My TIFF 2010 movie schedule!

300 films in 11 days. Sickened to only be able to make six of them…

So I’ve finally got all my Toronto Film Festival tickets sorted. The whole thing involved a typically Canadian process where I had to call into the festival box office on King Street three times over the course of a week. First time was to collect my booklet and form. Second time was to drop off this all-important form with some little ticks for my picks. Third time was after a rather strange lottery system to actually collect the physical tickets. You’d kind of feel like telling them to move the whole system online, but hey I’m not going to be the only dissenting voice, and it was nice to go somewhere and feel a bit of “buzz” before the whole thing kicks off.

I got all my first choices and so will fit in 6 movies during the festival. Not quite up there with the 13 I saw in the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2009 but still a good haul, plus most of these will be first or second showings anywhere in the world. Which is nice. Anyway, behold:

#1 – Blue Valentine
directed by Derek Cianfrance
[imdb | tiff description]

Blue Valentine is the story of love found and love lost, told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks.

I’m not afraid to admit I have a little bit of a man crush on Ryan Gosling. I’ve never actually seen The Notebook which was his breakthrough and his usual calling card, but movies like Half Nelson and Lars and the Real Girl managed to leave a real impression. I like how he only does a movie or two a year these days too and the fact he spends half his time playing in a decent band, Dead Man’s Bones, makes him a winner.

If reports from Blue Valentine’s first screenings at Sundance last January are to be believed I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re talking about him as an Oscar nominee for his part in this. Also Michelle Williams is always worth the admission price. Even if that admission price is going to be a slightly bonkers $20.

#2 – Bang Bang Club
directed by Steven Silver
[imdb | tiff description]

The Bang Bang Club was the name given to four young photographers, Greg Marinovich, Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek and Joao Silva, whose photographs captured the final bloody days of white rule in South Africa and the final demise of apartheid. The film tells the remarkable and sometimes harrowing story of these young men – and the extraordinary extremes they went to in order to capture their pictures. The film stars Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Neels Van Jaarsveld and Frank Rautenbach.

Needless to say I’m most excited about this due to the simple fact I only got back from South Africa 2 months ago. I’m not sure if it’ll show up at Telluride this week or whether this will be its world premiere. Next to no info on the imdb page so maybe they’re still cutting it!

I can see this being quite profitable at the box office as the world seemed to fall in love with anything to do with post-apartheid South Africa during the world cup so let’s hope it can live up to expectations. Also I’m looking forward to seeing if Malin Akerman (Watchmen, 27 Dresses) can actually act and is more than just a (very) pretty face…

#3 – Never Let Me Go
directed by Mark Romanek
[imdb | tiff description]

Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) spent their childhood at a seemingly idyllic boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school, the terrible truth of their fate is revealed and they must confront the deep feelings of love, jealousy and betrayal that threaten to pull them apart.

Delighted to say that I’m going into this almost completely blind having managed (and this isn’t uncommon at all with me) to avoid any discussion of the book’s twisting and shocking plot since it came out in 2005. Carey Mulligan surprised everyone with just how incredible she was in An Education finding a perfect balance between innocence and liberated, and considering Wall Street 2 hasn’t made it into theatres yet, this will be the first we see of her since that Oscar-nominated performance. Also it may well have one of the most dramatic and well crafted trailers of the year, check it out here.

#4 – 127 Hours
directed by Danny Boyle
[imdb | tiff description]

127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary. The film also stars Clémence Poésy, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara.

I figured I’d only be able to work in a single “one man in strife” movie at TIFF this year. This meant a straight up battle between 127 Hours and the “Ryan Reynold in a coffin for 90 minutes” movie, Buried. I went with the former as we’ll be seeing Reynolds in his box in theatres over here within a few weeks, and I’ve loved everything than Danny Boyle has done (more or less, everyone tends to forget The Beach don’t they??). James Franco is always interesting whether he’s doing drama (Milk), comedy (Pineapple Express) or action (Spider-man trilogy) so it’ll be nice to see if he can make the step up to be the lead-man in what is Boyle’s first movie”post-Slumdog” and “post-Oscar”.

It’s getting brilliantly varied reviews following its surprise first showing at Telluride last night (check out the video debate here between two of my favourite movie bloggers from firstshowing and /film) and let’s hope it gets similarly passionate reactions in a fortnight’s time.

#5 – Cave of Forgotten Dreams (3D?!)
directed by Werner Herzog
[imdb | tiff description]

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting. He puts 3-D technology to a profound use, taking us back in time over 30,000 years.

I’ve never seen a Werner Herzog film I didn’t enjoy. Now shush,  I know I haven’t seen all of them (not many would have considering his first feature was in 1962), but anything the man does is always more than worthwhile. The Munich-born film-maker celebrated his 68th birthday today, and while most directors begin to revel in their dotage by the time they become pensioners, Werner continues to bring his sense of joy and wonder to his film-making. You really wish the guy never has to get old.

I still haven’t seen the “David Lynch-presented” My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, but seeing Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans at the Dublin Film Festival earlier this year was a highlight of the year so far and is bound to be on many top 10 lists come December. Documentary wise, Little Dieter Needs To Fly and Grizzly Man are both fascinating portraits of people dominated by obsession and drive and well worth checking out.

What the hell is Werner does with 3D cameras in a cave? GAH!

On a sidenote, he recently did an interview with questions coming from twitter (watch it here), where he revealed his fascination with wrestlemania and the world of pro-wrestling. Hopefully Vince McMahon will let him in to do commentary for Wrestlemania. His droll observations would be worth the pay-per-view price alone.

#6 – The Debt
directed by John Madden
[imdb | tiff description]

Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington star in this thriller about three Israeli Mossad agents on a 1965 mission to capture a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, secrets about the case emerge.

I love a bit of Mossad action. And to see Sam Worthington age 30 years and morph into Ciaran Hynes is going to be exciting. Though I can’t imagine Weta or ILM were called in so we won’t be seeing this ageing process. On a serious note, there’s some very intersting names behind this, with Matthew Vaughan (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, X-men: The First Class) producing and John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) directing. Weird.

With all this mind I think this movie could go either way, but anything with Helen Mirren released around Christmas time tends to get a lot of Oscar-buzz, so we shall see. And after proving he’s got the action chops with lead roles in Terminator and Avatar, it’ll be good to see Sam Worthington in a slightly more subtle role.

That’s all I’ve got lined up for the minute, I had hoped to get to Africa United, Black Swan and Tabloid but sure you can’t win em all. You can stand in a rush line for 2 hours before a screening, but when tickets for single screenings may get up to $25 you’ve got to ask “Am i bovvered?”

Blue Valentine is the story of love found and love lost, told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks.
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