July 24, 2012

SHOWBUZZDAILY @ TORONTO: Galas and Special Presentations Announced



The Toronto Film Festival is on its way, and SHOWBUZZDAILY will be there.  The Festival, which runs Sept 6-16, today announced the bulk of its highest-profile titles, those that will screen in the Gala and Special Presentation categories.  Here, at a first glance, are some of the most promising:


ARGO:  Against the odds, Ben Affleck has become a major film director.  His latest thriller is based on the real-life story of a plan to free American hostages in Iran by pretending that they’re part of a sci-fi movie shoot, and stars him with Bryan Cranston and Kyle Chandler.

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP:  Robert Redford’s latest film as both actor and director features him as a respectable lawyer whose past as a ’70s radical is exposed by reporter Shia LaBeouf, with Susan Sarandon, Anna Kendrick and Nick Nolte.

DANGEROUS LIAISONS:  A Chinese remake of, yes, the Glenn Close/John Malkovich ’80s drama.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Mike Newell’s is the latest version of the Dickens classic, with Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Havisham.

HYDE PARK ON HUDSON:  One of the year’s Oscar hopefuls, with Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Laura Linney as his mistress.

JAYNE MANSFIELD’S CAR:  Billy Bob Thornton’s first film as director as well as actor in quite a while, with Robert Duvall and Kevin Bacon.

LOOPER:  A time-travel fantasy from writer-director Rian Johnson, but the special effect that may be toughest to buy is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would age into Bruce Willis.

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN:  Deepa Mehta’s film version of Salman Rushdie’s great novel.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOY:  David O. Russell’s oddball, superbly acted romantic comedy features Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Chris Tucker and ballroom dancing.


ANNA KARENINA:  Keira Knightley takes her turn at that train station in an A-list new version of the Tolstoy novel, written for the screen by Tom Stoppard, directed by Joe Wright and also starring Jude Law and Downton Abbey‘s Michele Dockery.

AT ANY PRICE:  Ramin Bahrani has made some very interesting micro-budgeted independent films over the past few years like Man Push Cart and Goodbye Solo, and he steps up in class with a drama starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron.

BYZANTIUM:  A vampire thriller, but directed by Neil Jordan and starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan.

CLOUD ATLAS:  An incredibly ambitious epic from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer that intercuts between timeframes over hundreds of years and features the same ensemble cast in every story (often unrecognizable behind heavy make-up) including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent.

END OF WATCH:  A “found-footage” police story by David Ayer (writer of Training Day), with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.

FRANCES HA:  Greta Gerwig stars in Noah Baumbach’s latest film.

HANNAH ARENDT:  Margarethe von Trotta’s biography of the woman behind the phrase “the banality of evil,” starring Janet Mcteer.

THE HUNT:  A Cannes favorite from director Thomas Vinterberg, starring Mads Mikkelsen.

IMOGENE:  Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening as daughter and mother, from the directing team of Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman–hopefully in their American Splendor and not Nanny Diaries mode.

IN THE HOUSE:  Francois Ozon is one of the most distinctive filmmakers around, with everything from the thriller Sea the Sea to the comedy Potiche to his credit.

A LIAR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY:  The life story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING:  A slight change of pace from The Avengers‘ Joss Whedon.

NO:  Another Cannes title, this one about the campaign against Chile’s Pinochet, with Gael Garcia Bernal.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER:  Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, in a coming of age story that sounds like it just couldn’t wait a few months until Sundance.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES:  Derek Cianfrance, the writer/director of Blue Valentine, returns with his Valentine star Ryan Gosling, this time with Bradley Cooper and Rose Byrne.

QUARTET:  Dustin Hoffman’s directing debut sounds like it’s for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel crowd, with a cast headed by Maggie Smith and Tom Courteney.

RUST & BONE:  Marion Cotillard’s performance was one of the toasts of Cannes, from the director of the brilliant A Prophet.

THE SAPPHIRES:  Another Cannes hit, about a 1960s Aboriginal Australian musical group.

THE SESSIONS:  This time the cheering festival was Sundance, where John Hawkes’ performance as a man in an iron lung trying to lose his virginity was generally considered an Oscar nomination shoo-in.

THANKS FOR SHARING:  Sex addicts, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Joely Richardson.

TO THE WONDER:  Last but hardly least, the new film by Terence Malick stars Ben Affleck (again) with Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."