By Rod Charles for Vancity Buzz, writer for Vacay.ca
Parties, nightlife, lights and glitter are all part of the 40th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) experience.
Of course, getting a glimpse of a Hollywood star is another. This year promises to bring big names to Toronto including Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore and Benedict Cumberbatch.
If getting a glimpse of a Hollywood legend on a red carpet is the coolest way to see a famous actor, the big screen is clearly the best and this festival has no shortage of them. There are dozens of great movies to be seen and these represent only a handful, but with these five solid picks you can’t go wrong.
Official Line: Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Demolition” (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper and Judah Lewis) will open the festival on September 10 at Roy Thompson Hall.
Grief-stricken after a family tragedy, a New York investment banker (Jake Gyllenhaal) engages in random acts of destruction, in the highly anticipated new film by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild). Written by Bryan Sipe, Demolition promises to be a thrilling picture.
Why We Think You’ll Like It: If you like movies about broken people who break things, Jake Gyllenhaal promises to deliver in this movie. It isn’t all crash and smash though – Bryan Sipe has created an action packed movie with depth.
Official Line: Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman bring the Kevin Wilson novel to life on the big screen. Annie (Nicole Kidman) and Baxter (Bateman), playing a pair of grown siblings are compelled to move back in with their eccentric parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) whose lifetime of public interventions have alienated their children.
Why We Think You’ll Like It: Christopher Walken has a way of bringing out great performances in actors around him, especially when those actors are also great (Dennis Hopper in True Romance) Johnny Depp in Nick of Time). This time he’s working with two great actors – Maryann Plunkett, Bateman – and one Oscar winner in Kidman.
Official Line: If you like Hollywood films with big names and budgets that seem to never end, then The Martian is arguably the one film at TIFF you must watch. Matt Damon stars as an astronaut who is believed dead, abandoned by his crew and stranded on Mars alone. Starring Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis this movie is going to rock — if it can live up to the hype.
Why We Think You’ll Like It: Weren’t you listening? Mars. Astronauts. Interesting plot. Kate Mara. Cool trailers. Space ships. Action. Yes, and I think Matt Damon might be appearing in this one too.
Official Line: What if the US could do a better job at invading countries? That’s the premise for this film, which sends Moore on an epic journey.
Why We Think You’ll Like It: Legendary fecal matter disturber Michael Moore, the producer of “Bowling For Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” shows that he is still capable of making the establishment squirm.
The United States election is in full swing and our pals to the south are deeply divided on everything from gay marriage to Iran to President Obama’s Kenyan ancestry. Two great families – the Bush’s and the Clinton’s – are beating on each other for the most important job in America. And to top it all off Mexico’s favourite politician, real estate mogul turned immigration expert Donald Trump actually has a shot at winning the presidency. How do you make this election any more ridiculous? Add a well-timed Michael Moore movie into the mix, that’s how.
Official Line: Johnny Depp stars as notorious Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger, who spent thirty years as an FBI informant while rising to the top of the Boston underworld.
For those who don’t know the story, Bulger made headlines when he was arrested, tried and eventually convicted for racketeering, money laundering, extortion and more than 15 murders and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Yes, it goes without saying that Bulger is a wonderful and misunderstood man who worked diligently to make our world a better, less crowded place.
Why We Think You’ll Like It: It’s always a pleasure watching Johnny Depp crawl into the skin of a character. Depp plays this cold, calculating, underhanded deviant spotlessly. Another reason to like this film is it tells the story accurately – there’s nothing worse than a book or movie that tells a “true story” with revisionist slants. You’ll love this movie because it’s true to the character – and the sorry life of the man it portrays.