TIFF Completes Massive Line-up with Mavericks and More Titles, plus a Guest List and Official Schedule.

Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria) gets a Mavericks talk!
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
The Toronto International Film Festival adds some more films to its line-up and it seems it saved the best for last. TIFF today named the Mavericks selections that form the most impressive wave of its massive programming line-up for 2014. The Mavericks programme offers the fullest festival experience for TIFF-goers with extended conversations with some of the hottest stars and filmmakers involved with some of the TIFF’s biggest films. This year’s Mavericks programme includes extended conversations with Oscar winners Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria), Reese Witherspoon (Wild, The Good Lie), Denzel Washington (The Equalizer) and Robert Duvall (The Judge), along with filmmakers Julie Taymor (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer), and Jon Stewart (Rosewater).


Contest: Win Tickets to see 'The Captive' in Toronto!

Acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan returns with The Captive, which features an all-star cast of Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand, Alexia Fast, Arsinée Khanjian, and Bruce Greenwood. The Captive opens in theatres September 5 from eOne Films, but if you want tickets to a Toronto sneak peek with Atom Egoyan in attendance, then you are in luck! Answer the trivia below to be entered to win!

Synopsis: Eight years after the horrific event, a man finds himself immersed in the complex web of unknowns that surround the mysterious disappearance of his daughter. Trying all at once to rid himself of suspicion in the eyes of police and ultimately find those responsible, The Captive tells the story of a man who’s only option is to plunge into a world of deceit. 

Thanks to our friends at eOne Films, Cinemablographer has ten (10) double passes to give away for the Toronto sneak peek of The Captive! All you have to do to enter is answer the following question:

For what film did Atom Egoyan receive a Best Director Oscar nomination?
a) The Sweet Hereafter
b) Chloe
c) Exotica
d) Felicia’s Journey

Email your answer to contests@cinemablographer.com with the subject “The Captive.”
(Limit one email entry per person please. Multiple emails will be discarded.)

Bonus entries go to anyone who likes/shares this contest on Twitter and Facebook!

Contest closes Friday, August 22 at 9:00 am.
Screening takes place Wednesday, August 27 at the Scotiabank Theatre at 7:00 PM.

The Captive opens in theatres September 5 from eOne Films.

Canada, TIFF, and the Oscar Race: Can Anything Top 'Mommy'?

Mommy. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
The annual question arises now that the Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Canadian line-up: What film will be Canada’s Oscar pick? That question, however, seems awfully redundant as we approach the best launching pad for Canadian films and Oscar hopefuls alike on the fall festival circuit. The real question for Canadian film fans and Oscar junkies circa TIFF 2014 is really, “Can anything top Mommy?”


'Thank you for your childhood.'

The Giver
(USA, 90 min.)
Dir. Phillip Noyce, Writ. Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift.
Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges star in The Giver.
Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

Dystopian flicks are all the rage for the teen crowd nowadays. This business of art sees something viable in the franchises of futuristic young adult novels that offer readily cinematic adventures, so the rationale behind the recent surge of sameness becomes apparent no sooner than one can utter the word “Katniss.” Katniss has a predecessor, though, and his name is Jonas. Crowds  of complacent cogs of YA dystopia chant his name in Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newberry Medal winning novel The Giver and the success of Lowry’s novel exceeds all of the successors that follow in its wake—if not commercially then at least critically. It’s therefore only fitting for the novel that started the trend to receive its own big screen adaptation.


'Lucy' is a Brain Fart

(France, 89 min.)
Written and directed by Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked.
Scientists say that humans use only ten percent of the brain's cerebral capacity. Science fiction writers, on the other hand, wonder what happens when humans maximize their intellectual potential. The result is a freak show that could never happen in real life. Be thankful for that.


Contest: Win Tickets to see 'Swearnet' in Toronto!

Bust out some quarters for the swear jar! The Trailer Park Boys are back in Swearnet and they’re bringing 76 “shits,” 79 “cocks,” 935 “fucks,” and more R-rated shenanigans than you can count! (Especially if you’re from the park!) Swearnet opens in theatres August 29th from eOne Films, but if you can’t fuckin’ wait to see it, then ‘yer in luck! Answer the trivia below to win tickets to a Toronto sneak peek in Toronto with the Trailer Park Boys in attendance!


TIFF Unveils International Spectrum with More Galas, Special Presentions, Shorts, and World Cinema

Jennifer Connelly in Shelter. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
There’s a big wave of titles for the next (and presumably final) installment of programming announcements for the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Today’s line-up offers the full international scope of the festival with more biggies slated for the Gala and Special Presentation programmes including—yay!—new films by Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor) and Lynne Shelton (Touchy Feely). The Gala additions also include World Premieres of the latest films starring Jean Dujardin and Canada’s Christopher Plummer, while Special Presentations features some very exciting Cannes hits (Marion Cotillard’s Two Days, One Night and Olivia Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria) as well as World Premieres of hot titles like Paul Bettany’s Shelter starring Jennifer Connelly, Madame Bovary starring Mia Wasikowska, and Welcome to Me, which I’m really excited to see and hope to catch in the annual “Friday afternoon Kristen Wiig slot.”


Earmuffs, Children!

Sunflower Hour
(Canada, 90 min.)
Written and directed by Aaron Houston
Starring: Amitai Marmorstein, Kacey Rohl, Patrick Gilmour, Ben Cotton, Peter New (Donald Dirk), Johannah Newmarck.
If some lucky film buff discovered a crude puppet film made by Christopher Guest in the 1980s, it might look a lot like Sunflower Hour. Sunflower Hour, a 2011(ish) micro-budget mockumentary by director Aaron Houston, certainly owes a tip of the hat to Guest's backstage opus Waiting for Guffman and its funny play on the true/fictional farce of amateur performing artists. Sunflower Hour is raucous entertainment as the mockumentary follows four aspiring contestants in a talent contest for a hit children's show called “The Sunflower Hour.” Sunflower Hour features all sorts of cuddly puppets, but the plush playthings are anything but child-friendly. This R-rated comedy is definitely for the eighteen-and-over crowd.


'Moonlight' is Fun in the Sun

Magic in the Moonlight
(USA, 98 min.)
Written and directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver.
Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie. 
Photo by Jack English © 2014 Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Woody’s parabolic filmography continues with the enjoyable, if slight, Magic in the Moonlight. Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen’s 44th film as a director, is a fun bit of summer escapism and has all the magic for which one comes to love Allen’s films, but even a die-hard Allen fan must realize this film as an admittedly lesser entry in a very strong career. Second-rate Allen is still better than most, though, and Magic in the Moonlight mostly suffers only because it comes out in the midst of one of Allen’s hottest comebacks following the one-two punch of five-star gems like 2011’s Midnight in Paris and 2013’s Blue Jasmine, which rank among the best films he’s ever made. Magic in the Moonlight is a step above 2012’s pleasant summer diversion To Rome with Love, though, which came sandwiched between the aforementioned pair of Oscar winners, so this dip down in Allen’s oeuvre leaves one anticipate the winner he’ll crank out for next year.

I Love 'The F Word'!

The F Word
(Canada, 97 min.)
Dir. Michael Dowse, Writ. Elan Mastai
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall.
Zoe Kazan plays Chantry and Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace in THE F WORD,
an eOne Films release

Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: I love The F Word! It’s literally been years since anyone delivered a romantic comedy that feels so refreshingly authentic and true, and I just can’t help but fall head over heels for this charming, warm, and infectiously feel-good-funny film. This Toronto-shot (and Toronto-set!) rom-com hits all the right notes as Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan give a pair of winning performances as two star-crossed friends who might ultimately be the perfect match. The F Word might be the best romantic comedy this country has ever produced.


CDFF Hosts Outdoor Screening of 'Night of the Living Dead'!

Here come the ghouls! Cellar Door Film Festival wants Ottawa filmgoers to be on high alert! Westboro will be crawling with zombies when CDFF hosts an outdoor screening of George A. Romero’s horror classic Night of the Living Dead in Lion’s Park on August 15th. The event is just a short zombiewalk away from Westboro Station, so please come see the film that started the whole craze of the walking dead! And make sure to come early: there’ll be zombie trivia and door prizes, so make sure to bring your braaaaaaains!


The Origin Story of All Origins Stories

I Origins
(USA, 107 min.)
Written and directed by Mike Cahill
Starring: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergèse-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi.
Brit Marling as Karen, Michael Pitt as Dr. Ian Grey and Steven Yeun as Kenny in I Origins.

There are so many origin stories at the movies these days. New Batman, new Superman, and new Spiderman (again) litter the screens. It's only natural, then, for a new film to look to the origin of all origins. The root of the matter, however, differs greatly whether one relies on science or faith to explain the full story. Writer/director Mike Cahill confronts the science/faith debate directly in his metaphysical drama, I Origins. The film delivers upon the considerable promise hinted at in Cahill's debut Another Earth, and it asks provocative questions with inquisitive indie flair.