The Xavierpop TIFF50 – MovieJay’s Ultimate #TIFF12 Preview List
When the programming team for the 37th Toronto International Film Festival announces the first lineup of films premiering at this year’s festival, here’s a good bet at some–okay, 50 some odd–of the most anticipated titles you might expect to see this year.
The festival runs September 6-16.
Stay tuned to Xavierpop for more updates and ongoing coverage of this year’s #TIFF12. Included will be our “How to TIFF” guide that will follow in these dog days of summer in order to give you the inside track on how to get tickets, even if the film you want to see is sold out.
Last year, the festival broke with tradition when it announced its first ever non-flag-waving Canadian pic with the U2 rock-doc From the Sky Down. Should they decide to make another splash this year, they may finally bring Terrence Malick to Toronto for the first time with To the Wonder, his new drama starring Canada’s own Rachel McAdams, along with Rachel Weisz.
Maybe they’ll look to one of the several huge Ryan Gosling flicks set to debut during Oscar season, like Derek Cianfrance‘s Blue Valentine follow-up The Place Beyond the Pines, with Gos as a stuntman once again, this time of motorcycles; or perhaps Nicolas Winding Refn‘s follow-up to Drive called Only God Forgives, an even darker tale with Gosling and Kristin Scott-Thomas; or maybe the fest could decide to harken back to an L.A. Confidential-type pick with the 30′s and 40′s crime-sage Gangster Squad, featuring Gosling alongside Sean Penn and Emma Stone.
Mumbai is the fest’s City-to-City pick this year, so look for Canadian helmer Deepa Mehta to figure into the big opening night slot with Midnight’s Children, with a screenplay by Salman Rushdie from his own novel. The drama centers on India’s transition into independence from Britain 60 years ago.
Tom Hooper took the People’s Choice Award two years ago with The King’s Speech, which eventually went on to Oscar glory. He’ll try to duplicate that success with the huge musical-drama of Victor Hugo‘s Les Miserables, which would be right at home on opening night at the Princess of Wales, where it ran for much for the late 80′s and early 90′s. It stars Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, and Anne Hathaway.
Who really knows? Opening night is a crapshoot.
Other titles looking for big slots in the Gala and Special Presentation lineups look to be festival favorite Ang Lee with Life of Pi, an intriguing drama about a zookeeper’s son at sea with a hyena and a Bengal tiger based on the international best-seller by Yann Martel and starring Tobey Maguire and Irfan Khan.
He hasn’t appeared in Toronto since 2002′s Punch-Drunk Love, but Paul Thomas Anderson‘s faith-based drama The Master is one of the fall’s first big contender’s for best actor gold with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix starring.
True Grit skipped the entire festival circuit two years ago, but the Coen Bros. are TIFF favorites and if they don’t pop up with their 2013 release Inside Llewyn Davis with Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan, than their screenplay-credited British caper flick Gambit should show, starring Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz, directed by Michael Hoffman (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Last Station).
Ben Affleck scored a huge hit here with his second directing effort The Town, and his new political-thriller Argo involving the Iran hostage crisis looks primed for a TIFF pick-up. It stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
Amour is the Palme D’Or winner this year from Cannes and the leading contender for best foreign language film this year, about an 80-something couple in the last flickers of a twilight that brings illness to one of its partners. Director Michael Haneke is another festival fave, having appeared here numerous times with The Piano Teacher, The White Ribbon, and Cache, just to name a few.
Brian De Palma hasn’t been to the fest in a decade, since his taut and sexy Femme Fatale. His new 2013 release is Passion, and it only stars Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in another European noir.
Joe Wright and Keira Knightley team up once more in Anna Karenina, the much-anticipated follow-up to their wonderfully sad Atonement. The pic also features rising star Aaron Johnson (Albert Nobbs, Savages).
Killing Them Softly is the new mobster flick from Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Robert Ford) with Brad Pitt returning and co-starring James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.
Lawless is another dark crime-drama, this one from John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Shia LaBoeuf and Guy Pearce.
Olivier Assayas scored a hit here with Summer Hours with Juliette Binoche in 2008, and then followed that with the smart, terrific Carlos, about infamous international terrorist Carlos the Jackal. His new one is Something in the Air, a 1960′s coming-of-age drama with the cultural revolution as a backdrop.
Laurence Anyways is Canadian helmer Xavier Dolan‘s Un Certain Regard winner for best actress (Suzanne Clement) from Cannes that tells of the complexities of an unlikely love story between a man and woman when the man decides to have a sex change. His previous films include Heartbeats as well as his auspicious debut, I Killed My Mother. It’s one of Canada’s great big hopes this year for Toronto.
Jeff Nichols‘ Take Shelter was my pick for best film of 2011, and he should return with Mud, another southern drama, w/Matthew McConaughey and Michael Shannon.
Lee Daniels took home the People’s Choice Award three years ago for his Oscar-nominated debut Precious. His new thriller The Paperboy stars McConaughey, Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman.
Portuguese wunderkind Manoel de Oliveira will be 3 months shy of 104 years young when his Gebo et L’Ombre undoubtedly finds its way into lineup. The 19th century drama stars Jeanne Moreau and Michael Lonsdale. It represents de Oliveira’s 59th film. His 60th is in pre-production. Age really is just a number.
Carlos Reygadas (Silent Light) will no doubt make it into the lineup after winning the directing prize at Cannes for Post Tenebras Lux, another intriguing and complex Mexican drama.
Leos Carax (Pola X) should also find himself back in Toronto after winning La Prix de la Jeuness at Cannes with his highly-touted Holy Motors, starring Denis Lavant (Tokyo!) as Monsieur Oscar, a character who travels through many lives.
The Prophet was a runner-up for the People’s Choice three years ago and Jacques Audiard will no doubt be back to compete again with his celebrated Rust and Bone, starring Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, TDKR).
Looper is Rian Johnson‘s futuristic sci-fi actioner starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Jeff Daniels. Johnson debuted his Brothers Bloom at the fest just a couple years back.
A screenwriter gets embroiled in L.A.’s criminal underworld after his friends kidnap a gangster’s Shih Tzu in Seven Psychopaths, the hotly anticipated follow-up by writer-director Martin McDonagh, who hit the big screen with a bang in 2008′s In Bruges. This would be a huge pick-up.
Bill Murray is former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Roger Michell‘s Hyde Park on Hudson. It would be Michell’s first return to the festival since his Peter O’Toole dramedy Venus in ’06.
The Silver Linings Playbook should see the return of David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings). The drama stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Stiles.
TIFF vet Chan Woo Park (Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) is set to return with his 2013 thriller Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.
Another South Korean vet who remains busy on the festival circuit (here with last year’s Arirang) is Kim Ki-Duk (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…Spring) who should figure in with his new drama, Pieta.
Don’t forget about that other South Korean fave, Johnnie To (Vengeance) who should find a slot for his new crime-saga Drug War.
David Ayer, screenwriter of Training Day and writer-director of Harsh Times, should find himself back in the big smoke with the beat cop drama End of Watch starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.
Iranian-American indie director Ramin Bahrani has appeared in Toronto to great success previously with Chop Shop and Goodbye Solo. Now he’s got a budget with At Any Price, the rural drama about an enterprising farmer starring Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron and Heather Graham.
Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer has a good chance of coming here for his first visit with the sci-fi alien drama Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson.
Festival vet Raoul Ruiz scored a hit two years ago with Mysteries of Lisbon and should return once more with the character drama The Night in Front.
Gomorrah was a huge hit for Matteo Garrone at the 2008 fest, and he should be back with the light comedy Reality this time out.
On the Road is festival fave Walter Salles‘ (Motorcycle Diaries, Central Station) Jack Kerouac pic starring Kristin Stewart, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen.
Wong Kar-Wai‘s (In the Mood For Love) three-years-in-the-making story on martial-arts master (and teacher of Bruce Lee) The Grandmasters was recently announced as a December release in China, meaning he’s got a good shot at returning to Toronto once again.
Turkish director Fatih Akin won acclaim here for Kitchen Stories and The Edge of Heaven. Look for his new doc Garbage in the Garden of Eden to figure in the lineup, with its story about a community that has to deal with the government wanting to turn their area into a garbage dump.
Iranian helmer Bahman Ghobadi has appeared at Toronto with nearly every one of his films (Turtles Can Fly, A Time For Drunken Horses) and this year holds the potential that he brings two new ones with the Turkish-set drama Rhino Season starring Monica Bellucci, and Words with Gods, filmed in Mexico.
Sofia Coppola‘s 2013 crime-drama release The Bling Ring w/Kirsten Dunst and Emma Watson may just be finished in time to premiere here, but if not, look for brother Roman Coppola to debut his long-awaited second feature A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray.
Other films to watch out for? Ann Hui‘s A Simple Life follow-up Beautiful; the Ken Burns doc The Central Park Five; Ken Loach‘s Angel’s Share; Christian Mungiu‘s (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) Beyond the Hills; Gotham Chopra‘s doc about his father called Decoding Deepak; Feng Xiaogong‘s (Aftershock) 1942 w/Tim Robbins; Siberian Education, the new one from Gabrielle Salvatores (I’m Not Scared) w/John Malkovich; Vincere director Marco Bellocchio‘s follow-up Dormant Beauty w/Isabelle Huppert; the new untitled James Gray (We Own the Night, Two Lovers) project that the Weinsteins just picked up; Love is All You Need from Oscar winner Suzanne Bier (In a Better World); and finally, Finding Fela!, the new doc from Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Client 9).