Blog Archives

TIFF 2013: Don Jon (2013)

don-jon-official-poster-banner-promo-banner-23maio2013

It’s about as close to the perverse truth as any romantic-comedy has come close to depicting. It delivers the goods on its premise and is unique enough to distance itself from the genre. There is no denying the chemistry between its two wonderful, handsome leads and the laughs are consistent and real. Yet, one can’t help but feel that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon” is missing that certain climactic element. Essentially, there is nothing utterly wrong with the film itself. The fault lies in its inability to provoke any kind of meaningful reaction or reward the viewer for tagging along in the journey. Granted, the plots skeletal structure is anything but common and Levitt isn’t afraid to show a little skin, so to speak. However, the point in which the viewer joins the protagonist never diverts or scatters, resulting in a linear, anti-climactic, albeit impressive debut for Levitt.

josephgordonlevitt-scarlettjohansson-donjon-600

Jon Martello (Levitt) is a present day Don Juan who objectifies everything in his life, specifically women. His friends call him Don Jon because he is consistently able to pull “10s” every week. Soon, Jon’s addiction to internet pornography renders his sex life less than fulfilling and eventually his relationships begin to falter because of it. On his journey to discover a more satisfying love life, Jon falls for Barbara (Johansson), a beautiful woman who is obsessed with control.

Much like Joss Whedon did to the horror genre with “The Cabin in the Woods,” Levitt has disassembled, dissected, and rebuilt the conventional stereotypes and outlook of the romantic comedy. However, when blatantly poking fun at countless years of tradition and canon, the revolt better be a game changer. And for the most part, Levitt has this transformation pointed in the right direction. His outing is a raunchy, veracious, satirical romp…of course not to the same height, success, or effectiveness as Whedon and Goddard’s comedic fright-fest. However, with “Don Jon,” Levitt has genuinely created something brash, original, and straightforward. It definitely bursts with the usual charisma and wit that typically defines films of this genre and manages to lure the viewer in with likeable, terrifically performed, over-the-top characters.

don-jon-tony-danza-joseph-gordon-levitt

Although for the majority of its runtime, “Don Jon” is severely superficial. This reinvented concoction does offer more insight, intelligence, and endearing qualities than the majority of the genre’s entries. “Don Jon” is merely a half-realized revelation for the rom-com genre and is heavily directed at the male populous. It’s sure to not sit as well with the female market, but for those who can handle the harsh fact of differing motivations in opposite-gender relationships. It’ll conjure up some big body-aching laughs and a veritable gaze into the logical and emotional differences that continuously baffle our co-existing genders. Compared to its counterparts, “Don Jon” is a breath of fresh, sexually charged air into a genre that would rather play pretend than focus on truth-telling and authentic, situational humour.

Don-Jon-13

It’s rather comical, yet seriously obscure that I’m having this much difficulty writing up this review. As I previously stated, there isn’t anything actually wrong with the film. It’s funny, different, and Levitt, again for the most part, has done everything with his usual flair and charm. I just feel that with “Don Jon,” Levitt errs on the side of caution. As if he has intentionally pushed the envelope, but got cold feet halfway to his destination. You’ll find yourself watching the film and feel a bit naughty and excited by this new, uncharted cinematic territory. And then, when you’ve finally reached the end, flustered and gleeful, the slow realization that you weren’t overly wowed begins to take over. However, all this being said, “Don Jon” truly is an impassioned, touching, respectable debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So long as he keeps chugging along this road of ingenuity and continues to carve out his own way. Levitt will have a long, prosperous career behind the camera.

don-jon-image06

The one thing you can rely on when heading into the theatre to experience “Don Jon” is the consistent cleverness and turbulent coexistence of all the characters. Which are incredibly and ably performed by the entire cast, which features Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore, and Tony Danza.

Marred in heavy makeup and a thick New Jersey accent, Scarlett Johansson is as striking as ever, even though she maybe a tad incoherent. Nonetheless, in a role that significantly depends on superficiality and surface pleasures. It’s her ability to transform and power through the external distractions in order to reach internal importance that is truly remarkable. Tony Danza is down-right hilarious in his supporting role. Hopefully this will lead to his emergence from the shadows and launch him back into the mainstream. Moore is just phenomenal in her supporting role, she hasn’t been this effective and stunning in a long while. As for Levitt, he’s as effective and suave as ever, but we shouldn’t have expected anything less. Levitt does a phenomenal job while pulling double duty and really adapted both physically and mentally, not only to play and capture the role, but create it. Although I have to admit, Levitt’s portrayal here is quite the oddity when you associate him with the heartbroken romantic from “500 Days of Summer,” quite the contrast.

don-jon09

It might dwell a little to close to safety, but its excess of honesty and hilarity is enough for “Don Jon” to overcome its faults. It is a respectable inception for director/writer Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Don Jon: 7.5 out of 10.

Advertisements

TIFF 2013: The Fifth Estate (2013)

the-fifth-estate-uk-poster

Although it deserved stronger direction and a more structurally sound script. “The Fifth Estate” is lifted above mediocrity thanks to sublime performances from its entire cast and truly captivating, at times unsettling source material. This Bill Condon thriller, despite all the hype and speculation, has fizzled amongst the high-profile Oscar contenders at this years TIFF. Which really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider the plethora of high-quality films in the race this year. That being said, it is this very unfortunate circumstance that puts “The Fifth Estate” on the receiving end of some seriously negative and potentially irrefutably damaging, undeserved cynical criticism. Thankfully, the essence of film is to forge an opinion of one’s own. Mine is here to tell you not to believe in the bad-mouthing and reputation smashing being directed at “The Fifth Estate.” While definitely not a sure-shot when it comes to award season, it certainly isn’t as abhorrent as critics are making it seem.

o-THE-FIFTH-ESTATE-TRAILER-facebook

To expand, it’s extremely difficult to go into a screening without any preconceived notions. And as hard as you may try to weed out bias and judgement, whether it be positive or negative, inevitably some influence will sink in. This undeniable logic swirled around my mind throughout “The Fifth Estate” as I tussled with my masculine infatuation and deep admiration for the film’s star Benedict Cumberbatch. I tried, valiantly I might add, to focus on the film and details surrounding him and to distance myself from the other interpretations of the film. While I was able to fight off the majority of my weakness, Cumberbatch’s seemingly immaculate prowess and pure devotion, amongst the film’s other infaliable qualities were just too alluring and impressive to ignore. That being said, I succeeded in forging my own opinion. The film isn’t without faults, and it just so happens that Cumberbatch is arguably the only Oscar contender to emerge from this specific film, slim chances for the outstanding Daniel Bruhl. However, we don’t simply condemn films that don’t garner nominations, so by no means avoid this flick.

For those who don’t know. “The Fifth Estate” is the story of how the news-leaking website Wikileaks came to existence. Created by Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) with the help of Daniel Domsheit-Berg (Bruhl).

The-Fifth-Estate-trailer-Benedict-Cumberbatch-as-Julian-Assange-VIDEO

There are more than a few bright spots throughout the film that don’t revolve around the performances, just to insure my words don’t mislead you. Director Bill Condon occasionally spurts the innovation and brilliance that solidified his high status and previous flicks like “Gods and Monsters,” managing to sporadically encompass the sheer immensity of the film and find the core of its true story. However, Condon consistently struggles to make the transitional aspect of his vision smooth, resulting in a bumpy, divided entity. The film rises and dips far too often to ignore and the highs aren’t nearly impressive enough to discard the lows. I’m sure that the “The Fifth Estate” appeared much more alluring on paper and it’s a pity that the structure and story didn’t translate to the big screen. Regardless, the source material remains as hypnotic, honest, and horrid as ever, toss in some terrific, astonishing performances and “The Fifth Estate” is strong enough to overcome its faults.

benedict-cumberbatch-the-fifth-estate

Perhaps what ultimately led to the high-standard and unreal expectations of “The Fifth Estate,” aside from the trailer and Cumberbatch’s remarkable portrayal and resemblance to Julian Assange, is the astounding success of David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” The two films share more than a few similarities which can be easily spotted while watching the film. Additionally, the film is no where near as symbolic or deceptive. Everything is laid out, flat on the table. “The Fifth Estate” comes off a bit to modernized and contrived. As if Condon and crew modelled the film after Fincher’s Facebook masterpiece, with good reason. I mean, if you could capture some of “The Social Network’s” Oscar winning astuteness, why wouldn’t you? There’s nothing wrong with being inspired and influenced, but masquerading these mind-sets and commonalities with cheap ploys and abstract techniques didn’t pay off for Condon.

tumblr_mq71ytXlfg1qhmyduo1_400

Even though “The Fifth Estate” is stifled mightily by skeletal simplicity and seemingly forced direction. The film’s performances burst forth from the screen and are the only thing standing in the way of this flick from being thrown into an incinerator. The film stars the preposterously immaculate Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, who is absolutely sky-rocketing to stardom, David Thewlis who continues to thrive despite being underused, and a plethora of high-profile supporting talent that features Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, and Anthony Mackie.

movies_the-fifth-estate_1

Off the top of my head, there is no one who impressed me more than Daniel Bruhl (I’ve simply come to expect perfection from Cumberbatch). After launching his career into orbit with Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” it’s been nothing but full-throttle ahead for Bruhl, who has two films premiering at this year’s festival. Bruhl does everything in his power to upstage Cumberbatch and salvage this film from its free-fall. I don’t think I can issue much higher praise than declaring his performance just under that of Cumberbatch’s. Speaking of Benedict, his portrayal of Assange is nothing short of spectacular. His mannerisms, voice, hair, literally everything about Assange is captured perfectly. There’s really nothing else to say. Cumberbatch’s performance alone is enough to make “The Fifth Estate” recommended viewing.

benedict-cumberbatch-in-the-fifth-estate-movie-1

“The Fifth Estate” is fortunate enough to have its spellbinding cast come to the rescue. Other than its performances, which I highly insist you check out, and its source material, there isn’t anything here you haven’t been previously exposed to. This being said, do not take my rough dissection as hatred, I rather enjoyed this flick…even if I am a tad bias.

The FIfth Estate: 7.5 out of 10.

My TIFF 2013 Schedule

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

Okay, okay, you got me, the title of this post is a tad misleading. Considering the likelihood of additional screenings being added to my festival schedule, this is merely the first wave. Now, for those who don’t know, TIFF tickets officially went on sale yesterday at 9:00am ET.

I was up bright and early, various internet accessible devices at my dispose, and a gentle, tingling excitement pulsating from my body. Then, not too long after the initial start time, I began to realize that certain films I had intended on attending were temporarily off-sale. However, one thing you come to realize about the festival upon attending numerous times, is to not get too discouraged when a couple of your preferred screenings go off-sale early on. The reason being, there are several, alternative ways to obtain tickets after the start-date. Each day during the festivities at around 7am, additional tickets typically go on sale. If you strike out again, you can always join the rush line which forms just before the screening you’re hoping to be apart of. Essentially, you line up, then roughly 10 minutes before the film’s start time, the empty seats are counted up and sold to those who are waiting in line…so don’t get too down.

I am not going to lie, it was a bit of a let down. I would loved to have gotten all my tickets from the beginning. Then, I would have nothing to worry about other than getting to the screenings and enjoying the films. Oh well, it’s all apart of the experience and to be completely honest, a lot of fun.

Alright, that’s enough of a summarization, let’s get into my initial schedule. Below you will find screenings in which I have tickets bought and ready to go. Click on the title of the film for all you need to know. For those wondering, Premium Screenings contain a red carpet, celebrity appearances, an intro by the filmmakers, and usually a Q and A. Midnight Madness takes place everyday during the festival at midnight, it is always horror films or thrillers.

Saturday September 7, 2013:

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (premium screening), Roy Thomson Hall: 6:00pm.

mandela-long-walk

Dallas Buyers Club (premium screening), Princess of Wales: 10:00pm.

EXCLUSIVE: Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto film scenes together for The Dallas Buyers Club in New Orleans.

The Green Inferno (midnight madness), Ryerson: 11:59pm.

the_green_inferno_eli_roth

Sunday September 8, 2013:

Gravity (premium screening), Princess of Wales: 6:30pm.

2013_gravity_movie-2560x1600

Monday September 9, 2013:

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her, Visa Screening Room: 2:00pm.

disappearanceofeleanorrigby_01

Tuesday September 10, 2013:

Joe, Princess of Wales: 3:00pm.

JoeDGGtiffPhotosFullAugDuotsr06

Don Jon (premium screening), Princess of Wales: 6:30pm.

don-jon

Friday September 13, 2013:

The Sacrament, Scotiabank: 6:45pm.

the-sacrament

Next up, I will lay out what films I will be doing everything in my power to obtain tickets to. Odds are, I’ll be attending these screenings, I just don’t have the tickets as of yet.

Thursday September 5, 2013.

The Fifth Estate (premium screening), Visa Screening Room: 6:30pm.

fifthestate_01

Friday September 6, 2013.

12 Years a Slave (premium screening), Princess of Wales: 6:00pm.

12-Years-A-Slave-04

Monday September 9, 2013.

Philomena, Visa Screening Room: 11:00am.

philomena_01-620x312

August: Osage County (premium screening), Roy Thomson Hall: 6:30pm.

augustosage_02

Wednesday September 11, 2013:

Tracks, TIFF Bell Lightbox: 2:45pm

tracks-foto-02-mia-wasikowska

Okay all, this is my TIFF 2013 schedule thus far. I will be posting pics and videos from the events before, during, and after the screenings, so be sure to follow me on twitter (cinema_monster). In addition, I will be posting reviews for each film I see as fast as I can write them up. I’ll let you all know whenever I add screenings and try to keep you updated everyday. Let’s have a great week and a great festival!

Top 10 Films Screening at TIFF 2013

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

Well, TIFF is a mere 6 days away and I’m finding it extremely hard to contain my excitement. So, I figured I’d compile this list to somewhat ease my strain as well as inform you all of what you can expect to be radiating from the festivities this year. Now, with nearly 300 films screening at the festival, narrowing it down to the top 10 was extremely difficult. Not to mention that each individual carries their own interpretation of anticipation and cinematic values. Inevitably, this means it’s almost a foregone conclusion that many of you won’t agree with most of my choices. That being said, I did my best to include the general public in my decisions regarding the films playing in Toronto and how hotly anticipated they are. So, please keep that in mind when judging this list. Click on the film title for all the information you need regarding the film.

As always, if you feel I’ve overlooked a film or listed one that shouldn’t have been included, feel free to voice your opinions and comments below.

Honourable Mentions: Kill Your Darlings, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her (it’s a film told in two parts from two perspectives), Prisoners.

James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”

The-Disappearance-of-Eleanor-Rigby-3

Horror: The Sacrament, The Green Inferno.

Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno.”

thegreeninferno_01

Now, without further ado, let’s get to it!

10: August: Osage County.

Seriously, just read the cast list for this film and you’ll see why I’m so smitten.

9: Joe.

Similar to Mud, except instead of Matthew McConaughey, Nicholas Cage takes on the role of the mentor.

JoeDGGtiffPhotosFullAugDuotsr06

8: Don Jon.

The Directorial debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, what’s not to like?

7: Enemy.

TWO Jake Gyllenhaal’s, yes please!

movies_anenemy

6: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

This just might earn Idris Elba an Oscar nomination.

5: Blood Ties.

Marion Cotillard and Clive Owen light up the screen in this thriller.

bloodties_03

4: The Fifth Estate.

Is this performance by Benedict Cumberbatch going to earn him an Oscar?

3: Dallas Buyers Club

Has anyone ever, in the history of cinema had two consecutive years as amazing as Matthew McConaughey’s past two? They are calling his role in Dallas Buyers Club Oscar worthy, even though he should probably win for Mud.

2: Gravity

This film has recently shot up the list since its initial screening. It is garnering masively positive reviews out of the gate.

1: 12 Years a Slave

There is tremendous Oscar buzz surrounding this film and for good reason. Watch the trailer and you’ll find out for yourself.

That’ll do it for this week’s top 10, hope you all enjoyed it. Remember to leave all opinions and comments below. Have a great weekend!

TIFF 2013 Releases Schedule and Final Announcements

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

We are now less than two weeks away from when the Toronto International Film Festival tickets go on sale to the public and a mere 16 days away from the start of the actual festivities. On Tuesday morning, another slew of films were announced along with the schedule itself and a long list of celebrities set to attend the festival. I don’t know about you, but the anticipation is overwhelming me. I suppose the nervousness and excitement will dissipate somewhat when I actually know what screenings I will be attending, or it could skyrocket even higher. Either way, this is shaping up to be one hell of a festival!

Schedule:

Now, for those attending, or those simply who’d like to know what’s going on and when, you can find the full schedule by clicking here.

FInal Film List and Programmes:

If you’d like to know what films are playing at the festival, you can click here for the entire list or click the TIFF button in the main menu at the top of this page. You can also find all the programmes offered by the festival by clicking here. Essentially, all films screening at the festival are divided into groups for attendees to better understand what type of genre and themes the film will contain.

TIFF Guests:

Perhaps the most exciting news released Tuesday morning was the endless list of celebrities ready to attend the festival. Amongst the names are Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep, Rebecca Hall, Josh Broliin, Alan RIckman, Clive Owen, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hiddleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Ben Foster, Anton Yelchin, Liam Neeson, James McAvoy, Nicole Kidman, Felicity Jones, Ed Harris, Spike Jonze, Melissa George, Paul Giamatti, Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Gadon, Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender, Jesse Eisenberg, Sandra Bullock, Chris Hemsworth, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Mia Waikowska, Owen Wilson, Steve McQueen, Jason Reitman, Keanu Reeves, Keira Knightley, Matthew McConaughey, Ti West, Eli Roth, Daniel Radcliffe, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Oliva Wilde, Mike Myers, James Franco, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, and Thandie Newton, just to name what I feel to be the most important. And honestly, I couldn’t type any more names. There is a bunch more on the list you can find here. Also, these are just the people confirmed thus far, it is expected that the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, amongst others will be attending.

Jason Reitman’s Live Read:

You can find all the information below, provided by the TIFF website.

The Festival proudly welcomes back Jason Reitman’s Live Read — a unique event in which classic movie scripts are read by contemporary actors. With no rehearsal, the actors come together for a one-take read-through with Reitman narrating stage direction. In 2012, the Festival welcomed Reitman and an all-star cast — including Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Adam Driver, Sarah Gadon and George Stroumboulopoulos — for a live table read of Alan Ball’s screenplay for American Beauty. This year, Reitman is back with a surprise script from a modern classic and a new cast at the Ryerson Theatre on Friday, September 6. Details, including cast and script, for the 2013 Live Read event will be announced in early September.

IMAX Screenings:

New this year, audiences are invited to be part of the action with two official Festival selections and two special screenings presented in spectacular IMAX. The two films will be Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” and Keanu Reeves “Man of Tai Chi.”

Next Wave and Manifesto Announced:

You can find another plethora of titles announced by clicking here.

New Galas and Special Presentations:

Metallica Through the Never: Nimród Antal, Canada/USA, World Premiere

Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) stars as a Metallica roadie dispatched to hell and back in this mind-blowing mash-up of concert film and post-apocalyptic adventure, presented in IMAX 3D.

The Wizard of Oz: Victor Fleming, USA, World Premiere

Experience Judy Garland’s over-the-rainbow adventure in vivid new detail with this IMAX 3D presentation of Victor Fleming’s family classic.

10th Midnight Madness Film Unveiled:

Witching & Bitching:

Fleeing through the impenetrable forests of the Basque countryside after a jewel heist, a hapless band of robbers runs afoul of a coven of witches, in this madcap supernatural spectacle from Spanish genre specialist Alex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus).

witchingandbitching_02

Okay then, that’ll do it for the pre-TIFF announcements. The Cinema Monster will be covering the festival in full, providing reviews, news, and Q and A’s as often as possible, make sure to follow our website to keep up with the festival. Also, follow The Cinema Monster on Twitter (@cinema_monster) and Facebook for up-to-the-minute news and posts, not to mention special pictures and videos provided by me from the screenings. Have a great week!

TIFF 2013 Adds Another Batch

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

Hello all, just a brief post today outlining the Toronto International Film Festival’s newest additions announced Tuesday afternoon. For reference, you can check out all of The CInema Monster’s post regarding the festival thus far by clicking on TIFF in the main menu at the top of this page. Also, be sure to follow The CInema Monster on Twitter (@cinema_monster) and Facebook for up to the minute festival news, reviews, and Q and A’s. Now, below you’ll find what I feel to be the highlights of this newest batch. If you’d like to check out all the films announced thus far, click here. And in addition to the newly presented galas and special presentations, announced Tuesday afternoon were films in the Contemporary World Cinema, Contemporary World Speakers, Wavelengths, and TIFF Kids categories. You can see the full list of those films here.

Child of God

The latest from actor-turned-filmmaker James Franco is adapted from characteristically tough and violent Cormac McCarthy novel that draws the director’s ambitions into disturbing terrain as it explores the rituals and desperation of the Southern US’s rural poor.

childofgod_02

The Face of Love

Five years after the death of her beloved husband Garrett (Ed Harris), Nikki (Annette Bening) meets a man who seems to be his exact double. Ari Posen directs this emotionally thorny drama about how we cope with loss, live in the moment, and ultimately move forward. The film also stars Robin Williams.

LOL d04 _29.NEF

Blood Ties

Clive Owen and Billy Crudup lead a powerhouse cast — including Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) — as a pair of brothers on opposite sides of the law in Guillaume Canet’s English-language remake of the gritty, 1970s-set crime drama Les liens du sang. The film also stars Zoe Saldana and James Caan.

bloodties_03

How I Live Now

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) stars in this adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s award-winning near-future novel about an American teenager sent to live with her family in Britain on the eve of the Third World War, directed by Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland).

howilivenow_01

The Wind Rises

This decade-spanning epic from maestro Hayao Miyazaki is his most unique films to date, inspired by the true stories of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one the most beautiful airplanes in history — the famed Zero fighter — and the poet Tatsuo Hori, whose verses are brought to life by the vivid animation of Studio Ghibli.

thewindrises_03

TIFF 2013 Unveils Canadian Lineup

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

With a little less than a month left until the 38th annual Toronto International Film Festival gets underway, the anticipation and excitement continues to mount. In the early hours of Wednesday afternoon, avid followers of the festival’s announcements were treated to a slew of Canadian content set to rock the event. With high-profile names such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniel Radcliffe, and the late Corey Monteith having flicks added to the already stellar lineup. TIFF 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best. Below you’ll find all the information on these hotly anticipated flicks. Additionally, you can check out all the films announced here.

Enemy: Denis Villeneuve, Canada/Spain World Premiere:

Based on The Double by Nobel Laureate José Saramago, this film explores the troubled psyche of a man who is torn between his mistress and his wife. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a brilliant performance as both Adam and Anthony — a man and his double — engaged in a lethal and erotic battle.

enemy-jake-gyllenhaal-600x344

The F Word: Michael Dowse, Canada/Ireland World Premiere:

When Wallace meets Chantry, it could be love at first sight… except she lives with her long-term boyfriend. And so Wallace, acting with both best intentions — and maybe a little denial — discovers the dirtiest word in romance: friends. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver and TIFF Rising Star Megan Park.

the-f-word-daniel-radcliffe-zoe-kazan-slice

All the Wrong Reasons: Gia Milani, Canada World Premiere:

Loss of one’s identity drives this ensemble film from first-time feature writer/director Gia Milani. Cory Monteith stars as an ambitious  department store manager whose wife (Karine Vanasse) copes with a loss as co-worker (Kevin Zegers) battles back from a traumatic injury and cashier (Emily Hampshire) takes advantage of it all.

Lastly, but certainly not least. Also announced was a plethora of Canadian short films, which you can check out here.

Remember, The Cinema Monster will be covering the festival in its entirety. Posting reviews and Q and A’s throughout its duration, in addition to all the news and announcements leading up to the big day, September 5. Follow me on Twitter (@cinema_monster) and Facebook for up to the minute information.

TIFF 2013 Unleashes Midnight Madness Lineup, Docs, and Vanguard:

We are a little over a month away from opening night at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the Toronto International Film Festival. Last week was a treat as the first 75 films were announced, including galas and special presentations. Now, it’s fair to say that the films presented last week were are a little more serious and dramatic, those hoping to generate Oscar buzz and compete for the “people’s choice award.” The films announced last night however, are much more easygoing.

Around midnight (fitting), TIFF unveiled its lineup for what is quickly becoming the festivals most notable, fun, and bizarre sub-competition, Midnight Madness! Which hosts films ranging from horror, thriller, dark comedies, and oh so much more. This yearly tradition celebrates filmmaking that stretches the human psyche, tests the viewers tolerance level, and essentially weeds out the weak cinephiles from the tough. This will be the 25th anniversary of Midnight Madness and this year’s line-up is an outstanding gift to the public. Check out the all the Midnight Madness films here. Below you’ll find what I believe to be the highlights!

“The Green Inferno” (2013, Eli Roth).

Horror maestro Eli Roth (Hostel) returns to the director’s chair for this gruesome homage to the notorious Italian cannibal movies of the late seventies and early eighties.

thegreeninferno_01

“Rigor Mortis” (2013, Juno Mak).

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 Mr. Vampire.

Next up, is Vanguard! Described as “Provocative, sexy… possibly dangerous. This is what’s next.” You can check out all the films announced for Vanguard here. Below you’ll once again find what I believe to be the highlights of this section.

“The Sacrament” (2013, Ti West).

Inspired by the infamous mass suicide of Peoples Temple cultists at Jonesetown, Guyana, the latest film from indie genre icon Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) sends frequent collaborators AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg and Kentucker Audley on a harrowing journey into madness and messianic bloodshed.

sacrament_02

“Horns” (2013, Alexander Aja).

Blamed for the brutal murder of his longtime girlfriend (Juno Temple), a small-town guy (Daniel Radcliffe) awakens one morning to find a pair of horns growing from his head, in this offbeat supernatural thriller from horror ace Alexandre Aja (Haute tensionPiranha 3D).

horns_01

FInally, for those of you interested, you can find all the Documentaries premiering at TIFF here. It isn’t my cup of tea so I’m not really sure what the highlights are. If you happen to be a documentary enthusiast, be sure to let me know what you think of the selection in the comments section below.

Okay all, that’ll do it for this announcement. I didn’t think it was possible for me to become more enthusiastic and aching with anticipation after the first set of announcements, but I’ve been proven wrong. The horror crop looks terrific at TIFF this year and I’m really looking forward to checking them all out at the festival. Remember, The Cinema Monster is your number 1 source for TIFF news and reviews!  Be sure to follow me on Twitter @cinema_monster or on Facebook here for up to the minute news. Please comment below on the selection for the festival already presented and let me know which films you are most excited to see. Have a great week!

TIFF 2013 Announces First Batch of Films

2013-Talent-Lab-Toronto-International-Film-Festival

With a little over a month until the Toronto International Film Festival officially kicks off its 38th edition. The first batch of attending films were ceremoniously announced around 10am this morning in what is shaping up to be one of the most prolific, star-studded years in festival history!

75 films were announced Tuesday in what should become roughly 290 total, at least equalling last years output. Expect the entire Midnight Madness lineup to be released July 30, with the remaining films formally presented throughout the coming weeks. Check out the Galas here and the Special Presentations here.

The most notable from the first batch are as follows:

August: Osage County John Wells, USA, World Premiere:
August: Osage County tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning 2007 play of the same name. Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper.

The Fifth Estate Bill Condon, USA, World Premiere:
Triggering an age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. This dramatic thriller based on real events reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of modern time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society — and what are the costs of exposing them? The film also stars David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Dan Stevens.

Kill Your Darlings John Krokidas, USA, International Premiere:
Kill Your Darlings is the true story of friendship and murder that led to the birth of an entire generation. This is the previously untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that would lead to their Beat Revolution. Also stars Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick and John Cullum.

KillYourDarlings2_620_011813

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Justin Chadwick, South Africa, World Premiere:
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education, and 27 years in prison before working to rebuild his country’s once-segregated society. Starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela.

Rush Ron Howard, United Kingdom/Germany, International Premiere:
Two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) teams up once again with two-time Academy Award–nominated writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) on Rush — a spectacular big-screen re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Also features Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara and Pierfrancesco Favino.

12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen, USA, World Premiere:
12 Years a Slave tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and finally freed in 1853. The story is a triumphant tale of one man’s courage and perseverance to reunite with his family that serves as an important historical and cultural marker in American history. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams and Alfre Woodard.

Blue Is The Warmest Color Abdellatif Kechiche, France, North American Premiere:
At 15, Adèle doesn’t question it: girls go out with boys. Her life is changed forever when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and finds herself. Starring Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

220px-Blue_is_the_Warmest_Color_poster

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her Ned Benson, USA
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her is a two-part love story seen through the eyes of a New York couple trying to understand each other as they cope with personal hardship. The different perspectives of “Him” and “Her” result in two films with a unique look into one couple’s attempt to reclaim the life and love they once had. Starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, and Jess Weixler.

The-Disappearance-of-Eleanor-Rigby-3

Don Jon Joseph Gordon-Levitt, USA, Canadian Premiere:
Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a strong, handsome, good old fashioned guy. His buddies call him Don Jon due to his ability to “pull” a different woman every weekend, but even the finest fling doesn’t compare to the bliss he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) is a bright, beautiful, good old fashioned girl. Raised on romantic Hollywood movies, she’s determined to find her Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset. Wrestling with good old fashioned expectations of the opposite sex, Jon and Barbara struggle against a media culture full of false fantasies to try and find true intimacy in this unexpected comedy.

Gravity Alfonso Cuarón, USA/United Kingdom, North American Premiere:
Gravity is a heart-pounding thriller that pulls its audience into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer accompanied on her first shuttle mission by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone — tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth… and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But their only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

To say that I am excited for TIFF 2013 would be a massive understatement! Can’t wait to see what other films will be joining this first wave.