The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival will see some big films debuting in Canada, but there's also plenty of lower key flicks that festival goers should take notice of. One such film seems to be Cub, part of the Midnight Madness section at the festival. The film follows a group of Cub Scouts who find themselves stalked by a psychopathic huntsman who has riddled the forest with ingenious and deadly traps. The film comes from Belgium, and unfortunately there's no subtitles for the ominous scout song being sung in the trailer, but once you see the trailer, you realize that it's not really necessary to get the right vibe. Watch!
"Business or pleasure?" I just saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and it was outstanding, worthy of being highlighted above and beyond the trailer, but I'll start with this since not that many people (outside of South America) have heard about the film yet. Wild Tales is a feature made up of six separate stories, an anthology film made by one director that focuses on the ridiculousness of modern society, and how it causes some people to snap. Each one is hilarious, each one is brilliantly conceived, each one has real characters and situations, and I loved every second of it. It's dark, violent, crude, but incredibly funny, extremely smart and reflective, and a worthwhile cinematic experience. Especially if you want to laugh your ass off. Enjoy!
So far there have only been two short but superb teaser trailers for Bennett Miller's Cannes selected drama Foxcatcher, but they've been the perfect way to tease the Oscar hopeful without giving too much of the movie away. Now another brief teaser has surfaced, this time with an ominous voiceover by Steve Carell, who seems to be delivering a performance that is almost guaranteed to get him an Oscar nomination. Carell plays John du Pont, the intense trainer of Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz & Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), and it's clear their relationship results in some tension. Watch!
"You have a real weapon and you choose not to use it." Though he's better known for his sense of humor covering the week's headlines in politics and world affairs, comedian Jon Stewart is getting deadly serious with his directorial debut, a drama called Rosewater. In the film Gael Garcia Bernal plays journalist Maziar Bahari, a Tehran born man who returned to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But following his shooting coverage of the protests after Ahmadinejad's victory before the polls even closed, Bahari was arrested by police, tortured and interrogated for 118 days as a spy. Now the trailer has arrived and it looks powerful and superb. Watch now!
One of the films I have been following closely and waiting patiently for its grand unveiling is Rosewater, the directing feature debut of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart. Filmed last summer in the Middle East, Rosewater is now ready for release and Stewart will be bringing the film to the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Gael García Bernal stars as Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was detained and tortured for 100 days after appearing on a segment of The Daily Show. We'll be catching it at Telluride and can't wait to see what Stewart has up his sleeves with this one. Solid poster for an activism drama. Take a look below.
This is the moment it all begins. The awards season (if we have to give this time of year a label) starts now, right here at the end of August, at the beginning of September. While officially it doesn't become "autumn" until September 22nd, the "fall film festivals" kick off this week - with the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals underway. Next we head right up to the Toronto Film Festival, with its 300-film line-up, and then we head to the always entertaining Fantastic Fest down in Austin, before continuing with the New York Film Festival throughout October. It's an exciting time of year - especially with the line-up for 2014.
There are prison movies, and then there are prison movies. David Mackenzie's Starred Up is a harrowing, violent, bold new take on the "prison movie" that is worth your time to take a look at, playing in theaters now and also available on VOD. The film also introduces the astonishing Jack O'Connell (now well-known thanks to Yann Demange's '71 and 300: Rise of an Empire, plus he stars in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken), who stars as the lead character Eric alongside Ben Mendelsohn, another badass we've already seen in the likes of Animal Kingdom, Killing Them Softly, The Dark Knight Rises and The Place Beyond the Pines. Together they take on an entire prison in Starred Up, and it's a hell of a ride. It's our next Monthly Must See film.
Whoa - this looks cool! Oscar winner Jean Dujardin stars in what might be best described as a "reboot" of The French Connection, titled just The Connection in America, but known as La French back in France. Set in Marseille, the same place as French Connection, the film tells an action-heavy story about a French police magistrate who spends six years trying to take down one of the country's most powerful drug rings. Sound familiar? At least it doesn't look so bad, seriously. I like the music choices, I like the intense action, it doesn't look too cheesy or comical. I'm interested - what about you? No subtitles included but none needed.
It was set to premiere at TIFF, but not anymore. Lionsgate has announced that in a "preemptive deal prior to the start" of TIFF, they've acquired the release rights to Maggie, an "apocalyptic thriller" (read: zombie movie) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson. The film was set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival late in the fest next month, but with an early 2015 release planned, they've decided to pull it from the fest (the film's original listing is now gone). Whether this upsets you or not, the good news is that it will still be released in theaters... eventually. Some photos from the film below.
"Deeply Human..." Yes! Finally some marketing for a documentary I've been raving about since Sundance. Drafthouse Films has debuted the first teaser poster via Indiewire (they're calling it a "stop-motion" poster) that fades through a set of characters/real people featured in The Overnighters, a documentary by Jesse Moss that follows life in one small North Dakota town and a pastor there trying his best to help those who come to work in the oil fields. Yes, the pastor (Jay Reinke) can be seen in the middle of the rotation, but it's the quotes and the imagery that really make this art so striking to look at. You can see the first trailer now.
"Are you a rusher, or are you a dragger, or are you going to be on my fucking time?!" Since this latest trailer for the Sundance sensation Whiplash starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons comes from France, there's no red band to warn you about the content of the trailer. But just so you know, some of the anger that Simmons throws at Teller is pretty profane and NSFW. This trailer really shows off how intense this drama is as it follows kid (Teller) who joins one of the most prestigious jazz bands in the country, run by a ruthless and demanding orchestra teacher (Simmons). This film is brutal, thrilling and just incredible.
"Sometimes people change..." IFC Films has debuted the full US trailer for Pascale Ferran's new film Bird People, a two-part story set in Paris, France about two people - one of them is Gary Newman, played by Josh Charles following up his "Good Wife" departure; the other is Audrey, played by Anaïs Demoustier, a young French hotel maid who has an interesting story of her own. It's a very beautiful trailer, I will admit, with a lovely score and alluring premise with all the right shots to drag you in. What does the name Bird People have to do with the story? Well, that's one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-find-out kind of questions. Well, actually, they don't show all of it but they do hint a bit at what's going on in the trailer anyway. Enjoy.
"If beauty is truth, and truth is beauty, well, then surely mathematics is the most beautiful thing of all." Check out this trailer for a film titled X+Y, not the best title but I see what they were going for, a drama about a talented young math prodigy diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Asa Butterfield plays the boy, Nathan, who is being raised by a single mother, played by the always impressive Sally Hawkins, and he befriends his teacher, played by Rafe Spall. He ends up on a big trip to Taiwan on the British team of the International Mathematics Olympiad, joined by Eddie Marsan there. It's a great cast, and while the trailer occasionally gets a bit sappy, there is something unique about it and I'm curious to see. Give it a look.
"Your brothers may be dead or gone, but you're alive!" This looks fantastic! An early trailer has debuted for a film titled Far From Men, starring Viggo Mortensen along with Reda Kateb (seen in A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) set during the beginning of the Algerian War with France, in 1954. It's premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals coming up next month, which is why there's a trailer out for it and it looks way better than I was expecting. The story follows the friendship these two men strike up in the midst of a war, and it looks very endearing, beautifully shot and compelling on many levels. Then again, it is Viggo Mortensen and pretty much everything he does turns out pretty good, so who am I kidding - it looks great.