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10 Things You Should Know About the Toronto International Film Festival

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10 Things You Should Know About the Toronto International Film Festival

By: Sharp Staff|September 4, 2014

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Jennifer Aniston’s Drastic Makeunder

In Cake, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who attends a chronic pain-support group who begins to investigate the suicide of another group member. Her curiosity turns into near obsession as she inserts herself into the woman’s life and the family she left behind. The film has already been heralded as Aniston’s career-defining role as she plays a visibly scarred, emotionless, empty woman. Could this be the role that brings her out from behind the shadow of The Rachel?

Channing Tatum’s Early Oscar Buzz

You can’t talk about TIFF without mentioning Channing Tatum’s turn in Foxcatcher, a role that has already cued the murmur of Oscar buzz. The ‘inspired by a true story’ tale stars Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, respectively. Steve Carrell also stars in his darkest role yet as the murderous coach John du Pont. Tatum reportedly nearly turned the role down because of the heavy subject matter, calling the filming ‘grueling’. Just think of the Oscar, Tatum. Just think of the Oscar.



Watch the trailer here.

A Canadian Takeover

This year, TIFF received around 841 submissions from Canadian filmmakers. Making the cut are: An Eye for Beauty by Denys Arcand; The Elephant Song by Charles Binamé, starring Xavier Dolan, Bruce Greenwood and Catherine Keener; Mommy by Xavier Dolan; and Maps to the Stars by Canadian legend David Cronenberg. Keep an eye out for familiar Canadian faces appearing in even more films as well.



Watch the trailer for Maps to the Stars here.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Descent Into Madness

A thin, near-unrecognizable Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the film Nightcrawler as Lou, a videographer with an eye for gruesome crime-scenes. After stumbling upon the world of nighttime crime journalism, Lou begins to film late night crime scenes and does whatever it takes to get the perfect shot, even moving evidence around. Because ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’



You can see Gyllenhaal looking a bit more like himself as our September coverman where he talks about Nightcrawler and his portrayal of Lou.



Watch the trailer here.

Jon Stewart’s Personal Project

Comedian and host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, took a three-month hiatus from television to make his directorial debut with a story very close to his heart. Rosewater is based on a true story of the Iranian-Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) who was imprisoned and tortured in 2009 for 118 days after being arrested during an election rally in Iran. During his time in Iran, the journalist did an interview with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, an interview that was eventually used by the Iranian police as possible evidence that Bhari was a spy.



Watch the trailer here.

Bill Murray Being the Best Bill Murray

No one plays a loveable curmudgeon quite like Bill Murray. In St. Vincent Murray stars alongside the twelve-year-old boy his character reluctantly agrees to watch while the boy’s mother works. Murray is at his grumpy best as a Vietnam war vet who prefers to be left alone. Man and boy hang out; hilarity ensues. It’s like About A Boy, but way better because Bill Murray.



Watch the trailer here.

James Gandolfini’s Final Performance

The late, great James Gandolfini gives his final performance in the gritty film The Drop. As a former crime boss now under the management of a new operation, fans might see shades of his iconic turn as Tony Soprano in his role as Marv. Tom Hardy costars as his cousin, who bartends at his establishment. The spot doubles as a drop bar, a place where local gangsters launder money through. Cash gets stolen in a hold-up leaving the two caught between angry customers and suspicious cops. This is Gandolfini as we came to love him.



Watch the trailer here.

The Fictionalized Amanda Knox Film

The names are changed but the premise stays the same in this fictionalized version of the notorious Amanda Knox murder case. The Face of an Angel follows a man who investigates the case and interviews people who knew both the murderer and the victim. Daniel Brühl and Kate Beckinsale star in a film that uses details from the 2007 murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher and the suspicion that fell on her American roommate, Amanda Knox. Model Cara Delevingne appears for her first big-screen acting performance.

Stephen Hawking May Attend

Word around the festival is that the brilliant astrophysicist Stephen Hawking might stop by to watch the biopic of his life. Starring Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything follows Hawking’s life through Cambridge, falling in love, contracting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), speaking through a voice synthesizer and becoming the most well-known scientist in the world. The film was made with Hawking’s approval and even used his actual electronic voice for some scenes.



Watch the trailer here.

Comedians Coming Together

Chris Rock wrote, directed and starred in this semi-autobiographical film. The plot isn’t nearly as outrageous as the guest stars; Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg and Jerry Seinfeld all make appearances in what is sure to be one of the funniest films of the festival.

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