TIFF – Totally Interesting and Fascinating Films

Too early to be thinking about awards season? Never! In fact, the incessant Oscar buzz that usually hits its stride come the December releases has already started to make its mark at the Toronto International Film Festival, affectionately known as TIFF. The stars are flocking and the critics are talking. With many hyped flicks having their official premieres at TIFF, here’s a quick rundown of the supposedly good, bad, and divided:

Argo – Directed by Ben Affleck. I’m not the only one who’s on the Ben-Affleck-is-a-better-director-than-actor bandwagon. With his third directorial effort hitting theaters, critics are noting that Affleck is continuing to blossom behind the camera as a sharp and intelligent filmmaker with this strange-but-true story about the rescue of 6 U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and the fake Hollywood movie cover story that the CIA employed to get them out. I’m eager to see this one not only for the story and the great cast (Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin round out the fantastic supporting cast), but also to champion Ben Affleck’s return to the A-list. I’m thinking any doubts about his talent in the biz will be dashed once and for all with this one, and let’s face it, he’s even better at acting when he directs himself.

Cloud Atlas – Directed by Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski. There’s bound to be a lot of discussion when the phrase “most expensive independent film of all time” is dropped. Mainly because “expensive” and “independent” generally don’t go hand in hand. With the Wachowskis attached, however, one cannot expect the usual. While I find their previous work to be truly love it or hate it (love = the first Matrix, V for Vendetta/ hate = the Matrix sequels, Speed Racer), they always have a distinct vision for all the movies (hence why I’m sure an independent budget be damned). So far I hear the spectrum is divided on this one, with some saying this tale of interweaving stories jumping forward in time is an awe-inspiring achievement and others calling it a jumbled waste of 2 and a half hours. I guess the rest of us can only eagerly await the release of this one to cast our vote.

The Silver Linings Playbook – Directed by David O. Russell. As a fan of Russell’s last Oscar darling, The Fighter, I’ve been amped to see his next project for awhile. Considering some of his more offbeat and dramatic forays in the past, you can imagine my surprise when I realized that this film is being billed as a romantic-comedy. Intriguing? Yes. Add to the mix what I hear are stellar, awards-worthy performances from Bradley Cooper, It-girl Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro (Finally! Bobby please don’t back track and do Little Fockers 2) and I am thoroughly invested in being at the front of the pack to see this opening night. Also, as a side note, while I love Bradley Cooper in The Hangover flicks, I still haven’t seen him in anything that proves his newfound leading-man status. Could this be the game-changer?

There are many more that I could blabber on and on about, but then this would go on forever. Some honorable mentions: The Place Beyond the Pines (Ryan Gosling’s newest collaboration with his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance) and Looper (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis…playing the same person…time traveling…trying to kill each other. Need I say more?). There’s so much great cinema being offered at TIFF though, I implore you all to follow the festival yourselves and see what interests you!

Jasmine Moore

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