With the New York Film Festival having already announced its opening night (David Fincher’s “Gone Girl”), centerpiece (Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”) and closing night (Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman”) films, the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival today finally unveiled some of its slate. Major highlights making their world premieres include Shawn Levy’s all-star ensemble drama “This Is Where I Leave You,” starring Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and Tina Fey; Michael R. Roskam’s “The Drop,” which features James Gandolfini’s final performance; Liv Ullman’s film adaptation of the famed play “Miss Julie,” starring Jessica Chastain; David Gordon Green’s latest indie drama “Manglehorn,” featuring Al Pacino; the musical “The Last 5 Years,” starring Anna Kendrick; Noah Baumbach’s latest “While We’re Young,” starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried; and Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women & Children,” starring Adam Sandler.
A number of films revealed today, including Andrew Niccol’s “Good Kill,” starring Ethan Hawke, are making their North American premieres, meaning they’ll probably pop up in the lineup for the Venice Film Festival, which has yet to be announced.
Below are the first additions to the TIFF’s 2014 lineup. The festival runs September 4-14.
The Equalizer, Antoine Fuqua, USA World Premiere
The ragtag crew of a fishing boat takes on a dangerous commission to smuggle a group of illegal immigrants from China to Korea, in this tense high-seas adventure co-scripted by South Korean genre-movie guru Bong Joon-ho. Starring Kim Yoon-seok and Park Yoo- chun.
The Judge, David Dobkin, USA World Premiere
Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth, and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.
Closing Night Film: A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman, United Kingdom World Premiere
A landscape gardener with a taste for the unconventional is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her. Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany North American Premiere
David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.
The New Girlfriend (Une Nouvelle Amie), Francois Ozon, France World Premiere
When her best friend Lea dies, Claire falls into a deep depression. However, after making a surprising discovery about her late friend’s husband, she’s given a new lease on life. Starring Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier and RaphaÎl Personnaz.
Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick, USA World Premiere
In this remarkable true story set in the height of the Cold War, chess legend Bobby Fischer is locked in a gripping championship clash with the Soviets as he struggles against his own psychological demons while the whole world anxiously awaits the outcome. Starring Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard and Liev Schreiber.
The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig, United Kingdom World Premiere
Samba, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, France World Premiere
This is Where I Leave You, Shawn Levy, USA World Premiere
Shawn Levy’s dramatic comedy follows four adult siblings who return home after their father’s death to spend a week with their over- sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and frayed relationships among those who know and love them best, they reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.
Wild, Jean-Marc Vallée, USA International Premiere
American Heist, Sarik Andreasyan, USA World Premiere
Two brothers with troubled pasts become embroiled in a high-stakes bank robbery, in this indie action thriller. Starring Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jordana Brewster and Akon.
Before We Go, Chris Evans, USA World Premiere
Breakup Buddies, Ning Hao, China World Premiere
Recently cuckolded and reeling from a messy divorce, a hapless former singer hits the road – and the bar – with his all-too-helpful best bud, in this hilarious romantic comedy.
Cake, Daniel Barnz, USA World Premiere
Coming Home, Zhang Yimou, China North American Premiere
The Dead Lands (Hautoa), Toa Fraser, New Zealand/United Kingdom World Premiere
Dearest, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, China/Hong Kong North American Premiere
Drawing on remarkable true stories, Peter Chan delivers a moving drama about child abduction in China. Huang Bo stars as a father whose young son disappears in the streets of a big city. He sets out on a search across China, stopping at nothing to find him. In this star-studded cast, Zhao Wei plays the role of a mother from a poor rural area.
The Drop, Michael R. Roskam, USA World Premiere
Eden, Mia Hansen-Love, France World Premiere
Far From Men (Loin des Hommes), David Oelhoffen, France North American Premiere
Algeria, 1954. While the rebellion rumbles in the valley, two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee across the Atlas mountains. In the midst of an icy winter, Daru, a reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder. Pursued by horsemen seeking summary justice and vengeful settlers, the two men decide to confront the unknown. Together, they fight to gain their freedom. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb.
Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Norway/Denmark/France North American Premiere
A Swedish family’s ski trip in the French Alps is cut short by news of an oncoming avalanche, during which an impulsive decision by the father Tomas drives a wedge between him and his wife, Ebba – he has run for his life, while she has stayed to protect her children. When the anticipated disaster fails to occur, reality and embarrassed relief returns to the mountainside resort, but the family’s world has been shaken to its core. Force Majeure is an observational comedy about the role of the male in modern family life. Starring Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju and Fanni Metelius.
The Gate, Règis Wargnier, France World Premiere
Two decades after forging an unlikely alliance in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, a French ethnologist and a former Khmer Rouge official meet again after the latter is arrested for crimes against humanity, in this drama from top French director Règis Wargnier.
Good Kill, Andrew Niccol, USA North American Premiere
A Las Vegas-based fighter pilot turned drone pilot fights the Taliban by remote control for 12 hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other 12. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he’s killing? Is he fighting a war without end? This story follows one soldier’s tale with epic implications. Starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones.
The Good Lie, Philippe Falardeau, USA World Premiere
Hector and the Search for Happiness, Peter Chelsom, Germany/Canada North American Premiere
Hector is a quirky psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. Deciding to break out of his deluded routine, he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive formula for true happiness? and so begins his larger-than-life adventure with riotously funny results. Starring Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Simon Pegg, Stellan Skarsgârd and Jean Reno.
The Humbling, Barry Levinson, USA North American Premiere
Hungry Hearts, Saverio Costanzo, Italy International Premiere
Mina and Jude meet while stuck together in the restroom of a restaurant, marking the beginning of a true love story. They move in together. They get married. And anticipate the arrival of their baby – until a spiritual guide tells Mina she is bearing an “indigo” child. Starring Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher and Roberta Maxwell.
The Imitation Game, Morten Tyldum, United Kingdom/USA Canadian Premiere
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal.
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Canada/France/Lebanon/Qatar/USA World Premiere
The Keeping Room, Daniel Barber, USA World Premiere
Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three Southern women – two sisters and one African-American slave – must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army. Starring Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Sam Worthington, Muna Otaru and Kyle Soller.
The Last Five Years, Richard LaGravenese, USA World Premiere
In this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, The Last Five Years is a musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie, a young, talented up-and-coming Jewish novelist falls in love with Cathy, a Shiksa Goddess and struggling actress. The film, told almost entirely through song and a beautiful pop music score, portrays an honest, heartbreaking, often funny, exploration of love and its consequences on individual identity. Starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.
Learning to Drive, Isabel Coixet, USA World Premiere
As her marriage dissolves, a Manhattan writer takes driving lessons from a Sikh instructor with marriage troubles of his own. In each other’s company, they find the courage to get back on the road and the strength to take the wheel. Starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley.
Love & Mercy, Bill Pohlad, USA World Premiere
Focusing on Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys, Love & Mercy paints an unconventional portrait of the artist by interweaving seminal moments in his life, from his artistic genius to his profound struggles, and the love that keeps him alive. Starring Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack and Paul Giamatti.
Manglehorn, David Gordon Green, USA North American Premiere
Angelo Manglehorn is a small town locksmith who never got over the love of his life. Clara was a beautiful, idealized woman who left him heartbroken 40 years ago. He still writes her letters obsessively as he tries to find her and get back the woman of his dreams. Manglehorn is the journey of this magical man, his son, his cat and a beautiful new woman trying to help him put the pieces of his heart back together. Starring Al Pacino, Holly Hunter and Chris Messina.
Mary Kom, Omung Kumar, India World Premiere
Men, Women and Children, Jason Reitman, USA World Premiere
ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. Starring Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler and Judy Greer.
Miss Julie, Liv Ullmann, Norway/United Kingdom/Ireland World Premiere
Mr. Turner, Mike Leigh, United Kingdom Canadian Premiere
My Old Lady, Israel Horovitz, USA World Premiere
A down-and-out New Yorker inherits an apartment in Paris from his estranged father and is stunned to find a refined old lady living there with her protective daughter. Starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Ned Rifle, Hal Hartley, USA World Premiere
Ned Rifle is the third and final chapter of Hal Hartley’s tragicomic epic begun with Henry Fool (1997) and continued with Fay Grim (2007). At once a saga concerning the Grim family of Queens and how their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of the self- proclaimed genius Henry Fool, the trilogy is also an illustration of America’s grappling with ideas, art, politics, and religion over the course of 20 years. In this swiftly paced and expansive conclusion, Henry and Fay’s son Ned sets out to find and kill his father for destroying his mother’s life. But his aims are frustrated by the troublesome, sexy and hilarious Susan, whose connection to Henry predates even his arrival in the lives of the Grim family.
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy, USA World Premiere
Lou Bloom, a driven young man, discovers the nocturnal world of L.A. crime journalism. Joining a group of freelance camera crews who film marketable mayhem, Lou makes his own place at the table, aided by Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news. Blurring the line between observer and perpetrator, Lou finds his calling in a murderous world reduced to transactions. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton.
Pasolini, Abel Ferrara, France/Italy/Belgium North American Premiere
Rome: on the night of November 2, 1975, the great Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered. Pasolini is the symbol of an art that’s fighting against the power. His writings are scandalous, and his films are persecuted by the censors; many people love him and many hate him. The day of his death, Pasolini spends his last hours with his beloved mother and later with his dearest friends, until he finally goes out into the night in his Alfa Romeo in search of adventure in the eternal city. At dawn Pasolini is found dead on a beach in Ostia on the outskirts of the city. In a film dreamlike and visionary, blending reality and imagination, it reconstructs the last day in the life of this great poet. Starring Willem Dafoe.
Phoenix, Christian Petzold, Germany World Premiere
Nelly Lenz is a concentration camp survivor who has been left with a disfigured face. Following facial reconstruction surgery, Nelly begins the search for her husband Johnny. When she finally does find him, he does not recognise her. Nevertheless he approaches her with a proposal: since she resembles his wife, whom he believes to be dead, he asks her to help him claim his wife’s considerable inheritance. Nelly agrees, and becomes her own doppelganger – she needs to know if Johnny ever loved her, or if he betrayed her. Starring Nina Hoss.
The Reach, Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, USA World Premiere
Ben, a young man who works as a hunting guide, gets a job of a lifetime when he is hired by Madec, a wealthy businessman from Los Angeles, to hunt a bighorn sheep. Their excursion in the Southwestern desert quickly goes from bad to worse when overly-eager Madec gets trigger happy, accidentally killing an old prospector. He attempts to bribe Ben for his secrecy, but Ben staunchly refuses. Outraged, Madec turns on Ben, determined to eliminate the only witness to his crime. Trapped in a sadistic cat-and-mouse game, Ben has to rely on his basic survival skills to make it out alive. Starring Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hannah Mangan, Lawrence and Ronny Cox.
Red Amnesia (Chuangru Zhe), Wang Xiaoshuai, China North American Premiere
A retired widow has her daily routine derailed when she starts receiving mysterious, anonymous phone calls, in this scintillating thriller from Chinese “Sixth Generation” master Wang Xiaoshuai. Starring L¸ Zhong, Shi Liu, Feng Yuanzheng, Qin Hao and Amanda Qin.
Return to Ithaca, Laurent Cantet, France North American Premiere
A terrace overlooking Havana. Five friends gather to celebrate the return of Amadeo after 16 years of exile. From dusk to dawn, they reminisce about their youth, the group they used to form, the faith they had in the future – also their disillusionment.
Rosewater, Jon Stewart, USA Canadian Premiere
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut with the true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari (played by Gael GarcÌa Bernal), whose appearance on Stewart’s show in 2009 precipitated his five-month imprisonment by the Iranian government.
A Second Chance (En chance til), Susanne Bier, Denmark World Premiere
How far are decent human beings willing to go, when tragedy blurs the line between just and unjust? Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen have crafted a startling yet moving drama, about how easily we lose our grasp on justice when confronted with the unthinkable, and life as we know it hangs by a thread. Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen, Maria Bonnevie, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Lykke May Andersen.
Still Alice, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, USA World Premiere
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested. Alice’s struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Starring Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Julianne Moore.
The Theory of Everything, James Marsh, United Kingdom/USA World Premiere
The extraordinary true story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Hawking receives an earth-shattering diagnosis at age 21. Together, Stephen and Jane defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis and Emily Watson.
Time Out of Mind, Oren Moverman, USA World Premiere
George, a man on the decline, enters the New York City homeless shelter system when he runs out of options. George struggles to navigate his way through this new world with the help of Dixon, a shelter veteran while trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter Maggie. Starring Richard Gere, Ben Vereen, Jena Malone, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeremy Strong, Yul Vasquez, Coleman Domingo, Geraldine Hughes, Michael Kenneth Williams and Steve Buscemi.
Top Five, Chris Rock, USA World Premiere
Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, Top Five tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist forces him to confront both the career that made him famous and the life he left behind. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jay Pharoah, Anders Holm and Michael Che. And featuring music by Questlove.
While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach, USA World Premiere
Noah Baumbach’s exploration of aging, ambition and success, stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple whose career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. Also starring Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, Maria Dizzia and Adam Horovitz.
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, USA Canadian Premiere
Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes), Damian Szifron, Argentina/Spain Canadian Premiere