Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad! We Went There via What She Said Radio

New Movie Releases August 5th | Reviews by Anne Brodie

Suicide Squad and Some Other Movies Opening August 6th

Suicide Squad is the latest D.C. Comics entry meant to unseat Marvel as top purveyor of cinema-bustin’ super heroes and villains. Good try but not quite enough. It looks hideously expensive and as though it was put together by committee, much to its detriment.  I’m sure it will make its money back despite what I have to say.
There are memorable moments. Will Smith who is super cut for the role of Deadshot, gives the film much needed gravitas to balance its innate silliness. He manfully emotes as the father of an adorable daughter who knows he’s a paid assassin and tearfully begs him to stop. He doesn’t of course.  Naturally something like this would upset a doting father – and he is one. Deadshot is the sole character to show us authentic emotion and Smith stands out in this poison cotton candy world.
Margot Robbie’s dazzling as The Joker’s girl child Harley Quinn, shrink-turned Baby Doll lunatic with a baseball bat and endless supply of bubble gum. Her performance is spirited, snappy, rousing and wildly bipolar. She’s fabulous – pure vaudeville on acid.  Even so the filmmakers never miss a chance to show her half-clad rear end, but I guess considering the targeted demo, they think they know what they’re doing.
Jared Leto’s Joker is a weak willy compared to predecessors Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson and Frank Gorshon. The emaciated, green look, Leto’s wheezing vocal delivery and physical wispiness are in no way threatening as The Joker should be. 
Shout out to Canada’s Adam Beach as the lesser known Slipknot whose stealth and abilities with magical ropes make him indispensable. His ropes are seen more than he is.
The Squad have weak spots, the people they love and miss. Jay Hernandez as Diablo is especially burdened as his way of throwing flame when he’s upset cost him everything he had.  Viola Davis is impressive as the morally bankrupt government official that brought the Squad out of prison to fight alien invasion, she’s the alpha male and she knows how to use their pain.
Suicide Squad is meant to compete with Marvel films but it is basically a mirror reflection of the it’s superhero universe and story.  Comic book films are pretty well clichéd by now and this has clichés in spades. There is nothing fresh about this one.  the same tired effects, louder deeper bass notes and a weird vintage soundtrack, but nothing in terms of execution, ideas or creativity.

Kevin Spacey, the horrifying sociopath of House of Cards goes a different route in Nine Lives, really different. He’s a billionaire workaholic who’s become disconnected from his family, as he’s concentrating on building the tallest skyscraper in North America.  He’s forgotten his daughter’s birthday gift so at the last moment goes to a weird pet store operated by Christopher Walken and buys Mr. Fuzzypants. Naturally Walken has super powers and puts Spacey inside Mr. Fuzzypants as punishment for ignoring his family and to give him a cat’s eye view of them without him. Watch out for ‘Lil Bub in the pet store.
Sadly, I can’t tell you more because the film was not press screened, usually a bad sign. However I like cats and folks simply have to see the mighty Spacey reduced to a disgruntled, if cute cat so moviegoers won’t be able to help themselves. They’ll go.  Jennifer Garner, who is everywhere these days, is the suddenly single wife.

Little Men is my pick of the week. It’s an intimate and lovely film about two young boys who meet at the Brooklyn brownstone where one of the kid’s mother has worked as a seamstress for eighteen years and where the grandfather of the other lived until his recent death. The grieving son (Greg Kinnear) is plotting to evict the dressmaker because she pays low rent and because he’s being pushed by his sister who wants her share of the building.  Kinnear informs the woman that she must pay triple her current rent as a penalty for “overstaying”.  Meanwhile the sons feel the consequences of the adults’ “business problem” as they try to live kid lives biking around town and dreaming. They learn in no uncertain terms that their parents are not the idealised heroes they imagined they were. It’s tragic because naked greed is the motivating factor behind the pain overwhelming both families. Secrets emerge, pride is wounded and no one wants to rise above pettiness.

Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World from gonzo filmmaker Werner Herzog is an alarmist’s guide to the internet and climate change. It’s a documentary in which scientists, behaviourists and computer genii are interviewed about the inevitability of the machines overtaking us and how we’re killing our world, and for scientists, they are a surprisingly dramatic bunch.  At times it gets downright operatic as they outline our road to man-made hell on earth. Herzog throws around factoids, guesses and myriad nightmares clearly meant to scare us. Werner, we’re already scared. Where have you been?

Hitchcock/Truffaut Magnificent Obsessions the ongoing paired retrospectives at TIFF Bell Lightbox – The masterpieces of these two filmmakers are being shown until the end of summer. It’s a series I would love to see on the big screen, but no time.  Can you imagine seeing North by Northwest the way it was made to be seen? and Truffaut’s wonderful films?  
Also worth noting at TIFF is its Brian De Palma retrospective too. His work is generally considered good, if culty, darkly melodramatic and kind of lowbrow. But not so fast! They’re being widely reconsidered inspired in part by the 2016 Jake Paltrow documentary DePalma in which he reveals the truths behind his work and motivation. See Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Passion, Snake Eyes and many more on the big screen. 

Agatha Raisin on is a wonderful British series about a top London PR guru who tires of the rat race and moves to a small village where she spent childhood summers.  She fails to lose her city attitude and leave her Ab Fab wardrobe behind and  rubs the villagers the wrong way – and how. She discovers that her natural curiosity can be put to good use out in Nowheresville. When the local womaniser is murdered, she’s the first suspect but soon realises she has the gift of sleuthing. It goes beyond clearing herself or getting justice for the victim – she’s just really curious.  Agatha’s soon joined by her two gay besties up from London who may stay for the murder. Shades of Ab Fab and Miss Marple.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 Toronto International Film Festival Announces Canadian Programmes


This year is shaping up as one of the most varied of TIFF’s Canadian Programmes. "Politics and bold storytelling headline Canadian lineup at the Toronto International Film Festival", the festival promises. Features documentaries and shorts by Canadian artists show us the experience of being who we are, through diverse people, places and ideas. Here is a taste of what's to come.

Xavier Dolan, Canada’s internationally admired wunderkind presents his latest, the Cannes sensation it’s Only the End of the World with its stellar cast including Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, and Léa Seydoux. A family’s response to a man’s announcement of his impending death ranges from horror to anger and expressions of love and not love.

                                                                  Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta tackles gang rape, a notorious problem in India of late, in Anatomy of Violence. Her starting point was the brutal 2012 gang rape in New Delhi that put an international spotlight on the alarming uptick in gang sex assaults.

                                                                    Sunny Leone

Mehta’s brother Dilip presents Mostly Sunny which documents the colourful life of Sunny Leone, a girl born and raised in a strict Sikh home in Sarnia who became a porn star then reinvented herself as a mainstream Bollywood TV and film star. Can't make this stuff up.

Gordon Pinsent

Brigitte Berman returns with The River of My Dreams a fond tribute to one of Canada’s greatest actors and personalities Gordon Pinsent. Given his legacy in Canadian arts, his warmth and humour it’s bound to be a great experience.

Alanis Obomsawin

Legendary Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice looks at child services on First Nations reserves and finds they are sadly lacking. The Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations filed a discrimination complaint against Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada and this is their story.

 Two Lovers and a Bear

Canada’s multitalented Tatiana Maslany stars with Dane DeHaan in Two Lovers and a Bear set in a town near the North Pole where it’s minus 50 degrees weather and strangely vast and white. They fall in love but her need to escape overwhelms her so they flee.


All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and The Spirit of I.F. Stone loos at the work of independent investigative journalists Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi as the reveal and report on corruption inspired by influential American journalist I.F. Stone..

Bruce McDonald

Bruce McDonald returns with Weirdos set in Nova Scotia in 1976 on the weekend of the American Bicentennial. Fifteen year old Kit runs away from home, heading to his mother’s hitchhiking with his girlfriend Alice. Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone, Molly Parker and Allan Hawco star.

Below Her Mouth

Below Her Mouth takes place during a passionate weekend affair between two women that take a startling and dangerous turn, with Erika Linder, Natalie Krill, and Sebastian Pigott.

Window Horses

Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) from Ann Marie Fleming is the animated story of a poet observing life with vocals by Sandra Oh, Ellen Page, Don McKellar, Nancy Kwan, and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Old Stone
Johnny Ma’s Old Stone is a shocking story of a driver who accidentally hits a motorcyclist, who goes to his rescue and finds himself saddled with having to pay for the man’s treatment. The result of his kindness is ruin, as he faces a dismissive infrastructure threatens to ruin him. Chen Gang stars.

Nicholas de Pencier

Black Code Nicholas de Pencier’s Black Code examines the internet as a tool by which he says citizens are manipulated and censored. Who controls cyberspace?

Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at; by phone from 10 am to 7 pm ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433; or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person from 10 am to 1000 pm ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 14 for My Choice packages and August 24 for TIFF Choice packages, while quantities last.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Agatha Raisin - Premieres August 1st, an Acorn TV Original Series
Movie streaming now on Acorn TV Series premieres August 8th

Agatha Raisin is a light hearted British comedy series in the vein of Agatha Christie character Miss Marple as played by Margaret Rutherford.  It’s bouncy, funny and terrific light entertainment, but of course, it follows the career of an amateur sleuth with a gift for solving murder mysteries, so it has its dark moments.

This Agatha Christie lite series stars Ugly Betty’s Ashley Jensen whose thick Scottish brogue is unmistakable. Jensen is Raisin, a top London PR magnate who’s tiring of the rat race and wondering what makes her happy.

The answer lies in a tiny village in the Cotswolds, where she spent her childhood summer vacations. She’s idealised it and decides that’s where she wants to be.  She buys a gorgeous thatched roof estate but immediately offends her neighbours. Raisin in unable to drop her London power chick attitude and sarcasm, and she soon rubs the rest of the villagers the wrong way.  
But when the local womaniser is murdered, her interest is sharp and sudden and a new interest and skill reveal themselves - sleuthing.  Her natural curiosity and insight into human behaviour provided by her PR clients over twenty years are aroused.  She then commandeers her two gay, outré besties in from London to help, and they dive in wholeheartedly. Good times.
Jensen’s appealing Miss Marple redux harks back to the days of fun crime solving of the Rutherford era. Subsequent Marple efforts have generally taken a grim turn and the heroines aren’t remotely funny.  But Jensen brings shades of Absolutely Fabulous as a boozy, wisecracking, short tempered and absurdly dressed middle aged woman, except she has skills, and a renewed sense of vigour to a dusty old franchise.

The series is based on the books by M.C. Beaton.




Saturday, July 30, 2016

More TIFF Titles! Galas and Special Presentations From Around the World

TIFF 41 Announces 19 Galas and 49 Special Presentations
TIFF Runs Sept. 8 - 18
Provided by Toronto International Film Festival
September 8 to 18, 2016.

Arrival Denis Villeneuve, USA Canadian Premiere

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team, led by expert linguist Louise Banks, are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers. To find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Deepwater Horizon Peter Berg, USA World Premiere

Inspired by the true story of the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that rocked the globe on April 20, 2010, comes this chronicle of the courage of those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon and the extreme moments of bravery and survival in the face of what would become one of the biggest man-made disasters in history. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O'Brien, and Kate Hudson.

Closing Night Film.

The Edge of Seventeen Kelly Fremon Craig, USA World Premiere

The directorial debut of writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig follows high school junior Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend Krista. All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner and Hayden Szeto.

The Headhunter's Calling Mark Williams, Canada World Premiere

A ruthless corporate headhunter in Chicago battles his rival for control of their job placement firm, until a family tragedy brings his personal and professional lives into conflict. Starring Gerard Butler, Alison Brie, Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol, Alfred Molina, and Max Jenkins.

The Journey is the Destination Bronwen Hughes, United Kingdom/South Africa World Premiere

The inspiring life story of late photojournalist, artist and activist Dan Eldon, who abandoned a comfortable life in London to document the struggle, heartbreak and hope of a war-torn and famine-ridden region of Africa. Inspiring and irreverent, the film follows a young man coming of age to realize his purpose, his place in the world, and his belief that we can all create positive change. Starring Ella Purnell, Maria Bello, Sam Hazeldine, Ben Schnetzer, and Kelly Macdonald.

JT + The Tennessee Kids Jonathan Demme, USA World Premiere

In this thrilling concert documentary, Academy Award–winning director Jonathan Demme captures the charismatic and highly acclaimed artistry of Justin Timberlake and The Tennessee Kids’ spectacular closing performances from The 20/20 Experience World Tour at the legendary MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

LBJ Rob Reiner, USA World Premiere

On November 22, 1963, one president's life was taken while another's was resurrected. LBJ tells the story of politician Lyndon B. Johnson who was at risk of fading into irrelevancy but, upon John F. Kennedy's assassination, seized his moment to rescue a nation and claim his place among the most influential US presidents. LBJ is an intimate look into Johnson's masterful political manoeuvring during one of the most difficult times in America's history. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan, and Michael Stahl-David.

Lion Garth Davis, Australia World Premiere

After a wrong train takes a five-year-old Indian boy thousands of kilometres from home and family, he survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only the scantest of clues, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth, and sets out to find his lost family. This true story stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, and David Wenham.

Loving Jeff Nichols, USA North American Premiere

This film celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of Richard and Mildred Loving, who waged a decade-long legal battle that led to the overturning of the state of Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage. Their civil rights case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Starring Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, and Michael Shannon.

.Opening Night Film.

The Magnificent Seven, Antoine Fuqua, USA World Premiere

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a 1960 western classic. With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen, employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money. Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard.

A Monster Calls J.A. Bayona, USA/Spain World Premiere

This visually spectacular drama follows a lonely 12-year-old boy struggling with his mother’s illness, until an ancient, wild, and relentless monster appears, guiding him on a journey of courage, faith, and truth. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson.

Planetarium Rebecca Zlotowski, France/Belgium North American Premiere

Kate and Laura Barlow, two young American spiritualists in 1930s Paris, finish their world tour. Fascinated by their gift, a powerful French film producer hires them to shoot a highly ambitious film. In the vortex of cinema, experiments, and feelings, this new family doesn’t yet see what Europe will soon go through. Stars Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger, Amira Casar, Pierre Salvadori and Louis Garrel.

Queen of Katwe Mira Nair, South Africa/Uganda World Premiere

This vibrant true story follows a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. The support from her family and community instills her with confidence and determination, as she sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international champion. Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, and Madina Nalwanga.

The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! : A Trip Across Latin America Paul Dugdale, United Kingdom World Premiere

This documentary film follows The Rolling Stones on a cultural adventure across Latin America, as the band heads towards their historic tour finale — being the first ever rock band to play to a crowd of 1.2 million in Havana, Cuba.

The Secret Scripture Jim Sheridan, Ireland World Premiere

A once vibrant and lively beauty in her youth, Roseanne McNulty has spent the majority of her adult life confined to a mental hospital in rural Ireland. She has been institutionalized for so long, no one seems to remember why she was hospitalized in the first place. When a new chief psychiatrist takes a keen interest in her, he finds a hidden memoir she has written over the course of decades. It unravels the mystery of her incarceration, telling the tale of her passionate, yet tortured, life. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Rooney Mara, Theo James, Eric Bana, and Jack Reynor.

Snowden Oliver Stone, Germany/USA World Premiere

Academy Award–winning director Oliver Stone tackles one of the most important and fascinating true stories of the 21st century. This politically charged, pulse-pounding thriller reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world — considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage.

Strange Weather Katherine Dieckmann, USA World Premiere

A lyrical, emotionally rich drama tracking Darcy as she travels the Deep South with her friend in an effort to process her grief over the loss of her son. A story about forgiveness, redemption, grace, and how to be fully alive when facing death. Starring Holly Hunter, Carrie Coon, and Kim Coates.

Their Finest Lone Scherfig, United Kingdom World Premiere

Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig’s period comedy-drama follows a group of filmmakers struggling to make an inspirational film to boost morale — and inspire America to join the war — during the London Blitz in World War II. A witty, romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, in the mayhem of war…and movies. Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Jake Lacy, Rachel Stirling, and Richard E. Grant.

A United Kingdom Amma Asante, United Kingdom World Premiere

This biopic tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.


The Age of Shadows (Miljeong) Kim Jee woon, South Korea North American Premiere

The latest from cutting-edge director Kim Jee woon is an epic-scale period thriller about a double agent sent to infiltrate a band of freedom fighters during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920s. Starring Korean superstars Song Kang ho, Han Ji min, and Gong Yoo.

All I See Is You Marc Forster, Thailand World Premiere

Set in exotic locations, this unique and visually-driven psychological drama tells the story of a blind woman and her husband, who upon restoration of her sight, begins to discover previously unseen and disturbing details about themselves, their marriage, and their lives. Stars Blake Lively, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jason Clarke.

American Honey Andrea Arnold, USA North American Premiere

Star, an adolescent girl from a troubled home, runs away with a travelling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, she soon gets into the group's lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law-bending days, and young love. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keogh, and Sasha Lane.

American Pastoral Ewan McGregor, USA World Premiere

Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning Philip Roth novel, American Pastoral follows a family whose seemingly idyllic existence is shattered by the social and political turmoil of the 1960s. Ewan McGregor stars in his directorial debut as Seymour “Swede” Levov, a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to a former beauty queen. But turmoil brews beneath the polished veneer of Swede’s life, when his beloved teenage daughter disappears after being accused of committing a violent act. Dedicated to finding her, what he discovers shakes him to the core, forcing him to look beneath the surface and confront the chaos that is shaping the world around him. Also starring Academy Award–winner Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Emmy–winner Uzo Aduba, David Strathairn, Valorie Curry, Peter Riegert, and Rupert Evans.

Asura: The City of Madness Kim Sung-soo, South Korea World Premiere

A shady cop finds himself in over his head when he gets caught between Internal Affairs and the city’s corrupt mayor, in this scintillating crime drama from Korean maestro Kim Sung-soo. Stars Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won, Ju Ji-hoon, and Jung Woo-sung.

Barakah Meets Barakah (Barakah yoqabil Barakah) Mahmoud Sabbagh, Saudi Arabia North American Premiere

Saudi Arabia’s first rom-com features comedian and social-media superstar Hisham Fageeh as a mild-mannered civil servant who runs up against his society’s strict mores when he sets out to romance the outspoken daughter of a wealthy couple. Also starring Fatima Al Banawi.

Barry Vikram Gandhi, USA World Premiere

New York City, 1981. Inspired by true events, a young Barack Obama tries to find his way as a college student in a new city as he is faced with questions about race, culture, and identity in this inspiring drama centered on a crucial year in the future President’s life. Starring Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ellar Coltrane.

Birth of the Dragon George Nolfi, USA/China/Canada World Premiere

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1964, this cross-cultural biopic chronicles Bruce Lee’s emergence as a martial-arts superstar after his legendary secret showdown with Shaolin master Wong Jack Man. While details of the fight are hotly disputed to this day, one thing is clear — out of that epic fight, Bruce Lee emerged as The Dragon, the man who brought Kung Fu to the world. Starring Billy Magnussen, Xia Yu, and Philip Ng.

The Birth of a Nation Nate Parker, USA International Premiere

Filmmaker-actor Nate Parker reclaims the title of D.W. Griffith’s 1916 milestone for this epic chronicle, set against the antebellum South, of the life of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner accepts an offer to use his preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Starring Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, and Jackie Earle Haley.

Bleed for This Ben Younger, USA Canadian Premiere

This film tells the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, shoots to stardom after winning two world title fights before a near-fatal car accident leaves him with a broken neck, and he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident, for what could be the last fight of his life. Stars Miles Teller, Katey Sagal, and Aaron Eckhart.

Blue Jay Alex Lehmann USA World Premiere

Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past through the lens of their differently dissatisfied presents, in this tender, wise and affecting chamber drama from first-time feature director Alex Lehmann. Starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson.

Brimstone Martin Koolhoven, Netherlands/Germany/France/Belgium/Sweden/United Kingdom North American Premiere

A triumphant epic of survival set in the searing wilds of the Badlands, the menacing inferno of the old American West. This tale of powerful womanhood and resistance against the unforgiving cruelty of a hell on earth follows Liz, a heroine carved from the beautiful wilderness, full of heart and grit, and accused of a crime she didn’t commit, hunted by a vengeful preacher. Stars Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Emilia Jones, Carice Van Houten and Kit Harington.

BrOTHERHOOD Noel Clarke, United Kingdom International Premiere

Writer-director-star Noel Clarke completes the British crime-drama trilogy he began with KiDULTHOOD and AdULTHOOD, in this gritty tale of an ex-con whose dreams of settling down and going straight run up against the long memories (and itchy trigger fingers) of a crew of old enemies. Stars Noel Clarke, Arnold Oceng, David Ajala, Cornell S. John, and Michael "Stormzy" Omari.

Carrie Pilby Susan Johnson, USA World Premiere

Carrie, a person of high intelligence who graduated Harvard at 18, struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her New York City apartment. Susan Johnson makes her feature directorial debut in this beautiful adaptation of the acclaimed novel. Stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer, and Jason Ritter.

Catfight Onur Tukel, USA World Premiere

A reunion between two old school friends sparks a no-holds-barred war of attrition, in this outrageously madcap black comedy. Stars Sandra Oh, Anne Heche, Alicia Silverstone, Craig Bierko, and Dylan Baker.

City of Tiny Lights Pete Travis, United Kingdom World Premiere

Tommy Akhtar — cricket fan, devoted son and deadbeat private eye — is just emerging from another hangover when his next case walks through the door. Hooker Melody wants him to find her friend who has gone missing. As he delves deeper into the case, Tommy’s journey to uncover the truth leads him into the hidden layers of modern London, unlocking shocking secrets about past loves, friendships, and family. Starring Riz Ahmed, Cush Jumbo, James Floyd, Billie Piper and Roshan Seth.

The Commune (Kollektivet) Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands North American Premiere

Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg’s new film focuses on a middle-aged professional couple in 1970s Denmark who decide to experiment with communal living by inviting a group of friends and random eccentrics to cohabit with them in a sprawling house. With Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, and Helene Reingaard Neumann.

Daguerrotype (Le Secret de la chambre noire) Kiyoshi Kurosawa, France/Japan/Belgium World Premiere

Kiyoshi Kurosawa makes his first film outside Japan with this French-language ghost romance fantasy, about an aging photographer whose obsession with an archaic technique draws his young assistant and beautiful daughter into a dark and mysterious world. With Tahar Rahim, Constance Rousseau, Olivier Gourmet, and Mathieu Amalric.

A Death in the Gunj Konkona Sensharma, India World Premiere

Set in 1979, this coming of age story follows a shy young Indian student who quietly and fatefully unravels during a family road trip to McCluskiegunj. Stars Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Tillotama Shome, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja Mukherjee, Om Puri, and Arya Sharma.

Denial Mick Jackson, USA/United Kingdom World Premiere

Based on the book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, this riveting, true-life drama recounts the courtroom showdown between historian Deborah E. Lipstadt and notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove that the Holocaust had occurred. Starring Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius and Alex Jennings.

Elle Paul Verhoeven, France North American Premiere

Michèle seems indestructible. As the head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game — a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control. Stars Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Virginie Efira, Christian Berkel, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Vimala Pons, Raphaël L Lenglet, Arthur Mazet, Lucas Prisor, Hugo Conzelmann, and Stéphane Bak.

Foreign Body (Jassad gharib, Corps etranger) Raja Amari, Tunisia/France World Premiere

Samia immigrates to France illegally. Obsessed by the idea her radical islamist brother might be stalking her, she first finds refuge with Imed, an acquaintance from her village, then with Leila, her employer. Desire and fear heightens the tension between the three protagonists. With Hiam Abbass, Sarra Hannachi, and Salim Kechiouche.

Frantz François Ozon, France/Germany Canadian Premiere

Set in a small German town in the aftermath of World War I, this elegiac tale of love and remembrance follows a young woman mourning the death of her fiancé, Frantz, who was killed in battle in France. She forms a bond with a mysterious Frenchman who has arrived to lay flowers on her beloved’s grave. Starring Paula Beer, Pierre Niney, Marie Gruber, Ernst Stötzner, Johann Von Bülow, and Anton Von Lucke.

The Handmaiden (Agassi) Park Chan-wook, South Korea North American Premiere

A crook-turned-servant falls for the vulnerable heiress she had originally schemed to swindle, in this audacious, visually sumptuous, and highly erotic period piece from writer-director Park Chan-wook. Starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hae-sook, and Moon So-ri.

Harmonium (Fuchi ni tatsu) Kôji Fukada, Japan/France North American Premiere

A Japanese family’s humdrum daily routine is fatefully upset by the arrival of a stranger from the father’s past, in this slow-burning dramatic thriller. Stars Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Momone Shinokawa, and Kana Mahiro.

I Am Not Madame Bovary Feng Xiaogang, China World Premiere

A café proprietor spends a decade petitioning the Chinese legal system after being swindled by her ex-husband, in this caustically comic contemporary fable. Stars Fan Bingbing.

The Journey Nick Hamm, United Kingdom North American Premiere

A dramatization of the events preceding the historic 2006 St. Andrews Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of violent strife between Unionist and Republican factions. Stars Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt, Toby Stephens and Freddie Highmore.

King of the Dancehall Nick Cannon, USA/Jamaica World Premiere

Nick Cannon directs and stars in this high-energy musical about a young man from Brooklyn who gets caught up in the vibrant Kingston music scene during a visit to Jamaica. Starring Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg, Busta Rhymes, Peter Stormare, Kimberly Patterson, Louis Gossett Jr., Kreesha Turner, Kamani Marley, Collie Budz, Killer Bean, and Beenie Man.

La La Land Damien Chazelle, USA Canadian Premiere

Writer-director Damien Chazelle captures the story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

The Limehouse Golem Juan Carlos Medina, United Kingdom World Premiere

In the notorious Limehouse district of 19th-century London, a series of murders have shaken the city. The crimes are so monstrous that the press claim they’re the work of The Golem — a mythic creature from European legend. With no leads and in a desperate attempt to avoid the mobs wrath, Scotland Yard promote the seemingly inexperienced Detective Kildare to stop the slaughtering. Stars Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays, Sam Reid, Maria Valverde, and Eddie Marsan.

Manchester by the Sea Kenneth Lonergan, USA Canadian Premiere

A reclusive handyman must face his painful past when he returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his beloved older brother, in this emotionally overwhelming and critically acclaimed drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan. Stars Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Gretchen Mol, and Matthew Broderick.

Mascots Christopher Guest, USA World Premiere

Starring many of his regular troupe of actors, Christopher Guest’s new comedy takes place in the ultra-competitive world of sports mascots where they compete for the most prestigious award in their field, the Gold Fluffy. Cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Harry Shearer and Ed Begley Jr.

Maudie Aisling Walsh, Canada/Ireland Canadian Premiere

Maudie tells the true story of Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada’s premier folk artists. Stars Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.

Neruda Pablo Larraín, Chile/Argentina/Spain/France Canadian Premiere

Pablo Larraín weaves an engrossing fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda, who goes underground when Chile outlaws communism and is pursued by an ambitious police inspector hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive. Starring Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán, Diego Muñoz, Pablo Derqui, and Michael Silva.

Nocturnal Animals Tom Ford, USA/United Kingdom North American Premiere

The second feature from writer-director Tom Ford follows the story of a woman who is forced to confront the demons of her past, as she is drawn into the world of a thriller novel written by her ex-husband. This romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption. Stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Karl Glusman, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, and Michael Sheen.

The Oath Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland World Premiere

Icelandic action ace Baltasar Kormákur directs and stars in this psychological thriller about a father who tries to pull his daughter out of her world of drugs and petty crime, only to find that danger can be found in unexpected places. Also stars Gísli Örn Garðarsson and Hera Hilmar.

Orphan (Orpheline) Arnaud des Pallières, France World Premiere

Four moments in the lives of four female characters. Sandra’s youth as she moves to Paris and has a brush with disaster. Karine’s teenage years, an endless succession of runaways, men and mishaps, because anything is better than her desolate family home. The childhood of a little girl called Kiki, captured as a game of hide and seek turns to tragedy. And finally the grown-up life of Renée, a woman who thought she was safe from her own past. Gradually, we come to understand that these four characters are actually different sides of the same woman. Starring Adèle Haenel, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gemma Arterton and Sergi López.

Paris Can Wait Eleanor Coppola, USA World Premiere

An American woman in a tired marriage finds herself on an unforeseen road trip from Cannes to Paris with a dashing Frenchman. What should be a seven-hour drive unexpectedly takes two days with many diversions: picturesque sites, fine food and wine, humour, fun, wisdom — and romance. Starring Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard and Alec Baldwin.

Paterson Jim Jarmusch, USA North American Premiere

Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. He adheres to a simple routine, writing poetry and observing the city on his route. His wife, Laura, lives in an ever-changing world. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his secret gift for poetry. The film channels the history and energy of the City of Paterson. The quiet triumphs and defeats of daily life are observed over one week, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details. Stars Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani.

The Salesman (Forushande) Asghar Farhadi, Iran/France North American Premiere

A sudden eruption of violence creates an atmosphere of simmering tension between a husband and wife, in this work of slow-burning domestic suspense from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. Featuring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidousti.

Salt and Fire Werner Herzog, Germany/USA/France/Mexico North American Premiere

Shot in Bolivia, writer-director Werner Herzog’s Salt and Fire follows a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Starring Michael Shannon, Gael García Bernal and Veronica Ferres.

Sing Garth Jennings, USA/France World Premiere

A show-biz impresario who happens to be a koala attracts a menagerie of musical hopefuls when he holds a singing contest to try and save his theatre. Written and directed by Garth Jennings, this animated musical comedy features more than 85 hit songs. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly.

Souvenir Bavo Defurne, Belgium/Luxembourg/France North American Premiere

Liliane was once “Laura”, a rising star in the singing world, who had her moment of glory when she finished second behind Abba in the 1974 European Song Contest. Now working in a meat factory, Liliane’s brush with fame has been all but forgotten. But when she meets Jean, a 21-year-old boxer, her dreary life is suddenly turned upside down. With Isabelle Huppert, Kévin Azaïs, and Johan Leysen.

Things to Come (L'Avenir) Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany Canadian Premiere

A delicate and affecting tale about a middle-aged professor whose carefully structured life is thrown into disarray when her husband leaves her for another woman, and who finds an unlikely new companion in a former student and radical young communist. With Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Sarah Le Picard, and Solal Forte.

Toni Erdmann Maren Ade, Germany Canadian Premiere

An alternately hilarious and mortifying comedy about the fraught relationship between a repressed corporate consultant and her incessantly prank-playing dad. Starring Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanov, and Victoria Cocias.

Trespass Against Us Adam Smith, United Kingdom World Premiere

Three generations of the Cutler family live as notorious outlaws among some of the wealthiest lands in Britain. They spend their time hunting, raiding large estates, and tormenting the police. In the midst of it all, Chad finds himself torn between respect for his father and a desire for a better life for his children. The law is cracking down on his clan, and the decision might not be his to make. Stars Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshal, Killian Scott, Rory Kinnear, and Sean Harris.

Una Benedict Andrews, United Kingdom Canadian Premiere

When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at an older man's workplace looking for answers, the secrets of the past threaten to unravel his new life. Their confrontation will uncover buried memories and unspeakable desires shaking them both to the core. Starring Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed.

Unless Alan Gilsenan, Canada/Ireland World Premiere

Reta Winters has many reasons to be happy, but all the quiet satisfactions of her well-lived life suddenly disappear when her eldest daughter Norah inexplicably drops out of college and is found on a Toronto street corner, panhandling and refusing to speak. An adaptation of the final novel by the late, great Canadian novelist Carol Shields. Starring Catherine Keener, Matt Craven, Hannah Gross, Martha Henry, and Hanna Schygulla.

The Wasted Times (Luo Man Di Ke Xiao Wang Shi) Cheng Er, China World Premiere

Love, hatred, and betrayal abound in Shanghai during the chaotic, war-torn 1930s. Mr. Lu is ambushed during an important meeting with the Japanese army, but his sister’s husband, Watabe, sacrifices himself to save Mr. Lu. Worse still, the Japanese brutally murder Mr. Lu’s children and sister. To avenge their deaths, Mr. Lu’s mistress attempts to kill the culprit but ends up dead. Years later as the Sino-Japanese war comes to a close, Mr. Lu visits Mrs. Wang, the abandoned wife of his former boss who reveals an astonishing truth about the tragedy. Cast includes Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, and Tadanobu Asano.

Festival ticket packages available online 24 hours a day at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 14 for My Choice packages and August 24 for TIFF Choice packages, while quantities last.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toronto International Film Festival 2016 Announces First Wave of Films

#TIFF16 Opening Night Film: Antoine Fuqua’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, starring Denzel Washington & @prattprattpratt

Kim Jee-woon’s THE AGE OF SHADOWS, starring Song Kang-Ho and Gong Yoo

Marc Forster’s ALL I SEE IS YOU, starring @blakelively, @Y_Strahovski and Jason Clarke

Andrea Arnold’s AMERICAN HONEY, starring Shia LaBeouf and Sasha Lane

Ewan McGregor’s AMERICAN PASTORAL, starring Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and @McGregor_Ewan

Vikram Gandhi’s BARRY, starring Devon Terrell, @anyataylorjoy and Ellar Coltrane

Nate Parker’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION, starring @itsgabrielleu, Armie Hammer and @NateParker

Ben Younger’s BLEED FOR THIS, starring @Miles_Teller, @KateySagal and Aaron Eckhart

Onur Tukel’s CATFIGHT, starring @IamSandraOh, @AnneHeche, and @AliciaSilv

Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE, starring Isabelle Huppert

Park Chan-wook’s THE HANDMAIDEN starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, and Ha Jung-woo

KING OF THE DANCEHALL, starring @NickCannon, @WhoopiGoldberg and @BustaRhymes

Damien Chazelle's LA LA LAND, starring @RyanGosling, Emma Stone and J.K. Simmons

Kenneth Lonergan’s MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler

Tom Ford’s NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Eleanor Coppola’s PARIS CAN WAIT, starring Diane Lane, @AlecBaldwin, and Arnaud Viard

Jim Jarmusch’s PATERSON, starring Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani

Werner Herzog’s SALT AND FIRE, starring Michael Shannon, @GaelGarciaB and @VeronicaFerres

Mia Hansen-Løve’s L’AVENIR (THINGS TO COME), starring Isabelle Huppert

Maren Ade’s TONI ERDMANN, starring Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller

Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner

Peter Berg’s DEEPWATER HORIZON, starring @mark_wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich and @dylanobrien

Rob Reiner’s LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bill Pullman

Jeff Nichols’ LOVING starring @joeledgerton1, Ruth Negga, @nickkroll and Michael Shannon

Mira Nair’s QUEEN OF KATWE, starring David Oyelowo, @Lupita_Nyongo & Madina Nalwanga

@TheOliverStone’s #SNOWDEN, starring @hitRECordJoe, @shailenewoodley & @ZacharyQuinto

Lone Scherfig’s THEIR FINEST, starring @GemmaArterton, @samclaflin and Bill Nighy

@AmmaAsante’s A UNITED KINGDOM, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike

#TIFF16 Closing Night Film: Kelly Fremon Craig’s THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, starring @HaileeSteinfeld