So this is the time of the year that I usually get insanely jealous of my North American friends. Telluride, TIFF and NYFF are generally packed with amazing films. Many of these films could take months and months to reach Australia, that’s if they get here at all. This year is different, because this year I will be at TIFF. This is bucket list stuff for me and despite my hideous fear of flying, I am ridiculously excited to go.
I won’t be reviewing at TIFF but I hope to write a diary of sorts or write-up some good notes so that I can smash out some reviews when I get home. After the jump check out my schedule. I’m pretty happy with it, although by the time my ticket window had come around 4 films (St Vincent, While We’re Young, Elephant Song, Welcome to Me) on my list were sold out at the times I could see them. I also didn’t pick some films due to upcoming release dates in Australia (such as Whiplash which I’m very keen to see).
The long-time marriage between a seemingly happy Buenos Aires couple begins to disintegrate just as they are on the verge of realizing their dream of an idyllic life outside the city, in this charged family drama from Argentinian director Anahí Berneri.
Clouds of Sils Maria
A veteran stage star (Juliette Binoche) turns to her assistant (Kristen Stewart) for solace as she jousts with an arrogant younger actress (Chloë Grace Moretz), in the brilliant new film from French auteur Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Something in the Air).
An aged and addled actor (Al Pacino) has his world turned upside down after he embarks upon an affair with a much younger woman (Greta Gerwig), in this acidulous adaptation of the Philip Roth novel from director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bugsy, Wag the Dog).
Greta Gerwig and Brady Corbet star in the exhilarating new film from French auteur Mia Hansen-Løve (Goodbye First Love), which traces the rise of the French electronic-music boom in the 1990s.
In the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, an amnesiac woman (superstar Gong Li) struggles to regain her memory and reconnect with her long-imprisoned husband, in this enthralling and emotional drama from Chinese master Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero).
A drifter and petty thief (Jake Gyllenhaal) joins the nocturnal legions of scuzzy freelance photographers who scour the city for gruesome crime-scene footage, in this gripping portrait of the dark side of L.A. from veteran screenwriter and first-time director Dan Gilroy.
Beyond the Lights
A rising young musician (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle) falls into a passionate love affair with the cop assigned to protect her (Nate Parker), in this moving and inspirational romance from writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball).
The Duke of Burgundy
British filmmaker Peter Strickland follows his eerie Festival hit Berberian Sound Studio with this dark melodrama about an amateur butterfly expert whose wayward desires test her lover’s tolerance.
Leading Danish filmmaker Ole Christian Madsen (Flame & Citron) directs this epic, continent-crossing countercultural romance based on events that led to the founding of the short-lived but massively influential Danish rock group Steppeulvene.
Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, Top Five tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist forces him to confront both the career that made him famous and the life he left behind. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jay Pharoah, Anders Holm and Michael Che. And featuring music by Questlove.
Sturla Gunnarsson (director of the Festival People’s Choice Award-winning documentary Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie) journeyed to India to create this stunningly shot meditation on the phenomenon that some call “the soul of India.”
This is Where I Leave You
An all-star cast — including Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Adam Driver and many more — headlines this adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Tropper, about a death in the family that brings together an expansive, far-flung clan for a weekend of mourning, bonding and healing.
The Last Five Years
A struggling actress (Anna Kendrick) and her novelist lover (Jeremy Jordan) look back on the last half-decade of their relationship from very different viewpoints, in this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical from writer-director Richard LaGravenese.
A Brussels homicide cop (Jérémie Renier) begins to lose control of his life as he tries to solve a bizarre murder.
Two brothers, both former Olympic wrestling champions (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) become involved in a fateful and fatal friendship with a neurotic millionaire (Steve Carell), in this true-life drama from director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) that is already one of the year’s most buzzed-about films.
I Am Here
Lixin Fan, director of the award-winning Last Train Home, takes a very different look at contemporary China with this documentary that follows the eager young hopefuls who audition for the country’s most famous televised singing competition.
Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) returns to the Festival with this raw, raucous but tender look at a group of black high school students living in the tough banlieues of Paris.
A Second Chance
A veteran police officer (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) with a wife and new baby makes a fateful decision when he is brought back into contact with a pair of junkie parents, in this powerful, morally complex drama from Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier (Brothers, In a Better World).
A troubled Air Force officer (Ethan Hawke) charged with directing drone strikes enters a moral minefield as the rationale for targeting purported terrorists becomes ever more murky, in this bold, challenging and timely drama from writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War).
Tales of the Grim Sleeper
Perennially provocative documentarian Nick Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Biggie and Tupac) digs into the case of the notorious serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper,” who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years.
A lonely NYC shoe repairman (Adam Sandler) discovers a magical heirloom that allows him to “walk in another man’s shoes,” in this charming fantasy co-starring Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buscemi and Ellen Barkin.
Following a dismal high school reunion and a disastrous proposal of marriage, a going-nowhere twentysomething (Keira Knightley) falls in with a carefree teenager (Chloë Grace Moretz) and takes a week off to reassess her life.
Bang Bang Baby
Canadian director Jeffrey St. Jules makes his feature debut with this surreal, fever-dream fusion of small-town musical and 1950s sci-fi.
The Dead Lands
In this dazzling action epic set in pre-colonial New Zealand, the young son of a murdered tribal chieftain seeks vengeance on his family’s killers by learning the ancient Maori martial arts from a legendary warrior.
Out of a job after a disastrous product launch, a big-city yuppie retreats to his suburban childhood home, in this heart-warming and hilarious film about crashing hard, coming home and waking up.
Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost forty years ago, an eccentric small-town locksmith (Al Pacino) tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend (Holly Hunter), in the new film from David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls).
The Riot Club
Two young men are inducted into the exclusive, debaucherous company of Oxford’s elite “Riot Club,” in this scathing dissection of the British class system from Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education).
Commissioned to construct King Louis XIV’s garden at Versailles, a landscape designer (Academy Award winner Kate Winslet) battles professionally and romantically with the king’s chief architect (Matthias Schoenaerts, Rust and Bone), in this sumptuous historical drama from actor-director Alan Rickman.
The ragtag crew of a fishing boat takes on a dangerous commission to smuggle a group of illegal immigrants from China to Korea, in this tense high-seas adventure co-scripted by South Korean genre-movie guru Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer).