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TIFF 2014: My Screenings

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TIFF 2014 is finally upon us! With that in mind, I present to you my schedule for the festivities. For up-to-the-minute coverage, reviews, media, Q and A, etc…make sure to follow me on twitter (@cinema_monster).

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The 50 Year Argument: Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi

Premium Screening with co-director Martin Scorsese in attendance.

Martin Scorsese co-directs this documentary tribute to the New York Review of Books, whose six-decade history saw it frequently on the frontlines of cultural and political debate.

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’71: Yann Demange

In the divided city of Belfast at the height of The Troubles, a rookie British soldier (Jack O’Connell, Starred Up) finds himself separated from his unit and lost in IRA-controlled territory.

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99 Homes: Ramin Bahrani

Premium Screening with Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, and director Ramin Bahrani in attendance.

Desperate to save his family home, an unemployed construction worker (Andrew Garfield) joins an unscrupulous realtor (Michael Shannon) in the dirty business of foreclosing on the disenfranchised.

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Clouds of Sils Maria: Olivier Assayas

A veteran stage star (Juliette Binoche) turns to her assistant (Kristen Stewart) for solace as she jousts with an arrogant younger actress (Chloë Grace Moretz).

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The Drop: Michael R. Roskam

A Brooklyn bartender finds himself caught between the cops and a crew of Chechen mobsters, in this gritty crime drama starring Tom Hardy, Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust & Bone), Noomi Rapace and the late, great James Gandolfini.

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The Guest: Adam Wingard

Premium Screening with Dan Stevens and writer-director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard in attendance.

Writer-director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next) serve up a slick, eighties-style action thriller with this story of a mysterious and devastatingly charming visitor (Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens) who arrives at the home of a bereaved family claiming to be the best friend of their dead son.

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The Imitation Game: Morten Tyldum

Premium Screening with Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and director Morten Tyldum in attendance.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as brilliant Cambridge mathematician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, who spearheaded the Enigma code-breaking operation during World War II and was later persecuted by the British government for his homosexuality.

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Laggies: Lynn Shelton

Premium Screening with Chloe Grace Moretz, Keira Knightley, and Sam Rockwell in attendance.

Following a dismal high school reunion and a disastrous proposal of marriage, a going-nowhere twentysomething (Keira Knightley) falls in with a carefree teenager (Chloë Grace Moretz) and takes a week off to reassess her life. Co-starring Sam Rockwell (Moon).

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Maps to the Stars: David Cronenberg

Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, and Robert Pattinson star in this acidulous vision of Tinseltown from Canadian master David Cronenberg.

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Nightcrawler: Dan Gilroy

A drifter and petty thief (Jake Gyllenhaal) joins the nocturnal legions of scuzzy freelance photographers who scour the city for gruesome crime-scene footage, in this gripping portrait of the dark side of L.A. from veteran screenwriter and first-time director Dan Gilroy.

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The Theory of Everything: James Marsh

While students at Cambridge, Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne, Les Misérables) and Jane (Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman) fall deeply in love. His earth-shattering diagnosis leads him to embark on his ambitious study of the nature of time with Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, in this moving adaptation of Jane Hawking’s memoir from Academy Award-winning director James Marsh (Man on Wire).

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Which film are you most looking forward to at TIFF 2014? Be sure to let me know what your thoughts on the festival and my schedule are below!

Prometheus (2012)

Michael Fassbender in Ridley Scott's Prometheus

Part of Ridley Scott’s prequel series to the widely successful “Alien” franchise. Prometheus may not provide answers to all of its promised questions, but it certainly set the stage for them. A supposed sequel in the mix which was apparently the plan all along, Prometheus, regardless of a follow up is able to stand on its own. Scott reminds us that science fiction is his genre wheelhouse and he’s returned to set the curve once again. Giving a sense of wonder and amazement to our existence, Prometheus and its intergalactic, cosmic journey is spellbinding. A formidable cast led by Michael Fassbender (Shame), Guy Pearce (Memento), Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Charlize Theron (The Italian Job), and Idris Elba (28 Weeks Later), Prometheus is definitively original and visually baffling. Do not expect to be swept up in the search for our creators, Prometheus is a tough blow of  what could possibly be reality.

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A group of scientists and astronauts travel through space on an unknown mission. Upon being woken from their sleep pods, the group is informed of their mission. Their goal is to investigate ancient markings found on Earth that could lead to the discovery of humanities existence. Following the markings, they arrive at a planet numerous light years away from Earth. They discover signs of a distant civilization and investigate. During the search, they encounter artefacts believed to be linked to humanity and our beginnings. Soon, their breakthrough turns violent and the planet becomes hostile. What follows is a dark descent into the search for humanities existence.

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Before it completely rips apart the very fabric of humanities hopes, beliefs, and purpose, Prometheus is actually quite enthralling. Vast landscapes and oceanic skylines backdrop the birth of our world as we know it. A beautifully baron spaceship zooms across light years passing cosmic materials as its crew sleeps soundly. Scott and company once again flawlessly design awe and wonderment while conversely depicting dread and horror. Fassbender, as a robot, is the performance to look out for in Prometheus. Seemingly malicious and corrupt while contradicting these traits with a caring face and helpful acts, Fassbender expectedly delivers. Followed by Rapace and Pearce who, despite butting heads have similar motives and values. Their collective disappointments and optimisms echo throughout their performances and ring out to the viewers and pluck at our sympathy. Prometheus is smartly written and visually stunning. A welcome return to the genre for Scott and leaves us begging for a sequel.

Prometheus: 8.5 out of 10.