Film premieres have either been on ice or gone digital over the past year, but the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is back with in-person screenings. Kicking off today, the 10-day event is showing more than 100 films that can be watched at home or in theatres across the city. And while this year’s red carpet is likely to be a bit muted compared to years past, there are still plenty of hotly anticipated releases to watch.
Here, we’ve drafted the “Sharp Pyramid of Excitement”: a handy guide to help you navigate the festival’s showings when difficult viewing decisions must be made.
Sure, Dune is technically premiering a week before TIFF at the Venice Film Festival, but the latest adaptation of the 1965 sci-fi novel is debuting in Toronto in the format it should be seen in: IMAX (it is a Canadian invention, after all). While past attempts at turning Dune into a movie have proved less than stellar, Denis Villeneuve is one of this generation’s best directors and a deft hand when it comes to sci-fi. He’s backed by a star-studded cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin, among others. To top it all off, Hans Zimmer composed the score. (BWAAAAAAH!) Our hopes are high.
Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright is best known for making action-comedies like his beloved Cornetto Trilogy and Baby Driver, but he’s diving into darker depths with this time-travelling horror-thriller. The plot: a young woman (Thomasin McKenzie) finds herself in 1960s London, where she does some mysterious body-swapping with her idol, a singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Judging by the trailer, which is lit by plenty of creepy neon and peppered with zombie-like hands busting through hardwood floors, this is no Midnight in Paris.
The feature debut from Cree-Métis director and writer Danis Goulet is set in 2043 in a world where children are property of the state. A Cree woman (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) attempts to retrieve her stolen daughter from a state-run school. While the film may be set in the future, it isn’t all that fantastical, but instead echoes the very real experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Oscar-winner Taika Waititi (of Jojo Rabbit fame) is an executive producer.
Interested and Intrigued
Following 2015’s Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal is reuniting with director Antoine Fuqua for this remake of the Danish drama Den Skyldige, which premiered at Sundance back in 2018. Gyllenhaal plays a 911 dispatch operator who tries to save a caller in some sort of danger. Written by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, it also stars Ethan Hawke and the always-memorable Paul Dano.
A married couple (Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd) try to mend their relationship in the wake of a tragedy. McCarthy grows a garden. A starling nests nearby. Human versus avian conflict ensues, which leads McCarthy to meet a psychiatrist turned veterinarian (Kevin Kline). McCarthy’s transformation from potty-mouthed comedian to leading lady forges onward.
Don’t Make Me Over
This new doc from directors Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner charts legendary singer Dionne Warwick’s rise from a gospel singer in New Jersey (whose big break came after nabbing first place at the Apollo Theatre’s amateur night in Harlem) to one of the 20th century’s biggest stars. The film includes interviews with the likes of Bill Clinton, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson.
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