Meet Mickey Rourke, Oscar contender.

Sure, Brad Pitt was here, but the buzz today in Toronto was all about Mickey Rourke.

Or at least Rourke's new film 'The Wrestler,' which became THE must-see flick of the fest with news that a) It is the festival's first major acquisition (Fox Searchlight snatched it up for $4 million, b) It was awarded the Golden Lion award for Best Picture at the just-wrapped Venice Film Festival and c) Mickey Rourke has Oscar buzz!

Does it live up to the hype? Hell yeah.


Meet Mickey Rourke, Oscar contender.

Sure, Brad Pitt was here, but the buzz today in Toronto was all about Mickey Rourke. Or at least Rourke's new film 'The Wrestler,' which became THE must-see flick of the fest with news that a) It is the festival's first major acquisition (Fox Searchlight snatched it up for $4 million, b) It was awarded the Golden Lion award for Best Picture at the just-wrapped Venice Film Festival and c) Mickey Rourke has Oscar buzz!

Does it live up to the hype? Hell yeah. Director Darren Aronofsky returns to the gritty style of filmmaking that made 'Requiem for a Dream' such an intense trip in this powerful story of a pro wrestler (Rourke) 20 years past his prime. With long blonde hair, a fake tan and still-juiced build, Randy "The Ram" Robinson now walks the Earth (well, New Jersey) in a perpetual state of pain and humiliation. He wrestles at community events for pennies, and some fights are nothing short of sadistic, where ring instruments include barbed wire, broken glass and a staple gun. Yes, a staple gun.

But Ram is a gentle giant impossible not to root for, especially when health risks bring him to the brink of death. It's a powerhouse performance for Rourke, with stellar supporting turns from Evan Rachel Wood as his daughter and Marisa Tomei as an aging stripper (in one very "revealing" role).

Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn make one of the year's oddest pairings in 'Management,' an uneven but serviceable love story that all starts with a simple "touch of the butt." Zahn is a mama's boy who works at the family motel in Arizona; Aniston is the corporate painting vendor he falls in love with after she allows the aforementioned physical contact. The movie alternates between bittersweet indie dramedy and cornball romantic comedy. It wants to have its cake and eat it, too, which is fine except the real thing tastes so much better.

On the opposite side of the romantic spectrum comes the big-time bust 'The Other Man,' which I could only recommend to fans of... hmmm, diverse accents? Irishman Liam Neeson is married to American Laura Linney, and since they live in Cambridge, their daughter (Romola Garai) speaks like a true Brit. Linney, a successful shoe designer, often escapes to Italy where she gets her scarlet letter on with a Spaniard (Antonio Banderas). When she passes away, hubby discovers her double life and sets out to kill her lover. But first ... they play A LOT of chess. 'The Other Man' is essentially 'Unfaithful' minus the passion, excitement, suspense and living wife. Who knew Linney was capable of making a bad film?