TIFF Announces It’s First Batch Of Films

As I did last year, I’ll be updating my blog with every announced film playing at TIFF – throwing each my “anticipation rating”, listing the stars of the film, explaining the plot and justifying my excitement for said film. If you follow all of these posts, cool, if not that’s fine too – this is mostly just for me. A reminder of what films I think look good and which I’ll like to see at this year’s festival. Enjoy.

My Heart is a Kingdom, Where the King is a Heart:

L’Amour Fou – starring: It’s a documentary. From what I can gather, this film is simply a documentary bringing the relationship of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge to life. I’m not particularly interested in documentaries about fashion (though The September Issue was alright) or really all that interested in watching the chronicling of two people real in love. Not interested. (Anticipation Meter: 2/10)

Another Year – starring: Lesley Manville and Jim Broadbent. The latest by Mike Leigh sounds to be a promising one. After gathering plentiful great reviews at Cannes, both the film and Lesley Manville have garnered great respect already and are currently being touted as big contenders in this year’s Oscar race. The plot is pretty simple: a middle-aged married couple go from happy to sad when their friends confide in them their problems. I’m game. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

The Bang Bang Club – starring: Malin Akerman and Ryan Philippe. A Canadian/South African production, ‘The Bang Bang Club’ sounds like a product of what those these two filmmaking nations are known for: their politics. It’s the story of four war-time photographers who are working during the final days of Apartheid. Not for me. Could be an enjoyable film depending on how it’s crafted, but as a synopsis it has very little of my attention. (Anticipation Meter: 4/10)

Barney’s Version – starring: Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. What I, at first, thought was going to be an excellent film is starting to sound rather mundane. Once the trailer surfaced, most of my eagerness towards the project subsided. It’s about a guy who can’t find the right woman – marrying many times in his life, each marriage ending in divorce. Then he finds a woman who he loves, but the problem is he’s married. I’ll see it eventually for Giamatti, who I believe is one of the most brilliant actors currently being employed, but aside from that this seems like a renter to me. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10)

Beginners – starring: Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent. His first film since making the decently reviewed ‘Thumbsucker’, Mike Mills is… back(?) I guess would be the word. Five years in between indie dramaedies, sort of a long time. Anyway, the only (unconfirmed, mind you) information I have on this film is that it’s about McGregor’s character battling with cancer while also freeing himself from the depths of his closet – exposing his homosexuality. It sounds intriguing, but I don’t have faith that McGregor can at all handle such a role. The only reason I’d see this film is for Melanie Laurent. I still might see it at TIFF, but I’m not exactly shaking in anticipation. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10)

The Big Picture – starring: Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve. Another film starring an actor I have great admiration for – Romain Duris. One of the more exciting European actors at the moment – I’ll practically see anything he stars in, so right there I’m interested in this film. The plot? A photographer finds out that his wife is cheating on him, murders the guy and assumes his identity – escaping the life he held in contempt and the law simultaneously. Sounds pretty awesome to me. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

Biutiful – starring: Javier Bardem. Another story about a man trying to escape his past. Uxbal (Bardem) plays a man trying to redeem himself to what I’m assuming is his children and to his God. He’s a lost man trying to find a sense of stability. The trailer I saw wasn’t too enticing, but I know I will see this one eventually. It’ll get a US release this year, there’s no rush for me to see it at TIFF, but if nothing else plays against it then I will be sure to check it out. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Black Swan – starring: Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. To begin with, I’m one of the few that isn’t fond of Mila Kunis and her method of ‘acting’. She’s always very conscious in what she does and I can just imagine her being ridiculously mannered in her work here. That said, Natalie Portman always excites me (double entendre) and Vincent Cassell is a favourite. I’m interested… oh yeah, the plot is about two ballet dancers as they compete against one and other. Like I said, I’m interested, but not antsy. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Blue Valentine – starring: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. I’m teetering back and forth between how interested I am in this feature. On one hand, it sounds like it could be one of the more fascinating romances in the last few years, but at the same time it could all go wrong so easily. Films that deal with flashbacks and flash-forwards all the time can either be great or very lame. My decision on whether or not to see this at TIFF will rely entirely on how I feel about it right when I make my schedule. Might just see it out of Oscar curiosity anyway. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10, but it’s an uneasy rating)

Brighton Rock – starring: Sam Riley and John Hurt. I’m presently interested in watching the original version of this film, but at the moment I’m excited for this one anyway. Sam Riley is a budding talent who I imagine will deliver tremendous work in the lead role as Pinkie, the anti-social knife wielding teenager, so I’m immediately all for seeing it. Rowan Joffe wrote and directed the film – I loved what he did on 28 Weeks Later, I feel he’s got a great sense for the macabre so… yeah, this should be a good one. Count me in. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

Buried – starring: Ryan Reynolds. It’s about a guy trying to escape a coffin, as he’s buried alive. Ryan Reynolds is another favourite for me and I will undoubtedly be seeing this one in theaters. However, it comes out in regular cinemas during TIFF, so I’m not going to see it at the festival unless it’s playing against films I have no interest in whatsoever. (Anticipation Meter: 10/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 6/10)

Casino Jack – starring: Kevin Spacey and Barry Pepper. Earlier this year, a documentary by the name of ‘Casino Jack and the United States of Money’ was released and it sounded like a riot. Allegedly it’s hilarious and thrilling. Now, this film, the one starring Kevin Spacey as Jack Abramoff… I don’t know. Kevin Spacey is always a good performer, but whenever I hear he’s starring in a film I get a great sense that I’ll be disappointed in it. I’ve not loved a single one of his films and have only found one to be great (American Beauty). I can’t say I’m interested because he has this past with me, but I’m not against the idea of seeing him turn out another good piece of acting. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Cirkus Columbia – starring: Miki Manojlovic and Boris Ler. Danis Tanovic will always be of great interest to me because of ‘No Man’s Land’. Even if ‘Triage’ (which I saw at TIFF last year) wasn’t nearly as good as that near-masterpiece he made in 2001, I’ll always keep my eyes open because I know the guy is intelligent, hilarious and extremely precise in his works. That said, this film sounds unique for him to say the least – a story about a man who returns to his hometown after being exiled for 20 years – coming to terms with his ex-wife and taking on the connotations of a new old life. The fact that Miki Manojlovic is the star excites me greatly – a wonderful performer who excels in everything I’ve seen him do. I’m going to see this, but the plot has me wondering when. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

The Conspirator – starring: James McAvoy and Robin Wright (Penn). Robert Redford has some catching up to do – the last few films he’s made have been practically complete busts. This time I feel he has everything working in his favor – an interesting plot, a fantastic ensemble… but then this is what I thought before seeing ‘Lions for Lambs’. I’m trying very hard to have faith in this film – which is about the trial of Mary Surratt, a woman who was tried with being a conspirator to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln – but there’s a part of me worried that it’ll fall apart. Still, James McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood, Toby Kebbell and Tom Wilkinson are giving me four great reasons to see this at TIFF. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Conviction – starring: Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell. To be honest, I didn’t anticipate this being at TIFF as Fox Searchlight is hardly one to parade their films at festivals when they’ve already ascertained their release date. They most just buy films from TIFF. Anyway, this film looks alright. Pretty schmaltzy, but I’m excited to see Sam Rockwell in film that will be widely exposed (and not Iron Man 2, because this seems like something that could get him some major award attention for the first time in his career, which excites me a great deal – love him). Won’t see it at TIFF, but I’ll see it in conventional theaters. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

The Debt – starring: Sam Worthington and Helen Mirren. I absolutely hate Sam Worthington. People rip on Keanu Reeves for being emotionless in his roles? Yeah, this guy is so obtuse that mathematicians are still trying to conceive a word to sum him up. That wasn’t a very good joke, but I do not like the guy and the (albeit bad) trailer didn’t excite me enough to look forward to anything else about it. I’ll skip it at TIFF, play it by ear as to seeing it theatrically or on DVD. (Anticipation Meter: 4/10)

Dhobi Ghat – starring: Aamir Khan and Prateik Babbar. I’ll just copy what TIFF says the plot is because I am extremely ignorant to Bollywood cinema (however, I do know Kahn): Set in Mumbai, the lives of four characters intersect at Dhobi Ghat. First-time filmmaker Kiran Rao directs her Bollywood superstar husband, Aamir Khan, in the lead role. So really, I’m not one for intersecting storylines in cinema; multi-narratives aren’t my thing whatsoever. I’m… just never going to watch this movie. (Anticipation Meter: 2/10)

Easy A – starring: Emma Stone and Stanley Tucci. This is one of those films that TIFF loves to play to get a bit more attention from your average moviegoer – the average teenager, to whet their appetite for more festival screenings. It comes out during the festival in regular theaters, so I’m skipping it at TIFF, but it looks like a bit of fun and stars Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes and Stanley Tucci so I know I’ll wind up seeing it sooner or later. Not a festival film for me. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 1/10)

Henry’s Crime – starring: Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga. A film I am really excited to see despite the aforementioned (slight) potshot at Mr. Reeves’ acting ability. Honestly, I find his non-acting to be extremely exhilarating when utilized in plot heavy features. However, this film seems more like a character study… but I do love Reeves, so seeing him in a role such as this will be an interesting experience no matter what the final outcome is. My main concern is that the writers and director have paltry filmographies, so while I’m interested for the cast (and somewhat for the plot which is about a guy who has been released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit) I’m tentative to throw this on my TIFF list. Like I usually say, depends on what’s playing at the same time as it. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10)

The Housemaid – starring: Do-yeon Jeon and Jung-Jae Lee. South Korean cinema is at its prime these days, so just hearing ‘It’s a South Korean production’ sparks my interest nowadays. I saw a trailer for this operatic romantic-mystery during Cannes – it looks absolutely gorgeous, but the plot seems rather ordinary. I am interested in seeing Do-yeon Jeon in another feature (she got plentiful acclaim at Cannes for her work here) and it does look to have extravagant cinematography. Something I’ll heavily consider putting in my TIFF lineup to give some balance and hope to come out pleasantly surprised with its quality as a whole. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

I Saw The Devil – starring: Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi. Another South Korean film and this is one I’ll have to see. The plot, as simple as it sounds at the moment – a secret agent tracks a serial killer who murdered his wife – sounds like it could be something extraordinary with Lee and Choi at the forefront of the feature. Lee has given some incredible performances in his short career (Joint Security Area, for one) as has Choi (Oldboy, but I’m sure you know that). It’s a film by Ji-woon Kim who has been considerably regarded during his career (I’ve yet to see a film of his, but A Bittersweet Life will be shortly)… this has the makings of being one of the best at the fest. Definitely in. (Anticipation Meter: 10/10)

The Illusionist – starring: It’s an animated film. Jacques Tati’s last script produced by the director of The Triplets of Belleville. I haven’t even seen that Oscar nominated animation and Jacques Tati isn’t somebody who I hold in too high of a regard, but there’s an allure to this film that has been brimming with excitement. Whether it be the beautiful animation in the trailer, the fact that my favourite production company is releasing it (Sony Pictures Classics) or just the simple plot of a magician whose artform has been buried by the entertainment boom of the 70s, I’ve just got to see this one. (Anticipation Meter: 10/10)

In A Better World (aka Civilization) – starring: Ulrich Thomson and Mikael Persbrandt. Just when I thought most of the films TIFF had announced were all ones that I was excited to see, but were playing close to the festival or were just ordinary sounding… for the third time in a row, I am pumped. Not only does this film sport two of Europe’s finest actors in Thomson (Fear Me Not) and Persbrandt (Maria Larsson’s Everlasting Moment, one of the best performances of last year) but it’s also directed by Suzanna Bier. This is another must-see for me. The plot even sounds like a wonderfully unique spin on an exhausted topic being a drama about a Holocaust survivor resuming interaction with his twin sister, a woman who he thought had died in the concentration camps. Yes, a must. (Anticipation Meter: 10/10)

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – starring: Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis. A contender to be the film with the hardest star names to pronounce, this film is a lot like Easy A in that it’s going to get a wide-release soon enough, but is at the festival to excite the public. It looks like a lot of fun and I will be checking it out – oh, it’s the story of a teenager who goes to a mental health facility and gets mistaken for a patient and must remain there for a week; falling in love with a patient and all of that – but not at TIFF. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 3/10)

Jack Goes Boating – starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan. Hoffman’s directorial debut is about two couples being brought into light as to what romance is and can be in New York City. I love Philip Seymour Hoffman and think the man has a brilliant mind, so I am excited to see this movie. However, the plot seems a bit too plain, you know? I’m sure it’ll feature a fantastic performance by Hoffman and I could be wrong – the staples of the rom-com sub-genre could have been tossed out the window by PSH, but I’m still uneasy about TIFFing this. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Janie Jones – starring: Abigale Breslin and Elisabeth Shue. From unproven filmmaker David M. Rosenthal comes the most milquetoast of stories. ‘Janie Jones’ is a film about a young girl (Breslin) who is abandoned by her mother (Shue) so she decides to lie to a rock star and say that she is his daughter. Guess what? I don’t care, haha. There are so many films about children feeling unloved and so many of them shamelessly tread into overly sentimental territory. I can’t be bothered with any film about a child looking for family unless good word follows the title. I won’t see this at TIFF, but I might if it gets good reviews. (Anticipation Meter: 1/10)

The King’s Speech – starring: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. I’ve been looking forward to this ‘Oscar bait’ ever since I heard Colin Firth speak briefly of the feature on The Daily Show back in January. It is, as I say, ‘Oscar bait’ because it’s a historical piece about a man in power struggling. It’s the story of King George VI overcoming his stutter with the help of Lionel Logue. In fact, I’m impressed that TIFF has solicited the rights to screen this film – guess Weinstein really are in dire straits. Seeing it. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

The Legend of Chen Zhen – starring: Donnie Yen and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang. From the director who directed the Infernal Affairs trilogy comes this, an alleged remake of Bruce Lee’s ‘Fist of Fury’. It’s the story of a man who was supposedly murdered after tracing down the people behind the death of his teacher who comes back in disguise, forms an alliance with the same men that killed ‘him’ and enacts his revenge. Unfortunately, as neat as that sounds, it has two things going against it. One: I’m not too adherent to the cinema from Hong Kong, especially the action/thrillers. Thrice I’ve seen a Hong Kong action/thriller at TIFF and thrice I’ve come out stagnant. It also is by the director of Infernal Affairs – I did not like Infernal Affairs. So there’s plenty against this, but I might just have to give into the coolness that has swayed my interest for the film thus far and see it (if only because it’s at an opportune time). (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Little White Lies – starring: Marion Cotillard and Benoit Magimel. I’m already seeing this film without having read a plot. Two of my favourite Francophones in a film directed by one of the more interesting talents in France at the moment, Guillaume Canet (who I love because he’s as brilliant a director – Tell No One – as he is an actor). But because you’re reading this, here’s the plot (which I am just discovering for the first time now): a group of friends have one of their pack fall terribly injured after an accident and at their annual beach house gathering come to face one and others’ demons as the injury of said friend sparks an emotional catharsis for each of them. Sounds more cerebral than I imagined, actually. I’m even more excited for this film. Awesome. (Anticipation Meter: 9/10)

Lope – starring: Alberto Ammann and Luis Tosar. One of the more mundane sounding films at TIFF, Lope is another period piece type. It’s about Lope de Vega, a man who reigned supreme during the playwright eras down in Spain. As much as films such as these are inherently enjoyable to me, I’m not really feeling this story just yet. It’s very ordinary, but sports a cast that I admire – Ammann and Tosar compliment each others’ authority very well (as seen in Cell 211) and Pilar Lopez da Ayala is just phenomenal. If I see it, it’s for these three and because I’d like to see a technically beautiful production, which Lope is sure to be. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10)

Love Crime – starring: Kristen Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. Ludivine Sagnier? Sold. Really, that’s all there is to it for me. If she’s in it, I’m seeing it. I’ve not prior experience with Alain Corneau (one of the only major French filmmakers I’ve yet to see a film by) but a film with her and Scott Thomas working together as student and mentor (respectively) in a story about office politics… yeah, sounds good by me. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10, mostly for Sagnier)

Made in Dagenham – starring: Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson. This movie sounds, and excuse my French (I hope the women I mentioned above will), like a piece of shit. I don’t care about stories about ‘movements’ – about 99% of films about activism and ‘dire’ political issues are so unappealing to me. If I want to learn some history, I’ll throw on the history channel. The only thing appealing about this feature whatsoever is Sally Hawkins’ participation… and she’s billed as fourth. Yeah, not going to cross a busy highway to get to this one. (Anticipation Meter: 1/10)

Miral – starring: who cares? This is a Julian Schnabel film. Julian Schnabel has the reputation of being one of the more creative visualists in contemporary cinema… in fact, he practically solidified his place atop the pack after ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’. However, his movies do have a plot and all of the time (both of his films I’ve seen) he takes too much control of the feature and stunts the emotional growth of it. Others may disagree and that’s fine. So with Miral, while I’m slightly concerned as to the story – a person trying to establish an orphanage during the Palestinian partition of 1948 (as I just said, heavily political features don’t do much for me) – I know that the true worth of the film is the direction. As much as I love Willem Dafoe (and am partial to Hiam Abbass and Freida Pinto) I think this is a conventional cinema viewing. Though in 2007, I skipped The Diving Bell and regretted it until I was able to make it downtown to see it. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Mysteries of Lisbon – starring: Léa Seydoux and Melvil Poupaud. The film doesn’t sound that interesting upon initial reading, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I think this could wind up being something slightly special. The story is about three people – a jealous countess, a priest and an orphan – who make their way throughout Europe, encountering unique individuals along the way. Clotilde Hesme is billed fourth, which I hope means she plays one of the more eccentric chance acquaintances the trio meet because I adore her. The feature could wind up being flimsy, adequate or great – there’s very little indicating that it will be either wonderful or bad. These are the films that are the hardest to give a number to, but for now… Oh, but wait, it’s four and a half hours long. Nevermind, haha. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Never Let Me Go – starring: Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Easily one of my most anticipated of the year – simply for its plot, perhaps I’ll even read the novel before seeing it – the story is about a facility that essentially manipulates the minds of the children it governs for 18 years and then lets them out into the real world. It sounds twisted and looks extremely perturbing… so I’m absolutely giddy for it. Give the script to an awesome ensemble – Mulligan, Garfield, Knightley, Hawkins, a guy that looks like Ron Weasley – and yeah, it’s easy to say I have to see this. So much so that, despite its theatrical release coming a few days after TIFF begins, I will probably see it simply because I cannot wait any longer. (Anticipation Meter: 10/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 8/10)

Norwegian Wood – starring: Ken’ichi Matsuyama and Rinko Kikuchi. What promises to be a melancholic tale, ‘Norwegian Wood’ is sounds a somber romantic melodrama about a man (Matsuyama) who falls for his friend’s girlfriend (Kikuchi) after the friend kills himself. The problem with this is that writer/director Anh Hung Tran is noted for being extremely sentimental in conveying a story. I’ve not seen a film of his yet, but I will in the upcoming month before I decide if a film by him is one I want to view at TIFF. The film can’t be too bad though – it’ll surely spark some strong box office in Japan with their biggest local in the lead role in Ken’ichi Matsuyama. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10, but it could go up)

Outside the Law – starring: Sami Bouajila and Jamel Debbouze. 2006’s Days of Glory was one of my favourites of that year… to hear that Rachid Bouchareb had contrived a sequel to that film (or is it? I’m still confused as to the correlation between the two features, but a sequel sounds mighty interesting all things considered) was a shock to my system. If it is a sequel, it will be one of the more imaginative sequels in ages simply for the difference in genres and settings between the two. I’m excited for it – despite its negative reviews – and have faith in Bouchareb’s latest endeavor. Plus Bouajila will undoubtedly rock the house – as consistent a performer as there is in modern cinema. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

Peep World – starring: Michael C. Hall and Taraji P. Henson. I knew very, very little about this film before looking it up (really all I knew was that Dexter was in it) so I’ll just copy and paste the synopsis IMDb offers up: On the day of their Father’s 70th birthday party, four siblings come to terms with the publication of a novel written by the youngest sibling, that exposes the family’s most intimate secrets. Sounds like ‘Little White Lies’ a bit, but I don’t have faith in the cast and director as much. Plus they’re touting this as a comedy – I’m thinking ‘Death At A Funeral’… a film I am not fond of (either version, pick your poison). On the plus side, this has a neat little ensemble that you might take to where I don’t – Michael C. Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Rainn Wilson, Judy Greer, Kate Mara, Alicia Witt, Sarah Silverman & Stephen Tobolowsky all star in it, however I only find three of those people (somewhat) talented… the first three. Not for me, but it could be a fun romp. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Potiche – starring: Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. I had to do some scavenging to ascertain certain aspects as neglected by the TIFF website *cough* plot *cough*. But I have the plot now – essentially it’s a story about a man (Fabrice Luchini) who controls everything in his life – his family, his employees… everything. He’s a ruler. He even has a mistress (LUDIVINE SAGNIER). But one day, his employees walk out on him and his wife (Deneuve) assumes control of the company, becoming an immediate hit amongst the employees. She gets involved with an old fling (Depardieu, I assume) and all of that. With a plot like that, you can really sense the ‘stage play-ness’ of it all. The only reason I’m interested about this feature is for the cast – Ludivine Sagnier and Jeremie Renier (who plays the son of Deneuve/Luchini) are two people whom I will love unconditionally until their careers or my life ends. I’ll give Ozon another crack and if the film is good, I’ll probably go see this one. (Anticipation Meter: 6/10, but it can go up)

Rabbit Hole – starring: Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman. John Cameron Mitchell is… interesting. He likes to exacerbate stories with his ‘artistic flare’ which has me conflicted as to how this will turn out. It’s bound to be a cacophonous story – a married couple deal with the death of their son – but because that is such an ordinary logline, I will be relying on his interpretation. It helps that the leads are great performers… I’m just uneasy as to how this will all play out. Will it be brilliant or will it suck harder than the guy that blows himself in Shortbus? (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Score: A Hockey Musical – starring: Wesley Morgan and Stephen McHattie. Every once in awhile, you see a film come out that represents the stereotypes of a nation to be true. In almost every case, it’s because the director is unfamiliar with the intricacies of a people or the writer just sucks – they’re not well acquainted with the people they’re writing about. In this case, however, it’s an entirely Canadian production and being it’s all about silly humor and hockey, well, I anticipate the Americans will be flogging us about this one for years to come… that is if it ever gets release stateside. But honestly, the trailer was alright – it looks like an enjoyable film as long as it’s being facetious about the musical aspect (which it appears to be). Not going to see it at TIFF, but I might check it out sometime. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

A Screaming Man – starring: Youssouf Djaoro and Diouc Koma. This is the story about a man named Adam (Youssouf Djaoro) who finds himself bubbling under the pressure that his society depicts for him. After losing his work to the Chinese and not only unable to fight in the ongoing Civil War, but too poor to support the cause, Adam finds himself entrapped in a world he cannot escape. Because of this, I believe the feature will have one helluva climax and that excites me plenty. It’s a short feature – 92 minutes long – and the content seems like it could be pleasing. It also won the Jury Prize (third place) at Cannes – I love Cannes. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Stone – starring: Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton. No longer than a year ago, Edward Norton was my favourite actor – or at least one of them. Cut to this year, I’m so bored of the guy. He refuses to pick – or perhaps he’s just not given other scripts with – more interesting roles. He appears to assiduously rehash past performances and good as some of them are it’s a terrible bore. Doesn’t help that this story – one about a convict manipulating his way out of prison – too, sounds like a snooze-fest. (Anticipation Meter: 3/10)

Submarine – starring: Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine. The two people I just listed is a bit of a tease because neither of them are the lead of the story, but I loved them both so much that I just had to mention them out of the gate. The story is about a fifteen year old (Craig Roberts) who is simultaneously trying to lose his virginity and keep his parents from divorcing. Personally, I think he should just pull an Oedipus Rex. You know, kill his father and sleep with his mother. That sort of like hitting two birds with one stone. Where as I? Oh yes, it’s a movie. Sounds like a fun ride and I’m fond of the people set to portray his parents. Might just have to check this one out! (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

Tamara Drewe – starring: Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper. During Cannes, I saw a clip of this film – it provoked thoughts of “oh that’s cute – some nice, coy sexuality” but never inspired too much thought as to whether or not I would see it. I mean, Arterton looks sexy in jean shorts, but I’m not about to see a film for her body. However, I was linked to a trailer rather recently and it looks like what An Education should have been. A twisted treatise on a young woman coming of age… but here, the woman isn’t meerkat cute Jenny, but rather sexual aggressor Tamara Drewe. The final act looks to showcase a grim dissent into pathos and it is for this that I will see the feature. (Anticipation Meter: 8/10)

That Girl In Yellow Boots – starring: Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah. Director Anurag Kashyap is developing himself quite a little following on the world stage as India’s go-to filmmaker with films like ‘Black Friday’. After the critical success of last year’s ‘Dev.D’, Kashyap follows up that romantic comedy with this, a story about a young woman named Ruth (Koechlin) who desperately searches for her father throughout the streets of Mumbai – committing socially frowned upon acts in her quest. It sits at roughly 90 minutes and seems like it could be an exhilarating little film. I might just see this one! (Anticipation Meter: 7/10)

The Town – starring: Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner. Until becoming a contender for having the worst trailer of the year, The Town was actually one of my more anticipated. If you’ve yet to see the trailer for this September release, avoid at all costs because you will be heavily spoiled. A great deal of the plot is explained and because of this, my enthusiasm for its release has been dampened. Of course I will still see it – Ben Affleck’s follow up directorial effort after Gone Baby Gone promises to be a good one – but the fact that it has a US release during the festival means I will skip this. There’s no rush. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 3/10)

The Trip – starring: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In all honesty, I’m stumped here. From what I’ve read, this “film” is meant to be a mini-series to premiere on the BBC in September. Now, it’s not uncommon for TIFF to showcase films that premiered on TV (last year’s The Unloved) but it’s a mini-series… So, what? Did they decide to scrap those plans and go for a feature film or… I’ve no clue. Point is, this story is about two friends in the city of Yorkshire – one moment they may be the best of friends and the next the worst of enemies. Meant to be a comedy (also: improvised) this promises to be an amusing feature… but I’ll wait to hear more news on this before deciding to see it at TIFF. If they shorten the series up for TIFF, I’ll just watch the series when it’s available to me. (Anticipation Meter: 5/10)

Trust – starring: Liana Liberato and Clive Owen. In 2007, two widely known actors made their transition from being in front of the camera to being behind it. One was Ben Affleck who made one of the best films of the year in Gone Baby Gone. The other was David Schwimmer who made one of the worst. He had no concept of the material he was working with and really just threw the book of conventions at the script. Made for a terribly unfunny comedy. Because of this, I will never watch Trust. I have no faith in him. Oh, the plot is about a teenager (Liberato) who forms a sexual e-relationship with some older perv-type (Owen). He’ll do well in the role, as will Liberato I figure. Just have no enthusiasm in watching Schwimmer sink even deeper. Ha. (Anticipation Meter: 2/10)

The Way starring: Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Another film that I don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. In concept – a guy travels across the world, following in his son’s footsteps, or rather the ones never got to impress into the Earth below; it was the son’s dream to complete this trek but he fell ill – it sounds nice, but in watching the trailer you’re bound to lose all interest. Films about a journey generally have to be beautiful looking if you’re trying to convey ‘nature is magnificent’ like this film. It’s entirely amateur looking. Toss in the fact that the plot is far too thin to be stretched out to three hours and I’ve no interest. Give me Into the Wild on repeat over this fodder. (Anticipation Meter: 2/10)

West Is West – starring: Jimi Mistry and Om Puri. The sequel to 1999’s international hit ‘East is East’, ‘West is West’ promises to spark plenty of interest based entirely on its predecessor. Having not seen the 1999 feature – nor having any zeal towards ever checking it out – I can’t say that I’m going to see West Is West… ever, but that’s probably as redundant a statement as the title of the film itself. According to TIFF it’s “a heartwarming story about love, forgiveness and the importance of one’s heritage”. Even if this were an original film such themes do not motivate me. (Anticipation Meter: 1/10)

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger – starring: Naomi Watts and Anthony Hopkins. Being that Woody Allen is my favourite screenwriter ever, I’m obligated to see whatever feature he churns out. Unfortunately the trailer for this film was a bit disconcerting. It shares the same form of humor with my least favourite Allen film ‘Mighty Aphrodite’ but shares an intriguing narrative structure with ‘Husbands and Wives’. This will be seen by me before year’s end, but at TIFF? I doubt it. Oh and it’s about romantic complications, though you can pretty much assume that based on Allen’s track record. (Anticipation Meter: 7/10, but for TIFF it’s more like 3/10)

Well that was a long post. Hopefully TIFF begins to release titles in smaller chunks. Yeesh. But hey of the fifty announced I’ve found a good few that I’m definitely going to check out. The festival always excites me a great deal – sad that this might be my last for awhile. Cheers if you read all of this. I’ll be posting some reviews sometime soon…

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5 thoughts on “TIFF Announces It’s First Batch Of Films

  1. Munkaruha says:

    Very interesting posts and this whole forum. Welcome and congratulations.

  2. Brad says:

    This is interesting. I didn’t realize some of these have release dates so close to the festival. So thank you so much on the info. I was going to watch Never Let Me Go but now there’s no point in wasting a ticket!

  3. Shirley says:

    Good day! Thanks for sharing. I will bookmark your website.

  4. Emilio Estevez says:

    Wow. Complete dismissal of my film. If you have a moment, please introduce yourself to me at the TO fest this year so I can personally knock out your fucking teeth, you clown.

    • forizzer69 says:

      I just got your message, Mr. Estevez (if that really is you, which I hope it isn’t because I’d hope somebody that worked in the film industry wasn’t as insecure as to threaten a blogger over their opinion of one of your film’s trailers).

      I’m not going to start some ridiculous war of the words with you on my blog or really anywhere. If you’re legitimately upset that somebody saw your trailer and subjectively went “Well that looks like a piece of shit, I’m not going to watch it” you’re in the wrong industry. Why am I the bigger man in this scenario? It’s ridiculous. No respect for somebody who does this – none. You could’ve been mature about it and gone “The film is much better than you think” or some words along those lines.

      In closing, I’m not going to have a moment to spare during the festival because my festival is booked. If you’d like to invite me on stage at Roy Thomson Hall for the premiere of your film so you can perform a reenactment of “Uwe Boll’s revenge” then have at it. But like I said in the post, I’m not going to pay to see this movie, so there’s no way I’ll have a serendipitous moment to spare so that I can ‘chance bump’ into you.

      But like I said, I hope this is just some guy pretending to be you.

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