After wrapping principal production on "The Avengers," you'd think the tireless Joss Whedon would take a much deserved break. Instead (with a push from his wife, Kai Cole), the writer-director-producer invited a group of friends over to his sprawling home to make a modern day film adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." The black-and-white film marks the first film completed by Bellwether Pictures, the micro-budget studio formed by Whedon and his other half. Given Whedon's written touch on everything he does, "Much Ado" seems like an odd prospect for the guy, given that the script is directly lifted from Shakespeare's iambic pentameter. However, over the years Whedon's proved himself to be at his peak when working with large ensembles ("The Avengers" sealed the deal). Taking that into consideration, "Much Ado," with its myriad of characters each vying for different objectives, seems like a perfect fit for the guy.
There’s a chance that “Mr. Pip” might not even be the best TIFF 2012 film to feature “Great Expectations” as its core (an honor that might eventually go to Mike Newell’s adaptation of the Dickens novel, screening in competition). But, in advance of this fall’s upcoming “The Oranges,” this will be our first glimpse of a post-”House” Hugh Laurie, who plays a makeshift teacher caught in early 1990s Papau New Guinea during the civil war on Bouganville Island. If Adamson can graduate from the “Shrek” and “Chronicles of Narnia” franchise and help newcomer Xzannjah Matsi carry the story as protagonist Matilda, the backdrop of Oceania should make for a dynamic cinematic version of Lloyd Jones’ acclaimed book.
“On the Road”
Yes, Walter Salles and Jose Rivera’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic 1957 Beat Generation bible already had its premiere at Cannes, but the filmmakers have spent the intervening months working on a whole new edit of the film. The new cut promises to be 15 minutes tighter and more focused on the central relationship between Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, potentially resolving some of the common criticisms prompted by the Cannes version. In any case, IFC Films/Sundance Selects hopes to make “On the Road” a major awards contender before the end of the year (it hits theaters December 21), and a fresh wave of (improved) reactions may encourage momentum to that effect.
Iconic and remarkably transgressive queer musician Peaches (a Toronto native, though she now calls Berlin home) looks to outdo (and do) herself with this semi-autobiographical "anti-jukebox" musical featuring songs from across her career (most folks will at least know her song "Fuck The Pain Away," prominently featured in countless movies and TV shows including "Lost in Translation," "30 Rock" and "South Park"). Peaches writes, directs and stars in the film that follows a Peaches-esque musician who falls in love with a beautiful she-male. The film will supplemented by the event "Peaches Does The Drake," a "building-wide performance" at the Drake Hotel on September 14th. Both are likely to be major TIFF 2012 highlights in a way only Peaches can provide.
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
Stephen Chobsky's novel "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" became something of a "Catcher In The Rye" for the Millennial generation when it was published back in 1999. Over a decade later, Chobsky has impressively managed to write and direct the book's cinematic adaptation himself, and TIFF is offering up the film's world premiere (it opens theatrically a week later). Following teenagers Charlie (Logan Lerman), Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) "Perks" is sure be on top of the TIFF to-see lists for anyone who read the book. But early buzz suggests it should be up there for those who haven't read it as well.