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Sean P. Kelly

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TIFF 2013 Films You Won't Want to Miss

Posted: 08/12/2013 3:59 pm

A longer version of the following post originally appeared in three parts on Sean's blog, Sean Kelly on Movies.

Midnight Madness Highlights

This will be a big year for TIFF's Midnight Madness programme, since it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. As such, it is becoming quite likely that I will take this into consideration when putting together my schedule this year and will see more midnight screenings than I have seen in the past (I'm lamenting the lack of sleep already). Only nine of the ten films have been announced, so it will be fun to guess over the coming weeks what that tenth film will be.

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  • Midnight Madness Highlights

    Midnight Madness Highlights

  • All Cheerleaders Die

    A high-school outsider’s plot to revenge herself on the captain of the football team turns bloody when some phantasmagorical hijinks get tossed into the mix, in this refreshingly smart horror comedy from directors Lucky McKee (<em>May</em>, <em>The Woods</em>) and Chris Sivertson (<em>I Know Who Killed Me</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Almost Human

    A quiet rural town in Maine becomes a raging inferno of axe murders and alien abduction in this lean, mean and grisly indie horror flick. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • The Green Inferno

    Horror maestro Eli Roth (<em>Hostel</em>) returns to the director’s chair for this gruesome homage to the notorious Italian cannibal movies of the late seventies and early eighties. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Oculus

    Years after the mysterious deaths of their parents, a traumatized brother and sister find the cause of their family tragedy: a cursed mirror whose 300-year history has left a bloody trail of destruction in its wake. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Rigor Mortis

    A public-housing tenement is plunged into a dark storm of supernatural chaos, in this loving tribute to the cult classic Hong Kong horror-comedy series <em>Mr. Vampire</em>. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Why Don't You Play in Hell?

    A renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud in this wild, perverse and blood-soaked orgy of outrageousness from cult director Sion Sono (<em>Suicide Club</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Doc Highlights

    Doc Highlights

  • At Berkeley

    Direct cinema pioneer Frederick Wiseman takes an in-depth look at the preeminent American university during a fall semester that saw a vigorous debate taking place over tuition hikes, budget cuts, and the future of higher education in the United States. (TIFF website 2013)

  • Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story

    Barry Avrich’s account of the life of this most unlikely revolutionary of the 1960s counterculture is energetic, iconoclastic and well researched, examining Guccione’s long and audacious career, most notably as publisher of the hugely influential pornographic magazine <em>Penthouse</em> and producer of the porn epic <em>Caligula</em>. (TIFF website 2013)

  • A Story of Children and Film

    Director Mark Cousins follows his epic documentary <em>The Story of Film</em> with this globe-spanning rumination on children in the cinema, surveying such classics as <em>The 400 Blows</em>, <em>E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial</em>, <em>Fanny and Alexander</em>,<em> Los Olvidados</em>, and <em>The White Balloon</em>. (TIFF website 2013)

  • The Uknown Known

    Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (<em>The Fog of War</em>, <em>Standard Operating Procedure</em>) continues his exploration of post-9/11 American imperialism with this riveting, feature-length interview with notorious former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (TIFF website 2013)

  • When Jews Were Funny

    Insightful and often hilarious, the latest from documentary filmmaker Alan Zweig surveys the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of Borsht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish. (TIFF website 2013)

  • Canadian Film Highlights

    Canadian Film Highlights

  • The Animal Project

    A Toronto theatre director endures a series of creative and personal travails in this affecting and typically inventive new film from Festival favourite Ingrid Veninger (<em>MODRA</em>,<em> i am a good person/i am a bad person</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Asphalt Watches

    This hilarious, grotesque, and unique adult animated feature chronicles visual artists Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman’s trans-Canadian road trip as they encounter dull violence, rampant consumerism and unbridled eccentricity in small towns all over this wide, weird country. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Empire of Dirt

    Three generations of First Nations women struggle to deal with the demons of their past, in this powerful and affecting drama from actor-turned-director Peter Stebbings (<em>Defendor</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Enemy

    Denis Villenueve (<em>Incendies</em>) will be doing double duty at this year’s festival, since this announcement follows the previous announcement of Prisoners. Enemy sees Jake Gyllenhaal playing a University professor, who encounters his exact double. That’s all the information I need to be interested in this thriller. - Sean Kelly

  • The F Word

    <em>FUBAR</em> and <em>Goon</em> director Michael Dowse makes a surprising swerve into sweetness with this winning romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • The Husband

    Saddled with a lousy job, an infant son, and a wife doing jail time for sleeping with a 14-year-old, a disgruntled Toronto ad-agency employee struggles to deal with his impotent rage, in this gutsy black comedy from beloved Canadian maverick Bruce McDonald. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Tom at the Farm

    This latest work from Canada’s endlessly inventive and provocative Xavier Dolan (<em>J'ai tué ma mere</em>, <em>Laurence Anyways</em>) follows a grief-stricken man who visits his dead lover’s parents — only to discover that they were unaware of their son’s sexual orientation. (TIFF website, 2013)

All Cheerleaders Die - Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson, USA (Opening Night Film)
Over the last few years, the opening Midnight Madness film has always been a fun crowd-pleasing affair and this horror-comedy looks to be in that same vein.

Almost Human - Joe Begos, U.S.A.
This films looks to be a mix of an alien abduction film with a slasher.

The Green Inferno - Eli Roth, U.S.A.
After a bit of hiatus from directing, Eli Roth returns with a gruesome homage to the Italian cannibal films of the 1970s.

Oculus - Mike Flanagan, U.S.A.
Killer mirror. 'Nuff said.

Rigor Mortis - Juno Mak, Hong Kong
This vampire film looks to be one of the gorier films of this year's line-up.

Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de Naze Warui) - Sion Sono, Japan
This Japanese action films looks to be one of the highlights of this year's Midnight Madness line-up.

Docs Highlights

As I've stated plenty I times, I have a growing appreciation for documentaries and this year's lineup features many familiar documentary filmmakers making their return to the festival. I am quite looking forward to seeing what these films have to offer.

Loading Slideshow...
  • At Berkeley

    Direct cinema pioneer Frederick Wiseman takes an in-depth look at the preeminent American university during a fall semester that saw a vigorous debate taking place over tuition hikes, budget cuts, and the future of higher education in the United States. (TIFF website 2013)

  • Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story

    Barry Avrich’s account of the life of this most unlikely revolutionary of the 1960s counterculture is energetic, iconoclastic and well researched, examining Guccione’s long and audacious career, most notably as publisher of the hugely influential pornographic magazine <em>Penthouse</em> and producer of the porn epic <em>Caligula</em>. (TIFF website 2013)

  • A Story of Children and Film

    Director Mark Cousins follows his epic documentary <em>The Story of Film</em> with this globe-spanning rumination on children in the cinema, surveying such classics as <em>The 400 Blows</em>, <em>E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial</em>, <em>Fanny and Alexander</em>,<em> Los Olvidados</em>, and <em>The White Balloon</em>. (TIFF website 2013)

  • The Uknown Known

    Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (<em>The Fog of War</em>, <em>Standard Operating Procedure</em>) continues his exploration of post-9/11 American imperialism with this riveting, feature-length interview with notorious former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (TIFF website 2013)

  • When Jews Were Funny

    Insightful and often hilarious, the latest from documentary filmmaker Alan Zweig surveys the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of Borsht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish. (TIFF website 2013)

At Berkeley - Frederick Wiseman, U.S.A.
Observational cinema master Frederick Wiseman is back with this film about the University of California at Berkeley.

Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story - Barry Avrich, Canada
Barry Avrich's latest doc covers the subject of Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione.

A Story of Children and Film - Mark Cousins, United Kingdom
Mark Cousin's follows up his epic 15 hour documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey with this new examination of children in the cinema.

The Unknown Known - Errol Morris, U.S.A.
Like his Oscar-winning film The Fog of War, Errol Morris' latest film The Unknown Known focuses on a single in-depth interview. In this case, the subject is Donald Rumsfeld, one of the key architects of the Iraq War.

When Jews Were Funny - Alan Zweig, Canada
This film questions why many comedians are Jewish, leading into an examination of Jewish identity.

Canadian Highlights

This past week's batch of TIFF announcements focused on the Canadian content that will play at this year's festival. One interesting fact to note about these Canadian films is that a few of them feature well-known international stars in the lead roles, which definitely blurs the line somewhat about what makes a film truly Canadian.

Loading Slideshow...
  • The Animal Project

    A Toronto theatre director endures a series of creative and personal travails in this affecting and typically inventive new film from Festival favourite Ingrid Veninger (<em>MODRA</em>,<em> i am a good person/i am a bad person</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Asphalt Watches

    This hilarious, grotesque, and unique adult animated feature chronicles visual artists Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman’s trans-Canadian road trip as they encounter dull violence, rampant consumerism and unbridled eccentricity in small towns all over this wide, weird country. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Empire of Dirt

    Three generations of First Nations women struggle to deal with the demons of their past, in this powerful and affecting drama from actor-turned-director Peter Stebbings (<em>Defendor</em>). (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Enemy

    Denis Villenueve (<em>Incendies</em>) will be doing double duty at this year’s festival, since this announcement follows the previous announcement of Prisoners. Enemy sees Jake Gyllenhaal playing a University professor, who encounters his exact double. That’s all the information I need to be interested in this thriller. - Sean Kelly

  • The F Word

    <em>FUBAR</em> and <em>Goon</em> director Michael Dowse makes a surprising swerve into sweetness with this winning romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • The Husband

    Saddled with a lousy job, an infant son, and a wife doing jail time for sleeping with a 14-year-old, a disgruntled Toronto ad-agency employee struggles to deal with his impotent rage, in this gutsy black comedy from beloved Canadian maverick Bruce McDonald. (TIFF website, 2013)

  • Tom at the Farm

    This latest work from Canada’s endlessly inventive and provocative Xavier Dolan (<em>J'ai tué ma mere</em>, <em>Laurence Anyways</em>) follows a grief-stricken man who visits his dead lover’s parents — only to discover that they were unaware of their son’s sexual orientation. (TIFF website, 2013)

The Animal Project - Ingrid Veninger, Canada (Contemporary World Cinema)
A story about a father, a son, and six characters dressed in furry suits. I'm sold.

Asphalt Watches - Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman, Canada (Vanguard)
This adult-oriented animated feature looks completely messed up. That is why it interests me.

Empire of Dirt - Peter Stebbings, Canada (Contemporary World Cinema)
I'm a fan of Peter Stebbings' previous film Defendor, so I'm interested in checking out his follow-up, which focuses on three generations of First Nations women dealing with the demons of their past.

Enemy - Denis Villeneuve, Canada/Spain (Special Presentations)
Denis Villenueve (Incendies) will be doing double duty at this year's festival, since this announcement follows the previous announcement of Prisoners. Enemy sees Jake Gyllenhaal playing a University professor, who encounters his exact double. That's all the information I need to be interested in this thriller.

The F Word - Michael Dowse, Canada/Ireland (Special Presentations)
After finding success two years ago with Goon, Michael Dowse returns with this new romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. While it looked it was going to be the "Year of Cumberbatch" a few weeks ago, it now looks like it will also be the "Year of Radcliffe," since the former Harry Potter also has three films playing at the festival this year, with the other two being the Allen Ginsberg film Kill Your Darlings and the horror film Horns.

The Husband - Bruce McDonald, Canada (Special Presentations)
Bruce McDonald is Canadian film royalty, so at this point, all I need to know is that he directed a new film. Anyways, The Husband is a black comedy about an ad-agency employee with rage issues.

Tom At The Farm (Tom à la ferme) Xavier Dolan, Canada/France (Special Presentations)
Xavier Dolan found great success last year with Laurence Anyways, which ended up winning Best Canadian Feature at the festival. Let's see if he can make lightning strike twice with his follow-up, which follows a copy-writer who travels to the country for a funeral.

There should be one more batch of film announcements this week, before the full festival schedule is released on August 20.

 

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