In less than a month Toronto will heat up with some of the biggest names in the movie business as the Toronto International Film Festival unspools films of all shapes and sizes.
Today the TIFF has announced some new titles that will be hitting the screens, and topping the list is Academy Award-winning writer-director Bill Condon‘s Kinsey, and Vadim Jean‘s Jiminy Glick In Lalawood.
Kinsey, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, will make its world premiere as a Gala Presentation at the festival and presents the story of Alfred Kinsey (played by Liam Neeson), the famed scholar who published the now infamous book Sexual Behaviour and the Human Male. It was this study that revealed to America just what sex was all about in their own back yard.
Set in 1948 the story follows the real-life work of Kinsey as he interviewed thousands of people about their sex lives and fantasies. Described as a “playfully romantic” film, the story follows Kinsey through his youth and into his adulthood until a romance sparks with a woman named Clara (Laura Linney).
As the press release puts it, “Their relationship forces Clara to reconcile her politics, emotions and free-spirited nature with Kinsey’s near obsession with sexual exploration.”
The film also stars Chris O’Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliver Platt, Dylan Baker, and Lynn Redgrave.
Director Bill Condon is best known for his film Gods And Monsters and for writing the screenplay for Chicago.
Then there’s Mr. Jiminy Glick – Martin Short‘s odd little exuberant entertainment critic who appears in his first film, Jiminy Glick In Lalawood. Described as “highly improvised” the film also stars Jan Hooks, Linda Cardellini, Janeane Garofalo, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Perkins, Larry Joe Campbell, DeRay Davis, Aries Spears, and Gary Anthony Williams and is a “rollicking romp that follows Jiminy as his dreams of all -encompassing celebrity land him in the comical trappings of an outlandish murder mystery.”
Here’s the official line on the film: “Jiminy’s fast track to stardom begins when he wakes up at a screening of young megastar Ben DiCarlo’s new movie having missed every single frame and gives it a rave review. Every other critic in town pans it, so Ben, notoriously elusive of the press, agrees to give his one and only interview to Jiminy. This catapults Jiminy from obscurity to being the most talked about guy in town. Filmmakers and studio executives want to schmooze him and every actor wants to be interviewed by him, including fading Hollywood star Miranda Cooledge. When Miranda is later found dead in Jiminy’s bed, he thinks he is to blame and gets embroiled in a whodunit complete with sex, scandal, rappers and glamorous celebrities.”
Directed by Vadim Jean and written by Martin Short, Paul Flaherty, and Michael Short, the film is a Gold Circle Films presentation of a Brillstein-Grey production, in association with Dolshor productions. Equinoxe Films will distribute the film in Canada.
The film will be presented as the closing Gala Presentation.
Also premiering at the festival are five Special Presentations, which include: the world premiere of Crash, from Paul Haggis; John Duigan‘s Head In The Clouds; Haven, by Frank E. Flowers; Alexander Payne‘s Sideways; and James Toback‘s When Will I Be Loved. Niels Mueller‘s The Assassination Of Richard Nixon will also receive its North American premiere.
Here are the official lines on each film:
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, Crash, an epic and powerful feature debut from Canadian-born writer and director Paul Haggis, weaves together the stories of eight disparate characters whose lives intersect around a car crash and a murder investigation. CRASH explores the twists of fate that propel each character on an unexpected journey toward an inevitable end, and stars Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Bill Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, and Larenz Tate.
John Duigan’s romantic and beautiful Head In The Clouds follows bookish, idealistic Guy Malyon (Stuart Townsend), a student at the University of Cambridge who begins a passionate love affair with the stunning, aristocratic, and hedonistic Gilda Bessé (Charlize Theron). An unlikely couple, they move to Paris and, along with Gilda’s closest friend Mia (Penelope Cruz), live together happily. At the onset of the Second World War, their conflicting ideologies drive the trio apart. Guy and Mia leave Paris to fight in the Spanish Civil War leaving Gilda, and their naiveté, behind.
Haven, Frank E. Flowers’ enormously entertaining feature debut, is an absorbing crime-drama about greed, love, and vengeance. After his home is swarmed by federal officers, Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton), a shady Miami businessman, flees to the Cayman Islands. Carl’s arrival, unbeknownst to him, sets off a chain of events that lead Shy (Orlando Bloom), a British expatriate living on the island, to commit a terrible crime.
In Sideways, by beloved director Alexander Payne (ABOUT SCHMIDT), Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) take a road trip celebrating Jack’s final days as a bachelor and careen woefully sideways as they hit the gas en-route to a mid-life crisis. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women (Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen). Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings, and trepidation about the future, they inevitably collide with reality.
James Toback returns to the Festival with When Will I Be Loved, a world premiere. Vera (Neve Campbell) is a beautiful, capricious, young woman exploring the limits of her sexual and intellectual power. Her boyfriend Ford (Frederick Weller) is a fast-talking hustler who will do anything to make a buck. Ford cooks up a scheme to pimp Vera out to an aging, Italian media mogul for $100,000. Everything appears to be going as planned, but the two men have gravely underestimated Vera, and when her plan comes to fruition, the results are staggering.
The Assassination of Richard Nixon, a North American premiere from Niels Mueller, is based on the true story of a struggling furniture salesman, Sam Bicke (Sean Penn), who in 1974 attempted to assassinate the 37th President of the United States. How this American everyman reached such a calamitous decision is fascinating and chilling. Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, and Jack Thompson join Penn to bring to life this gripping story, set amid the corruption and scandal of the early 1970s.
Previously announced Special Presentations are: Don McKellar’s Childstar; Roger Michell’s Enduring Love; Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda; Todd Solondz’s Palindromes; Dylan Kidd’s P.S.; John Sayles’ Silver City; and Darrell James Roodt’s Yesterday.
Finally, in other film festival news, bloggers will rejoice at the news that Bell Canada is introducing a filmmaker blog called Director’s Dish by debut feature filmmaker Rob Stefaniuk.
Stefaniuk’s film Phil The Alien will appear at this year’s festival and his blog will feature photographs and video clips as he documents his experience at the Festival of Festivals.
Check it all out at www.bell.ca/filmfest.