Movies I Can't Wait To See At The Toronto International Film Festival

Today, I venture to Canada ready to watch movie upon movie at the 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

I already have a slight sense of what I'm in for. The buzz machinery has already started up for some of the films at TIFF, given that the Telluride festival took place Labor Day weekend, and now Venice is winding down.

Black Mass, for instance, is being hailed for finally featuring a good performance from Johnny Depp, after the years he spent mired in the muck of over the top performances with silly wigs and even sillier makeup. Scott Cooper’s movie about Boston gangster Whitey Bulger seems like it will bring him back into awards consideration. The Playlist said that film SpotlightTom McCarthy’s ensemble piece about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal — “may just be the best film about inspirational investigative journalism since ‘All The President's Men.’” I'm anticipating a screening of The Danish Girl, Tom Hooper’s film about Lili Elbe, which stars Eddie Redmayne as the trans heroine. The trailer was gorgeous and reviews from Venice have been generally positive both for Redmayne and his co-star Alicia Vikander, who is perhaps on her way to awards glory herself.

I snuck into pre-TIFF screenings to view a few other films. I saw Brooklyn earlier this summer and adored it. I also viewed Sicario, a violent and engaging film about the war on drugs starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent. There are others I’ve gotten a peek at that I can’t quite talk about yet — like The Dressmaker, Freeheld, and The Martian — but will be able to soon.

When I get to the festival, I'm aiming to catch a variety of titles featuring talented women in major roles. One of the biggest stars with a presence at TIFF is Sandra Bullock, who stars in Our Brand Is Crisis, a potentially fascinating film. Director David Gordon Green has a varied resume that includes plentiful indies but also Pineapple Express and (yikes) Your Highness, and Bullock appears in a role that was first intended for George Clooney. Everything could go right with this one...or not. Julianne Moore, who also won an Oscar for her role in Still Alice — which premiered at last year's TIFF — returns with two films: Freeheld and Rebecca Miller's Maggie's Plan, co-starring Greta Gerwig.

I also want to see what Emma Watson does with period thriller, Colonia, and how Elle Fanning fares as a trans teen in About Ray. I'll try to catch Kristen Stewart in Equals, a futuristic romance from the director of the heart-tugging film Like Crazy. But the performance I am most excited to see is Brie Larson's in Room, based on Emma Donoghue's novel. I've been cheering hard for Larson ever since 2013's Short Term 12, and the Telluride response indicates that this could be her year. I dare you not to get emotional watching this newly released trailer.

All the while I’ll be reporting back right here. Stay tuned.

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