The Toronto Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, offering the usual mix of Oscar bait, new films from foreign and experimental masters, and basically every conceivable thing in between. With the caveat that the lineup, hundreds of films strong, could not possibly be tackled in full by one lone lady critic, here's a sampling of what I'm most excited to see over my eight days in the north.
Moneyball: Can Bennett Miller (Capote) and Brad Pitt turn
sabermetrics -- the controversial brand of baseball statistics detailed in
the Michael Lewis book on which the film is based -- into a crowd-pleasing fall
blockbuster? I'm a Dodgers fan; if the odds weren't stacked against this movie, I might not be interested.
Damsels in Distress: The first film in 13 years from Whit Stillman, the
great literary auteur of the 90s indie boom (Oscar nominated for
Metropolitan, dormant since Last Days of Disco), this college-set comedy
features an ensemble of fresh faces, led by '00s indie ingenue Greta
Crazy Horse: Nonfiction filmmaking legend Frederick Wiseman follows up
last year's Boxing Gym with this portrait of the nearly-as-legendary
Paris strip club.
Shame: Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict in his Hunger director
Steve McQueen's latest.
ALPS: Yorgos Lanthimos, director of this year's surprise Oscar
nominee Dogtooth, returns with this film about an underground group
devoted to an extreme form of bereavement therapy. Co-starring another
recent Greek discovery, Arianne Labat (star of the upcoming Attenberg).
Twixt: Francis Ford Coppola unexpectedly hijacked the conversation
at Comic-Con with his presentation on his new, partially-3D,
self-financed horror flick.
Girl Model: The latest documentary from globetrotting indie
ethnographers Ashley Sabin and David Redmon (Kamp Katrina) follows a
model scout and the pre-teen she "discovers" in Siberia.
That Summer: Philippe Garrel's latest was jeered in Venice; his
Frontier of Dawn was my number one film of 2009. Son Louis Garrel again
stars, opposite Monica Bellucci.
The Loneliest Planet: Gael García Bernal stars in this new film by
Julia Loktev, whose last effort was the beautifully understated suicide
bomber drama Day Night Day Night.
Keyhole: Guy Maddin re-teams with frequent collaborator Isabella
Rossellini for this digitally-shot riff on Ulysses.
Other films on the must list: detained Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's This is Not a Film, which TIFF is showing as a special presentation, free to the public; Todd Solondz's Dark Horse; Lynn Shelton's Your Sister's Sister; Jeff Who Lives at Home by the Duplass Brothers; Sarah Polley's latest directorial effort, Take This Waltz, starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen; the new Werner Herzog joint, Into the Abyss; Goodbye First Love, directed by Mia Hansen-Løve; Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights; God Bless America, the new comedy directed by Bobcat Goldthwait; Killer Joe, directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey; Sarah Palin - You Betcha!, directed by English muckraker Nick Broomfield (Biggie and Tupac); and, schedules permitting, much, much more.