Greetings and salutations, fellow film enthusiasts!
It’s that time of year again; time to forego sleep & sanity in the name of cinema. It’s TIFF time! And once again I find myself biting off way more than I can chew in terms of screenings. Below are the 32 films I am going to do my damnedest to see and why I want to see them. I have noted the day and time I plan to see the movie and whether I have a ticket already or not, so my fellow TIFF-ers! Please give me a shout if you’d like to meet up for anything! Please note: I only listed the Midnight Madness I will be making a priority to see, but truth be told I’ll be rushing as many of them as my poor, broken body will allow.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Shrew’s Nest (Dir. Juanfer Andrés & Esteban Roel)
What?: After a debilitating fall, an unlucky neighbour finds himself trapped in the mad, cloistered world of two shut-in sisters.
Why?: Because Misery is mentioned as an obvious influence on the film, so of course that grabbed my attention. And because my love of Spanish cinema (especially Spanish thrillers) is eternal. Thurs, Sept 4th @ 8:45pm (RUSH)
The Grump (Dir. Dome Karukoski)
What?: A stubbornly traditional eighty-year-old farmer — whose social attitudes verge on the prehistoric — raises hell when he is forced to move in with his sadsack, city-dwelling son and domineering daughter-in-law.
Why?: Because who doesn’t enjoy grumpy old men trying to adapt to an ever-changing world? Fri, Sept 5th @ 8:45am (P&I Rush)
Preggoland (Dir. Jacob Tierney)
What?: A boozing, live-at-home thirtysomething finds her world turned upside down when she lies about being pregnant.
Why?: Because as a woman approaching her thirtysomething years, I feel like I might relate a little too much to a tale of a woman pretending to be pregnant to fit in with her friends. And because I love James Caan. I just do. Fri, Sept 5th @ 11:15am (P&I Rush)
Welcome To Me (Dir. Shira Piven)
What?: A woman suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder becomes an overnight celebrity after a huge lottery jackpot allows her to launch her own off-the-wall talk show.
Why?: Because I would watch Kristen Wiig in anything. Kristen Wiig as an Oprah-obsessed woman on medication who wins the lottery is just cherry. And because I love seeing SNL alums make good in movies that go beyond the silly and the raunchy. Fri, Sept 5th @ 2:45pm (TICKET)
Guidance (Dir. Pat Mills)
What?: Fabricating credentials to score a last-ditch job as a high school guidance counsellor, a boozing, drug-addled former child star becomes an improbable hit with his students by dispensing the worst advice possible.
Why?: Because it has a “School of Rock meets Charlie Bartlett” feel to it that really struck a chord with me. And the trailer made me laugh out loud, which is always a bonus. Fri, Sept 5th @ 6:30pm (Rush)
St. Vincent (Dir. Theodore Melfi)
What?: A cantankerous, cash-strapped, loose-living retiree becomes a spectacularly unlikely role model for his twelve-year-old neighbour.
Why?: Because Bill Murray is a national, nay, international treasure. I have such a soft spot for tales of unlikely friendships between adult grumps and precocious children so this is right up my alley. Also, how wonderful will it be to see Melissa McCarthy play something other than her standard over-the-top cartoonish character? BRING BACK SOOKIE! Fri, Sept 5th @ 9:00pm (Premium Rush)
Big Game (Dir. Jalmari Helander)
What?: Trapped in the wilderness after Air Force One is forced down by a terrorist attack, the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) must rely on the survival skills of a 13-year-old woodsman.
Why?: Because SAMUEL L JACKSON IS THE PRESIDENT. And because Rare Exports is so bonkers, it makes me want to check out whatever else Jalmari Helander has to say. Fri, Sept 5th @ 11:59pm (Rush)
Beyond The Lights (Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)
What?: A rising young musician falls into a passionate love affair with the cop assigned to protect her.
Why?: Because after watching Belle, I am officially a Gugu Mbatha-Raw fan. This film has a Bodyguard-esque feel to it and that definitely appeals to me. Also, how pretty is male lead Nate Parker? Sat, Sept 6th @ 6:00pm (TICKET)
Kill Me Three Times (Dir. Kriv Stenders)
What?: A small Australian town becomes a hotbed of scheming, scamming, blackmail and murder.
Why?: Because Simon Pegg is ROCKING that villanous moustache. And because the description on the TIFF site is just vague enough to pique my interest. Sat, Sept 6th @ 9:00pm (Rush)
Tusk (Dir. Kevin Smith)
What?: A man is captured by a maniac and tortured, physically and mentally, into becoming a walrus.
Why?: Because what the hell does that description even mean?! How is this a thing?! I am so terrified and intrigued! Also, the same man that made this made Mallrats and that is all I need to know. Sat, Sept 6th @ 11:59pm (Premium Rush)
The Last Five Years (Dir. Richard LaGravenese)
What?: A struggling actress and her novelist lover look back on the last half-decade of their relationship from very different viewpoints.
Why?: Because I am obsessed – OBSESSED – with the original stage production of this musical. I have been waiting for this film since it’s production was announced so having it premiere at TIFF is like a special little gift from the musical gods, just for me. And because I adore both cast members and would watch them in almost anything. Sun, Sept 7th @ 8:30pm (TICKET)
It Follows (Dir. David Robert Mitchell)
What?: Stuck with a sexually transmitted serial haunting after a romantic night out, a beautiful nineteen-year-old girl finds herself pursued by a legion of malevolent, lumbering phantoms that will pursue her forever — unless she passes the curse on to someone else.
Why?: Because it’s like The Ring, except instead of making someone watch a tape, you need to have sex with them! Sun, Sept 7th @ 11:59pm (Rush)
Adult Beginners (Dir. Ross Katz)
What?: 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.
Why?: Because I am a big fan of Kroll Show and Nick Kroll in general. I am genuinely excited to see him as a lead in a movie and getting to see Bobby Cannavale is just a delightful bonus. Mon, Sept 8th @ 6:15pm (TICKET)
The Keeping Room (Dir. Daniel Barber)
What?: Three women left alone on an isolated farm during the last days of the American Civil War are besieged by a pair of murderous Yankee scouts.
Why?: Because this sounds intense as hell. I love the concept of three women being forced to protect themselves in an age where they are expected to rely on men to protect them. Mon, Sept 8th @ 9:15pm (Rush)
Hungry Hearts (Dir. Saverio Costanzo)
What?: A young married couple in New York City engages in a fateful struggle over the life of their newborn child.
Why?: Because over the last year and a half, I have come to realize that I adore Adam Driver. Just absolutely adore. And because this sounds suspenseful and odd and worth checking out. Tues, Sept 9th @ 3:3opm (Rush)
Labyrinth of Lies (Dir. Giulio Ricciarelli)
What?: A young prosecutor in postwar West Germany investigates a massive conspiracy to cover up the Nazi pasts of prominent public figures.
Why?: Because the trailer really sold me. I love me a good crusader story. Tues, Sept 9th @ 7:00pm (P&I Rush)
Mommy (Dir. Xavier Dolan)
What?: A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household.
Why?: Because I don’t need an excuse to see an Xavier Dolan film, but if I did the buzz surrounding this one (especially after it blew the socks off everyone at Cannes) would be more than sufficient. Tues, Sept 9th @ 9:3opm (TICKET)
Bang Bang Baby (Dir. Jeffrey St. Jules)
What:? A small town teenager in the 1960s believes her dreams of becoming a famous singer will come true when her rock star idol gets stranded in town. But a leak in a nearby chemical plant that is believed to be causing mass mutations threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare.
Why?: Because the concept alone sounds awesome. 50s-style musical meets 50s-style sci-fi? SOLD. Not to mention it’s Canadian, it’s beautifully stylized, and I think I’ll get to hear Peter Stormare sing. I am 100% on board. Wed, Sept 10th @ 4:15pm (TICKET)
Teen Lust (Dir. Blaine Thurier)
What?: High schooler Neil has even more reason to pop his cherry when he discovers that his stuffy, Satan-worshipping parents are planning to use him as a virgin sacrifice.
Why?: Because I dig the whole “monsters as metaphor for adolescence” thing. I dug it when Buffy did it back in the day, and I dig it now. And because Cary Elwes, guys. Westley is the leader of a Satanic cult in this. Wed, Sept 10th @ 7:45pm (Rush)
Elephant Song (Dir. Charles Binamé)
What?: A psychiatrist is drawn into a complex mind game when he questions a disturbed patient about the disappearance of a colleague.
Why?: Because I love cat & mouse psychological thrillers. And as I may have mentioned, I really don’t need an excuse to watch anything by or with Xavier Dolan. Thurs, Sept 11th @ 5:00pm (Rush)
The Voices (Dir. Marjane Satrapi)
What?: An awkward young shipping clerk (Ryan Reynolds) goes off his strict regimen of antipsychotics — with horrifyingly hilarious results.
Why?: Because in case you can’t tell, that’s Ryan Reynolds feeding cereal to Gemma Arterton’s head. This film looks absolutely twisted and wonderful and messed up in the best possible way. I must see it. Thurs, Sept 11th @ 9:00pm (Premium Rush)
Wild (Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)
What?: A self-destructive woman attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and reckless sex with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Why?: Because I’ve heard good things about the book (though I haven’t read it yet) and I loved Dallas Buyers Club, so I’m very excited to check out Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest. Fri, Sept 12th @ 9:00pm (Rush)
(Alternative: If I miss Tusk at Midnight Madness I might try to RUSH it at this time instead.)
Before We Go (Dir. Chris Evans)
What?: Two strangers spend a long, magical night in NYC after missing the last train at Grand Central Terminal.
Why?: Because Chris Evans has stated that he’d like to focus more on directing as his career moves forward and put acting on the back-burner once his contracts with Marvel are up. His directorial debut is something I am very interested to see. Also, because Chris Evans is sooooooo dreamy guys! Fri, Sept 12th @ 6:30pm (TICKET)
Nightcrawler (Dir. Dan Gilroy)
What?: A drifter and petty thief joins the nocturnal legions of scuzzy freelance photographers who scour the city for gruesome crime-scene footage.
Why?: Because Jake Gyllenhaal just gets better and better. And because that trailer is so insane it makes me immediately want to watch the movie. Fri, Sept 12th @ 9:00pm (Rush)
What We Do In The Shadows (Dir. Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement)
What?: A mockumentary about a trio of vampires living in a New Zealand suburb who struggle to adapt to life in the 21st century.
Why?: Because I love Jemaine Clement and this movie looks exactly as weird and hilarious as I would expect a vampire mockumentary co-written by him would be. Fri, Sept 12th @ 11:59pm (Rush)
Spring (Dir. Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead)
What?: An American backpacker in Italy falls in love with a beautiful young woman harbouring a dark, primordial secret.
Why?: Because I make a point every year of seeking out a Vanguard film that I know very little about but find myself intrigued by – this policy hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Sat, Sept 13th @ 3:15pm (Rush)
Men, Women & Children (Dir. Jason Reitman)
What?: A group of teenagers and their parents attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives.
Why?: Because I think this is a poignant and significant topic to be explored, and that Jason Reitman is just the man to explore it. Sat, Sept 13th @ 6:00pm (TICKET)
Revenge Of The Green Dragons (Dir. Andrew Lau & Andrew Loo)
What?: Two immigrant brothers survive the impoverished despair of New York in the 1980s by joining Chinatown gang “The Green Dragons”.
Why?: Because it looks like Hong Kong action flick meets Goodfellas and that is a combination I am interested in seeing. Sat, Sept 13th @ 10:00pm (Rush)
(Alternative: If I miss What We Do In The Shadows at Midnight Madness I might try to RUSH it at this time instead.)
The Guest (Dir. Adam Wingard)
What?: A mysterious and devastatingly charming visitor arrives at the home of a bereaved family claiming to be the best friend of their dead son.
Why?: Because Matthew Crawley looks extra creepy and also somehow sexier? I have problems guys… Sat, Sept 13th @ 11:59pm (Rush)
Tokyo Tribe (Dir. Sion Sono)
What?: A yakuza-street gang-hip hop-musical epic about a turf war breaking out in a futuristic, alternate-world Tokyo.
Why?: Because YAKUZA STREET GANG HIP HOP MUSICAL EPIC. Cast with real rappers, tattoo artists and stunt performers in many of the main acting roles. I may not get to check this out at Midnight Madness but I WILL check it out one way or another. Sun, Sept 14th @ 3:30pm (Rush)
Shelter (Dir. Paul Bettany)
What?: Homeless on the streets of New York, two people from very different worlds find strength and solace in each other.
Why?: Because I am intrigued to see Paul Bettany’s directorial debut. And because I have been a huge Anthony Mackie fan for years so I’m in. Sun, Sept 14th @ 6:00pm (TICKET)
Girlhood (Dir. Céline Sciamma)
What?: Marieme, a shy sixteen-year-old, falls in with a small crew of friends after low grades prevent her from continuing her studies. This foursome soon forms a tight unit bent on pushing the limits.
Why?: Because I love coming-of-age tales, especially ones that focus on the friendships between girls. I always related more to movies about groups of boys than I ever did girls, so I am constantly on the lookout for films that explore the complexities of female friendship. Sun, Sept 14th @ 9:30pm (Rush)