Struck By Lightning

Even being killed by a bolt of lightning won’t keep budding young journalist Carson Phillips (Glee’s Chris Colfer) quiet. Trapped by his small-minded town, this outspoken high school senior recounts the last few weeks of his life through a series of upbeat flashbacks in this playful and energetic comedy written by Colfer himself. As his death date readily approaches, Carson struggles to keep it together while waiting on an admission letter from his dream college—his ticket out of banality. Director Brian Dannelly (Saved!) fuses a vivid high school landscape with the intimate video footage shot by classmate Malerie (Rebel Wilson)—who encyclopedically chronicles the lives of her fellow students—adding to the feel of a genuine high school experience. Razor-sharp performances from Colfer and Allison Janney as his mother are reinforced by a memorable supporting cast, including Christina Hendricks (Drive), Angela Kinsey (The Office), and Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) who plays a mean-girl cheerleading captain. Fast-paced and searingly witty, Struck By Lightning proves Colfer is a multifaceted talent and that high school is an endless well for rousing entertainment. [Synopsis courtesy of TribecaFIlm.com]

Margaret

A young woman witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people’s lives.

Finding Nemo

A tale which follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish, the fretful Marlin and his young son Nemo, who are separated from each other in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken from his home and thrust into a fish tank in a dentist’s office overlooking Sydney Harbor. Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly but forgetful fish named Dory, the overly cautious Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son.

The Oranges

The Ostroff and Walling families are best friends and neighbours, living across the street from each other on Orange Drive. Prodigal daughter Nina Ostroff (Leighton Meester) returns home for Thanksgiving dinner after a five-year absence, newly broken up with her fiancé Ethan (Sam Rosen). Rather than developing an interest in the successful son of her neighbours, Toby Walling (Adam Brody), which would please both families, it‟s her parents‟ best friend David Walling (Hugh Laurie) that captures Nina‟s attention. When the romantic attraction between Nina and David Walling becomes too great to ignore, the lives of the two families are thrown into upheaval. It is not long, however, before the ramifications of the affair begin to work on the other family members in unexpected, hilarious and even positive ways, leading everyone to reassess what it means to be happy, and how to find happiness with, and perhaps in spite of, your own family and friends. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

The Way, Way Back

Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.

The Help

Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) is a middle-aged African-American maid who has spent her life raising white children and has recently lost her only son; Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) is an African-American maid who has often offended her employers despite her family’s struggles with money and her desperate need for jobs; and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) is a young white woman who has recently moved back home after graduating college to find out her childhood maid has mysteriously disappeared. These three stories intertwine to explain how life in Jackson, Mississippi revolves around “the help”; yet they are always kept at a certain distance because of racial lines.

Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime is a film by Todd Solondz. It is a sequel to his 1998 film Happiness, even though the characters are all played by different actors. It stars Allison Janney, Shirley Henderson, and Ciarán Hinds, among others. The official synopsis of the film is: “Friends, family, and lovers struggle to find love, forgiveness, and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos”. Solondz said Life During Wartime was “a little more politically overt” than previous works.” It won the Golden Osella award for best screenplay at the 66th Venice Film Festival.

Liberal Arts

Newly single, 35, and uninspired by his job, Jesse Fisher worries that his best days are behind him. But no matter how much he buries his head in a book, life keeps pulling Jesse back. When his favorite college professor invites him to campus to speak at his retirement dinner, Jesse jumps at the chance. He is prepared for the nostalgia of the dining halls and dorm rooms, the parties and poetry seminars; what he doesn’t see coming is Zibby – a beautiful, precocious, classical-music-loving sophomore. Zibby awakens scary, exciting, long-dormant feelings of possibility and connection that Jesse thought he had buried forever.

Away We Go

Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) and Burt Farlander (John Krasinski) moved to Colorado to be close to Burt’s Parents. Now Verona and Burt expecting their first child and are shocked to hear that his parents are moving to Belgium, leaving them in a place they hate living without a support structure in a place. They set off on a whirlwind tour of of disparate locations (Tucson, Montreal, Miami) where they have friends or relatives, sampling not only different cities and climates but also different families. Along the way they realize that the journey is less about discovering where they want to live and more about figuring out what type of parents they want to be.

American Beauty

Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation with his daughter’s attractive friend.

Tallulah

Young vagabond Lu lives in a van and is fiercely independent in her hand-to-mouth existence. This daily struggle has become tiresome for her privileged boyfriend, Nico, who unceremoniously leaves her one night. When a chance encounter incites her to impulsively “rescue” a baby from a negligent mother, Lu, at a loss for what to do, turns to the only responsible adult she knows: Nico’s unsmiling academic mother, Margo, who believes she’s the child’s grandmother. Thrown together despite differences in class and worldview, Margo and Lu make a lovable, if tense, odd couple. The two are bound to each other as they tentatively form a haphazard family, though Margo has no idea that the police are hot on Lu’s trail for absconding with a child. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]