Let Sept. 5 be henceforth known as Bill Murray Day. The Toronto International Film Festival will be celebrating Murray at the world premiere of his new film, St. Vincent, and the festival has invited the reclusive comedian to his own premiere and devoted an entire day to him. The festival will be leading up to the premiere by showing free screenings of three seminal Murray classics—Stripes, Groundhogs Day, and Ghostbusters—starting at 10 a.m. at the TIFF Lightbox.
Fans who view all three films will be able to win tickets to the world premiere of St. Vincent. The line for tickets starts at 8 a.m. ET on Sept. 5 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox box office.
The lineups for the Mavericks, Discovery, and TIFF Kids parts of the Toronto Film Festival were announced, wrapping up a series of lineup announcements for the Toronto International Film Festival.
With the added films, the festival’s entire slate is now a whopping 393 movies. Two hundred eighty-five of those movies are feature films, of which 143 are world premieres.
The Mavericks portion of the festival includes onstage discussions following the screening of each film. Do I Sound Gay? will be followed by a talk between director David Thorpe and sex-advice guru Dan Savage. Also premiering in that space is The 50 Year Argument, directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, about The New York Review of Books, and Julie Taymor’s film adaptation of her staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shot in Brooklyn last year.
Other parts of the festival were also expanded. Some of the higher-profile additions include St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, and The Sound and a Fury, James Franco’s adaptation of the Faulkner novel.
The 50 Year Argument, Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi, U.S., Canadian Premiere
The world of New York intellectuals has often been memorialized in books, but rarely on film. Martin Scorsese teams up with David Tedeschi (editor on several Scorsese documentaries) to direct The 50 Year Argument, a documentary tribute to the New York Review of Books whose 50-year history saw it frequently on the frontlines of cultural and political debate. The film features a wide array of interviews with the magazine’s international contributors, all of whom exemplify the power of language to provoke, illuminate and effect change. Sitting at the helm is Bob Silvers, who has edited the magazine for its entire history, having done so alongside Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006.
Do I Sound Gay?, David Thorpe, U.S., World Premiere In his feature-length documentary debut Do I Sound Gay? journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery, confronting his anxiety about “sounding gay.” Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people — both gay and straight — often wish for a different voice. His personal journey uncovers layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem, gaining frank and funny perspectives from public figures such as comedian Margaret Cho, actor George Takei, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, fashion guru Tim Gunn and writer David Sedaris.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julie Taymor, U.S., International Premiere Of all Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the most phantasmagorical, with fairies, spells, and hallucinatory lovers. His flights of fancy are well matched to the talents of Julie Taymor, who turns out a production that’s visually breathtaking, funny, sexy, and darkly poetic. This immersive, inventive cinematic experience took place during Taymor’s highly acclaimed inaugural stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the new Polonsky Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2013. Characteristic of Taymor, the feats of visual imagination are ingenious and plentiful, but beating at the center of the film is an emotionally moving take on the deeper human aspects of this beloved tale.
Roger Waters the Wall, Sean Evans and Roger Waters, U.K., World Premiere
Filmed during Waters’ sold-out 2010-2013 “The Wall Live” tour, Roger Waters the Wall delivers an exhilaratingly visceral experience of rock ‘n’ roll showmanship and storytelling. And it does much more, illuminating the music’s themes of war and loss as it follows Waters on a personally revealing road trip.
The Sound and the Fury, James Franco, U.S., North American Premiere The Sound and the Fury captures the lives and passions of the Compsons, a once-proud Southern family caught in a tragic spiral of loss and misfortune. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner author William Faulkner and considered among the 20th century’s greatest works, The Sound and the Fury encapsulates the universal theme of the death of honor, social injustice and forbidden love. Starring James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson and Joey King.
St. Vincent, Theodore Melfi, U.S., World Premiere
Maggie, a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son, Oliver. Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent, a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard and Jaeden Lieberher.
Foreign Body, Krzysztof Zanussi, Poland-Italy-Russia, World Premiere
A dashing young Italian in Poland finds himself caught between two women — a novitiate nun and a ruthless corporate ladder-climber — in this lacerating vision of contemporary Poland from master filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi. Starring Riccardo Leonelli, Agnieszka Grochowska, Agata Buzek and Weronika Rosati.
Murder in Pacot, Raoul Peck, Haiti-France-Norway, World Premiere
After the terrible January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a privileged couple struggles to reinvent a life amid the rubbles of their villa in Port-au-Prince’s upscale neighborhood of Pacot. Destitute and in desperate need for money to repair their home, the couple decides to rent the remaining habitable part of the villa to Alex, a high-level foreign relief worker, who bring Jennifer, aka Andremise, his Haitian girlfriend, a sassy and ambitious young woman. Co-written with acclaimed author Lyonel Trouillot, the powerful huis clos set in the earthquake’s urban and social ruins evokes a kind of “Haiti Year Zero.” Starring Alex Descas, Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin, Thibault Vincon and Lovely Kermonde Fifi.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata, Japan, North American Premiere
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, even unseen she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately she must face her fate, the punishment for her crime. Based on the classic Japanese folktale, The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is the newest film from Studio Ghibli and the strikingly beautiful culmination of decades of contemplation by its director, Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. Starring Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii and Nobuko Miyamoto.
Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey-France-Germany, North American Premiere
Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in Central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal, with whom he has a stormy relationship, and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Mami Sunada, Japan, North American Premiere
Granted unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of one of the world’s most celebrated animation studios — the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata, as they rush to complete production of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (a Toronto Film Festival 2014 official selection).
The Years of Fierro, Santiago Esteinou, Mexico, North American Premiere The Years of Fierro tells the story of Cesar Fierro, the oldest Mexican prisoner on death row in the United States. Fierro has waited for an execution date for more than 30 years, always insisting that he is innocent. This documentary is a reflection on justice, imprisonment and brotherly love, through the eyes of Fierro and his brother, Sergio. These two brothers hope to meet again, no matter the time or the distance.
The Voices, Marjane Satrapi, U.S.-Germany, Canadian Premiere
This genre-bending tale centres around Jerry, a lovable but disturbed factory worker who yearns for attention from a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn, Jerry’s evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog lead him down a fantastical path where he ultimately finds salvation. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
Cut Bank, Matt Shakman, U.S., International Premiere
Twenty-five-year-old Dwayne McLaren, a former athlete turned auto mechanic, dreams of getting out of tiny Cut Bank, Montana — the coldest town in America. But his effort to do so sets in motion a deadly series of events that change his life and the life of the town forever.
Tigers, Danis Tanovic, India-France-U.K., World Premiere
Devastated when he discovers the effects of the cheap, locally made drugs he peddles for a Pakistani pharmaceuticals firm, a young salesman challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama from Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land).
’71, Yann Demange, U.K., Canadian Premiere
A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe and increasingly wary of his own comrades, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape. Starring Jack O’Connell, Paul Anderson, Richard Dormer and Sean Harris.
Adult Beginners, Ross Katz, U.S., World Premiere
A young, narcissistic entrepreneur crashes and burns on the eve of his company’s big launch. With his entire life in total disarray, he leaves Manhattan to move in with his estranged pregnant sister, brother-in-law and 3-year-old nephew in the suburbs — only to become their nanny. Starring Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll and Bobby Cannavale.
Atlantic, Jan-Willem van Ewijk, Netherlands-Belgium-Germany-Morocco, World Premiere
After watching European tourists come and go for many years, Fettah takes off on an epic ocean journey along the Moroccan Atlantic coast to Europe on a windsurf board. Starring Fettah Lamara, Thekla Reuten and Mohamed Majd.
The Crow’s Egg, M. Manikandan, India, World Premiere
When a pizza parlor opens on their old playground, two carefree slum boys are consumed by the desire to taste this newfangled dish. Realizing that one pizza costs more than their family’s monthly income, they begin to plot ways to earn more money — inadvertently beginning an adventure that will involve the entire city.
Dukhtar, Afia Nathaniel, Pakistan-U.S.-Norway, World Premiere
Fleeing with her 10-year-old daughter after the girl is promised in marriage as part of a peace treaty, the wife of a tribal chieftain is pursued through the mountains by both her husband and the intended groom’s henchmen. Starring Samiya Mumtaz, Mohib Mirza and Saleha Aref.
Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere, Nguyen Hoang Diep, Vietnam, North American Premiere
Huyen, a pregnant teenage girl, reluctantly agrees to prostitute herself in order to make money for an abortion. When the only customer willing to give her money has a fetish for her pregnant belly, things get complicated. Starring Nguyen Thuy Anh, Tran Bao Son, Ha Hoang and Thanh Duy Pham Tran.
The Great Man, Sarah Leonor, France, World Premiere
Recuperating in Paris after being wounded in Afghanistan, a French Foreign Legion soldier is reunited with the man who saved his life and unexpectedly finds himself able to repay his debt when he is compelled to take care of the man’s young son. Starring Jeremie Renier, Surho Sugaipov and Ramzan Idiev.
I Am Not Lorena, Isidora Marras, Chile-Argentina, World Premiere
Fraudulent charges aimed at a certain “Lorena Ruiz” begin to plague Olivia, who descends into the dark labyrinth of the Chilean payment collection system to confront the unknown woman. However, each step deeper into the underworld progressively blurs the line between Olivia and Lorena’s real identities. Starring Loreto Aravena, Paulina Garcia and Maureen Junott.
The Intruder, Shariff Korver, Netherlands, World Premiere The Intruder follows an ambitious young Dutch-Moroccan policeman who infiltrates one of the most notorious criminal families in Amsterdam and finds himself torn between his conscious desire for recognition in his profession and his unconscious desire for a home and an identity. Starring Nasrdin Dchar, Walid Benmbarek and Rachid el Ghazaoui.
La Salada, Juan Martin Hsu, Argentina, World Premiere La Salada depicts the experience of new immigrants in Argentina told through three stories that take place in La Salada — the largest informal market in Argentina. A group of characters from different ethnic origins struggle against loneliness and uprooting. Starring Ignacio Huang, Yunseon Kim, Chang Sun Kim and Nicolas Mateo.
Life in a Fishbowl, Baldvin Zophoniasson, Iceland-Finland-Sweden-Czech Republic, International Premiere Life in a Fishbowl is about three people whose lives are intertwined. After a horrible tragedy, a writer drinks himself into oblivion on a 20-year binge. A young single mom moonlights as a prostitute to make ends meet. A former soccer star is recruited into the snake pit of international banking and loses touch with his family. Starring Hera Hilmar, Thorsteinn Bachmann and Thor Kristjansson.
The Little Death, Josh Lawson, Australia, International Premiere The Little Death, which marks the arrival of Australian writer-director Josh Lawson, is both an edgy sex comedy and a warm-hearted depiction of the secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney. Lawson’s searing and sometimes shocking screenplay weaves together a story that explores a range of sexual fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them. Starring Josh Lawson, Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman and Kate Mulvany.
Los Hongos, Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia-Argentina-France-Germany, North American Premiere
The second feature from Colombian director Oscar Ruiz Navia (Crab Trap) follows two young street artists as they explore the vibrant and exciting milieu of the director’s hometown of Cali. Starring Jovan Alexis Marquinez Angulo “Ras” and Calvin Buenaventura Tascon.
Magical Girl, Carlos Vermut, Spain, World Premiere
Desperate to fulfill his terminally ill daughter’s last wish, a grief-stricken man plunges into a vortex of blackmail, deception and double-cross in this deliriously stylized noir thriller from dynamic young Spanish director Carlos Vermut. Starring Jose Sacristan, Barbara Lennie, Luis Bermejo and Lucia Pollán.
Mardan, Batin Ghobadi, Kurdistan, World Premiere
Leyla is a young woman who goes to Iraq with her 4-year-old son in search of her missing husband. She seeks help from a policeman named Mardan. During the process Mardan finds himself falling in love with Leyla. Starring Hossein Hassan, Helan Abdullah, Esmail Zagros and Feyaz Duman.
May Allah Bless France!, Abd Al Malik, France, World Premiere
The true story of a French teenager rising out of the underprivileged suburbs through love, education and rap music. Regis is a culturally gifted boy who dreams of success for his rap band, but he must accept drug money for the sake of his project. Discovering Islam and love, he bears with the harsh loss and paybacks of delinquency, until he finds the strength to express himself through music and slam-poetry — and ultimately becomes a major artist of the French music scene. Starring Marc Zinga, Sabrina Ouazani and Larouci Didi.
The Narrow Frame of Midnight, Tala Hadid, Morocco-U.K.-France, World Premiere
Moroccan-Iraqi director Tala Hadid’s brooding first feature laces the intersecting destinies of three characters who will alternately rescue one another and continue on their respective journeys. Zacaria, a Moroccan/Iraqi writer is looking for his missing brother, Aicha is a young orphan sold to a petty criminal, and Judith yearns to have a child. A meditation on redemption with an evocative urgency. Starring Khalid Abdalla, Marie-Josee Croze, Fadwa Boujouane and Hocine Choutri.
Obra, Gregorio Graziosi, Brazil, World Premiere
In the heavily populated city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a young architect discovers a clandestine cemetery while walking through the worksite of his first important project. As terrible memories float back, he must struggle with his conscience and question his own heritage. Starring Irandhir Santos, Lola Peploe, Julio Andrade and Marku Ribas.
Run, Philippe Lacote, France-Ivory Coast, North American Premiere
In his first fiction feature, with irreverent humor and an unflinching subjective voice, director Philippe Lacote refracts the fraught and blood-drenched history of the Ivory Coast through the story of a young man’s 20-year journey from country boy to political militant to assassin. Starring Abdoul Karim Konate, Isaach De Bankole, Reine Sali Coulibaly and Abdoul Bah.
Second Coming, Debbie Tucker Green, U.K., World Premiere
Jackie is pregnant and knows it’s not her husband Mark’s. She says she’s slept with nobody else. Mark and their son JJ don’t know what to say. Second Coming follows this family over a year as they navigate their way through the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy. Starring Nadine Marshall, Idris Elba, Kai Francis-Lewis and Sharlene Whyte.
Senza nessuna pieta, Michele Alhaique, Italy, International Premiere
A loyal Mafia enforcer becomes a hunted man when he protects a beautiful young escort from his boss’ sadistic son. Starring Pierfrancesco Favino and Greta Scarano.
Stories of Our Lives, Anonymous, Kenya, World Premiere Stories of Our Lives adapts five short stories assembled by a small Nairobi-based multidisciplinary arts collective and inspired by real life testimonies from persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex. Presented without accreditation in order to protect its makers from punitive reprisals, Stories of Our Lives is both a labor of love and a bold act of militancy, defying the enforced silence of intolerance with tales rooted in the soil of lived experience.
Sway, Rooth Tang, U.S.-France-Thailand, World Premiere
The lives of three generations of Asian immigrants play out across three different cities: In Paris, a young man returns to his girlfriend as family trouble brews back home in the United States; in Bangkok, a young couple prepares for their move to the U.S.; and in Los Angeles, a woman marries into the family of a Japanese widower. Starring Matt Wu, Huang Lu, Ananda Everingham and Sajee Apiwong.
Theeb, Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan-Qatar-United Arab Emirates-U.K., North American Premiere
In the Ottoman province of Hejaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. Naji Abu Nowar’s first feature was shot in the Jordanian desert, with the last Bedouin tribe to settle down. Starring Jacir Eid, Hussein Salameh, Hassan Mutlag, Marji Audeh and Jack Fox.
The Tribe, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine, North American Premiere
A deaf-mute teenager enters a specialized boarding school where, to survive, he becomes part of a wild organization — the Tribe. His love for one of the concubines will unwillingly lead him to break all the unwritten rules within the Tribe’s hierarchy. Starring Yana Novikova and Grigoriy Fesenko.
Unlucky Plaza, Ken Kwek, Singapore, World Premiere
Onassis Hernandez was once the proud owner of Singapore’s most popular Filipino diner. But a food-poisoning scandal triggered by a disgruntled cook has left him on the brink of bankruptcy. When he is further outdone by a financial scam, Onassis takes a group of people hostage in a millionaire’s bungalow. The crisis is captured on video and sparks an international outcry. Will Onassis be pronounced a victim or a villain? Based on true events. Starring Epy Quizon, Adrian Pang and Judee Tan.
The Vanished Elephant, Javier Fuentes-Leon, Peru-Colombia-Spain, World Premiere
Edo Celeste, a renowned crime novelist, is obsessed with the disappearance of his fiancee during the 2007 earthquake in Peru. Seven years later, an enigmatic woman brings Edo dozens of cryptic photos that will help him solve the mystery of her disappearance. Starring Salvador del Solar, Angie Cepeda, Lucho Caceres and Tatiana Astengo.
Villa Touma, Suha Arraf, North American Premiere
Three unmarried aristocratic Christian sisters from Ramallah have shut themselves in their villa clinging desperately to their former glory, until their orphan niece, Badia, walks into their lives and turns their world upside down. The sisters see it as their mission to marry her to an eligible Christian man. Starring Nisreen Faour, Ula Tabari, Cherien Dabis and Maria Zreik.
X +Y, Morgan Matthews, U.K., World Premiere
Young mathematics prodigy Nathan struggles with people but finds comfort in numbers. When Nathan wins a place at the Mathematics Olympiad, he develops unfamiliar feelings for his Chinese counterpart, the beautiful Zhang Mei. Ultimately this is Nathan’s journey towards discovering the unfathomable experience of first love. Starring Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan and Jo Yang.
Labyrinthus, Douglas Boswell, Belgium, International Premiere
Frikke, a 14-year-old boy, comes across a computer game and discovers that it’s being played with real children. In a race against time, Frikke tries to find the evil creator of this horrible game. Starring Emma Verlinden, Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck and Pepijn Caudron.
Paper Planes, Robert Connolly, Australia, International Premiere
An imaginative family film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Starring Sam Worthington and Ed Oxenbould.
Secrets of War, Dennis Bots, Netherlands-Belgium-Luxembourg, International Premiere
Against the background of WWII, Tuur’s trust in his best friend Lambert is tested when both boys befriend Maartje, who has a secret that endangers their lives and friendship. Starring Maas Bronkhuyzen, Joes Brauers and Pippa Allen.
Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore, Ireland-Luxembourg-Belgium-France-Denmark, World Premiere
The much-anticipated second feature from Oscar-nominated director Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse as they embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. Voiced by Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt.
The 2014 Toronto Film Festival, which begins Sept. 4, added seven Galas and 17 Special Presentations to its lineup, including a semi-serious Adam Sandler project from Tom McCarthy, the director of The Station Agent and The Visitor. In The Cobbler, Sandler plays a man who has the unique ability to walk in his customers’ shoes. The movie features Dustin Hoffman, who also stars in Boychoir, François Girard’s tale of an orphan’s steep learning curve at a prestigious music school. In Welcome to Me, Kristen Wiig plays a mentally unstable woman who wins the lottery and decides to sink her winnings into a talk show.
Toronto is one of the major launching pads for awards season and a market for 2015 acquisitions. Last year, Dallas Buyers Club was one of TIFF’s world premieres that rocketed into the Oscar race, and this year’s slate already includes potential contenders like Foxcatcher, Wild, and The Theory of Everything.
Boychoir François Girard, USA
An orphaned 12-year-old boy is sent to prestigious music school where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to succeed, least of all the school’s relentlessly-tough conductor who wages a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift.
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger and Garrett Wareing READ FULL STORY
The Toronto International Film Festival announced its selections for the 2014 Masters, Vanguard, Midnight Madness, and documentaries programs on Tuesday.
The festival, in its 39th year, kicks off Sept. 4 with David Dobkin’s The Judge, a drama starring Robert Downey, Jr. as a big-time lawyer who returns home to defend his father (Robert Duvall) in court. While The Judge is an American film, the movie selections unveiled hail from all over the world—Japan, New Zealand, and Spain are just a few of the countries represented—and involve a number of well-known actors and filmmakers.
The Face of an Angel, which stars Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, and Cara Delevingne, will make its world premiere at the Masters Program, and Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, Goodbye to Language 3D, will make its North American debut at the Masters Program. The Guest, starring Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey as a man who arrives on a grieving family’s doorstep claiming to be their dead son’s friend, will make its Canadian premiere in the Midnight Madness program, as part of a lineup which also boasts Kevin Smith’s upcoming horror film Tusk, starring Justin Long. Takashi Miike’s Over Your Dead Body will make its international debut in the Vanguard program.
The 39th Toronto International Film Festival has announced its initial slate of galas and special presentations, which includes 37 world premieres and several films with Oscar ambitions. The Judge, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as a big-city lawyer who reluctantly returns home and ends up defending his revered father (Robert Duvall) against criminal charges, will have its world premiere in Toronto. His Avengers pal, Chris Evans, will unveil his own directorial debut in Toronto, titled Before We Go.
Also noteworthy: James Gandolfini’s final film, The Drop, which also stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace; another Jason Reitman Toronto world premiere, Men, Women and Children, starring Jennifer Garner and Adam Sandler; the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything; and films directed by Jon Stewart and Chris Rock.
Toronto made some changes this year, motivated by the increasing competition for world premieres from rival fall festivals. Since films like Foxcatcher and David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars debuted in Cannes, they won’t be slotted during the fest’s first four days, which are being reserved strictly for world premieres. In recent years, the Telluride, Venice, and New York festivals had poached some big titles from Toronto, and TIFF is now making an effort to reward films that hold their premieres for the trip north. The Toronto Film Festival runs Sept. 4-14. READ FULL STORY
The official trailer for Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson has been released, offering audiences a glimpse of the actress as a brunette (really!) with a Scottish accent in writer-director Jonathan Glazer’s newest sci-fi offering.
Under The Skin –an adaptation of the Michael Farber novel of the same name – features Johansson as a human-eating alien in bombshell disguise who preys on the unwitting men of Scotland. And in the spooky full-length trailer, Johansson’s sex appeal is on full-display as she slinks in and out of water in a black bra and panty set, delivering lines like “Come to me,” while in another scene the 29-year-old coos “When was the last time you touched someone?”
Nonetheless, the film – which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last summer – promises to fully terrify movie goers when it hits theaters April 4. Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY
Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, which was picked up by A24 Films at this month’s Toronto Film Festival, stars Scarlett Johansson as a human-eating alien who specializes (not surprisingly) in seduction.
The trailer for the film shows Johansson put on her red lipstick and pick up what we have to assume is one of her victims. But what follows isn’t as easy to decipher. As all dialogue fades out about halfway through the trailer, we watch as things seem to spin out of control. See what you can make out of the trailer for Under the Skin, Glazer’s first film since 2004’s Birth: READ FULL STORY
When The Fifth Estate, Bill Condon’s movie about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, virtually every member of the cast and crew who walked the red carpet was playfully asked whether they suspected Assange himself had somehow hacked into the screening and was watching the film from a secure location. Assange, who’d already publicly denounced the project, remained mostly silent as it debuted in Toronto. Well, not anymore. In a tweet sent yesterday, WikiLeaks said, “As WikiLeaks was never consulted about the upcoming Hollywood film on us, we’ve given our advice for free: It’s bad.”
Linked to the tweet, WikiLeaks posted what it calls a “mature version” of Josh Singer’s’s Fifth Estate screenplay, along with an extensive memo that calls the movie “irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful.” While the movie depicts Assange righteously exposing American secrets, including the names of government informants around the globe, WikiLeaks denies that anyone was harmed and refers to the U.S. government’s own case against Assange as evidence. According to WikiLeaks, the film “is a work of fiction masquerading as fact” that was based on two outdated books written by people with personal or legal grudges against WikiLeaks. “These authors had an interest in portraying Julian Assange as dishonest or manipulative for competitive, personal and legal reasons,” WikiLeaks said in its memo. “It is hard to imagine how a film which aims to dramatise only their version of events could genuinely aspire to being fair or accurate.” READ FULL STORY
Once, the 2007 Oscar-winning movie about the musical connection between a broken-hearted Dublin busker and a piano-playing Czech immigrant, was one of those rare movies whose charm couldn’t be bottled in a critic’s blurb or even explained in a full review. You just had to see it to fully understand how a simple story with simple characters could make you, the audience, feel wonderful and alive and believe wholeheartedly that a song could save your life. That movie starred Glen Hansard, the lead singer of the Irish band the Frames, and his ex-bandmate John Carney directed the film.
Six years later, Carney brought a new film to the Toronto Film Festival last week, and though he insists he intended to do something quite different than Once, there’s no denying that Can a Song Save Your Life? aims to strike a similar chord. Keira Knightley plays a sensitive songwriter whose musical partner and boyfriend (Adam Levine) is about to become famous because a few of his songs were in a hit movie. As his fame tears them apart, she wallows in despair at a New York open-mic night, where she’s “discovered” by a desperate A&R man (Mark Ruffalo) who is looking for anything to cling to. Like in Once, the creative process of making music is cinematic alchemy, and the two drifting souls eventually have to decide where — and with whom — they really belong.
When Can a Song Save Your Life? premiered last weekend in Toronto, where it was seeking a distribution deal, audiences — and buyers — were immediately entranced. Harvey Weinstein cornered Carney at the film’s post-premiere party and wouldn’t let their conversation end until the director made a deal with The Weinstein Company. The next day, TWC announced its $7 million acquisition (and a $20 million advertising commitment), guaranteeing that Can a Song Save Your Life? will play in theaters across the country when it opens, most likely in 2014. Carney spoke to EW about the music business, casting judges from The Voice, and what it’s like to get the hard-sell from someone like Harvey Weinstein.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I suspect this movie will evoke a very similar audience reaction to Once, because these fragile characters also connect through their shared love of music. Where did this story begin for you? JOHN CARNEY: I was thinking about what part of my life I could mine, and I felt that it would be fun to look back at A&R guys, who were always sort of looking for the next big thing. I was in a band after I left school, and I guess the ’90s were really that last hurrah of A&R craziness, with coke habits and five-star hotels and unlimited credit cards and stuff like that. I thought it would be interesting to see where those guys are now, now that the music industry has changed so much. The idea of an A&R man discovering an act and what discoveries are left and what does fame sort of mean anymore were some of the themes I wanted to talk about in this movie. What I liked about the conflict between Keira and Ruffalo in the film, which I hope people are seeing, is what does an old-school A&R man do with a young talent who genuinely doesn’t want the limelight?
Apparently Toronto audiences agree that 12 Years a Slave is the one to watch this awards season: The Steve McQueen-directed film, starring Brad Pitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.