2010 TIFF Preview: My Anticipated Schedule for the Next 8 Days

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I’ve landed in Toronto and in about 15 hours I will be sitting down to my first screening of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and I have put together for myself a schedule of approximately 30 films that I hope to watch while I’m here. Of course, a few of these already have scheduling conflicts as you’ll soon see when you look at the schedule I’ve put together. For the most part this is a list of films I feel I should see based on their industry profiles, but there are a few mixed in there that will hopefully shake things up a bit.

What follows is my current, tentative film schedule for the next eight days. Most of the films you’ve heard of before and have probably heard a lot about lately if you’ve been paying attention to the coverage coming out of the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals. So what I’m offering is a brief preview of the films I expect and hope to see while I’m here. I hope you’ll continue to tune in starting tomorrow as I will bring you coverage of every movie I see as fast as I can.

Let’s take a look at what’s on the plate…

Thursday
September 9th
Blake Lively and Ben Affleck in The Town
Photo: Warner Bros.

Tomorrow starts late but it also ends late as I plan on taking in four films starting with Ben Affleck’s The Town at noon followed by Daniel Espinosa’s 2009 Swedish gangster flick Easy Money and ending the night with a pair of Fox Searchlight features in Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go and the Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell feature Conviction.

  • 12:00 – 2:10 – The Town
  • 3:00 – 5:00 – Easy Money
  • 7:00 – 8:43 – Never Let Me Go
  • 9:00 – 10:46 – Conviction

All four are particularly appealing and I’ve covered three of them more than enough for you to know what they are, but Easy Money is a film that caught my eye as I was heading to pick up my press packet. So once I got back to the hotel I looked it up to see what it was all about and here’s the synopsis:

The worlds of a mob enforcer, an escaped convict and an ambitious young business student collide in an explosive and white-knuckled thriller based on the 2006 bestselling Swedish novel by Jens Lapidus.

On top of that here’s the trailer with English subtitles. Take a look and see what you think.

Friday
September 10th
Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

Fresh out of a sparkling debut at Telluride I am waiting to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan until next week so I can fit in a screening of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech on Friday, which is already being called a lock for a Best Picture nomination. I haven’t read up on why so as not to spoil the movie in any way, but I can’t not see it at this point and this is the only chance the schedule permits.

Friday also offers me the chance to see one of my most anticipated films of the year, let alone the festival, in Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist and I’ll be ending the day with Focus’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story in what will amount to the slowest day of the festival for me. I may try to fit in either David Schwimmer’s Trust or Will Gluck’s Easy A during the noon hour, but that’ll all depend on how far along on reviews I am at that point.

  • 9:00 – 10:51 – The King’s Speech
  • 3:00 – 4:20 – The Illusionist
  • 7:00 – 8:41 – It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Saturday
September 11th
Kodi Smit-McPhee in Let Me In
Photo: Overture Films

UPDATE: I have found out Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter will be screening on Saturday, September 11 at 2:30, which means I will have to see Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours on my last day here in Toronto.

Saturday is a bit up in the air at the moment as a rumored screening of Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter continues to haunt me. However, I am beginning to think I am going to pass on it either way as I already have a satisfying list of four films that day to satiate my film needs.

The morning starts of with Everything Must Go, a film starring Will Ferrell as a relapsed alcoholic who loses his job and his wife and decides to live on his front lawn while selling all of his belongings. It’s one of those more dramatic Ferrell features, but I’m up for giving it a shot.

After that it’s off to see Let Me In, the American remake of Let the Right One In starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass). Then comes another one of the festival’s hot tickets after considerable buzz from Telluride in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours and then I’ll end the night with Anh Hung Tran’s Norwegian Wood, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel starring Rinko Kikuchi, Ken’ichi Matsuyama and Kiko Mizuhara. I’ve added the trailer just below the schedule.

  • 9:15 – 10:51 – Everything Must Go
  • 11:45 – 1:40 – Let Me In
  • 2:30 – ? – Hereafter
  • 5:00 – 7:13 – Norwegian Wood

Sunday
September 12th
Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough in Brighton Rock

Sunday is already a bit of an up and down day after bad buzz followed Julian Schnabel’s Miral out of Venice, but I am hoping my lowered expectations will raise my appreciation for Schabel’s follow-up to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. After that I have Rowan Joffe’s Brighton Rock of which he wrote and directed and stars Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Pete Postlethwaite. After loving Joffe’s script for Anton Corbijn’s The American I am increasingly excited to see this.

Next is the TIFF closing night film, Massy Tadjedin’s Last Night starring Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington, Guillaume Canet and Griffin Dunne in a story that appears to be dealing with temptation, misunderstanding and infidelity. And finally I have another scheduling conflict as I must decide whether to see Dustin Lance Black’s directorial debut What’s Wrong with Virginia starring Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts and Amy Madigan or Alex Gibney’s documentary Client 9. To be honest, the talent in Black’s Virginia will most likely make my decision for me, but you never know.

  • 9:45 – 11:38 – Miral
  • 12:00 – 1:51 – Brighton Rock
  • 2:15 – 3:45 – Last Night
  • 4:30 – 6:28 – What’s Wrong with Virginia
  • 5:30 – 7:23 – Client 9
Monday
September 13th
Robin Wright in The Conspirator

Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats is sure to be a big ticket for Canadians as the young filmmaker has made quite a name for himself with only two films now under his belt. The film was received moderately well at Cannes, but I missed it there and hoped to catch it here at TIFF.

Next is the recent Sony Classic’s acquisition, Barney’s Version, which also is part of a massive scheduling conflict between John Madden’s The Debt and Gareth Edwards’s Monsters. Personally, I’m currently leaning toward the low budget sci-fi flick from Edwards, but that could change as the days wear on.

Later that afternoon another scheduling conflict rears its head, but this will be an in the moment decision. Do I want to see Susan Bier’s latest film In a Better World or Kim Jee-woon’s thriller I Saw the Devil? I’d say it all depends on how my time here in Toronto is going up to that point. Will I want a foreign drama or a story of bloody vengeance? At the moment, bloody vengeance sounds good.

The day will end with the yet-to-be-acquired Robert Redford picture The Conspirator telling the story of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), a mother accused of aiding her son in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

  • 9:00 – 11:04 – Heartbeats
  • 11:15 – 1:27 – Barney’s Version
  • 12:00 – 1:44 – The Debt
  • 12:00 – 1:37 – Monsters
  • 2:00 – 4:23 – I Saw the Devil
  • 2:30 – 4:23 – In a Better World
  • 7:30 – 9:32 – The Conspirator
Tuesday
September 14th
A scene from Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Photo:

As interested as I am to see John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, I must admit Tuesday will be all about seeing Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams as we follow him inside the Chauvet caves of southern France.

The day also includes Rachel Weisz’s new film The Whistleblower and John Carpenter’s first feature film in nine years, The Ward, but the day still belongs to Herzog.

  • 9:00 – 10:32 – Rabbit Hole
  • 11:30 – 1:10 – The Whistleblower
  • 1:45 – 3:20 – Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  • 4:30 – 6:15 – The Ward
Wednesday
September 15th
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Photo: Fox Searchlight

Ahhhh, finally. I feel like I will be the last person on Earth to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and I’ll be seeing it in the brand new TIFF Bell Lightbox complex. After all the chatter out of Venice and Telluride it is my most anticipated film of the festival and I hope it lives up to the hype.

After that I move to John Curran’s Stone starring Ed Norton and Robert De Niro, a film I have my doubts about but there is some modest buzz running around out there on it. Next is Kelly Reichardt’s Oregon Trail feature Meek’s Cutoff and from there I may take in a few genre films or I may not.

First up is James Gunn’s Super starring Rainn Wilson as Crimson Bolt, a costumed vigilante armed with a monkey wrench who’s trying to win his wife (Liv Tyler) back after she left him for a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). Considering I enjoyed Gunn’s forgotten 2006 horror Slither, it only seems appropriate to watch this one.

Next is Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins centering on a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord set during Japan’s feudal era. If he’s put together a good film it could be excellent.

  • 9:00 – 10:43 – Black Swan
  • 11:30 – 1:15 – Stone
  • 1:45 – 3:30 – Meek’s Cutoff
  • 4:15 – 5:45 – Super
  • 6:15 – 8:21 – 13 Assassins
Thursday
September 16th
Ron Perlman and Demi Moore in Bunraku

UPDATE: I have found out Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter will be screening on Saturday, September 11 at 2:30, which means I will have to see Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours on my last day here in Toronto. This means I’ll be missing Moshe’s Buranku, but I can’t see everything.

My last day in Toronto I’ve decided to take in one film and which film it will be all depends on what I missed during the festival, but based on how things are currently set up I expect this will be Guy Moshe’s dramatic fantasy Bunraku starring Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Kevin McKidd, Ron Perlman and Demi Moore.

The film centers on a samurai bartender played by Woody Harrelson who teams with a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) who plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. If you click here and check out the stills, you’ll see it looks like a bit of a crazy ride.

  • 9:00 – 10:35 – Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  • 11:30 – 1:30 – Bunraku
  • 11:45 – 1:15 – 127 Hours

So there you have it. I can’t say this is exactly how it will go down over the next 192 hours, but that’s about the best I can do in terms of giving you an idea of what to expect for now. The schedule is jam-packed and I can only hope Toronto doesn’t chew me up and spit me out.