As has already been well established here, summer sucks and the stifling heat dome bathing most of the continent in damp sweat has us desperately searching for cold, dark places to hide until it's all over. Relief is close though, as this morning's annual lineup announcement from the Toronto International Film Festival promises sanctuary in air-conditioned movie theatres for summer's final few weeks.
The program for TIFF's 41st festival features a slate of heavy, dramatic releases under the thematic umbrella of "infinite views"—further proving this city's ability to always, no matter how grasping, find a way to capitalize on prodigal son Drake.
From Antoine Fuqua's much anticipated opening night blockbuster, The Magnificent Seven, to Park Chan Wook's psycho-sexual romantic thriller, The Handmaiden, here's a look at some of the movies set to premiere at this year's TIFF.
Denzel Washington reteams with director Antoine Fuqua to continue playing some version of his morally ambiguous cop from Training Day. In Magnificent Seven he's a bounty hunter tasked with gathering a group of ragtag stereotypes to fulfil a contract for revenge. But is there more to his motive than just a paycheque? Probably, guys. Chris Pratt plays the comic relief (shocking) with Ethan Hawke, Matt Bomer, and Vincent D'Onofrio rounding out the cast. Based on Kurosawa's epic screenplay for Seven Samurai, Magnificent Seven will open this year's TIFF and at the very least will have a ton of blood and explosives.
Holy shit this looks amazing. If you're already a fan of Korean filmmaker Park Chan Wook then you know to expect more lush, deranged, sensual imagery and a bonkers storyline with themes of greed, torture, and sexual servitude. The Oldboy and Stoker director looks to have created another suffocatingly beautiful world that promises to expose a lot of ugly shit before leaving you wrenching from the plot's twists and turns.
Written and directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, American Honey won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes festival. Sasha Lane stars as a runaway who gets caught up with a crew of hard partying, white dreadlocked magazine sales weirdos, with a dreaded Shia LeBeouf as their de facto leader. It's like a sunbleached Spring Breakers on the road.
We get it people who make movie trailers, it's a mad world and you find it kind of funny and you find it kind of sad. Please stop using this song to express so literally the vibe of your film. We've all seen Donnie Darko. OK, now that that's out of the way, Ewan McGregor's directorial debut actually looks pretty good. Based on the 1997 Philip Roth novel of the same name, the moody drama shows the quiet devastation of a small-town family after a couple's teen daughter becomes a political terrorist. Ewan McGregor plays the lead opposite Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.
Leave it to overrated jock Oliver Stone to turn a story about an unassuming nerd into some sort of cyber-Rambo spy thriller. A jacked up Joseph Gordon Levitt (his neck is at least twice its normal girth) is definitely angling for an Oscar nom with his gravelly voice acting that honestly just sounds like he really needs to clear his throat, maybe drink a glass of water. The real life story of Edward Snowden is fascinating and thrilling enough, the Stone treatment here looks like an over-the-top campy injustice to the quiet bravery of the real man.
There's no trailer for Turkish director Onur Tukel's Catfight, but the action comedy starring Anne Heche, Sandra Oh, and Alicia Silverstone got a lot of attention at this morning's announcement. Early reviews suggest a hilarious, vicious, and violent film about estranged friends who reconnect and take their jealousy and hostility to a bloody extreme.
Other notable films headed to Toronto this September include: Canadian Denis Villeneuve's alien sci-fi drama Arrival; Nick Cannon's directorial debut, King of the Dancehall starring Cannon, Busta Rhymes, and Beenie Man; JT + The Tennessee Kids, Jonathan Demme's Justin Timberlake concert documentary; and first-time director Kelly Fremon Craig's coming-of-age comedy The Edge of Seventeen, which will close out TIFF.
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