TIFF 2011 Preview #4

9 08 2011

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Salmon Fishing In Yemn

What’s It About: A fisheries scientist is tasked with the responsibility of bringing Salmon fishing to the highlands of Yemen.

Chances At Top Prize: Low. Could be a charming film since it has a nice cast including Ewan McGregor, Kristen Scott Thomas, and Emily Blunt but I expect this to go the way of many of McGregor’s projects; good but falls to the wayside.

Shame

What’s It About: When his sister moves in with him, Brandon must confront his sexual compulsions as well as her self-destructing nature.

Chances At Top Prize: High. It has two fantastic leads (Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan) and a talented up-and-coming director at the helm (Steve McQueen) exploring what could be a very dramatic story. I don’t know what’s not to like.

A Simple Life

What’s It About: A drama about the relationship between a family servant and a young man.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. A fairly unknown film, “A Simple Life” has a great actor in Andy Lau starring and a capable director at the helm so it shouldn’t be counted out yet I also wouldn’t bet on it.

The Skin I Live In

What’s It About: A talented plastic surgeon creates a synthetic skin capable of withstanding any damage. He decides to use this on the object of his obsession.

Chances At Top Prize: High. The name Pedro Almodovar is enough to create buzz but throw in Antonio Banderas and the haunting premise could make this his best film since “Talk To Her”

Sleepless Night

What’s It About: After his son gets kidnapped, a police officer must navigate the nightlife, corrupt cops, and drug dealers in an attempt to find him.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. People love a good crime thriller and France has produced a few good ones recently making me think this could be in the mix. It will most likely get lost in the shuffle but if director Frederic Jardin gets the tension right it could be a surprise hit.

Smuggler

What’s It About: I’ll just quote the TIFF website here: “In this wacky and shocking comedy, a failed actor is forced to work smuggling dead bodies and contraband in a world full of underground bankers and crazed fashionista yakuza killers.”

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. It may be a little too wacky for audiences but Katsuhito Ishii (Taste of Cherry) is a talented director and frankly the movie sounds  awesome so I really hope it turns out great.

Snowtown

What’s It About: A 16 year old boy is taken under the wing of his mother’s new boyfriend, a ruthless man who involves him in torture and murder. Based on a true story

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. The story reminds me of Australia’s 2010 crime drama “Animal Kingdom” which I have praised heavily before. So if this movie comes close to what David Michod did last year, “Snowtown” could be a great film. Unfortunately it may just be a little too unknown to get the proper hype to form.

The Stones:

What’s It About: This movie maps the distance between two people as well as between two neighborhoods: urban Buenos Aires and Parana Delta.

Chances At Top Prize: Low. Low based on the fact that it is a director’s debut film and still a giant unknown.

The Student

What’s It About: A student of the University of Buenos Aires enters the, apparently, murky world of student politics. A microcosm for the world at large, he must use his new found talents in the field to seduce and manipulate his way around.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. The premise sound fascinating but it all depends on execution, and a first time film-maker may be prone to some mistakes that hold it down.

Take Shelter

What’s It About: A Man begins to have visions of an upcoming apocalypse and begins frantically building a storm shelter. His community then begins to lash out towards his erratic behavior.

Chances At Top Prize: High. Michael Shannon is a very under-rated actor and Jessica Chastain continues her breakout year in what is being called an excellent, powerful drama.

Take This Waltz

What’s It About: In this bittersweet comedy, a woman struggles to choose between her husband and a man she just met.

Chances At Top Prize: Low. I have a strong feeling this will be a hit at the TIFF, Sarah Polley is an excellent Canadian director and the film features a very funny cast including Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, and Sarah Silverman. Although it’ll most likely be good I don’t think it will get the acclaim to win the Audience Award.

Ten Year

What’s It About: A group of friends re-unite at their high-school reunion and discover what has and hasn’t changed about themselves.

Chances At Top Prize: Zero. Although it has no chance this could be an intriguing film due to the fairly solid cast including Kate Mara, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, and Anthony Mackie. One to keep your eye on, but don’t expect greatness.

Trishna

What’s It About: The complicated relationship that arises when the son of a property developer seduces the daughter of an auto rickshaw owner.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. Not too much is known about the film aside from the source material, but Michael Winterbottom is directing making it a true wildcard. It could be absolutely fantastic or a potential trainwreck.

Twixt

What’s It About: A struggling mystery writer ends up in a small town where he teams up with a local to begrudgingly write another novel about the supernatural. This time though it is based upon events which happened right there.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. Francis Ford Coppola directing will be enough to draw a crowd and given who is involved and the premise I think it could be great. Yet parts it may be a little too out there for some audiences so top prize may be pushing it.

Tyrannosaur

What’s It About: A constantly violent man full of rage sees a way out of this spiral when a chance relationship begins with Hanah, a christian charity worker.

Chances At Top Prize: Low. Although the early reviews have been great, this has been a movie described as violent and difficult to sit through. Not the biggest endorsements for an audience award.

Vaquero

What’s It About: The story or a fringe Argentinian actor who attempts to boost his career by landing a role in a Hollywood western that has come to Argentina to shoot

Chances At Top Prize: Low. It is a very unheralded movie so I am giving it low odds. If the comedy portions hit home then it could be a surprising crowd-pleaser.

W.E.

What’s It About: Two romances spanning decades take place; one between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson and a modern one between a married woman and a Russian security guard

Chances At Top Prize: Low. It sounds better than Madonna’s first foray into directing, which was terrible, but this kind of leap in quality shouldn’t be expected.

We Need To Talk About Kevin

What’s It About: A mother deals with her guilt after her son goes on a killing spree at his high school.

Chances At Top Prize: Very High. Tilda Swinton is already being praised for her work in this movie and the lead opposite of her, John C. Reilly, is another excellent actor. I believe the film will have the emotional depth to resonate with the crowd despite the controversial subject matter.

Where Do We Go Now

What’s It About: When tensions rise between Christians and Muslims in a Lebanese village, a group of women band together try and ease the pending conflict.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. It has a good director in Nadine Labaki and deals with a serious subject matter in a light way. This could be something that really appeals to western audiences as most emphatic movies do.

The Woman In The Fifth

What’s It About: An american writer moves to Paris to reunite with his estranged wife and daughter. Things do not go as planned as he comes upon hard times and is forced to work a security job to make ends meet. His life suddenly takes a turn when he begins a relationship with a beautiful stranger.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. I won’t go any higher than that until I know more about the film but a thriller in Paris with Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas certainly is piquing my interest.

The Year of the Tiger

What’s It About: The 2011 Chilean earthquake turns a prisoner into a fugitive as he begins to search for loved ones among the devastation. What he does find is a caged tiger washed up on shore, freeing it he soon realizes than neither of them has much chance of survival.

Chances At Top Prize: Moderate. It sounds like it could be good, but with only that as a guideline who knows how it will be received

You’re Next

What’s It About: A family reunion spirals out of control when a group of people in animal masks lay siege to them in this horror film from Adam Wingard.

Chances At Top Prize: Very low. Wingard may be one of the great up-and-coming horror directors but this film has a much better chance of succeeding as a genre film than an overall film.

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