‘Descendants,’ ‘Moneyball,’ ‘Twixt’ among Toronto premieres

Posted by · 10:00 am · July 26th, 2011

As usual, there are few surprises in the newly unveiled lineup for September’s Toronto Film Festival — which is largely because, as usual, the lineup consists of pretty much everything.

We know by now to expect a cherry-picked selection of proven successes from previous festivals, including Cannes (“The Artist,” “Drive,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “Melancholia”), Sundance (“Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Tyrannosaur,” “Take Shelter”) and Berlin (“Coriolanus”). Equally, and of more interest to festival veterans, there’s the usual generous handful of prestige US premieres, many of them with an eye on awards season — including Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball,” Rodrigo Garcia’s Glenn Close vehicle “Albert Nobbs” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Twixt.”

Meanwhile, the Toronto lineup also offers some pointers as to what we can (and can’t) expect to see at Venice only days before. It was already in ink that George Clooney’s Lido curtain-raiser “The Ides of March” would play both fests; now, thanks to the TIFF classifying them as “North American” rather than “World” premieres, we can confirm (albeit to no raised eyebrows) that David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe,” Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse” and Madonna’s “W.E.” will also do the double.

Less expected is that Terence Davies’ first narrative film in a decade, “The Deep Blue Sea” — a Terrence Rattigan adaptation with a plum role for Rachel Weisz that most festival-watchers had pegged for a Venice debut — will instead be unveiled in the Canadian chill. (Guess that solves the problem of a potentially awkward situation for Venice jury president Darren Aronofsky.) It’s not Weisz’s only film getting a Toronto premiere: also appearing is Fernando Meirelles’ “360,” a modern-day “La Ronde” riff in which she stars opposite Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. (Between these two and last year’s soon-to-open Toronto title “The Whistleblower,” this has the potential to be a very big year for Weisz indeed.)

Other big-name prospects that Toronto attendees will get dibs on include Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz” (with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen), Jonathan Levine’s “50/50,” Luc Besson’s Aung San Suu Kyi biopic (!) “The Lady,” Cameron Crowe’s rock doc “Pearl Jam Twenty” and, of most interest to me personally, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Kristin Scott Thomas-Ethan Hawke starrer “Woman in the Fifth” — the British-Polish director’s first film since 2004’s “My Summer of Love.” And so on and so forth — check out the current lineup, which will no doubt grow in the coming weeks, here.

Already, meanwhile, the speculation can start over what film will take the festival’s lone major prize, the Audience Award — an honor that may carry less prestige and glamor that certain European festival trophies, but has proven a major awards-season bellwether in recent years. “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Precious” and “The King’s Speech” all did very nicely for themselves after taking the award; this year, my gut tells me to place an early bet on The Weinstein Company’s “The Artist” riding it all the way to a stack of Oscar nods.

We may still be enjoying the summer up here, but with Venice a little over a month away (and set to reveal its own official lineup on Thursday), the season already looms large.

[Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

→ 46 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

46 responses so far

  • 1 7-26-2011 at 10:24 am

    David said...

    Seen Whistle blower in Boston and thought it was pretty good with Rachel Weisz giving the best female performance this year so far. A friend of mine however has seen The Deep Blue Sea as a rough cut and said that Rachel gives the best performance of her career in that film.

    She will probably get a nomination for one or the other.

  • 2 7-26-2011 at 10:43 am

    Amir said...

    September’s always a good time to be a Torontonian!

  • 3 7-26-2011 at 10:53 am

    americanrequeim said...

    weisz has dreamhouse too right?

  • 4 7-26-2011 at 11:04 am

    Speaking English said...

    It’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene.”

  • 5 7-26-2011 at 11:15 am

    Dana Jones said...

    Between ‘Take This Waltz’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’, looks like Michelle Williams has a big year ahead of her as well *fingers crossed*

  • 6 7-26-2011 at 11:34 am

    /3rtfu11 said...

    This year is about the veteran actresses (Close vs Streep) — after the third Annette Bening defeat the Academy has to atone for their message that being younger is the prerequisite for Best Actress.

    I desperately miss the Jessica Tandy through Frances McDormand days of Best Actress — damn you Jack Nicholson!

    It’s your fault for that stupid tradition of your female co-stars winning when you win — of course I would’ve been fine with it had Bates got Oscar No.2 had you not campaigned for Adrien Brody.

  • 7 7-26-2011 at 12:39 pm

    Loyal said...

    And yet no Jason Reitman at TIFF. Guess we’ll have to wait until December for Young Adult.

  • 8 7-26-2011 at 1:17 pm

    Jake G. said...

    The Artist sucks…get real!

  • 9 7-26-2011 at 2:03 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Jason Reitman has been doing stuff at Film Society of Lincoln Center a lot. It would not surprise me if Young Adult screens at New York Film Festival.

  • 10 7-26-2011 at 2:07 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Guy I think you scrambled the title of that Elizabeth Olsen film.

  • 11 7-26-2011 at 2:09 pm

    Andrej said...

    George Clooney’s giving the creepiest smile ever in that photo up there… shudder.

    Can’t wait to see how this festival plays out. ‘Kevin’, Melancholia, MMMM, Albert Nobbs, The Artist, Twixt, 50/50… all in my list for most anticipated movies. If only The Tree of Life, TTSS, and ‘Dragon Tattoo’ could be thrown in there for good measure, though… but still, it’s golden as it is. ☺

  • 12 7-26-2011 at 2:12 pm

    Andrej said...

    Oh dang it. I forgot to mention Drive.

    Speaking of which, after Drive’s reception at both Cannes and… well, Comic-Con, I think I’ll place my chips on this one for the audience award. Second guess it’s The Artist.

  • 13 7-26-2011 at 2:37 pm

    Lucas said...

    It always kind of bothers me when a film gets a North American premiere in Toronto and it gets called a US premiere – the last time I checked, the city I live in was still in Canada. (Though, give Rob Ford some more time and you never know…)

  • 14 7-26-2011 at 3:02 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    This is just the beginning of the announcements folks — they always have a couple of major ones towards the end of the summer just a week or so before TIFF starts — Reitman could still be here, will be stunned if he is not — wou;ld not be surprised to see Hugo end up here as well and a couple other beauties, The Iron Lady perhaps??? Trust me…more to come.

  • 15 7-26-2011 at 3:26 pm

    Susie said...

    No wonder Weisz split with her boyfriend – I assume they didn’t see each other for a year based on her movie output for this year…

  • 16 7-26-2011 at 4:42 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Guy, any idea when/where ‘J.Edgar’ will premiere? I sort of figured it would get a big festival premiere.

  • 17 7-26-2011 at 5:01 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Speaking English/Matthew Starr: Like I’m the first to have made that error! But thanks, and corrected.

    Jake G: You’re perfectly entitled to think The Artist “sucks”, but if you haven’t noticed how well it played to Cannes audiences — and haven’t considered why Harvey Weinstein snapped it up — you’re the one in need of a reality check.

    Andrej: The Tree of Life is already out in Canada, so it would be rather pointless to include it in the festival. I think a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy appearance is distinctly possible, however — particularly given that it opens in the UK on September 16. Keep crossing those fingers!

    Dana Jones: No idea. That fact that the film isn’t one of Eastwood’s under-the-wire releases — rather, it’s out in October — suggested to me that, like Hereafter, it could appear at Toronto. But who knows — particularly where he’s concerned.

  • 18 7-26-2011 at 5:12 pm

    Andrej said...

    Guy: Oh, right…

    I’ll blame my unawareness on the fact that I still have no clue if TToL will ever see the light of day here in my country :(

    But, yeah, go Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, go!

  • 19 7-26-2011 at 5:17 pm

    Brock Landers said...

    “And yet no Jason Reitman at TIFF. Guess we’ll have to wait until December for Young Adult.”

    There are still hundreds of movies yet to be announced. Young Adult will more than likely play at TIFF. Every one of Reitman’s films has played there.

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is pretty much a given as well. J. Edgar is a possibility, but only if Warner Bros. is confident in it. Hereafter got torched at TIFF, so they will not want the same to happen again. Judging by the script though (which is flat out phenomenal), I would expect they have enough faith in it.

    No way Dragon Tattoo plays though.

  • 20 7-26-2011 at 5:18 pm

    Simone said...

    I’m looking forward to both of Fassbender’s films, and Pearl Jam Twenty!

  • 21 7-27-2011 at 12:04 am

    med said...


    what is TTol – You abbreviation for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?

    Just curious….

  • 22 7-27-2011 at 4:21 am

    JCS said...

    The Tree of Life, presumably?

  • 23 7-27-2011 at 5:08 am

    Loyal said...

    @ Brock and Matt

    According to Pete Hammond, Young Adult is skipping the festival circuit all together. Interesting strategy.

  • 24 7-27-2011 at 5:19 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Worked for The Fighter, I suppose. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Jason Reitman is loath to do the festival circuit again, given how Up in the Air peaked too early.

  • 25 7-27-2011 at 6:58 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I always find it strange how films peak too early. How is it that Up in the Air peaked early but not the King’s Speech yet both premiered at the same festivals? Does Harvey just do this better than Paramount?

    How did Hurt Locker and No Country not peak too early when they opened to good reviews like eight months before voting.

    I just find it hard to believe that if you changed the release dates for say Up in the Air or Social Network that we might have had a different outcome.

  • 26 7-27-2011 at 7:42 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Matthew: Each film is its own case, obviously — circumstances and outcomes are not interchangeable. The widespread perception (if not necessarily the actuality) with Up in the Air is not so much that it was shown too early, but that that there was too long a gap between between its festival run and its eventual December opening in the real world — necessitating a second buzz wave that, due to any number of variables and competing releases, couldn’t quite match the first. Some films — including, to use your example, The King’s Speech — just maintain a more insistent hold on the media and public imagination.

  • 27 7-27-2011 at 7:44 am

    JJ1 said...

    I just can’t believe the TTOL never came near me. Well, to be honest, 45 minutes away. But I figured that (as they always do), it would eventually come to my art house theater that’s 25-30 minutes away. And it never did. I did not expect to have to wait til dvd to see it.

  • 28 7-27-2011 at 7:53 am

    JJ1 said...

    I know it sounds lame, when people don’t even have TTOL in their state or country, haha. But the art house that’s 45-50 min away always eventually gets to my one that’s 25 minutes away. But it left the far one and never came to the closer one. :(

  • 29 7-27-2011 at 8:36 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I have to agree that if a film gets a lot of buzz in September it does not help to release it in December. I remember I couldn’t wait to see Up in the Air in September and October but when December came around I was mainly interested in Avatar at that point.

    All of the recent winners have been released in early November, October or even the summer.

    I could see Young Adult having problems even without the early festival peak. It’s going to have to compete with MI, Sherlock, Iron Lady, a Fincher film, Cameron Crowe and two Spielberg films. I mean why put yourself up against competition like that?

  • 30 7-27-2011 at 9:48 am

    Tom said...

    Guy, have you seen TAKE SHELTER?

  • 31 7-27-2011 at 11:07 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yes, saw it at Cannes. I’ll actually write a review at some point before September. It’s good stuff.

  • 32 7-27-2011 at 11:56 am

    Afrika said...

    Gone are the days when you could relish festivals without the constant nagging award speculation. The best actress race has already been quantified, best picture scaled, best actors speculated, best directors debated etc etc etc Can we watch the movies first? this is a clear example of what award season has become : aimless prattle and heavy campaigning by fanboys and the big wallets.

    *sips tea*

  • 33 7-27-2011 at 12:15 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Afrika: It’s a pity it seems that way to you from the outside, because when you’re actually at a festival, the conversation is very different indeed — whether it’s critics comparing notes and sharing tips on smaller gems, debating the virtues and/or meaning of bigger, more divisive titles or questioning the rationale of festival selectors. That’s one of the pleasures of going to a festival like Berlin, which has little to no overlap with the awards season — the films may be spottier, but they’re also the prime topic of conversation.

  • 34 7-27-2011 at 12:21 pm

    knative said...

    That Michelle Yeoh film has some pretty stills.

  • 35 7-27-2011 at 1:12 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Afrika a lot of that is true but as individuals we all have the option of ignoring all that chatter and just focusing on the films ourselves.

  • 36 7-27-2011 at 1:29 pm

    Afrika said...

    It’s good to know that the festivals have not been contaminated.

    Matthew Starr
    That’s quite hard to do when you belong in the film community and have to rely on outside sources for festival coverage.

  • 37 7-27-2011 at 1:30 pm

    Afrika said...

    when you don’t belong*

  • 38 7-27-2011 at 2:00 pm

    M said...

    Reply to Susie:

    This might seem off-topic but I felt compelled to share this with you. Weisz cheated on Darren Arofonsky with Daniel Craig while shooting her film. Daniel Craig is a real homewrecker but there is no backlash kind of like how it was with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe with Dennis Quaid being the victim. Hollywood is so corrupt and twisted. Women who are misperceived or wrongly accused of being homewreckers like Angelina or Abbie Cornish because of tabloid gossip and media corruption who gets out of control get so much hatred, nasty spin, and bias while people like Crowe and Craig get away with it when they actually committed the act.

    Now Daniel and Rachel are married but he wrecked her first marriage. They are lucky there is no negative PR or bad media coverage.

    Just a FYI.

  • 39 7-27-2011 at 2:04 pm

    M said...

    Also another FYI, despite some inaccurate media reports neither Jolie or Cornish ever confessed to those lies but the media has distorted comments from interviews. Clarifications from both Pitt and Phillippe were issued but the media just blocked that with more spin.

    I have high hopes for Moneyball, Albert Nobbs, and Melancholia. I have already heard some good things from other people.

  • 40 7-27-2011 at 2:25 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    M do you know Weisz, Craig or Aronofsky in person? If not then how do you know who did what exactly?

  • 41 7-27-2011 at 2:28 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    M: This really isn’t the place for that kind of discussion — let’s keep it about the movies. (Also, as a minor point of correction, Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz were never officially married.)

  • 42 7-27-2011 at 4:20 pm

    Speaking English said...

    “Ides of March” poster is out.

  • 43 7-27-2011 at 5:27 pm

    Jessica Young said...

    http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/awards-campaign/posts/what-films-are-surprisingly-not-at-the-toronto-film-festival-this-year?page=1 The gentleman who wrote this article seems pretty confident neither Young Adult or Tinker,tailor,soldier spy will be shown at TIFF. Guy, I really hope you’re right and he’s wrong..I need Tom Hard/Gary Oldman meeting!!

  • 44 7-28-2011 at 9:22 am

    The Other James D. said...

    I’d love to see Weisz end up with a second nomination at some point. Hopefully it could be either this year or next, depending on the release dates of the other films.

  • 45 8-02-2011 at 6:39 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    “Canadian chill”, Guy? In early September? Don’t be cute… ;)