Ben Affleck (right) steers his third feature, Argo, also starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
By the time you read this, I'll have seen two dozen films in preparation for TIFF. If I'm really, really lucky, I might even have caught one of my five most highly anticipated titles from the list below. Though I'd settle for an early look at Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Baltasar Kormákur's The Deep, Ben Wheatley's Sightseers, Sion Sono's The Land Of Hope or Peaches's Peaches Does Herself.
I'm pretty open is what I'm saying.
Ben Affleck's third directorial effort - after Gone Baby Gone and The Town - dramatizes the 1979 efforts of the CIA to retrieve six Americans from the Canadian embassy in Tehran by sending in an agent (Affleck) posing as the producer of a quickie sci-fi movie. (He's supposed to be in Iran to scout locations.) It's Wag The Dog with a hair trigger, co-starring Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, Kyle Chandler and Chris Messina.
September 7, 6:30 pm, Roy Thomson Hall; September 8, 11 am, and September 15, 3 pm, Elgin
Michael Winterbottom and his actors, John Simm and Shirley Henderson, shot this drama - about a couple whose relationship is tested when he's imprisoned on drug charges - piecemeal over the course of five years, the better to let the actors age in real time and develop their characters separately. I can't wait to see what they've come up with.
September 8, 6:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; September 10, 3 pm, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 7; September 16, 12:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
This experimental study of the American commercial fishing industry from directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Véréna Paravel (Foreign Parts) had critics raving at Locarno - or, more properly, tweeting constantly about its nightmarish intensity and thrilling camera work. Count me in.
September 12, 7 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3; September 14, 3:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Much Ado About Nothing
Joss Whedon was making The Avengers but he got bored during post-production. So he called a bunch of friends and shot a feature-length adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy. You know, just for a lark. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, who played out what may be Whedon's greatest romance on Angel, reunite as Beatrice and Benedick, and Nathan Fillion plays Dogberry, which may be even better screen casting than Michael Keaton in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 version.
September 8, 2:30 pm, Elgin; September 9, 12:30 pm, Isabel Bader; September 14, 11 am, Elgin
To The Wonder
After last year's triumphant, transcendent The Tree Of Life, Terrence Malick returns (in record time!) with a new drama starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olya Kurylenko and Javier Bardem. I don't know anything about it other than the running time (112 minutes!), and given Malick's tendency toward secrecy, I'm not sure we can even take that as gospel.
September 10, 7 pm, and September 11, 3 pm, Princess of Wales; September 16, 9:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1