September is finally here, and for film-loving Torontonians that means only one thing: TIFF season has officially begun! The 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival is taking the city by storm starting today, kicking off an 11-day run of all-out movie madness before coming to a close on Sunday September 14th.
In addition to the numerous Industry Conferences and exciting events and parties of all shapes and sizes that come with the territory, this year’s festival sports a hefty 372 total features, including 146 World Premieres from 72 different countries around the world. And with dozens of A-listers confirmed to be in attendance – including Bill Murray, Al Pacino, Robert Downey Jr, Jennifer Aniston, Dustin Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Kate Winslet, James Franco, Benedict Cumberbatch, Channing Tatum, Kristin Wigg, and Morgan Freeman, to name just a few – you may even find yourself with a random celebrity encounter at your favourite local bar or restaurant over the next week or so. Our money’s on Bill Murray.
The festival contains a variety of different film programmes to choose from, all of which can be explored and dissected with the help of this fancy little grid right here. As is often the case with TIFF, tickets have been going fast, so don’t delay in pouncing on whichever films you can. And to help you a little bit in your quest for ultimate viewership, we at Addicted have assembled a short list of 12 titles to look out for, some of which are poised to make a big splash and others that just feel like potential hidden gems (plot synopses courtesy of tiff.net):
Foxcatcher — Dir: Bennett Miller (USA) — Screens: September 8 & 9
Synopsis: 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.
Maps to the Stars — Dir: David Cronenberg (Canada/Germany) — Screens: September 9 & 10
Synopsis: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson star in this acidulous vision of Tinseltown from Canadian master David Cronenberg.
Wild — Dir: Jean-Marc Vallée (USA) — Screens: September 8, 9 & 12
Synopsis: A self-destructive woman (Reese Witherspoon) attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and reckless sex with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, in this adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir from director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club).
The Imitation Game — Dir: Morten Tyldum (USA/UK) — Screens: September 9 & 10
Synopsis: Benedict Cumberbatch stars as brilliant Cambridge mathematician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, who spearheaded the Enigma code-breaking operation during World War II and was later persecuted by the British government for his homosexuality.
Rosewater — Dir: Jon Stewart (USA) — Screens: September 8 & 9
Synopsis: The Daily Show host and Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari discuss the story behind Stewart’s debut feature Rosewater, which tells the true story of Bahari’s five-month imprisonment in Iran after his appearance on Stewart’s show.
Nightcrawler — Dir: Dan Gilroy (USA) — Screens: September 5, 6 & 12
Synopsis: 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.
Revenge of the Green Dragons — Dir: Andrew Lau, Andrew Loo (USA) — Screens: Sept 10, 11 & 13
Synopsis: Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, this dizzying, decade-spanning crime saga from Hong Kong directors Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) and Andrew Loo follows two best friends as they rise through the ranks of New York’s Chinese underworld in the 1980s.
Winter Sleep — Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey/France/Germany) — Screens: September 5 & 14
Synopsis: Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, the new film from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) is an immersive, meditative chamber drama about a small-town innkeeper whose cultural pretensions and smug self-satisfaction are fatefully undermined over the course of an eventful winter.
The Guest — Dir: Adam Wingard (USA) — Screens: September 13 & 14
Synopsis: Writer-director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next) serve up a slick, eighties-style action thriller with this story of a mysterious and devastatingly charming visitor (Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens) who arrives at the home of a bereaved family claiming to be the best friend of their dead son.
The Editor — Dir: Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks (Canada) — Screens: September 11, 12 & 13
Synopsis: A one-time (and now one-handed) master film editor toiling in the cinematic sweatshops of 1970s Italy becomes the prime suspect in a series of brutal murders, in this loving tribute to/parody of the gory giallo thrillers of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.
Luna — Dir: Dave McKean (UK) — Screens: September 6, 8 & 14
Synopsis: Renowned artist and filmmaker Dave McKean (MirrorMask) brings his distinctive blend of live action and gorgeously wrought animation to this dreamlike reverie about four people whose weekend idyll in an isolated English seaside home becomes an opportunity for spiritual healing.
Monsoon — Dir: Sturla Gunnarsson (Canada) — Screens: September 7 & 9
Synopsis: 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.”
and of course, who could forget…
Bill Murray Day — September 5
And you thought there already was a Bill Murray Day. We figured there should be one too, so we’ve claimed September 5. Leading up to that evening’s world premiere of Murray’s latest film, St. Vincent, we’ll pay tribute to the man throughout the day with a triple (ahem) bill of three comedy classics: Stripes, Groundhog Day, and Ghostbusters. You never know who might show up for a post-screening Q&A.
Be sure to tune in to Addicted over the next 11-days for loads of TIFF news, film reviews, and updates! And don’t forget to follow us on twitter @WeRAddicted!