The Toronto International Film Festival begins September 6, and among the announced line-up there are a few big name films: Cloud Atlas, Anna Karenina, Much Ado About Nothing, Argo, as well as the usual (earnest) subjects: Writers, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ginger and Rosa. I like to go digging around for other treasure—the violent, the warped and the interestingly cast—so here are ten films that caught my eye. One of them is guaranteed* necessary to your life.
If you only have time to watch one trailer, make it The Iceman.
10. Looper: Rian Johnson’s (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) time-travel, action thriller that sends Joseph Gordon Levitt into the future to kill himself (Bruce Willis).
This is the one you’ve probably heard about already, and though you may have also seen the trailer, you need to watch it again.
9. The Impossible: Juan Antonio Bayona’s (The Orphanage) family-eye view of a tsunami, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.
Yes, Ewan McGregor sounds funny, but the visuals are heart-stopping.
8. A Late Quartet: Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Imogen Poots are the musicians and friends who have been together for twenty-five years, when one of them is struck down by illness. Sounds a little depressing, but Walken and Seymour Hoffman together! And then Wallace Shawn shows up. Inconceivable!
7. To the Wonder: Ben Affleck finally fixes his hair, takes a trip and falls in love—with the wrong chick. Then he finds the right one, closer to home. And it’s all beautiful to watch, because Terrence Malick directed the film. Javier Bardem plays a priest…and he’s beautiful. If that’s not enough to perk up your ears, the film also stars Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet and Olga Kurylenko; all this useless beauty? I think not.
6. The Hunt (North American premiere, Mads Mikkelsen, Best Actor Award winner at Cannes 2012): A false accusation has terrifying consequences. Directed by Lars von Trier contemporary, Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt examines mass hysteria at its worst.
5. Hyde Park on Hudson: Erm, Bill Murray as FDR? Who else?
This is not my usual cup of tea, but I’ve no doubt Bill Murray can pull out all the ass sticks.
4. Jayne Mansfield’s Car: John Hurt, Robert Duvall, a ridiculously coiffed Kevin Bacon, Frances O’Connor, Ray Stevenson, Shawnee Smith, Tippi Hedren and Robert Patrick are directed by Billy Bob Thornton. I don’t know what the hell it’s really about (family clash), but what the hell, throw all those people together and stir.
3. The Place Beyond the Pines: Ryan Gosling reunites with his Blue Valentine director, Derek Cianfrance, to play a professional motorcyclist turned bank robber, who faces off with rookie cop/politician Bradley Cooper. Shot almost entirely in Schenectady, the film also stars Ray Liotta, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan Eva Mendes and Rose Byrne.
2. Byzantium: Director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The End of the Affair, Breakfast on Pluto, “The Borgias”) takes on a mother/daughter vampire tale. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Riley, Tom Hollander and Daniel Mays.
Jordan and Saoirse Ronan discuss the Byzantium story and working together:
1. The Iceman: Michael Mothereffing Shannon as contract killer Richard Kuklinski. Also starring James Franco, Chris Evans, Winona Ryder, Steven Dorff,
You will get chills.
Also of note, Viggo Mortensen in Everybody Has a Plan (Debut in Argentina, August 30):
And the Python animated feature, A Liar’s Autobiography - The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
* Not really.
Cindy Davis would follow Michael Shannon anywhere.