by Andrew Robinson
Editor’s Note: We’ve asked a Jamaican to go to Canada to cover the movies of TIFF 2012. Andrew Robinson, whose work you can check out over at his blog, has obliged and will be filling us all in on the antics in the Great White North. Here’s his first missive.
Any day now I’ll be on a plane heading to Toronto for the very first time in order to attend a film festival for the very first time. I’ve been excited to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (affectionately known as TIFF) for the past three years, and now it’s finally happening.
Before we dive into this list, which honestly cannot do the festival’s amazing looking lineup any justice, I will give a couple caveats. It’s based on my confirmed schedule, and therefore two films which I’m genuinely excited for but will not be able to see (Rian Johnson’s Looper and Michael Haneke’s Amour) are not on it; it’s also in no sort of ordered preference.
So with that out of the way and with all the excitement being thrown around, let’s take a quick look at the films that I’m most excited for:
The Place Beyond the Pines
Director: Dereck Cianfrance
What more do I have to say other than “the guy who made Blue Valentine has something more to tell us”? It became clearly evident through interviews and the content of Blue Valentine that Cianfrance is a man who holds family in high regard, so when he takes a movie, makes it about a good guy doing something bad for the sake of his family (let’s ask ourselves how much we love Breaking Bad right now) and has Ryan Gosling at the center, it remains a pitch point.
Director: Martin McDonaugh
US Release: October 12, 2012
About six weeks ago, a friend who sees just about everything caught this at an early screening and dubbed it his “favorite film of the year.”
It’s the sophomore effort from Martin McDonaugh (the man behind In Bruges) which stars Colin Farrell, Tom Waits, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, so what else do you need?
Like Someone in Love
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Here’s a name that up until last year I was completely unaware of. Thanks to many, much more knowledgeable critics making me aware of last year’s gem Certified Copy. Sadly I’ve yet to spend any time truly delving into the rest of his film backlog, but based on what I’ve heard he’s one of those filmmakers whose movies are defined by focusing on interesting people.
In his latest work, a young woman and an old man build a strange, intimate relationship in the span of twenty-four hours.
Director: Luis Prieto
One of Nicolas Winding Refn’s earliest projects was a Danish drug trilogy called Pusher, and this is the English language remake for which he is signed on as an Executive Producer.
The movie stars Richard Coyle, an excellent British actor who doesn’t seem to get that many feature roles, and focuses on a drug dealer in crisis.
At Any Price
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Bahrani is a filmmaker who makes what I like to call, with zero degradation meant, “small” films. His movies Man Push Cart, Chop Shop and Goodbye Solo are all movies which take their time focusing on the microcosm of what might be considered an uninteresting life, and reminds us that there is always a story to be told within the mundane.
This time around he seems to have a much higher-profile cast (led by Zac Efron) and much bigger narrative goal set so it feels like I’m going into this movie looking for a new filmmaker rather than wondering how he’ll change to suit this different kind of movie. Regardless, it’s about trusting the man at the helm and believing that he will see me through to the end with the appropriate (and retroactively appreciated) cuts and bruises.
Director: Ariel Vromen
Michael Shannon is either the next big thing or the big thing that everyone should already know by heart but doesn’t for some reason. Sometimes I wonder which movie gods he needs to pray to in order to make people hear his name and immediately know the on-screen force people are talking about.
While I can admit to having minor doubts in the overall film’s ability to be as amazing as it sounds, at this point I’m riding on the high of being able to see a Michael Shannon film where he’s an assassin with an amazing-looking 70s mustache.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
US Release: Sometime in 2012
Joss Whedon is a filmmaker who in concept is a lot more amazing than he ever ends up being in the end product. With the exception of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and The Avengers, his films and TV projects have all been hindered attempts to create campy (and more importantly) fun products which suffer from critical analysis at times.
However, fun is fun and this one sounds fun. So here’s me throwing in my hat with the fanboys to get a chance to see him work with a slew of actors on a weird Shakespearean project.
Director: Ki-duk Kim
While I didn’t love Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring, I took a lot away from it. It’s a film with guile in how it tried to embed one of the weirdest science fiction stories into a cyclical nature of life film. Understanding the underlying concept didn’t make the idea of lessons in life demanding practical experience any less poignant or beautiful.
This film features a brutal man who uses physical force to get debtors to pay up being visited by a woman who claims to be his long-lost mother, and it boasts both Christian symbols and sexual imagery.
Directors: Andy & Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer)
US Release: October 26, 2012
The Wachowskis have returned alongside Tom Tykwer (The International, Run Lola Run) to give us what looks like one of the biggest films ever made. It spans multiple timelines, has more actors than most movies have production crews and they’re trying to fit it all into a 164-minute runtime. This will either be one of the biggest films of 2012 or the biggest disaster of the year. It’ll be entertaining to see which.
Thanks for Sharing
Director: Stuart Bloomberg
It’s been said that a bad movie could’ve come from a great script but rarely does a great movie come from a poor script. So when a film is written by the man who gave us The Girl Next Door as well as The Kid’s Are All Right, and it happens to be his directorial debut I’d say that my interest in caught promptly by the balls and told to get ready for something surprising.
Instead of talking about friends’ obsessions with pornography, or the truth about your biological father and how he ends up becoming a part of your family’s life, this time he’s decided to tackle people in recovery for sex addiction. It stars Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim Robbins.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
US Release: September 21, 2012
It has hype rolling out of its rear end and it’s all thanks to Paul Thomas Anderson’s meteoric return to the cinema. The last time we got a film from him it was one of the most interesting of 2007, There Will Be Blood. With Magnolia, Boogie Nights and Punch-Drunk Love also a part of his previous work it’s easy to see why any cinephile heading out of town (or residing in Toronto) would be excited to get a chance to be one of the few to see this film (in 70mm) before its late September release date.
Inclusive of a return for Joaquin Phoenix, after his rapping career crashed and burned, it will undoubtedly have a spot at next year’s Academy Awards.
To The Wonder
Director: Terrence Malick
Terrence Malick is one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially lambasted directors currently making films. Sometimes I watch his films and wonder how he ever gets them made, because it’s obvious that he never bothers to try and cater to anyone other than the audience he has running in his head, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This being the rare film that didn’t take a decade for him to complete it’ll be interesting to see what visual feat he manages to create with a cast that’s dropping by the pair (it would seem) as he’s still trying to cut the film he’d like the see.
What are you excited to see at TIFF 2012?