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The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off its 40th year tomorrow and for 10 days straight, there will be hundreds of film premieres and screenings, star sightings galore and several pounds of popcorn in our systems. If you’re still not sure what to check out at TIFF, we broke down the top 11 must-see films this year. Good luck and don’t forget to fit in some non-theatre food meals in your schedule!
Matt Damon hearts space travel! Following his turn in Interstellar, Damon suits up for a second time to star in Ridley Scott’s cinematic trip to Mars — only like Kevin McAllister, Damon’s astronaut character gets left behind when his crew’s mission goes awry. On the upside, he gets some of the important “me time” we all crave. The downside: he may never see Earth again.
The Reflektor Tapes
Remember Justin Bieber’s Believe concert flick? This is like that, except with Montreal’s Arcade Fire. Music video director Kahlil Joseph (you’ve seen his vids for FKA Twigs and Kendrick Lamar) worked with the band to capture some of their most epic shows like their Carnival performance in Jamaica and their Earls Court concert in London.
Kristen Stewart is back at the festival this year starring opposite Nicholas Hoult in Equals. The two are citizens in a futuristic, so-called utopian society where peace and order reign. That’s because nobody has any emotions anymore except, suddenly, a few people do. Can you guess what that emotion might be? If you said love, go get yourself a cookie.
The Whispering Star
In the future, all your Amazon orders will arrive courtesy of adorable androids who deliver packages to people/aliens across the galaxy, or at least that’s the version of the future Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono (Why Don’t You Play In Hell?) imagines. And you thought drones were cool.
The Final Girls
A clever send up of the classic horror film trope that sees a lone girl left to battle whatever horrifying thing that has been terrorizing her and her (now dead) friends, The Final Girls is equal parts scary and funny and stars American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga along with Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev, and Adam Devine.
Jake Gyllenhaal, y’all. What else do you need to know? Okay, okay — Demolition is the newest film from Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée and it centers on Gyllenhaal’s character, a man who reacts to a major personal tragedy in a very strange way.
Patrick Stewart plays the baddie in this Midnight Madness program opener about a broke punk band who accidentally books an afternoon show at a neo-Nazi clubhouse. Things go (further) downhill from there. Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat also star.
Want to see a bar fight in which Tom Hardy hits Tom Hardy over the head with a bottle of champagne? This is the only TIFF film where you can. In director Brian Helgeland’s Legend, Hardy plays notorious London gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray — both of them — and does a smashing good job of it.
Girls boarding schools have never been this scary (and that’s saying something). Kiernan Shipka plays a prep schooler who’s Christmas break is ruined after her parents fail to pick her up. Left behind with just one other student, the two girls despair over their predicament. However, someone is coming to get them. Like smart horror films? This one’s for you.
The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne looks to repeat at the Academy Awards next year with his turn in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. Based on a true story, the film explores the life of a married artist living in 1920s Copenhagen and the events that unfold after he decides to live as a woman and undergo one of the first gender reassignment surgeries ever performed. Yep, smells like an Oscar to us.
Bryan Cranston playing jailed and blacklisted commie screenwriter Dalton Trumbo? This calls for a GIF.
The film’s awesome supporting cast is made up of Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, and Diane Lane. We can’t wait to see who Louis’ wearing at the premiere.
By Corrina Allen