Tuesday, August 17, 2010


UPDATED 08/17/10: Incorporating recent press announcements and preview capsules from the Fall Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly, which has been especially helpful for determining distribution dates.

The Bang Bang Club (Steven Silver, Canada/South Africa)The Bang Bang Club was the name given to four young photographers, Greg Marinovich, Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek and Joao Silva, whose photographs captured the final bloody days of white rule in South Africa and the final demise of apartheid. The film tells the remarkable and sometimes harrowing story of these young men—and the extraordinary extremes they went to in order to capture their pictures. The film stars Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Neels Van Jaarsveld and Frank Rautenbach. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Barney's Version (Richard J. Lewis, Canada/Italy)—From producer Robert Lantos, Barney's Version is a film based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel. Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) is a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. Barney's candid confessional spans four decades and two continents, and includes three wives (Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver and Rachelle Lefevre), one outrageous father (Dustin Hoffman) and a charmingly dissolute best friend (Scott Speedman). IMDb. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

A Beginners Guide to Endings (Jonathan Sobol, Canada)—Raucous, charming and very funny, Jonathan Sobol's comedy A Beginners Guide to Endings follows three sons as they deal with their gambler father's somewhat complicated legacy. Featuring the legendary Harvey Keitel, the film also stars Scott Caan, Paolo Costanzo, Wendy Crewson, Tricia Helfer, Jason Jones, and J.K. Simmons. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

According to Screen Daily, Keitel replaced Dennis Hopper who was originally cast in the role of Duke, the gambler father, but had to drop out due to prostate cancer.

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, USA)—A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet, Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a featured dancer who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with a new rival at the company. Black Swan takes a thrilling and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect. Black Swan also stars Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder. Scheduled to open at the Venice International, David Hudson has started rounding up anticipatory previews at MUBI, specifically Susan Wloszczyna's USA Today report. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

"Director Darren Aronofsky actually sees the noirish Swan as a companion to his last film, 2008's The Wrestler. 'One's about what some people would call the lowest art, and one's about the highest art,' he says. 'Yet the athletes [in both] are performers, entertainers. They use their bodies as their instrument and they go through a lot of pain to create what they consider beautiful.' "—Entertainment Weekly (#1116/1117, August 20, 27, 2010, p. 94, brackets in original). Opens December 1, 2010.

Casino Jack aka Bagman (George Hickenlooper, Canada)—Based on a true story, Kevin Spacey stars as Jack Abramoff, the former high-powered lobbyist whose bribery schemes and fraudulent dealings with Indian casinos ultimately landed him in prison, and stunned the world. It remains the biggest scandal to hit Washington, D.C. since Watergate. The film also stars Barry Pepper, Kelly Preston, Rachelle Lefevre and Jon Lovitz. Official site. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

The Conspirator (Robert Redford, USA)—While an angry nation seeks vengeance, a young union war hero must defend a mother accused of aiding her son in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Directed by Robert Redford, the film stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood and Tom Wilkinson. Official site. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

The Debt (John Madden, USA)—Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington star in this thriller about three Israeli Mossad agents on a 1965 mission to capture a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, secrets about the case emerge. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

The Housemaid (Im Sang-Soo, South Korea)—In this erotic thriller, the housemaid of an upper-class family becomes entangled in a dangerous tryst. A satirical look at class structure, reminiscent of the work of Claude Chabrol, this sexy soap opera is a story of revenge and retribution. At MUBI, David Hudson has rounded up the reviews from Cannes. Official site [Korean]. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

Janie Jones (David M. Rosenthal, USA)—Aspiring recording artist Ethan Brand gets a stunning surprise on the opening night of a tour—a strung out former groupie appears unexpectedly, pleading with him to care for their daughter while she pulls herself together. Enter Janie Jones. Played by Abigail Breslin. With Elizabeth Shue. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

The King's Speech (Tom Hooper, United Kingdom / Australia)The King's Speech tells the story of the man who would become King George VI, the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George "Bertie" VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

" 'It's a story of love and friendship between two men across some very difficult social divides,' Firth says of the film, directed by TV miniseries veteran Tom Hooper (Elizabeth I, John Adams). 'We called it the bromance. You know, boy meets therapist, boy loses therapist, boy gets therapist.' "—Entertainment Weekly (#1116/1117, August 20, 27, 2010, p. 82). Opens November 24, 2010.

Last Night (Massy Tadjedin, USA/France)—A married couple are apart for a night when the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he's attracted. While he's away, his wife encounters her past love. The film stars Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet. Closing Night Film. At MUBI, David Hudson cites Peter Kneght's indieWIRE report: "Its cast is a sort of TIFF 'all-stars,' well-represented throughout the festival. Knightley stars in both Never Let Me Go and London Boulevard; Worthington is in The Debt, and Canet's directorial effort Little White Lies is also debuting in Toronto." IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Little White Lies / Les petits mouchoirs (Guillaume Canet, France)—Despite a traumatic event, a group of friends decides to go ahead with their annual beach vacation. Their relationships, convictions, sense of guilt and friendship are sorely tested. They are finally forced to own up to the little white lies they have been telling each other. Directed by Guillaume Canet and starring: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Jean Dujardin, Laurent Lafitte, Valérie Bonneton and Pascale Arbillot. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Peep World (Barry Blaustein, USA)—On the day of their father's 70th birthday party, four siblings come to terms with the publication of a novel written by the youngest sibling that exposes the family's most intimate secrets. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Potiche (François Ozon, France)—A bourgeois housewife (Catherine Deneuve) takes on a rough union leader (Gerard Depardieu) in François Ozon's sparkling comic war between the sexes, and the classes. IMDb. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town (Thom Zimny, USA)The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town takes us into the studio with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the recording of their fourth album. Grammy and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny has collaborated with Springsteen on this documentary, gaining access to never before seen footage shot between 1976-1978, capturing home rehearsals and recording sessions that allow us to see Springsteen's creative process at work. This documentary is scheduled to air on HBO on October 7, 2010, and is slated to be part of the re-issue of the Darkness On the Edge of Town box-set. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Sarah's Key / Elle s'appelait Sarah (Gilles Paquet Brenner, France)—Based on Tatiana de Rosnay's best-selling novel, Sarah's Key tells the story of an American journalist on the brink of making big life decisions regarding her marriage and her unborn child. What starts off as research for an article about the Vel'd'Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France ends up as a journey towards self discovery as she stumbles upon a terrible secret. The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy and Aidan Quinn. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

Score: A Hockey Musical (Michael McGowan, Mansfield, Canada)—A 17-year-old hockey player becomes an instant star when he is signed by a junior league team. He soon discovers that stardom comes with a price—including the expectation to fight on the ice. Score unites Canada's national obsession with the overnight success stories of the classic Hollywood musicals. Official site. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

The Town (Ben Affleck, USA)The Town is a dramatic thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope, and escaping a past that has no future. In the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown, Doug MacCray is the leader of a crew of ruthless bank robbers. But everything changed on the gang's last job when they took bank manager Claire Keesey hostage. Questioning what she saw, Doug seeks out Claire. As their relationship deepens, Doug wants out of this life and the town, but now he must choose whether to betray his friends or lose the woman he loves. Official site. IMDb. Wikipedia. TOFilmFest. North American Premiere.

As Jeff Labrecque reports to Entertainment Weekly (#1116/1117, August 20, 27, 2010, p. 53): "Mostly set and filmed in Boston's blue-collar Charlestown, Affleck's second directorial effort aims for the realism of his '07 debut, Gone Baby Gone. 'Half the people on our movie were ex-cons,' says Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), who plays [Affleck's] short-fused partner in crime. 'If I had questions about the authenticity of something, from my accent to behavior; I'd look to my left, look to my right. There were resources everywhere.' Affleck also understood what the studios wanted: an action movie with plenty of gunplay. 'If I could deliver those sequences,' he says, 'I was free to make a drama with themes I was interested in, like class in America and how children pay for the sins of their parents.' " Opening September 17, 2010.

The Way (Emilio Estevez, USA)—Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago. Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his son better, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage. Along the way he learns what it means to be a citizen of the world again and discovers the difference between "The life we live and the life we choose." Official site. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.

West is West (Andy De Emmony, United Kingdom)—Manchester, Northern England, 1976. The now much-diminished, but still claustrophobic and dysfunctional, Khan family continues to struggle for survival. Sajid, the youngest Khan, is under heavy assault both from his father's tyrannical insistence on Pakistani tradition, and from the fierce bullies in the schoolyard. His father decides to pack him off to Mrs. Khan No 1 and family in the Punjab, the wife and daughters he had abandoned 30 years earlier. The sequel to East is East, West is West is the coming of age story of both 15-year-old Sajid and of his father, 60-year-old George Khan. Tony Tharakan interviews producer Leslee Udwin for Reuters. IMDb. TOFilmFest. World Premiere.