Top 10 Most-Anticipated TIFF 15 Films
While this was written before I made my ticket selection, this is still a fine list of some of the best films TIFF has to offer for its 40th anniversary!
Observers on the outside this reads as a story about two older men in a bathhouse rominating on life and experience. Well they wouldn’t be too far off. Youth stars Micheal Caine and Harvey Keitel as they reflect on their past, present, and the craziness of the world during their vacation to the Swiss Alps. Co-starring Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and Jane Fonda, Youth is also the new feature from Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino. Youth promises to be extremely well acted and beautiful to behold if The Great Beauty was anything to go by.
Certainly the highest profile release for TIFF, The Martain has Matt Damon suiting up for space once again, but this time he is trapped on Mars. Based on the bestselling Sci-Fi novel by Andy Weir, The Martian is funny, suspensful, and thrilling all at once. Having read the novel, if the story is done right there should be no problems with this adaptation. Ridley Scott is at the helm and while his last Sci-Fi outing, Prometheus, disappointed here’s hoping he can return to form. He is the man responsible for Alien and Blade Runner afterall.
The Danish Girl
One of the biggest unsung performances in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables was Eddie Redmayne singing ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’. His performance was haunting and although rightfully overshadowed by Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, it showed great things in the future for Eddie Redmayne. Then all the sudden he won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawkins for Theory of Everything. Jupiter Ascending aside, Redmayne is an acting powerhouse and working together with Tom Hooper again can only take his career higher.
Mountains May Depart
After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Mountains May Depart is making its North American Premiere at Tiff. The new film from Jia Zhang-ke examines how China’s economic boom has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love. Although Zhang-ke’s previous film, 2013’s ‘A Touch of Sin’, was gruesomely violent, Mountains May Depart should bring him international exposure. The film follows three different time periods, 1999, 2014, and 2025. The ambitious film should be on anyones must-see list.
This is another one of those films that on paper seems incredibly boring. A screenwriter during the time when Senator McCarthy was calling everyone a communist secretly creates scripts anyways. If you consider that director Jay Roach doesn’t usually direct projects like this, he is best known for Meet the Fockers and Austin Powers and it might leave many to worry. Well enter Bryan Cranston, coming from winning a Tony and Emmy in recent years to go after an Oscar. He looks in rare form here as Dalton Trumbo and Hollywood loves films about themselves. Look for this to be a major awards player and acting showcase
Taiwanese director Hou Hasiao-Hsien isn’t very well known stateside. While many of his films have played at the Cannes Film Festival over the years, including this one, few of his films are available for Westerners to watch. Taking seven years to complete, it should emerge as one of Hou’s most commercially succcessful and most watched features. According to Vareity, “[it is] a mesmerizing slow burn of a martial-arts movie that boldly merges stasis and kinesis, turns momentum into abstraction, and achieves breathtaking new heights of compositional elegance: Shot for shot, it’s perhaps the most ravishingly beautiful film Hou has ever made, and certainly one of his most deeply transporting.” Some have said that it is an extremely demanding watch [read: slow], but those willing to take the dive should be heavily rewarded.
A surprise entry into the list of films at TIFF 15, High Rise is a highly anticipated adapatation by director Ben Wheatley. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, and Sienna Miller, High Rise has seen a long path to development. Originally published in 1975, the book depicts a high rise building that seems to give everyone easy access the modern commodities that life has to offer. The only problem is that it creates a close environment and soon the tower is seperated into three different violent groups that are fighting for control.
Right Now, Wrong Then
Fresh from its win at the Lacarno Film Festival, ‘Right Now, Wrong Then’, is a bittersweet romantic comedy. Given its structure of two different narratives it instantly brings to mind, Chungking Express, and if it provides a story anything similar it should be a winner. The South Korean film also took Best Actor honors for the film, which plays on social graces and missed chances. This film should be on your radar for something surprising and rewarding.
After returning to the spotlight himself, Michael Keaton stars with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in the true story of a team of Boston Globe reporters who uncovered a massive scandal. That scandal being the child abuse and cover-ups within the local Catholic Church. They quickly discovered how deep the rabbit hole goes. Investigative films are not everyone’s cup of tea, but fans of films like All the President’s Men and Zodiac should find plently to like here.
Whenever Charlie Kaufman announces a new film, its time to stop everything and take notice. He has written such greats as Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This time he is working with stop-motion to tell his story of a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. Since the project was backed using Kickstarter and not a major studio, the script should be untouched greatness from Kaufman and one of the highlights of TIFF.
Runners-up: Beasts of No Nation, The Lobster, Sicario, Born to be Blue, Demolition
Reviews for films for TIFF 15 are coming soon.