The complete line up for the Toronto Film Festival – including the Midnight Madness films which weren’t supposed to be announced till this Friday – is now available here and it’s a good one. I should point out that my early picks for the Midnight Madness program pretty much tanked. I only got two of them but that’s due largely to a shockingly low number of Asian films in the program and a LOT of my picks turning up in other programs, including some that I’m both shocked and giddy to have the chance to see. The current film list page includes only titles and directors but based on that scant information here are my must-see films:
3-Iron: Kim Ki-Duk
I should say that I have yet to be bitten by the Kim Ki-Duk bug but the man has a legion of fans worldwide and his films garner near-universal critical acclaim. I had no idea he even had another film in the works so close behind Samaria and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring.
Breaking News: Johnny To
Okay, this isn’t really must-see because I’ve already seen it and it lets down a good bit after the incredible opening sequence but that sequence is pretty much worth the price of admission and I’m willing to bet this will have a much higher impact on the big screen than it did on DVD. This was one of my Madness picks that turned up elsewhere.
Niceland: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
Yeah, this is largely because he once had a film scored by Sigur Ros but his work is supposed to be stellar.
Oldboy: Chan Wook Park
Another Madness pick that moved up a division. Have seen this a number of times but catching it on the big screen is an absolute must.
Spider Forest: Song Il-Gon
A Korean psychological horror film that I’ve heard great things about. Surprisingly enough it’s included in one of the mainstream programs … has my little cult fixation moved into the mainstream?
The Woodsman: Nicole Kassell
Kevin Bacon as a pedophile. Bright and cheery? Nope. But it’s already one of the big buzz films of the year.
The entire Dialogues program is mighty fine. This is where they bring in directors to talk about older, classic work. How can you not want to hear Cronenberg talk about The Brood?
Bad Education: Pedro Almodovar
Will I completely destroy my credibility if I publicly admit that I’ve never seen an Almodovar film? I know, I know … I’m missing out. I hear this is really good and I’ve got to start somewhere …
Eros: Wong Kar-Wai, Steven Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni
Look at that list of directors. Is there a better reason?
Ghost In the Shell 2 – Innocence: Mamoru Oshii
Whee! Whee! Whee! Colin Geddes is a god among men! Hallelujah! One of my picks that turned out to be correct.
Saw: James Roll
What, you haven’t been able to tell that we’re a bit psyched about this one from all the rampant posting?
Zebraman: Takashi Miike
Another of my correct picks … I knew a Miike film would be there and I’m not sure whether I was pulling more for this or for Izo. This’ll be considerably less bloody than Izo but quite possibly even stranger. I’m a sucker for Sho Aikawa, too …
The Assassination of Richard Nixon: Niels Mueller
Sean Penn is enough for me. Does the man ever do bad work?
A Dirty Shame: John Waters
Apparently a return to raunchy form after a couple of safe-by-his-standards Waters’ efforts.
Kung Fu Hustle: Steven Chow
Holy crap! This isn’t even supposed to be finished on time! It’s in the program that often features early, rough cuts, so we just might be the only people to ever see this particular version of the film. It’s Chow’s follow up to the hysterical Shaolin Soccer, and also one of my Madness picks that turned up elsewhere.
The Libertine: Laurence Dunmore
Johnny Depp in a bit of male on male action. That’s not my thing, really, but it’s going to infuriate a lot of his female fans and I want to see it before the controversy hits.
Millions: Danny Boyle
Palindromes: Todd Solondz
See above comment on Almodovar. Heresy, I know …
Steamboy: Katsuhiro Otomo
Hot damn! Innocence and Steamboy … it doesn’t really get a whole lot better than that.
Throwdown: Johnny To
I just ordered the DVD of this, but now I get the chance to see it on the big screen as well … it’s been getting mixed reviews but I LOVE the trailer.
House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimou
I’ve been lusting after this film from the day I first heard of it. Apparently Yimou and Ziyi will both be present.
I Heart Huckabees: David O Russell
I like Russell’s Three Kings an awful lot and the trailer for this is just fantastic. Really looking forward to this one.
Vital: Shinya Tsukamoto
This is quite possibly my most anticipated film of the entire festival. I adore Tsukamoto’s work and I’ve never had the chance to see any of it on a big screen.
Now, just a reminder that this list is based on nothing more than titles and directors – and there are a lot of good directors present who I’ve not included on my list – and this list will be sure to grow as synopses and early buzz starts to circulate. If nothing else I’m sure I’ll get a lot more excited about the Madness films as I get to know more about them.
And the final tally on my predictions: seven of the films I tagged as possibilities for the Midnight Madness program are in the festival though only two made it in with the Madness program. Not bad.