TIFF 12

The Peter Strauss annual TIFF selects returns, where I spend all of my free time learning as much as possible about these movies to make selections. I do not list movies with a theatrical release a month or less away. Movies are listed in order of my own interest.

Good picks not on my list

I don’t list details on movies hitting theatres a month or less after their TIFF screening, but some people like to see the stars and premiere. Here are good ones premiering at TIFF close to their theatrical release:

Looper - theatres Sept. 28

The Master - theatres Sept. 21

Argo - theatres Oct. 12

Legend:

= filmmaker expected to attend

Special Presentations - the best bets; films from renowned filmmakers that are likely headed to big awards in the fall.

Midnight Madness - not for little bitches

Vanguard - genre films from all over the world

Tiff Docs - documentaries

Discovery - debuts from up-and-coming filmmakers

Masters - films from some of the most acclaimed and talented directors in the world.


Shorts:

Short Cuts Canada - the best shorts from emerging Canadian filmmakers.

Programme #1 (1h25m)  - A biography of French surrealist Jean Benoît and an animated plea to free Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi anchor a profoundly cinematic programme of shorts-tied together with incredible art direction, masterful mise-en-scène and imaginative storytelling.

Programme #2 (1h26m) - From sexual taboos and young women coming of age to comedic documentaries, this programme asks challenging questions about the consequences of our decisions, taking us from mountainous villages of Vietnam to a small town in Quebec preparing for the apocalypse.

Programme #3 (1h19m) - This programme highlights some of Canada's most pressing issues, including city and racial politics, with new insight from dynamic and accomplished filmmakers. FILM ADAM CLARKE WORKED ON IS HERE.

Programme #4 (1h21m) - Ambitiously far-reaching in the scope of its subject and ideas, this programme goes from the modern rat race to a portrayal of family grief during the Gulf War, the aftermath of the 2011 Egyptian revolution to a sci-fi vision of survival.

Programme #5 (1h15m) - The perennial theme of family is spotlighted in this programme, linking stories of a father seeking to reconnect with his son through antiquated technology, a young Cree girl planning to be a mother, and a 3-D animated documentary about a woman's decision to give up her children.

Programme #6 (1h10m) - Opening with Nik Sexton's Newfoundland response to the likes of Fubar and Trailer Park Boys, and going out on the YouTube phenomenon that is Shit Girls Say (new episode!), these riotously funny films make keen observations on how people interact with one another, whether it be at a funeral, a pool, a buffet, or stuck in a canoe, naked.


Wavelengths:

Wavelengths - Daring, visionary and autonomous voices. Films that expand our notions of cinema.

Under a Pacific Sun (1h6m)  - Bookended by Thomas Demand's astonishing 100-second animation Pacific Sunand legendary experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr's no-holds-barred trip into painterly abstraction Auto-Collider XV, this programme traverses fabricated worlds marked by shifting weather patterns, stylized mythic backdrops, paper folds and cross-cultural magic carpet rides.

Documenta (42m) - Works by Luther Price, Ben Rivers, William E. Jones and others resuscitate materials and curios from archives both public and private, pointing up their forever changing context and attendant shifts in meaning.

I am micro (1h8m) - Rendered in raw, intimiste strokes, these portrait films bask in the paradoxical experience of being an artist whose aspirations belong to this world, as much as beyond. Artists include: Shumona Goel & Shai Heredia, Tito & Tito, Francesca Woodman, Friedl vom Gröller, Vincent Grenier and Festival favourite Nathaniel Dorsky.

From The Inside Out (57m) - Recently restored prints of influential intermedia artist Aldo Tambellini's Black films set the tempo for a programme exploring contours through holes, legacies through sustained viewing and dynamic force-fields from the inside out. Artists include: Aldo Tambellini, Josh Solondz, Paolo Gioli, Christopher Becks and Peter Miller, Jim Jennings, Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan, Anna Marziano, and Johann Lurf.


To The Wonder
Dir: Terrence Malick
Cast/Crew: Ben Affleck; Rachel McAdams; Javier Bardem
Length: 112m

Country: USA

A man reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.

Monday Sept 10
7pm - Princess of Wales


Tues Sept 11
3pm - Princess of Wales


Sun Sept 16

9:45pm - Bell Lightbox

No critical reception yett

The ABCs of Death

Dir: >>

Length: 123m

Country: Canada; USA; Belgium; UK; Japan; Thailand; Denmark; Chile; Mexico; France; Norway; Serbia; Indonesia; Australia

Twenty-six directors from around the world — all connected to fantastic or horror cinema — each shot a short film about death based on a word starting with a selected letter from the alphabet, showcasing death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.

Fri Sept 14
11:59pm - Ryerson


Sat Sept 15
3:15pm - Scotiabank


Sun Sept 16
9pm - Scotiabank

Dir: Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse); Ben Wheatley (Kill List); Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun); Ti West (The Inkeepers); Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film); Bruno Forzani & Héléne Cattet (Amer); Xavier Gens (Hitman); Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police); Banjong Pisathanakun (Shutter); Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl); Nacho Vigalondo (TimeCrimes); and more

Sightseers

Dir: Ben Wheatley (Kill List)
Cast/Crew: Exec. Producer Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead)

Length: 89m

Country: UK

A pair of sad-sack lovers turns into a frumpy Bonnie and Clyde as their romantic getaway to the English countryside turns into a bloody killing spree, in this gleefully gory laugh riot.

Tues Sept 11
9pm - Ryerson


Thurs Sept 13
12pm - Ryerson


Sun Sept 16
7pm - Bloor Cinema

Positive response to both the humor and Kill List-level violence.

Antiviral - View Trailer
Dir: Brandon Cronenberg
Length: 108m

Country: Canada

Syd March has an unusual and highly profitable line of business: deliberately infecting paying customers with diseases harvested from top celebrities, thus providing a "biological communion" between stars and fans.

Monday Sept 10
9pm - Ryerson Theatre


Wed Sept 12
2:45pm - Bloor Cinema

Son of David Cronenberg


Response: Mixed to positive from Cannes. Compliments for the cinematography and style, while critics were split on the father Cronenberg copycat body horror concept.

Passion - View Trailer
Dir: Brian De Palma (Scarface; Carrie)

Length: 98m

Country: France/Germany

Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus) star in this fiendishly clever erotic thriller from master of suspense Brian De Palma.

Tues Sept 11
8pm - Winter Garden Theatre


Thurs Sept 13
8:30pm - Scotiabank


Fri Sept 14
9:30am - Scotiabank

Response pending


first feature since Redaction

Berberian Sound Studio - View Trailer

Dir: Peter Strickland

Length: 92m

Country: UK

In this modern homage to the Italian giallo, a timid British sound engineer begins to lose his grip on reality when he is hired to work for a flamboyant Italian horror director.

Mon Sept 10
6pm - Bloor Cinema


Tues Sept 11
2:45pm - Cineplex Yonge/Dundas

Giallo inspired

Amour - View Trailer
Dir: Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon; Funny Games)
Length: 127m

Country: Austria/France/Germany

An elderly couple face their own mortality.

Sat Sept 8
6pm - Elgin


Sun Sept 16
9am - Bell Lightbox

Response: Winner of Palme d’Or at Cannes 2012

Will make you sad as shit.

Lore - View Trailer
Dir: Cate Shortland (Somersault)
Cast/Crew: Liz Watts (producer; producer of Animal Kingdom); Adam Arkapaw (DOP; DOP of Snowtown, Animal Kingdom)
Length: 108m

Country: Austria / UK / Germany

Left to fend for herself when her SS officer father is captured by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, a fourteen-year-old German girl (striking newcomer Saskia Rosendahl) must lead her four siblings on a gruelling trek across the war-ravaged countryside — and must put her trust in the very person she was taught to hate.

Mon Sept 10
4:30pm - Winter Garden Theatre


Wed Sept 12
3pm - Ryerson


Sun Sept 16
9:15am - Bell Lightbox

Response: Very positive, especially towards lead actress Rosendahl.
The Hollywood Reporter: very positive
Variety: positive

The Place Beyond the Pines
Dir: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)

Cast/Crew: Ryan Gosling; Bradley Cooper; Eva Mendes; Ray Liotta
Length: 140m

Country: USA

A multi-generational crime drama about a motorcycle stunt rider whose moonlighting a bank robber brings him into conflict with an ambitious young cop.

Fri Sept 7 (PREMIUM)
6pm - Princess of Wales


Sat Sept 8
11am - Ryerson

Much Ado About Nothing

Dir: Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Cabin in the Woods; The Avengers)
Cast/Crew: Nathan Fillon

Length: 107m

Country: USA

A super-stylized, ultra-modern take on the classic Shakespeare comedy with all the Whedonism you know and love hate.

Sat Sept 8 (PREMIUM)
2:30pm - Elgin


Sun Sept 9
12:30pm - Isabel Bader


Fri Sept 14
11am - Elgin

fanboys abound

No
Dir: Pablo Larrain

Length: 117m

Country: Chile / USA

A gripping historical drama about a savvy young ad exec in 1988 Chile who is recruited to craft the political opposition's publicity campaign when the rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet is put to a national plebiscite.

Mon Sept 10
6pm - Bell Lightbox


Tues Sept 11
3pm - Bloor Cinema

Response: Very positive. Was one of the highest rated Cannes films in the non-competition category.
The Hollywood Reporter: positive
Variety: positive
IndieWIRE: A
AV Club: B

Post Tenebras Lux - View Trailer
Dir: Carlos Reygadas
Length: 120m

Country: Mexico/Netherlands/ France/Germany

Maverick director Carlos Reygadas presents his most ambitious, personal and controversial work yet with this disorienting, kaleidoscopic vision of a family torn between tenderness and violence.

Wed Sept 12
9:45pm - Bell Lightbox


Thurs Sept 13
1:15pm - Bell Lightbox


Sun Sept 16

6pm - Scotiabank

Mixed-to-negative from Cannes

Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
AV Club: C+
Guardian UK: ⅖

Hollywood Reporter: negative

Variety: mixed

Cloud Atlas - View Trailer
Dir: The Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix Trilogy); Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) ✓✓✓
Cast/Crew: Hugo Weaving; Tom Hanks; Halle Berry

Length: 163m

Country: USA

"Cloud Atlas" explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

Sat Sept 8 (PREMIUM)
6pm - Princess of Wales


Sun Sept 9
11:30am - Winter Garden


Sat Sept 15
11am - Elgin

The End of Time
Dir: Peter Mettler
Length: 114m

Country: Canada

Visionary filmmaker Peter Mettler (Gambling, Gods and LSD) traverses the globe to explore (and explode) our conceptions of time, in this entrancing combination of documentary and mind-expanding philosophical speculation.

Thurs Sept 6
9:15pm - Bell Lightbox


Sat Sept 8
12:15pm - Cineplex Yonge Dundas 2

Spring Breakers
Dir: Harmony Korine (Trash Humpers; Gummo; Kids)

Cast/Crew: James Franco; Selena Gomez; Vanessa Hudgens; score by Skrillex

Length: 92m

Country: USA

Four flat-broke co-eds whose spring fling in Florida turns into a booze, drug and violence-fuelled bacchanal.

Fri Sept 7 (PREMIUM)
6pm - Ryerson


Sun Sept 9
3pm - Bloor Cinema


Fri Sept 14
9pm - Bloor Cinema

A Liar’s Autobiography -- The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chaplin
Dir: Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson ✓✓✓

Cast/Crew: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones , Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Length: 82m

Country: UK

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam pay tribute to their late Monty Python colleague Graham Chapman in this 3-D animated adaptation of Chapman's brazenly fictionalized life story.

Sat Sept 8
9:45pm - Bell Lightbox


Mon Sept 10
10pm - Scotiabank

In Another Country
Dir: Hong Sang-soo

Length: 89m

Country: South Korea

A formally inventive and wonderfully witty three-part film, in which three different but strikingly similar women — all named Anne, and all played by Huppert — meet and interact with the same group of people in a seaside Korean town, with each encounter producing a set of intriguing new outcomes and new possibilities.

Thurs Sept 13
6:45pm - Bell Lightbox


Fri Sept 14
6:30pm - Scotiabank


Sun Sept 16
6:30pm - Bell Lightbox

Response from Cannes:
Hollywood Reporter: mild positive
Variety: positive
Guardian: 3/5
AV Club: C+
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Seven Psychopaths - View Trailer

Dir: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

Cast/Crew: Colin Farrell; Woody Harrelson; Christopher Walken; Sam Rockwell

Country: USA / UK

An alcoholic screenwriter (Colin Farrell) struggling to write a serial-killer script gets more real-life inspiration than he can handle when a dognapping scheme gone awry brings a galaxy of crazies to his doorstep.

Fri Sept 7 (PREMIUM)
11:59pm - Ryerson


Sat Sept 8
3:30pm - Scotiabank

Beyond the Hills - View Trailer
Dir: Christin Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
Length: 155m

Country: Romania/France

A magisterial drama about a young Romanian woman who sets out to retrieve her childhood friend from her "captivity" in a remote Romanian monastery, and soon comes into violent conflict with the archaic strictures of this traditional community.

Wed Sept 12
9:30pm - Elgin


Thurs Sept 13
5:45pm - Scotiabank

Response: Winner of Best Actress at Cannes
Hollywood Reporter: positive
Variety: mixed-to-positive
Guardian: ⅘
AV Club: B-
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

Total Black Narcissus vibes.

Pusher

Dir: Luis Prieto
Cast/Crew: Exec Producer Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher; Drive)

Length: 92m

Country: UK

Nicolas Winding Refn serves as executive producer on this English-language remake of his cult crime classic, about a big-time London drug dealer whose life spins out of control over the course of a chaotic week.

Fri Sept 7
9pm - Bloor Cinema


Sat Sept 9
12pm - Cineplex Yonge/Dundas

The Attack
Dir: Ziad Doueiri (former camera assist for Tarantino)

Length: 102m

Country: Lebanon

An Israeli-Palestinian surgeon, shocked to discover that his wife was involved in a suicide-bomb attack, ventures into Palestinian territory to confront the people who recruited her.

Sat Sept 8
9pm - Bell Lightbox


Mon Sept 10
7pm - Scotiabank


Fri Sept 14
12:15pm - Scotiabank

The Act of Killing

Dir: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cyn

Crew: Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line; The Fog of War) as executive producer

Country: Denmark / Norway / UK

In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to re-enact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love.

Sat Sept 8
9:15pm - Scotiabank


Mon Sept 10
9am - Bloor Cinema


Sun Sept 16
6pm - Cineplex Yonge/Dundas

Highly praised by Herzog himself!!

Me and You
Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris; The Last Emperor)

Length: 103m

Country: Italy

Italian master Bernardo Bertolucci's first feature in ten years is an intimate, moving and beautifully realized study of two troubled siblings grappling with the weight of their family demons.

Fri Sept 7
9:45pm - Scotiabank


Sat Sept 8
9:30am - Cineplex Yonge Dundas 2


Sat Sept 15
7pm - Jackman Hall (AGO)

First feature since The Dreamers


Mildly received at Cannes.

AV Club: C+

The Sessions - View Trailer
Dir: Ben Lewine
Cast/Crew: John Hawkes; Helen Hunt
Length: 95m
Country: USA

A comedy-drama about a childhood polio survivor — now in his thirties and permanently confined to an iron lung — who hires a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him lose his virginity.

Sun Sept 9
2:30pm - Elgin


Tues Sept 11
2:30pm - Elgin


Sat Sept 15
12pm - Ryerson

Response: Positive. There is building buzz for John Hawkes taking home an Academy Award for this film.

Rust and Bone

Dir: Jacques Audiard (A Prophet)
Cast/Crew: Marion Cotillard
Length: 120m
Country: France/Belgium

A gritty, emotional love story about a woman who loses her legs and learns to rebuild her life.

Thurs Sept 6
9:30pm - Elgin


Fri Sept 7
12pm - Ryerson

Response: Mixed/positive.
AV Club: B
Guardian UK: ⅘

Hollywood Reporter: positive
Variety: mixed-to-positive
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Reality

Dir: Matteo Garreo (Gomorrah)

Length: 115m

Country: Italy

A scathing satire of Italy's post-Berlusconian obsession with celebrity, in which a charismatic Neapolitan family man overhauls his entire life under the deluded belief that he is destined for reality-TV stardom.

Wed Sept 12
6:45pm - Lightbox


Thurs Sept 13
9:30pm - Scotiabank

Response: Mixed.
Won
Grand Prix at Cannes.
Hollywood Reporter: mixed
IndieWIRE: A-
Guardian UK: ⅗
Variety: negative
AV Club: B
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

Aftershock

Dir: Nicholas Lopez (Santos)

Cast/Crew: Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, Inglourious Basterds) as star/writer/producer

Country: Chile

In the middle of a night of wild partying, a hapless American tourist (Hosteldirector Eli Roth) and his friends are suddenly plunged into a living hell when a powerful earthquake rips through the coastal town of Valparaiso, Chile.

Tues Sept 11
11:59pm - Ryerson


Thurs Sept 13
6:15pm - Cineplex Yonge Dundas


Sun Sept 16
3:30pm - Cineplex Yonge Dundas

Anna Karenina - View Trailer
Dir: Joe Wright (Atonement)
Cast/Crew: Keira Knightly; Jude Law

Length: 130m
Country: USA

Keira Knightley re-teams with director Joe Wright (Atonement) for this visionary adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel about a society woman torn between loyalty to her husband and the desires of her heart.

Fri Sept 7 (PREMIUM)
6pm - Elgin


Sat Sept 8
12:15pm - Isabel Bader

Blackbird - View Trailer

Dir: Jason Buxton

Length: 103m

Country: Canada

An alienated teenager's posturing online threat ignites a firestorm of fear in a small community, in this disturbing and perceptive look at how our media-fuelled, post-Columbine culture of fear can transform typical teen angst into intimations of murder.

Sun Sept 9
9:45pm - Bell Lightbox


Mon Sept 10
1pm - Jackman Hall (AGO)

Camp 14 - Total Control Zone  - View Trailer

Dir: Marc Weise

Length: 108m

Country: Germany

An enthralling documentary portrait of twenty-nine-year-old Shin Dong-Huyk, who was born and spent the first two decades of his life behind the barb wire of a North Korean labour camp, until his dramatic escape launched him into an outside world he had never known.

Tues Sept 11
5pm - Cineplex Yonge/Dundas


Thurs Sept 13
9pm - Bell Lightbox


Sun Sept 16
9:30am - Scotiabank

The Lords of Salem

Dir: Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects)

Cast/Crew: His wife as usual

Country: USA

A Salem hard-rock radio DJ’s (Sheri Moon Zombie) playing of a sinister heavy metal song awakens a coven of witches from the 17th century.

Mon Sept 10
11:59pm - Ryerson


Wed Sept 12
5pm - Cineplex Yonge Dundas