TIFF '12 Preview Part one of Five: The Coming Soon Anyways
The one debate that truly rules the various long and short line-ups at TIFF isn’t about where to get coffee, or how annoying the ticket-getting process is or isn’t. What really gets strangers to turn right around and get politely in each others’ faces is the enduringly hot-button issue of whether it’s a good idea or the worst idea to go see screenings of movies that are about to come out in regular theatres in a few weeks anyway. It’s basically the Israel/Palestine issue of the festival, except in line-ups for movies about the Israel/Palestine issue, where the Israel/Palestine issue is the Israel/Palestine issue.
Folks agin’ it claim rightly that TIFF tickets are too expensive, too hard to get and altogether too precious to waste on movies that can be witnessed in a few days in the relative comfort and affordable luxury of a local theatre. Folks a-for it rightly claim that seeing a movie with a TIFF audience heightens the movie-seeing pleasure, and that Q&A’s with actual Hollywood talent rarely follow screenings of Looper at the Mississauga CineDome.
We abstain from the debate. We acknowledge the strength of each side’s argument and refrain from further commentary, and provide below a list of movies that will be coming to regular theatres soon, so that you may indulge, catch a neat Q&A with real-life movie stars and working directors (and scoop the normies who will have to wait a month to see it) or, if you see fit, avoid them like the plague, and keep safe your extra eleven dollars (and your personal sense of not being tricked into seeing a gussied-up popcorn flick).
Argo (Directed by and starring Ben Affleck)
Set for wide release on October 12, Ben Affleck’s third feature Argo adapts the story of the “Canadian Caper” for the big screen. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the subsequent storming of the American Embassy by Islamist students, six American diplomats were able to hide in the home of Ken Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador.
Tasked with exfiltrating them against the backdrop of the hostage crisis occurring at the American Embassy proper, CIA agent and disguise-master Tony Mendez (Affleck) and the Canadian government concoct a plan to establish a fake sci-fi film production, and claim that the six were in-country scouting Mars-like shooting locations.
Affleck’s last film, The Town, played at TIFF to spectacular response – expect a similar reaction from crowds not normally used to hearing the word “Canada” or “Canadian” come out of famous people’s mouths on screen.
Looper (Directed by Rian Johnson, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Rian Johnson’s debut, Brick, was a cheapo modern high-school noir that just about blew the doors off everyone who saw it. Looper, his third film (following the weird, disappointing-to-some The Brothers Bloom), has had film nerds, myself included, drooling for months. That drool flow turned into a drool fire hose when TIFF announced (going against all kinds of tradition as it’s neither Canadian nor… boring) that Looper would be opening the festival. It’s a sci-fi crime film that’ll be hitting regular theatres on September 28th, but the opportunity to see it with a ravenous TIFF crowd might be worth the extra moolah and aggravation.
Dredd 3D (Directed by Pete Travis, starring Karl Urban)
If there’s one screening milieu that’s worth twice or triple its ticket’s face value, it’s Midnight Madness–the programme opened this year by Dredd 3D. There is no better crowd on Earth with which to watch a movie than the thousand-or-so folks that pack the Ryerson every year, especially when they’re handed as rich and bloody a piece of fan-bait as a new serious adaptation of everyone’s favourite psychotic future-cop Judge Dredd. It doesn’t matter when the movie hits normal, cheap theatres – see this if you can at Midnight the first day of the fest.
Cloud Atlas (Directed by Lana & Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, Starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry)
If ever there was a Hollywood-movie screening where the brief post-film Q&A alone made the ticket price reasonable it will be the debut of Cloud Atlas at TIFF this year. Based on the sprawling novel of the same name, the film is directed by the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer) in partnership with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). It spans a period of time stretching from the 1850s to the far distant post-apocalyptic future, and is just about as high-concept an idea for a film as you’ll ever see (costing a hundred million bucks and starring folks like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, anyway). Hits normal theatres in October.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Directed by Stephen Chbosky, starring Logan Lerman)
Over the next week we'll be previewing the slate of flicks available at TIFF '12. Check back tomorrow for our look at this year's adaptations of Ye Olde Classics, including versions of Anna Karenina and Great Expectations.
Adapting and directing his own novel, Stephen Chbosky finally brings cult-favourite The Perks of Being a Wallflower to the big screen. Published alongside books like Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck Up, Chbosky’s coming-of-age story was released by MTV books in 1999, and has been capturing the imaginations of shy, totally misunderstood and like completely awkward teens ever since. It’s smart and it actually deals with contemporary teenage anxiety without couching it in terms of killing each other on a space island in exchange for oil and food or having sex with a hundred-year old vampire, which is a bonus. Will see a limited release at the end of September.