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First Batch of Films Announced for TIFF 2014


Photography Credit: Parker Mott

Every cinephiles favourite time of year is fast approaching! Running from September 4th to 14th, the Toronto International Film Festival showcases some of the best in both local and international film. At a press conference this morning, TIFF’s Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and CEO Piers Handling took the Cinema 1 stage to announce over 60 films that will screen at the festival. Keep in mind that there will be over 300 features at the festival, so stay tuned for more announcements. Some of the films premiering at TIFF include:

The Equalizer (Directed by Antoine Fuqua, World Premiere, USA)
In this big screen adaptation of the cult ‘80s TV show, McCall believes he has put his past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets Teri, a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to extract vengeance upon anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer. Starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

Foxcatcher (Directed by Bennett Miller, Canadian Premiere, USA)
Based on true events, this film tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller.

Maps to the Stars (Directed by David Cronenberg, North American Premiere, Canada/Germany)
David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

This is Where I Leave You (Directed by Shawn Levy, World Premiere, USA)
Shawn Levy’s dramatic comedy follows four adult siblings who return home after their father’s death to spend a week with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and frayed relationships among those who know and love them best, they reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.

Wild (Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, World Premiere, USA)
After years of reckless behaviour, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. Wild powerfully reveals Cheryl’s terrors and pleasures as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens and ultimately heals her. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann and Kevin Rankin.

The Drop (Directed by Michael R. Roskam, World Premiere, USA)
The Drop follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv, Bob finds himself at the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighbourhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living — no matter the cost. Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts and John Ortiz.

Men, Women and Children (Directed by Jason Reitman, World Premiere, USA)
Men, Women and Children follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. Starring Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler and Judy Greer.

Mr. Turner (Directed by Mike Leigh, Canadian Premiere, United Kingdom)
This biopic explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, until his death. Throughout his life, the popular —if anarchic—member of the Royal Academy of Arts travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. Starring Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, Joshua McGuire, Ruth Sheen, David Horovitch and Karl Johnson.

Rosewater (Directed by Jon Stewart, World Premiere, USA)
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut with the true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari (played by Gael García Bernal), whose appearance on Stewart’s show in 2009 precipitated his five-month imprisonment by the Iranian government.

While We’re Young (Directed Noah Baumbach, World Premiere, USA)
Noah Baumbach’s exploration of aging, ambition and success, stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple whose career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. Also starring Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, Maria Dizzia and Adam Horovitz.

Whiplash (Directed by Damien Chazelle, Canadian Premiere, USA)
Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite East Coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability — and his sanity. Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Max Kasch and Damon Gupton.

Some of the films announced that I am especially looking forward to include:

The New Girlfriend (Directed by François Ozon, World Premiere, France)
When her best friend Lea dies, Claire falls into a deep depression. However, after making a surprising discovery about her late friend’s husband, she’s given a new lease on life. Starring Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier and Raphaël Personnaz.

Why: Ozon has had a great track record over the past few years, directing many great films such as Swimming Pool, 8 Women, In the House, and last year’s Young and Beautiful. Even his darkest films have a wonderful mystique that is completely irresistible.

Learning to Drive (Directed by Isabel Coixet, World Premiere, USA)
As her marriage dissolves, a Manhattan writer takes driving lessons from a Sikh instructor with marriage troubles of his own. In each other’s company, they find the courage to get back on the road and the strength to take the wheel. Starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley.

Why: Patricia Clarkson is one the greatest actresses of all time. She is widely underappreciated and mostly gets stuck with supporting roles, so this opportunity to watch Clarkson lead is welcomed. If you haven’t boarded the Patricia Clarkson train yet then watch The Station Agent and Cairo Time. Call me if you’re not convinced.

Miss Julie (Directed by Liv Ullmann, World Premiere, Norway/United Kingdom/Ireland)
A country estate in Ireland in the 1880s. Over the course of one midsummer night, Miss Julie explores the brutal, charged power struggle between a young aristocratic woman and her father’s valet. Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton.

Why: Liv Ullmann. Liv Ullmann. Liv Ullmann. Not only an excellent actress, Ullmann proved she was also a very talented director with 2000’s Faithless. Now fourteen years later it will be interesting to see Ullmann’s first film since the death of her director/mentor Ingmar Bergman. Also: Jessica Chastain.

My Old Lady (Directed by Israel Horovitz, World Premiere, USA)
A down-and-out New Yorker inherits an apartment in Paris from his estranged father and is stunned to find a refined old lady living there with her protective daughter. Starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Why: Old people.

Pasolini (Directed Abel Ferrara, World Premiere, USA)
Rome: on the night of November 2, 1975, the great Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered. Pasolini is the symbol of an art that’s fighting against the power. His writings are scandalous, and his films are persecuted by the censors; many people love him and many hate him. The day of his death, Pasolini spends his last hours with his beloved mother and later with his dearest friends, until he finally goes out into the night in his Alfa Romeo in search of adventure in the eternal city. At dawn Pasolini is found dead on a beach in Ostia on the outskirts of the city. In a film dreamlike and visionary, blending reality and imagination, it reconstructs the last day in the life of this great poet. Starring Willem Dafoe.

Why: A movie about the guy who directed Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom? Sign me up!

Other films include:

CLOSING NIGHT FILM: A Little Chaos (Directed by Alan Rickman, World Premiere, United Kingdom)

Black and White (Directed by Mike Binder, World Premiere, USA)

The Riot Club (Directed by Lone Scherfig, World Premiere, United Kingdom)

99 Homes (Directed by Ramin Bahrani, Canadian Premiere, USA)

Before We Go (Directed by Chris Evans, World Premiere, USA)

Cake (Directed by Daniel Barnz, World Premiere, USA)

Coming Home (Directed by Zhang Yimou, North American Premiere, China)

Eden (Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve, World Premiere, France)

Good Kill (Directed by Andrew Niccol, North American Premiere, USA)

The Good Lie (Directed by Phiippe Falardeau, World Premiere, USA)

The Humbling (Directed by Barry Levinson, North American Premiere, USA)

The Keeping Room (Directed by Daniel Barber, World Premiere, USA)

The Last Five Years (Directed by Richard LaGravenese, World Premiere, USA)

Manglehorn (Directed by David Gordon Green, North American Premiere, USA)

A Second Chance (En chance til) (Directed Susanne Bier, World Premiere, Denmark)

Still Alice (Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, World Premiere, USA)

Time Out of Mind (Directed by Oren Moverman, World Premiere, USA)

You can buy ticket packages now at tiff.net/festival, by phone, or in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Single tickets go on sale on August 31st.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.