Top 12 Most Anticipated Movies at TIFF
Tom Ford on the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival for his film's premiere
Here, our top selects for TIFF 2016
Another September brings another Toronto International Film Festival – running the 8th-18th – and with it comes a celebrity onslaught the sight of which the city hasn’t seen since well, the last TIFF (though the NBA All Star Game came close). Movie stars are so rampant that sometimes the films get lost in the red-carpet frenzy.
The men of the red carpet: TIFF CEO Piers Handling (left), and TIFF Creative Director Cameron Bailey who are instrumental in what films screen at the festival.
American Pastoral: Getting its World Premiere at TIFF is the highly anticipated screen adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer-Prize winning American Pastoral. Making his directorial debut is Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, who also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly as the parents of a girl (Dakota Fanning) who becomes a radicalized and violent anti-Vietnam protester, causing their perfect American family life to be torn apart.
Arrival: Directed by Canadian sensation Denis Velleneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario) this science fiction film has already been compared to Close Encounters of the Third Kind for its restraint in portraying an alien invasion – unlike recent studio tentpole pictures have done. Here Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist, who the US government turns to to communicate with the aliens on board an enormous space craft in order to determine if they are friends or foes. Also starring Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker. The dark tone of Arrival gives great hopes to fanboys the world over as they eagerly awake Velleneuve’s sequel to Blade Runner, due out in 2017.
Filmmaker Nate Parker at Sundance this past January.
La La Land: A bona fide smash before it even hits mainstream theatres, La La Land is the latest from writer-director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a jazz pianist and singer who fall in love as they try and break into show business in, you guessed it, Los Angeles. And the best part? It’s a no-holds-barred old-fashioned homage to the great Hollywood musical. So yup, there’s singing and dancing aplenty and word has it the two young stars give Fred and Ginger a run for the money. Such was the gushing at both Venice and Telluride film fests that Tom Hanks sang the film’s praises during a press conference for his own film, Sully.
Loving and A United Kingdom: These two films share similar themes: both based on the true love stories of interracial couples who break every social, political and legal rule in the era in which they live. First off, the American offering, Loving, stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, as a couple (Loving is their surname) who were arrested in their home state of Virginia in 1958 where interracial marriages were illegal. They fought the system all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in their favour.
Manchester By the Sea: Casey Affleck, the less known younger brother of Ben, takes the lead in this stark drama that critics adored at Sundance this past January. Lee (Affleck) is forced to return to his hometown when his older brother (Kyle Chandler) dies and leaves his nephew in his care. The two are mismatched in temper and goals but struggle to make their new life work. Many critics have said this is a career-making performance for Affleck that will surely see the young actor step out of his brother’s shadow.
Moonlight: This low budget indie has generated loads of buzz. This is the second feature from filmmaker Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) and traces the main character, Chiron, played by Trevante Rhodes, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood as he grapples with his sexuality in his drug addled Florida neighbourhood. After screening in Telluride the film received a 9.2 on Rotten Tomatoes and has hit several critics “best of” lists.
Tom Ford on the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival for his film’s premiere
Queen of Katwe: Also getting its World Premiere at TIFF comes Queen of Katwe. Based on the true story of a young girl in rural Uganda who becomes an international chess champion. Phiona, the chess champ, is played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as her mother and David Oyelowo as the missionary who teaches Phiona the game.
Snowden: Who better to weave the various threads of political conspiracy, espionage and betrayal than director Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK, Wall Street)? TIFF gets the world premiere of Snowden, where James Gordon-Levitt plays National Security Adviser Edward Snowden who alerted the world to the US government’s breach of its citizen’s privacy. Snowden remains in exile in Russia. The true story is startling enough but we can expect Stone to ramp up the tension in this re-telling. Stone recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “America is fed bullshit and we buy it.”
Xavier Dolan accepts the Grand Prix prize at Cannes this May for It’s Only the End of the World
It’s Only the End of the World: The latest film from 27 year old Quebec sensation Xavier Dolan, whose film Mommy won international acclaim in 2014. This time around his all French cast includes Marion Cotillard, Vincent Casel and other French stars, in this tale of a terminally-ill man who returns home after a 12-year absence to tell them the news but instead is greeted by a fractured family who aren’t ready to listen to him. The film has already won the Grand Prix Prize at Cannes this past May. Up next for the prolific Dolan is his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John A. Donovan, starring Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain and Susan Sarandon.