There’s a lot to drool at on this year’s Toronto International Film Festival slate. New work by Brian DePalma, Lee Daniels, Costa-Gavras and P.T. Anderson, adaptations of works from David Mitchell to Henry James to Shakespeare, documentaries on subjects ranging from an infamous late ’80s rape case to the mysterious story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. Honestly, we don’t see a dud in the whole lineup. But we do have to call our attention to certain selections that get us just a bit wetter than the rest, whether for their promise, campiness, or dedication to failure. Without further adieu:
Frances Ha, from the name to the plot, sounds mildly on crack. Greta Gerwig, our Spring issue ‘it girl’, plays an aspiring dancer in New York City, where she bumps into the actor who plays Lena Dunham’s shirtless boyfriend in Girls. What could possibly go amiss?
Obviously Cloud Atlas; many things have been said of the 5-minute trailer, all of them good.
Much Ado About Nothing, a Joss Whedon Shakespeare adaptation, starring a bunch of people no one has ever heard of. Here’s hoping it’s better than the Kenneth Branagh adaptation from 1993.
Capital, from the legendary Costa-Gavras, whose Z stands as a landmark of paranoiac cinema. Capital‘s plot revolves around investment bankers and hedge funds, which leads me to be believe it’s probably something like a classier version of Wall Street, with Gabriel Byrne in the Gordon Gekko role.
Hyde Park on Hudson, for camp value. Bill Murray plays FDR, Laura Linney plays his mistress, and everybody gets to wear a lot of whites and floral. Hyde Park is poised to strike a hit with the geriatric crowd–and thus, an Oscar win.
A Liar’s Autobiography – The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. Do we really need to tell you why we’re tripping our tits off at the thought of this one?
Peaches Does Herself is described (by Peaches) as an ‘anti-jukebox musical’, which is great, because we’ve never met a jukebox musical we’ve liked. From the sound of it, it’s a sort of transsexual bildungsroman which turns out to have nothing at all to do with transsexuality or personal growth. Leave it to Peaches to be just that amazing.
The Central Park Five- Ken Burns takes on the story of the Central Park Jogger case, a controversial 1989 rape case in which five black men were convicted, coerced into false confession, and later absolved when another man came forward. The question is: can Burns use his awesomely depressing skills to make this story even more harrowingly suicidal-making than it already is? If anyone can do it, Burns can.
What Maisie Knew- again, an interpretation of James that is sure to be on crack, as most things that try to reinterpret early century writings to the present day are (Gossip Girl excluded).
Passion, the latest from Brian DePalma, a remake of a 2010 French film involving lesbian overtones, a workplace rivalry, and the excellent Noomi Rapace promises to be an expressionistic thriller in the grand manner of those DePalma does so well.
The Paperboy, possibly the most promising-looking film of the year. They had us at the poster art. Lee Daniels’ first film after the groundbreaking Precious is an adaptation of Pete Dexter’s 1995 Florida noir in which a woman gets engaged to a convict, and the whole town gets involved with the case.