Saturday, December 27, 2014

Clooney, Pitt, Madonna, Mortensen, Knightley - the stars are lining up for September's Toronto Film Fest

Hotly anticipated features, music docs and the controversial Lars Von Trier's Cannes-quaking "Melancholia" are among the premieres and gala screenings as the Toronto International Film Festival announces a few of the biggies debuting there in September.

Clooney, Pitt, Madonna, Mortensen, Knightley – the stars are lining up for September’s Toronto Film Fest

Jung at heart.
Jung at heart.

It must be late July already, if the folks in Toronto are sending press releases with lists of the high-profile dramas and comedies, docs and romances, satires and indies, booked to bow at North America’s  biggest film fest. The starting gun that signals the beginning of the awards season race, TIFF typically announces a spate of high-profile selections to start the buzz buzzing, the tweets Twittering. Here ‘s a quick look at a few of the TIFF selections:

A Dangerous Method – Viggo Mortensen IS Sigmund Freud! Michael Fassbender IS Carl Jung! Keira Knightley IS the woman who comes between them! And David Cronenberg IS directing. Sex and the subconscious will never be the same again.  

The Descendants— George Clooney takes the lead in Alexander (Sideways) Payne’s Aloha State family saga.

Friends with Kids – The trials, tribulations and teething issues faced by new parents are examined with humor and (hopefully) insight in this ensembler that reteams Bridesmaids’ Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig with Megan Fox, Jon Hamm and Edward Burns.

The Ides of March – George Clooney directs, and acts, in this campaign satire about a press secretary involved in a late-breaking scandal. Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman star.

Jeff Who Lives at Home – Mumblecore maestro Jay Duplass may have achieved some kind of apotheosis of it's-about-nothingness if the synopsis of his Jason Segal/Ed Helms starrer is accurate: it’s the story of “one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue.”

Melancholia -- The” psychological disaster film” that got Danish director Lars von Trier in all that trouble at Cannes (press conference... Nazis... the Holocaust), and for which Kirsten Dunst nonetheless won the acting prize.

MoneyballBrad Pitt IS Billy Beane, the legendary Oakland A's manager who transformed a sad sack roster into a winning team way back there in the 20th century.  Jonah Hill plays the Ivy League statistician who helps him out.

Pearl Jam Twenty – Teenage rock critic-turned-Hollywood director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) goes all documentarian in this career-spanning look at the revered rock band.

W.E.Madonna directs this double-track meditation on the romance between American divorcée Wallis Simpson and throne-abdicator Edward VIII (see The King’s Speech for background) and a modern-day Manhattanite  (Abby Cornish) who is stuck in her own loveless marriage.  

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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