TIFF Pick-Ups: Redford’s ‘Conspirator,’ Herzog’s ‘Cave,’ ‘Dirty Girl,’ ‘Devil’ and More


I am just finishing up a couple more reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival (Black Swan and The Whistleblower), but before I post those I wanted to finally get around to discussing the many acquisitions here at the festival as IFC and the Weinstein Co. have been rather busy along with a pick-up from Sony PIctures Classics, another from Roadside Attractions, one from Music Box Films, another from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group and finally Magnet Releasing. Yeah, there are a lot to talk about so let’s get cracking.

First off, one film I never got a chance to see due to a cancelled screening following several negative reviews is Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, of which the general consensus I’ve heard is that it’s quite boring and plays like a History Channel re-enactment rather than a feature film. At one point I thought this would be an Oscar contender, but Roadside Attractions has scooped it up and along with Lionsgate will release it in theaters Spring 2011.

Next is Ji-woon Kim’s I Saw the Devil, which will be released by Magnet Releasing in the first quarter of 2011. The film is described as a hard-boiled thriller starring Byung-hun Lee (played Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and Min-sik Choi (Oldboy and Lady Vengeance). The story centers on a man (Lee) seeking revenge on the psychopathic killer (Choi) that murdered his fiancee. Kim is responsible for such films as A Tale of Two Sisters and The Good, the Bad, the Weird.

A film I got out of seeing only a couple of hours ago and didn’t like anywhere near as much as those that caught it at the Midnight Madness screening a few days ago is James Gunn’s Super, which IFC picked up for distribution and will also see a 2011 release. The film features Rainn Wilson as an ordinary guy that decides to take up superhero duties, a la Kick-Ass. Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler, Nathan Fillion and Linda Cardellini also star. I’ll have a review online in the next day or so I hope.

IFC also picked up Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams and will see a theatrical release in 2011. I saw the film yesterday here at TIFF and it is quite good, but I did learn hand-held documentary-style camera work puts one hell of a strain on the eyes in 3D. The film features the Chauvet Caves of Southern France inside which Herzog documents the oldest cave art ever found, dating back at least 32,000 years. It’s impressive stuff. I’ll have a full review of this one as well shortly.

Music Box Films picked up Francois Ozon’s Potiche starring a French powerhouse list of actors including Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Ludivine Sagnier and Jeremie Renier. The film is set in a French bourgeois province in 1977 and centers on Suzanne (Denueve), a trophy housewife who steps in to manage her wealthy husband’s umbrella factory after the workers go on strike and take him hostage. The film is expected to also be released in Spring 2011.

Saw franchise co-creator James Wan saw his latest haunted house pic, Insidious, snapped up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group. The film stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye and follows a young family that makes the terrifying discovery that the body of their comatose boy has become a magnet for malevolent entities, while his consciousness lies trapped in the dark and insidious realm known as “The Further.” Expect this one to also be released in 2011.

Sony Classics also continues to pick up films, the latest being Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, a drama centering on twins, Simon and Jeanne, as they embark on a journey to the Middle East following their mother’s death. The journey shines a disturbing light on their mother’s past and culminates in a shocking revelation. The pic is based on the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Genie and Jutra award-winner Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique). Yup, 2011.

Finally, it wouldn’t be an acquisitions round-up if I didn’t mention the Weinstein Co. which picked up a pair of features beginning with Abe Sylvia’s Dirty Girl starring Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam. The film centers on Danielle, the dirty girl of Norman High School, whose misbehavior gets her banished to a remedial class, where she teams up with an innocent closet-case and together they head out on a road trip to discover each other and themselves through a funny and serendipitous friendship.

And lastly, Submarine directed by Richard Ayoade was also picked up by the Weinstein’s. The film centers on the story of Oliver Tate, a boy who must fight to save his mother from the advances of a mystic and simultaneously lure his eczema-strafed girlfriend in to the bedroom armed with only a vast vocabulary and near-total self-belief. Submarine stars Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Yasmin Paige and Craig Roberts.

I hope that was enough information for you.