Toronto International Film Festival has announced the first titles for this year’s lineup, and we’ve got the fever. If you ever needed a reason to love living in Toronto then it’s got to be the way the city lights up during the festival, makes like Metz and transforms into a land of cinema and spectatorship for a whole week every fall. With 75 films revealed today and almost 200 more to be announced, we’ve got movies on our mouths and don’t want to miss a thing. Here’s a rundown of the festival highlights so you know what tickets to chase this year:
Opening Night Film: The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon)
The dramatic thriller tells the story of the Wikileaks events, taking on the ongoing ethical debate of freedom of information vs. the perimeters and rights of national security. Secret-freer Julian Assange is played by a ruthless Benedict Crumberbatch (who we last saw trying to free his besties from torpedos in this summer’s Star Trek: Into Darkness). We’re curious to see the film’s take on the events, especially after Alex Gibney’s doc on the same subject earlier this year was met with accusations of misrepresenting the very complex saga. Either way, we’re positive the world premiere of The Fifth Estate is going to be a dramatic way to kick off the festival as it bangs out the story of the biggest leak of classified information in history:
History Pick: 12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen)
Brad Pitt will be making his usual September trip up to Toronto for the world premiere of 12 Years a Slave, McQueen’s first film since the gritty Shame. This one stars Chiwetal Ejiofor as Solomon Northup and his incredible true life story as a free man and professional violinist who was abducted New York and sold into slavery in 1841. The strong cast includes Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch (again) and my (everyone’s?) personal favourite man, Paul Giamatti. Plus, we can’t get this song out of our heads:
Most Anticipated: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
The director of Children of Men and Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban knows drama and kills it everytime. The trailer for Gravity one already wins our prize for best teaser, drawing us by bringing a very human sense of fear and anxiety to an unearthly sci-fi backdrop. Seeing shots of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock’s beaming famous faces through astronaut helmets kind of breaks suspension of disbelief, but we’re hoping the two leads’ performances will overcome their star-power to assimilate into their roles so that Gravity pulls past the inevitable “that one with Clooney in Space.” The screening will be the film’s North American premiere (world premiere is at the Venice Film Festival).
Other notable TIFF talkies: the closing night film Life of Crime (directed by Daniel Schechter, starring Jennifer Aniston and Mos Def), Reitman’s new film Labor Day (Winslet, Brolin), Cory Monteith’s final performance in All The Wrong Reasons, and Justin Chadwick’s Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (starring the insanely versatile Idris Elba aka Stringer Bell).
Our verdict? We can’t catch ’em all, but we’ll try. Get your tickets and your tents ready to camp out at the lightbox during September 5-15.