Within the span of three weeks this September, many of the movies that will be up for the year’s major awards will have premiered at one of a few film festivals around the world. The largest and arguably most influential of those festivals is the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 7 through September 17, and showcases well over 100 movies from around the world.
Fandango will be in attendance for this year’s festival north of the border, and for those who are also going – or even keeping an eye on it from afar – here is a rundown of what we’re most looking forward to.
Our 5 Most Anticipated Movies
Who stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Hong Chau
Why we’re excited: Not only is director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) so great at telling engrossing stories about ordinary people, but this particular film comes with a fascinating hook in that it’s about a world where we’ve discovered how to shrink humans so they can live more economically. Think less Honey I Shrunk the Kids and more Being John Malkovich – that’s the short of it, anyway.
Watch the teaser:
Who stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moor, Oscar Isaac
Why we’re excited: George Clooney directs off an old script from the Coen brothers, and the results look like a darkly comedic suburban tale about a man who’s in way over his head. Sounds like familiar territory for the Coen bros, and it’ll be cool to see how Clooney approaches the material and gives it his own spin.
Watch the trailer:
I Love You, Daddy
Who stars: Louis C.K., John Malkovich, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz
Why we’re excited: Primarily because we know nothing about it! In typical Louis C.K. fashion, I Love You, Daddy was shot in secret and away from Hollywood’s prying eyes, and its mysterious subject matter coupled with the promise of an “edgy” comedy is what’s driving up our anticipation for it.
The Shape of Water
Who stars: Michael Shannon, Doug Jones, Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer
Why we’re excited: When it comes to visual inventiveness (and monsters), writer-director Guillermo del Toro is one of the best at delivering a film that expertly balances story and spectacle. The Shape of Water – a fairy tale of sorts about a creature held in a lab and the woman who befriends it – looks to be one of the filmmaker’s best to date. Early buzz is very strong, especially for Hawkins’ performance, and we’re excited to be swept up in yet another mesmerizingly haunting story from the mind of a master.
Watch the trailer:
Our 4 Most Anticipated Performances
Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game
Why we’re excited: Jessica Chastain’s sharp, biting delivery mixed with writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s sharp, biting dialogue is a match made in cinematic heaven. In the film Chastain portrays real-life “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom, who following a serious skiing accident, winds up working her way up the ranks running high-stakes underground poker games. Needless to say, we’re all-in on this one.
Margot Robbie in I, Tonya
Why we’re excited: Ever since Margot Robbie took Hollywood by storm with one of the most Brooklyn-iest performances ever in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street, we’ve been dying to see her tackle another role with the potential to be as memorable as that. Cue: Tonya Harding, the Olympic figure skater who made news around the world for her part in an attack on a fellow athlete, Nancy Kerrigan. We fully expect Robbie go full ‘90s perm on this one and deliver the icy goods.
Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes
Why we’re excited: Emma Stone is hot off her Best Actress Oscar win for last year’s La La Land, and she may again find herself in the awards race with her portrayal of tennis great Billie Jean King. The film, directed by the duo behind Little Miss Sunshine, centers on a famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs, but it also delves into their personal lives with regards to his desire to make a buck at the expense of women athletes while she simultaneously – and valiantly -- fought for equal pay for women athletes.
Alicia Vikander and Eva Green in Euphoria
Why we’re excited: The plot for this film is a bit of a mystery, explaining that it’s a tale of two sisters on an adventure full of discovery, but we’re mainly excited to see these two actresses opposite one another. Both are two of the more underrated actresses working today, in our opinion, and the thought of them starring together in anything is beyond thrilling. Dare we say that it’s… euphoric?
The 3 Midnight Movies We’re Willing To Stay Up Late For
Why we’re excited: This film from music video director Joseph Kahn looks appealing because it’s set in the world of battle rapping, as it tracks the story of a grad student who becomes obsessed with the hip-hop sport when he chooses it as the subject for a thesis. Battle rapping grad students? Tickets please!
Brawl in Cell Block 99
Why we’re excited: If the promise of Vince Vaughn as a bulked-up maniac brawling his way through prison isn’t enticing enough, this is also the new film from director S. Craig Zahler, whose last film Bone Tomahawk was a gnarly little treat that made waves with hardcore genre fans.
The Disaster Artist
Why we’re excited: James Franco, Seth Rogen and Dave Franco created the greatest love letter to what’s arguably the worst movie ever made, and the results make for one of the year’s best Midnight movies… about one of the best Midnight movies ever, The Room. The audience at SXSW loved this film to pieces when it premiered there earlier this year, and its second stop in Toronto is sure to make even more noise as it gets set to debut in theaters later this fall.
2 Events Everyone Will Be Buzzing About
In Conversation with Angelina Jolie
With early buzz on her newest film, First They Killed My Father, hailing it as her best film as a director to date, Angelina Jolie will be on hand in Toronto to discuss it, as well as other topics. With a storied career behind and in front of the camera – coupled with over a decade of humanitarian work around the globe – this conversation with one of the world’s most recognizable faces will no doubt be worth sitting in on.
Rap Battle Showdown
It only has a short description on the festival website, but man is it an enticing one:
“Toronto rapper Alex Larsen (Kid Twist) will take the stage at Festival Street in an epic showdown with battle rapper Madness.”
Fans of epic rap battles will no doubt want to swing by this face-off, especially since it’s not the kind of thing you typically see at a film festival.
The number one thing you have to do at TIFF
Eat poutine, but of course!
It’s the unofficial official delicacy of Toronto, and fans of French fries covered in all kinds of gooey awesomeness will have plenty to talk about upon visiting the Canadian city since every tiny corner of this town teases another inventive version of the dish that forever keeps on giving. Long live poutine!
Make sure to follow our adventures in Toronto this year over @Fandango, as well as our correspondents on the ground, Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) and Alicia Malone (@AliciaMalone)