CATEGORIES Movie NewsEvery film freak knows that sometimes the very best movies are the ones you haven't seen yet.
In fact, some would've been better off if they'd never been anything more than a smattering of tantalizing details, a cryptic trailer, some concept artwork and whatever visions these things spark in your imagination. After all, who didn't feel like their own personal Prometheus was better than Sir Ridley Scott's?
The exhilaration of anticipation is what's so fun about the weeks before the Toronto International Film Festival. As more and more movies are announced -- over 100 titles dropped earlier today -- the salivary glands of film freaks everywhere go into overdrive. As for which movies will rule and which will not, that's for audiences to discover once they hit Toronto's screens starting September 6. But for right now, here are ten films that are already must-sees.
Looper TIFF's surprise choice for the opening slot, this science-fiction thriller re-teams Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Rian Johnson, the writer-director who featured the actor in his 2006 high-school crime story Brick. If their latest is half as smart, viewers should be pleased, even if it does mean enduring the sight of Gordon-Levitt's tweaked-out face. The actor had to undergo daily three-hour sessions of make-up and prosthetics work to make it plausible that he and Bruce Willis are playing younger and older versions of the same guy in this story of time-travelling hitmen. But at least he got to keep his hair.
The Master There's been no limit to the speculation over Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to the mighty There Will Be Blood. Audiences will soon get to know for themselves: so is it or is it not a fictionalized version of the history of Scientology, Hollywood's closest thing to an official religion? Stars like Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been cagey about specifics in regards to this tale of a troubled war vet who falls under the sway of a charismatic intellectual. All will be revealed ... soon.
Silver Linings Playbook Director David O. Russell may have gotten some Oscar love with The Fighter but his devotees know that his real forte is the edgy brand of comedy epitomized by early works like Flirting With Disaster. An adaptation of a novel by Matthew Quick, starring Bradley Cooper as a high-strung teacher with mental troubles and Jennifer Lawrence as a young woman he meets in therapy, Russell's latest will hopefully return him to that sweet spot.
Argo The scheme to get six Americans out of Tehran during the country's 1979 revolution was a real-life drama wilder than any screenwriterly concoction. In his third feature as director (and latest as star), Ben Affleck sports a choice shag haircut to play the CIA fixer who cooks up the crazy plot. Time will tell whether Affleck can meet the high standards of Gone Baby Gone and The Town without the help of those awesome Beantown accents.
Berberian Sound Studio While film may be a primarily visual medium, every savvy moviegoer knows how important soundtracks can be. Aural matters come to the fore in this highly intriguing British thriller. Peter Strickland's film stars Toby Jones as a sound-effects artist who comes to Italy to work on a lurid thriller full of outrageous sights that we the audience never get to see but will have plenty of fun (and chills) imagining.
Cloud Atlas Comprised of six interconnected narratives that span a huge array of settings and time periods, British writer David Mitchell's cunning cult novel is hardly an obvious pick for big-screen treatment. Perhaps that's why it took three directors to give it a go. Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer and The Matrix's Lana and Andy Wachowski have forged ahead with a cast that includes Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, with many actors playing multiple roles. Epic will be one word for it.
I Declare War How's this for a concept? Two groups of 13-year-olds play war in a forest, except we see it as they imagine it -- in other words, with guns, bazookas and a helluva lot of ammo. Parents and teachers nervous about kids messing with grown-up toys will likely have a conniption over this bold Canadian indie flick. Everybody else will be eager to unleash their own inner Rambo.
No In the latest by Chile's Pablo Larrain, the reliably cool Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a marketing hotshot with a unique assignment. He's got to convince his countrymen to vote no in a plebiscite that may affect the fate of General Pinochet's regime. Though based on real events in 1988, Larrain's drama could just as easily double as a satire on the magic of marketing anywhere in the world.
How To Make Money Selling Drugs For his documentary about America's drug trade, director Matthew Cooke tapped a veritable who's-who of hustlers to drop some valuable knowledge. 50 Cent, Eminem and Rick Ross talk about the ways of the street alongside The Wire creator David Simon and other folks in the know. We feel schooled already.
Room 237 A surprise sensation at Sundance and Cannes, this spellbinding documentary may be the ultimate movie about another movie. With the help of some serious obsessives, director Rodney Ascher goes deep (very, very deep) into the wild web of conspiracy theories that surrounds The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's enigmatic adaptation of Stephen King's snowy saga of writers' block and cabin fever.
The ABCs of Death Here's the movie most likely to satiate the special cravings of the audiences in Midnight Madness, the anything-goes program that rocks TIFF after hours. Organized by the brains behind Austin's cult-movie mecca, the Alamo Draft House, this anthology movie collects new efforts by some of the wildest filmmakers on the planet, including Hobo With a Shotgun's Jason Eisener, Kill List's Ben Wheatley and House of the Devil's Ti West. They'll all be set to outdo each other with mini-movies about the many ways to die. Bon appetit!
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