It’s beginning to look a lot like TIFF-mas…

Hey there internets! I missed you! Did you miss me? Probably not, I think maybe 5 people read this, and they talk to me regularly. REGARDLESS! I’m back from the depths of my laziness! Why? Because it is officially the start of my second favourite time of year (beat out only by the magic of Christmas) – the late August-September double whammy that is Fan Expo and the Toronto International Film Festival. Nerdfest! TIFF-mas! The most wonderful time of the year!

TIFF has announced most of the films by this point, so of course I have been thoroughly and obsessively cataloguing all the announced films, trying to decide which of these many glorious cinematic treasures will get my undivided attention. After careful consideration, the following are the 20 films I would most like to see this year. This is not to say there aren’t more I’d like to take in – all told, there are approximately 113 movies I wouldn’t mind checking out – and usually I only get to see maybe half of my number one picks, if I’m lucky. But in a perfect world, these 20 are the ones that I am most excited to see in a Festival setting.

Dredd 3D

WHY? Because even though this isn’t exactly your typical film festival fare, the idea of watching this – IN 3D – with the glorious freaks that attend Midnight Madness is just to good to pass up.

Look, I admit: the first time I saw the trailer I was like, “Eh.” I saw the Sylvester Stallone flick growing up, never really cared for it (as opposed to say, Demolition Man which I still love unabashedly to this day) and while I am aware that apparently this do-over is supposed to follow the original comic book more accurately, I am incredibly wary of 3D movies at this point and figured I’d give it a pass. Then I saw that it would be featured at TIFF as part of Midnight Madness. If you’ve never been to Midnight Madness, I’m not sure I can accurately describe it for you. TIFF during the day is generally fancier, all about the art or the celebrities or the schmoozing. But at night? That’s when the freaks come out to play. This is where the movie nerds revel in violence and blood and the weird and wonderful. And the idea of watching a 3D action flick that looks like it’ll be chock full of moments to laugh and groan and cheer at with this crowd… yeah. I’m in.

The Sapphires

No trailer yet, sorry! But click on the picture for details.

WHY? Because it’s about four aboriginal girls in 1968 plucked out of obscurity to sing for the troops in Vietnam who get dubbed “Australia’s answer to The Supremes.” That sounds like one of those movies that is secretly a musical but tries to disguise the fact it’s a musical, like For The Boys. And I LOVE For The Boys. I also love Chris O’Dowd, who is the only name I recognize in the film, and I love getting to see movies at the Fest that I normally wouldn’t get to see conventionally. This seems like one of those movies.


WHY? Because I am a sucker for forbidden romances. I am also a sucker for young girls finding the strength and courage to take care of their younger siblings on their own (if they ever remade this in America, it’s totally tailor-made for Jennifer Lawrence, right?) I am also very interested in seeing the end of WWII through the eyes of a girl raised as a Hitler Youth – how do you reconcile everything you’ve ever been taught with this strange new world where everything you’ve ever believed is now wrong and evil?

Ghost Graduation

WHY? Because it looks pretty funny. A perfectly normal teacher who happens to see dead people having to help a group of 80s era teenage ghosts complete their unfinished business? Yes please! I have an enjoyable track record with weird and wonderful Spanish comedies at the Festival. Also, TIFF’s website refers to it as “The Breakfast Club meets Ghostbusters” and that pretty much sounds like my wet dream.


No trailer for this one either, sorry! Click through for plot details though!

WHY? Well it’s certainly not just because Darren Criss is in it that’s for darn sure and how dare you suggest that I am excited to see a movie just because there’s an actor in it I think is cute and that I’m hoping will be there and then maybe he sings me a song or something what no YOU’RE ACTING CRAZY.

Also, Kristen Wiig!

Everybody Has A Plan

WHY? Because Aragorn speaks Spanish, yo! What the what! And he’s playing TWINS. Spanish speaking TWINS! I have only the vaguest understanding of what is happening in that trailer and I totally don’t care because I am FASCINATED that Viggo Mortensen will be acting in Spanish through the entire flick.

Berberian Sound Studio

WHY? Because it looks SPOOKY AS FUCK. Because I love Toby Jones and think he is one of the most underrated character actors working today (HE’S THE VOICE OF DOBBY, GUYS!) Because I am fascinated by the process of sound engineering, especially when it comes to horror films – what makes a more sickening noise, celery being snapped in half, or torn apart? Hmmmm…

Hyde Park on Hudson

WHY? Because this is Oscar-bait if I ever saw it, and I do love me some Oscar-bait. Especially when I get to see it before the masses and say totally snobby things like, “you just wait guys, this will be all over the awards circuit come the new year…” What’s that? Why yes, I AM the worst! Also, because I love me some Bill Murray. Especially Bill when he is being uncharacteristically genuine.

A Liar’s Autobiography — The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman

Oh how I wish there was a trailer for this one…

WHY? Because it’s essentially an adaptation of the late Graham Chapman’s brazenly fictionalized life story. Animated. In 3D. Re-enacted by the remaining Monty Python members. I think the question here is WHY ISN’T EVERYONE ELSE EXCITED?!

To The Wonder

No trailer, but since it’s a Malick film I doubt it’d make any sense anyway.

WHY? Because Terrence Malick typically makes a film every six or seven years – this is the second Malick film in a year! Feels like only yesterday I was talking about those crazy dinosaurs! If his pattern holds, this one will also be weird and divisive and visually stunning all at once. And I CANNOT WAIT.

The Bay

This is one of the only stills from the flick I can find, which makes me all the more intrigued.

WHY? Because for some reason, Barry Levinson decided he wanted to make a mock documentary creature feature. Because this plot synopsis describes it as “parasite meets Jaws” and that just sounds perfect to me. Because that above still grosses me out just the right amount to get my ass in a seat.


WHY? Because Ben Affleck is two for two in my book – loved The Town, LOVED Gone Baby Gone, so odds are good I’ll love this one too. And did I mention I love Oscar-bait? Because I do. Also, the incredible “so outrageous it HAS to be true!” plot delights me, though my mom is up in arms that this is glorifying the American side of things, while the TRUE hero, Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor, seems to be relegated to the sidelines. So I feel like I need to see it in order to report back to her whether it gives good ol’ Ken a fair shake, or whether it is a national tragedy how he has been overlooked.

Love, Marilyn

No trailer here either, but lots of pretty Marilyn pics!

WHY? Because it’s MARILYN. Specifically, the never before seen letters, diaries and personal notebooks performed on screen by some of today’s best and brightest actresses. I have been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe for some time, more the icon than the actress, and this peek behind the curtain of the myth of Marilyn is very exciting to me.

Room 237

No trailers, but some creepy poster art!

WHY? Because apparently The Shining has it’s own set of conspiracy theorists?! And they have been debating this film for years?! And some guy decided to record and reenact some of their more bizarre theories?! I will either find this endlessly amusing or leave feeling totally freaked out, with my understanding of Kubrick’s masterful (but inaccurate) adaptation of one of my favourite Stephen King tales turned completely on its head.

The Impossible

WHY? Because just watching that trailer, without any English to follow, gave me chills. Because I love Ewan McGregor and the image of him running with his two boys under his arms broke my heart. Because this is the type of movie that will likely make me very uncomfortable and sad and make me feel things, and I like a movie that makes me feel things.

Cloud Atlas


The Place Beyond the Pines

Oh, who needs a trailer when you can just gaze at this ragamuffin?

WHY? Because… seriously, are you blind?! What more do you need?! Ok fine, how about because it reunites Ryan with his Blue Valentine director, Derek Cianfrance? Or because it sounds very similar to Drive, but with motorcycles instead of cars and police officers instead of mobsters?

Or, and this is actually a major factor for me: because at the past two TIFFs I worked/attended films at, I saw Ryan Gosling films – both times, they were 9am screenings and a total pain in the ass for Ryan to be at. He didn’t have to show, the gala premiere was always the previous night, but BOTH TIMES he showed up, answered questions, and was insanely gracious on very little sleep. Thus, I can’t NOT see a Gosling film when it comes to TIFF. It is now tradition!

Seven Psychopaths

WHY? Because it reunites Colin Farrell with Martin McDonagh, the genius behind In Bruges, and I effing LOVE In Bruges (and Colin Farrell, if I’m being honest). Because it sounds like my kind of black comedy with just the right amount of dark humor and violence. Because look at that cast. THAT IS TOM WAITS PEOPLE. What’s not to be excited about? Also, if you didn’t laugh at least once during that trailer, I am concerned for your soul.


WHY? WHERE DO I BEGIN?! Because I love time travel. Because I love sci-fi. Because I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and wish he was my secret boyfriend. Because Bruce Willis is never not cool, sorry. Because Rian Johnson also wrote and directed Brick, which is one of my all-time favourite flicks and easily one of the best films of the last ten years (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, do so, it’s incredible.) Because DID YOU WATCH THAT TRAILER?!

Much Ado About Nothing

When they release this trailer, you will know because my squeals of joy will reverberate around the world.

WHY? If I really need to explain this to you, you clearly know nothing about me. My life has revolved around Joss Whedon and all he creates since I was approximately 13 years old. I have seen and supported everything he has ever written or directed. And this particular film is so outside the box for him, starring all his friends and filmed over the course of only 12 days… Even if there was no chance of seeing him or any of his beautiful cast, I’d STILL be there, front row center, clapping and cheering like a lunatic. But the fact that he will almost definitely be present, and that I will be in the SAME ROOM as him, and could, potentially, ask him a question? I can’t even handle that.

HR: Dangerous Liasions (a Chinese interpretation of the original novel, updated to 1930s Shanghai), A Werewolf Boy (based on the trailer, I feel confident calling it the South Korean take on Twilight, except with a werewolf instead of a vampire; why WOULDN’T I want to experience that?!), The Suicide Shop (It is so insanely Burton-esque, I have a hard time believing he has no hand in it), John Dies At The End (I don’t even know how to describe this one, but I am definitely in), The Secret Disco Revolution (I was sold when that hippie/professor chick said “‘Disco Sucks’ is fundamentally a sentiment rooted in homophobia and racism.” You intrigue me, Professor Hippie. Tell me more.)

Much like last year, I intend to share my personal schedule for the Festival with you fine people once I know it. If you want up to the minute updates on how the Festival – or the upcoming Fan Expo – are going, you can now check me out on Twitter. Yes, the rumours are true, I have finally caved to the societal pressure to be involved in as many aspects of social media as possible. I am as ashamed of me as you are. But follow me all the same!


3 responses to “It’s beginning to look a lot like TIFF-mas…

  1. Pingback: TIFF 2012, aka The Ten Days That Finally Ended My Sanity | Cinephile Sandra

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