TIFF 2012 Preview

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TIFF is here! And wow, it has a powerhouse selection of films this time around, looking more intriguing than in recent memory. Plus, there are celebrities coming to town. Lots and lots of celebs.

THE STARS

Are you star-gazing this TIFF? Because you wouldn’t believe the kind of wattage heading our way this Thursday.

Keep an eye out for Tom Hanks, who’s here for Cloud Atlas, and the Thursday opening of Looper will mean that Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emily Blunt might be around. Ben Affleck will be showing his face this Friday for Argo, ditto Keira Knightley and Jude Law for Anna Karenina.

The extraordinary Marion Cotillard is also showing up, so pack your bags for the Ryerson Theatre if you’re star-gazing that day.

But hold onto your pants. We’re also expecting Colin Firth, Robert Redford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts, Johnny Depp, Maggie Smith, Julianne Moore, Will Smith, and a whole lot more. Stone-faced Tommy Lee-Jones will also be in town for Emperor.

Bradley Cooper will be showing up, if you care at all about Bradley Cooper. But more importantly, we’ve got some Brits arriving in the form of Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith.

If you’re a Canadian cinemaphile, you might be able to catch a glance of Brandon Cronenberg, who’s here for the debut of his film Antiviral, although apparently these days he’s very uncomfortable with being sought after just because of who his dad is. And of course, we’ll have a whole bunch of wonderful Canadian actors here whom you’ve probably never heard of outside of an Atom Egoyan film. Shame on you, and shame on our film industry. All of us are probably at fault.

So for penance, we’ll all have to see some Canadian films during the festival’s run. There’s some good ones coming out.

THE FILMS

We’re obviously not going to list the couple gazillion of amazing looking films and documentaries showing up at TIFF. Get yourself to their website for a full listing. A lot of these directors are Canadian, and the turnout at their films will once again showcase the disparity between how often we’ll watch Canadian films at TIFF, and how often we watch them at any other time in the year (Spoiler: Rarely).

But Canadian or otherwise (and often otherwise), TIFF attendees get a damn good crop this year, though, showcasing some amazing directors, both up-and-coming and already established. On the Canadian side of things, we have Canuck film industry royalty in Brandon Cronenberg, and we also get Trailer Park Boys creator Mike Clattenberg drop his new film Crackin’ Down Hard.

Also intriguing is Bydlo, a beautiful-looking stop motion affair from Quebec-born director Patrick Bouchard, based on Mussorgsky’s “Pictures From An Exhibition”.

As for films you may have actually heard of prior to TIFF, festival-goers will get a chance to see the Tom Hanks sci fi epic Cloud Atlas, which will let us see what the Wachowskis have been up to since Speed Racer flopped, and Ben Affleck’s new thriller Argo. (And, of course, we have to mention Looper, which launches the gala, and is the movie most people will be talking about this weekend)

TIFF isn’t without its weird entries. A bonkers addition to the festival is the actually-real John Dies At The End, the film adaptation of the body-horror novel by Cracked.com’s David Wong, directed by Don Coscarelli, who directed the Bruce Campbell lark Bubba Ho-Tep, and, well, you know, Phantasm. That’s some good pedigree.

In fact, the horror genre gets a lot of exposure at TIFF this year: joining John Dies At The End is JT Petty’s truly strange-looking horror/comedy Hellbenders. Plus, there’ll be a movie with Eli Roth in it, if that’s your thing.

TIFF isn’t all genre films, of course, and among the docs and heartfelt dramas is the epic Oscar-bait Emperor, with Tommy Lee-Jones, another historical drama from Peter Webber, who specializes in that kind of stuff.

And, of course, everyone will be talking about Neil Baumbach’s Frances Ha, which sounds exactly like a Neil Baumbach film, and will most likely be this year’s critical darling.

This doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of the kind of excellent-looking films that are coming to Toronto this weekend.

I’ll leave it to you guys in the comments to tell us which ones you’re excited about.

 

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