TIFF2015 :: 28 Hand Picked Films From A Toronto Film Festival Director

by Shannonn Kelly
September 10, 2015 03:25AM EST

 Colin Farrell,  John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw in "The Lobster" by Greek director  Yorgos Lanthimos
Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw in “The Lobster” by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos

360 days ago, I took a break from blogging, to focus on writing and editing my Screenplays and also work on a few documentary projects.

But alas, the big Monster is back that is the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s the 40th Anniversary. So It’s a little hard to ignore. And since last season I saw Justin Long turned into a Walrus, this year I want to see Colin Farrell turned into a *Lobster* (winky face)…



Here are my Picks for #TIFF15

11 Minutes (11 Minut)
Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
Poland/Ireland | 81 minutes | North American Premiere
Polish master Jerzy Skolimowski (Four Nights with Anna, Essential Killing) shuttles between the stories of several characters over the course of eleven minutes on a single day in Warsaw.

Why You Should See This Film: Jerzy Skolimowski is an excellent screenwriter and director. It will do you good to see a foreign film like this and then you can compare it to Crash and Vantage Point.

Directed by Naomi Kawase
Japan/France/Germany | 113 minutes | North American Premiere
A lonely baker has his life (and business) reinvigorated when he hires an elderly woman with an uncanny culinary skill and a mysterious communion with nature, in this graceful, quietly moving drama from Japan’s Naomi Kawase (The Mourning Forest, Still the Water).

Why You Should See This Film: Aside from being a “Foodie” and drawn to most films about food and food culture, Japanese films at TIFF are always poorly attended. And yet they have some of the best films coming from that country. The uproarious “Key of Life” and the heart rendering
Like Father, Like Son” immediately come to mind. 


French Blood
Directed by Diastème Platform
France | 97 minutes | International Premiere
A racist thug in France’s Front National battles his way from the streets to the backrooms of political power, in this hard-hitting, decades-spanning drama about the rise of Europe’s far right.


Directed by Ben Wheatley Platform
United Kingdom | 112 minutes | World Premiere
Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons star in the new film by cult British director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, A Field in England), an ambitious adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel about a London apartment tower that becomes a battlefield in a literal class war.

Why You Should See This Film: It’s Ben Wheatley people…!

Directed by Fabienne Berthaud (Platform)
France/Germany| 100 minutes | World Premiere
Fleeing from the scene of a terrible crime, a young woman embarks on a life-changing road trip across California and Nevada, in this drama starring Diane Kruger, Lena Dunham and Norman Reedus.

Why You Should See This Film: It’s Norman Reedus people…!

Every Thing Will Be Fine
Directed by Wim Wenders
Germany/Canada/France/Sweden/Norway | 119 minutes | North American Premiere
A tragic car accident links the lives of a struggling writer (James Franco), his long-suffering girlfriend (Rachel McAdams), a grieving mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and a publisher’s assistant (Marie-Josée Croze), in this intricate and beautifully shot 3D drama from master director Wim Wenders (Pina).

Why You Should See This Film: Wim Wenders is always stretching his creative self in ways that have to be seen to be believed. The American Friend, Lightning Over Water, Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire, Until the End of the World, Faraway, So Close!, Buena Vista Social Club, The Soul of a Man, Pina. Please stop me when you’ve had enough examples…

Directed by Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
USA | 90 minutes | Canadian Premiere
Charlie Kaufman, the celebrated screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and director of Synecdoche, New York, ventures into the world of stop-motion animation with this fable about a motivational speaker seeking to transcend his monotonous existence.

Why You Should See This FilmIt’s Charlie Kaufman people…! 

Beasts of No Nation
Directed by Cary Fukunaga
USA | 133 minutes | Canadian Premiere
After his parents are killed, a young African boy is forced to become a child soldier in a rebel army led by a brutal commandant (Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), in this adaptation of the acclaimed book by Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala.

Why You Should See This Film: Cary’s 2009 film Sin Nombre and last year’s smash specialty cable hit True Detective simply blew my mind. I can’t wait to see this poignant story that seems to be prepared to be an upset with only the name cast member of Idris Elba among the cast. The fact that Cary adapted the screenplay means he cares deeply about the story.

The Danish Girl
Directed by Tom Hooper
United Kingdom | 120 minutes | North American Premiere
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars as Lili Elbe, the 1920s Danish artist who was one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery, in this biopic directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech).

Why You Should See This Film: There is no reason to not see this film.

Born to be Blue
Directed by Robert Budreau
Canada/United Kingdom | 97 minutes | World Premiere
Ethan Hawke stars as Chet Baker in this remarkably creative reimagining of the legendary jazz trumpeter’s struggle to overcome his drug addiction and stage a comeback. Also, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie

Directed by John Crowley
Screenplay by Nick Hornby
United Kingdom/Ireland/Canada | 105 minutes | Canadian Premiere
In the early 1950s, a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) crosses the Atlantic to begin a new life in America, in this exquisitely crafted adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Colm Tóibín.

Directed by Jacques Audiard
France | 114 minutes | North American Premiere
Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, this powerful drama from director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust & Bone) follows a former Tamil Tiger soldier as he flees from the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war to begin a new life in a Parisian suburb.

Directed by Jonás Cuarón
Mexico/France | 94 minutes | World Premiere
Jonás Cuarón directs Gael García Bernal in this thriller about a group of would-be immigrants whose dream of entering the US becomes a nightmare when a deranged vigilante begins stalking them through the Sonoran Desert.

Families (Belles Familles)
Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
France | 113 minutes | World Premiere
Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Grand Budapest Hotel) stars in this rollicking and romantic country-house farce from lauded director Jean-Paul Rappeneau (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Horseman on the Roof).

The Lobster
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France/Netherlands | 119 minutes | North American Premiere
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly star in the deliciously bizarre new film from Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, ALPS), about a curious hotel where the residents are charged with finding a new mate within 45 days — under penalty of being transformed into animals should they fail.

Directed by Jay Roach
USA | 124 minutes | World Premiere
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) stars as the famous screenwriter and Hollywood blacklist victim Dalton Trumbo, in this engrossing biopic co-starring Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Diane Lane and John Goodman.

Un plus une
Directed by Claude Lelouch
France | 115 minutes | World Premiere
A successful film composer (Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin, The Artist) falls in love when he travels to India to work on a Bollywood retelling of Romeo and Juliet, in this glorious romantic drama from the great French director Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman).

Where To Invade Next
Directed by Michael Moore
USA | 110 minutes | World Premiere
Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore returns with what may be his most provocative and hilarious film yet: Moore tells the Pentagon to “stand down” — he will do the invading for America from now on.

Directed by Paolo Sorrentino (directed the Great Beauty)
Italy/France/United Kingdom/Switzerland | 123 minutes | North American Premiere
Two old friends (Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel) reflect on their past, present, and the beauty and absurdity of the world during a vacation in the Swiss Alps, in the lovely and heart-warming new film from Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty).

Directed by Johnnie To
China/Hong Kong | 117 minutes | North American Premiere
Hong Kong master Johnnie To (Drug War, Mad Detective) directs superstars Chow Yun-fat and Sylvia Chang in this spectacular movie musical about high-level corporate intrigue.

The Meddler
Directed by Lorene Scafaria
USA | 100 minutes | World Premiere
Susan Sarandon delivers one of her most richly satisfying performances in this insightful and winning comedy-drama about an incessantly doting mother who, after her husband passes away, follows her daughter (Rose Bryne) to Los Angeles and makes an unexpected connection with a local cop (J.K. Simmons).

Louder than Bombs
Directed by Joachim Trier
Norway/France/Denmark | 109 minutes | North American Premiere

An aging schoolteacher (Gabriel Byrne) grappling with the recent death of his photojournalist wife (Isabelle Huppert) attempts to reconcile with his two very different sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid), in the first English-language feature by acclaimed Norwegian director Joachim Trier (Reprise).

I Saw the Light
Directed by Marc Abraham
USA | 123 minutes | World Premiere
Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen star in this biopic of country-music legend Hank Williams.

The Family Fang
Directed by Jason Bateman
USA | 105 minutes | World Premiere
After an unlikely accident, a pair of grown siblings (Nicole Kidman and director-star Jason Bateman) are compelled to move back in with their eccentric parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett), situationist artists/professional practical jokers whose lifetime of public interventions have alienated their children.

Girls Lost (Pojkarna)
Directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining
Sweden | 106 minutes | World Premiere
Three outcast teenage girls get a new perspective on high-school life when they are mysteriously transformed into boys, in this skillfully crafted tale of sexual confusion with a supernatural twist.

Why You Should See This Film: Girls turning into Boys…? Who doesn’t like body switch movies. The trailer looks amazing. Plus a ” supernatural twist”. It’s “Harry Potter” meets “Freaky Friday”.

BAUER (Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer)
Directed by Lars Kraume
Germany | 105 minutes | North American Premiere
Top German actors Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara, Phoenix) star in this riveting historical thriller, which chronicles the herculean efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.

Why You Should See This Film: Great based on true life story. Exceptional Cast. The new “Boys From Brazil“. 

Hardcore (Midnight Madness)
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
Russia/USA | 90 minutes | World Premiere
A cybernetic super-soldier kicks, punches and parkours his way across Russia to save his wife from a psychotic paramilitary psychic bent on world domination, in this non-stop, white-knuckle, crackerjack thrill ride.

Why You Should See This Film: I repeat: “non-stop, white-knuckle, crackerjack thrill ride”

Last Cab to Darwin  *In-Depth Q&A at 2nd Screening
Directed by Jeremy Sims
Australia | 123 minutes | International Premiere
In this adaptation of the successful stage play by Reg Cribb, a 70-year-old taxi driver diagnosed with terminal cancer undertakes a 3,000-mile journey to visit a pioneering physician in Darwin.

Rex (Michael Caton) is a seventy-year-old taxi driver who has never travelled anywhere outside his dusty hometown of Broken Hill, New South Wales. He lives on his own, sees his few mates at the local pub, listens to jazz records, and has the occasional cup of tea with his more outgoing neighbour, Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf of Rabbit-Proof Fence and Bran Nue Dae). It’s a quiet, somewhat idle existence until Rex is diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and given a few months to live.

Robert Steiner, Director of the Fellowships in Global Journalism Program, is a writer and award-winning former foreign correspondent now teaching journalism at the Munk School. He will speak about Last Cab to Darwin in a Q&A session following the second screening of the film.

Why You Should See This Film: One of my favorite films of all time is “The Straight Story” by master David Lynch. It was the story about two estranged brothers, who come together only after one of them suffers a stroke and the other  drives from Iowa to Wisconsin to see his brother possibly for one last time. The catch, he drives on his motorized lawnmower… The people he encounters and the lives he changes on his journey (including his own) are woven together in a beautiful tapestry of colors and formations of the changing landscape that seem to make each frame a postcard. I think Last Cab To Darwin will be a wonderful companion piece to this film.

The Martian
Directed by Ridley Scott
USA | 130 minutes | World Premiere
Stranded on Mars, a NASA astronaut (Matt Damon) struggles to survive on the arid planet while his ground crew races to mount a rescue mission, in this interplanetary epic from director Ridley Scott.

Written by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and stars— Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels as the dynamic team of scientists and administrators pushing the limits of aeronautic science to bring him home.

Why You Should See This Film: Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels. Added plus- Matt Damon does not Buy a Farm…

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