up being forced into the custody of her gambling-addicted mother. Starring Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss and Kristen Wiig.
(dir. J.A. Bayona, Spain/USA)
Based on a true story, The Impossible is the unforgettable account of a family caught in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. True-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion and simple kindness this family encounters during the darkest hours of their lives. Starring Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast and Ewan McGregor.
In the House
(dir. François Ozon, France)
A sixteen-year-old boy insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student from his literature class and writes about it in essays for his French teacher. Faced with this gifted and unusual pupil, the teacher rediscovers his enthusiasm for his work, but the boy's intrusion will unleash a series of uncontrollable events. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas.
(dirs. Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, United Kingdom/Norway/Denmark)
Thor Heyerdahl is a restless spirit. His radical idea kick-starts an impossible mission. Along with five loyal crew, Thor follows an ancient path 4,300 miles across the Pacific on the fragile Kon-Tiki raft. Attacked by tidal waves, sharks and every danger the Ocean can muster, it's six men battling nature as Kon-Tiki strives to reach land. Having sacrificed everything, even his marriage, Thor must succeed. A true story.
The Last Supper
(dir. Lu Chuan, China)
From internationally acclaimed director Lu Chuan, The Last Supper tells an epic story of war, of ruthless ambition, of mighty dreams fulfilled… and of betrayals – betrayals of friendship, betrayals of noble ideals, betrayals of oneself.
A Late Quartet
(dir. Yaron Zilberman, USA)
When the beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, the group's future suddenly hangs in the balance as suppressed emotions, competing egos and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert — quite possibly their last — only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener.
A Liar's Autobiography — The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman
(dirs. Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson, United Kingdom)
Graham Chapman, probably best remembered as "the dead one from Monty Python," writes and stars in the animated movie of his own life story, A Liar's Autobiography. He was born, he went to Cambridge and met John Cleese, he smoked a pipe, he became a doctor, he became a Python, he decided he was gay (well, 70/30, according to a survey he did on himself), he got drunk a lot, he stopped being drunk, he made some films, he had some sex (actually, a lot), and moved to Los Angeles. Finally, he was whisked up into space by aliens (although that might have been in a film). Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Carol Cleveland and Philip Bulcock.
(dir. Cate Shortland, Australia/United Kingdom/Germany)
After her Nazi parents are imprisoned, Lore leads her younger siblings across a war-torn Germany in 1945. Amidst the chaos, she encounters mysterious Jewish refugee Thomas, who shatters her fragile reality with hatred and desire. To live, she must trust someone she was taught to hate and face the darkness within herself. Starring Saskia Rosendahl and Kai Malina.
(dir. Andrew Adamson, New Zealand)
In 1991, a war over a copper mine in the South Pacific tore the island of Bougainville apart. The reclusive "Popeye" (Hugh Laurie) offers the children in fourteen-year-old Matilda's tiny village an escape with Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. But on an island at war, fiction can have dangerous consequences. Also starring Xzannjah Matsi, Healesville Joel, Eka Darville and Kerry Fox.
Much Ado About Nothing
(dir. Joss Whedon, USA)
Shakespeare's classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon's film Much Ado About Nothing. Shot in just 12 days (and using the original text), the story of sparring lovers Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) offers a dark, sexy and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love. Also starring Clark Gregg, Jillian Morgese, Nathan Fillion, Spencer Treat Clark and Riki Lindhome.
(dir. Pablo Larraín, Chile/USA)
In 1988, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, is forced to call a plebiscite on his presidency. The country will vote "Yes" or "No" to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. Opposition leaders for the NO persuade a brash, young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. Against all odds, with scant resources and under the scrutiny of the despot's minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free.
(dir. Takeshi Kitano, Japan)
As the police launch a full-scale crackdown on organized crime, it ignites a national yakuza struggle between the Sanno of the East and Hanabishi of the West. What started as an internal strife in Outrage has now become a nationwide war in Outrage Beyond.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
(dir. Stephen Chbosky, USA)
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. The film is a moving tale of love, loss, fear, hope and the unforgettable friends who help us through life. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, Melanie Lynskey, Paul Rudd and Dylan McDermott.
The Place Beyond the Pines
(dir. Derek Cianfrance, USA)
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a professional motorcycle rider who turns to bank robberies to support his newborn son. But when he crosses paths with a rookie police officer (Bradley Cooper), their violent confrontation spirals into a tense generational feud. The Place Beyond the Pines is a rich dramatic thriller, tracing the intersecting lives of fathers and sons, cops and robbers, heroes and villains. Also starring Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta and Eva Mendes.
(dir. Dustin Hoffman, United Kingdom)
The directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman, Quartet is a high-drama comedy about temperamental divas and old grudges, passion and pride, romance and Rigoletto, starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins as four retired opera singers.
(dir. Matteo Garrone, Italy/France)
Luciano is a Neapolitan fishmonger who supplements his modest income by pulling off little scams with his wife Maria. A likeable, entertaining guy, Luciano never misses an opportunity to perform for his customers and countless relatives. One day, his family urges him to try out for the television show Big Brother. As he chases this dream, his perception of reality begins to change. Starring Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone, Nello Iorio and Nunzia Schiano.
Rust and Bone
(dir. Jacques Audiard, France/Belgium)
It all begins in the North of France. Ali suddenly finds himself with a five-year-old child on his hands. Sam is his son, but he hardly knows him. Homeless, penniless and friendless, Ali takes refuge with his sister in Antibes where things improve immediately. She puts them up in her garage and takes the child under her wing. Ali first runs into Stephanie during a night club brawl. He is poor, she is beautiful and self-assured. She trains killer whales at Marineland. When a performance ends in tragedy, a call in the night again brings them together. Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts.
(dir. Wayne Blair, Australia)
They're sexy, black, young, talented, and have never set foot outside of Australia. Until, in the chaos of 1968, they're plucked from the obscurity of a remote Aboriginal mission, branded as the answer to The Supremes — grasping the chance of a life time — and shipped off to Vietnam to entertain the troops. Starring Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell.
(dir. Ben Lewin, USA)
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung, who at age 38 is determined to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy.
Tai Chi 0
(dir. Stephen Fung, China)
Young genius Yang Luchan travels to Chen Village to learn the forbidden secrets of martial arts, but quickly learns that the village is menaced by a formidable battalion of Steampunk soldiers. The villagers realize that in order to save their home, they must trust this strange outsider with their knowledge of Tai Chi.
Thanks for Sharing
(dir. Stuart Blumberg, USA)
Thanks for Sharing is a dramatic comedy starring Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad and Joely Richardson. A group of unlikely friends are brought together through shared determination to recover from sex addictions, in order to forge meaningful relationships for the first time in their lives.
The Time Being
(dir. Nenad Cicin-Sain, USA)
The Time Being deals with the mysteries discovered in the search for artistic and personal integrity. When Daniel (Wes Bentley) encounters an eccentric would-be benefactor (Academy Award-nominee Frank Langella), Daniel is forced to wrestle with the balance between personal responsibility and his ambitions as an artist.
To The Wonder
(dir. Terrence Malick, USA)
After visiting Mont Saint-Michel — once known in France as the Wonder — at the height of their love, Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck) come to Oklahoma, where problems soon arise. Marina makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Javier Bardem), who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane (Rachel McAdams). An exploration of love in its many forms.
Venus & Serena
(dir. Maiken Baird, USA)
Venus & Serena takes an honest and unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of sisters and tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams. Through the prism of one year in their lives, the film tells the untold story of how these two great stars came to be and how they struggle to stay on top.
(dir. Josh Boone, USA)
An acclaimed writer, his ex-wife and their teenaged children come to terms with the complexities of love in all its forms over the course of one tumultuous year in Writers, the clever, funny, and touching tale of a fractured family trying to rediscover one another. Starring Liana Liberato, Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins and Kristen Bell.
(dir. Eran Riklis, United Kingdom/Israel)
Zaytoun is the story of the unlikely alliance between a twelve-year-old Palestinian refugee and an Israeli fighter pilot shot down over Beirut in 1982. Their initial distrust develops into friendship as they make their way across war-torn Lebanon on a journey to a place they both call home. Starring Stephen Dorff.
For more information and a closer look at the schedule and line-up, visit the official TIFF website: tiff.net
Out of all this year's Gala/SP films announced, I've only seen The Hunt (which was okay), Pablo Larraín's No (which was damn good), Rust and Bone (which I loved - my Cannes review) and The Sessions, which will likely/hopefully get John Hawkes an Oscar. Other than that, I haven't seen too many of these yet, which means there is a lot to get into. From Malick to Cianfrance to more Takeshi Kitano to the Wachowskis to even Ramin Bahrani (I loved his film Goodbye Solo a few years ago). I always love Toronto, it kicks off the fall awards season and the films this year look quite enticing. Can't wait for the fall festival season to start!