Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Picks for TIFF 2011

I can hardly contain my excitement and anticipation for the Toronto International Film Festival and I may be a bit biased being a Toronto native, but it is definitely one of the best festivals out there, especially for film junkies. In just two weeks, Hollywood's A-list will be flocking in, taking over our theatres, streets and restaurants. And, I couldn't be happier.

Top picks for 2011 TIFF:

"Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night in this lean and mean crime thriller by the director of Valhalla Rising that won Best Direction in Cannes." (Tiff.net) 
Two words: Ryan GoslingIt's no secret that I'd much rather kick back and watch Goodfellas or The Departed for the umpteenth time, than give any attention to some of the derivative action flicks that've been released lately. And, as a proud Canadian (and former fan of The Mickey Mouse Club and Breaker High!), I love me some Ryan Gosling and I truly believe Carey Mulligan is pretty much close to perfection. She has a subtle, yet distinct, on-screen presence that the world fell in love with after her Oscar-nominated role in An Education. Also must mention the stellar supporting cast that includes Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and the gorgeous Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).

The Ides of March
"George Clooney is back in the director’s chair for this edgy political drama set in the days leading up to a fictional presidential primary. Clooney also stars as a Democratic candidate who schools his idealistic campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) in the dubious machinations of modern politics." (Tiff.net)
With the current economic landscape the way it is, Politics are on everyone's mind, so this film couldn't be more relevant. And with this accomplished cast (seriously, let's count the Oscar noms between them all), including Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei, this film could very well be a contender for the next year's Academy Awards.

Like Crazy
"Anna (Felicity Jones) notices Jacob (Anton Yelchin) in one of her college classes in Los Angeles. In a move worthy only of her youth, she scribbles a love poem and leaves it on his car. The pair soon catapults into that most potent brand of romance: naïve, pure and possibly fleeting." (Tiff.net)
I don't know, I've got a thing for coming-of-age 'romantical' stories. Especially ones that look as heart-breaking as Blue Valentine... and that's saying a lot. Either way, I'm taking my tissues just in case. With realistic challenges to their relationship (like immigration, and not feuding, Romeo & Juliet-type families), this film takes an honest look at a long-distance relationship between two college kids. And to add to the realism of this film, apparently the actors improvised their dialogue.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
"This graceful portrait of a young woman trying to extricate herself from a cult has the flavor of an early Terrence Malick film like Days of Heaven." (Tiff.net)
Did you know the Olsen twins had another sister? A younger one, who's an actress and apparently a very good one? Elizabeth Olsen makes her first on-screen appearance as a young woman struggling to return to 'normalcy' after escaping a sexual-religious cult. It looks haunting, a little bit intoxicating, and mysterious - all the things a film about cult-life, should probably look like.

Friends With Kids
"When a few members of a close group of married and single friends start to have children, it has a big impact on everyone." (Tiff.net)
Thought I'd break up the seriousness of my TIFF list with a romantic comedy. Jon Hamm's other half, Jennifer Westfeldt, makes her Directorial debut with a slew of Hollywood stars - Megan Fox, Edward Burns, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and of course, Mr. Mad Men himself. Wonder how many of them will show up to TIFF?

Boo... no trailer yet.

"Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy star in this cheeky romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator. Victorian London is brought to life in vivid colour as a young doctor (Dancy) struggles to establish himself while confronting the gutsy daughter of his boss (Gyllenhaal). Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones play supporting roles." (Tiff.net)
Picture this: the late 1800s, Victorian era, London. The first thing that comes to your mind is vibrator, am I right? Probably not but this does look hella funny and hilariously bold. All of a sudden I've got Marky Mark on my mind. Good vibrations, anyone?...too easy?

Want more TIFF 2011 picks? 
Here are some more buzzworthy films on my festival list.

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