For those keeping score, yes, I goofed yesterday. “Kill The Messenger” is not playing the Toronto International Film Festival. I appreciate all the thank you cards and hand-me-down trophies (but it does make you wonder about the film, now doesn’t it, considering the stars, release date and director? What’s up with that?). But here are three new films that are playing the festival up North, and new photos from each.
Let’s start out with “St. Vincent,” a bittersweet indie comedy that stars the elusive Bill Murray. Murray is notoriously hard to cast, because he’s hard to track down; he has no agent and he basically has a lawyer where you drop off things like scripts, letters, desperate pleas, etc., and when Murray is good and ready he takes a look through some of it. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the material or request will appeal to the actor and he’ll reach out (he’s infamously even ghosted on James L. Brooks after tentatively agreeing to star in “How Do You Know” in 2010, and when unable to reach him, Brooks just went and cast Jack Nicholson as a favor).
So maybe the movie “St. Vincent” is great? After all, it’s the feature-length writing and directing debut of commercial helmer Theodore Melfi. Murray usually doesn’t give a damn whether you’re James Cameron or your nobody. He just responds to the material, so starring in “St. Vincent” is certainly a big co-sign for the director and film. “You know what the truth is? You don’t find Bill Murray. Bill Murray finds you,” Melfi said in a lengthy EW piece where he explained the long and drawn out process it took to find, sway and cast the reclusive actor.
The movie is about a cantankerous, cash-strapped, loose-living retiree (Murray) who becomes a spectacularly unlikely role model for his twelve-year-old neighbor. The comedy co-stars Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard and Naomi Watts. It’s a late TIFF edition, but sounds like a crowd pleaser. New photos below.
Up next, “A Little Chaos,” the sophomore directorial effort of Alan Rickman. It stars Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci and Danny Webb.
It’s a period costume drama about a landscape designer (Winslet) commissioned to construct King Louis XIV’s garden at Versailles, but ends up battling professionally and romantically with the king’s chief architect (Schoenaerts). Surprised this one isn’t a crowd-pleasing comedy, because that’s what it sounds like, and that’s kinda what TIFF is known for. I guess we’ll see.
Lastly, it’s the end of Hal Hartley’s trilogy. Yep, the very independent filmmaker has actually made two sequels to his “Henry Fool” (the second one being “Fay Grim”), and the final installment is called “Ned Rifle” (which used to be the sobriquet that Hartley used when composing the music to his own films). Thomas Jay Ryan returns as Henry, as does Parker Posey as Fay, but the movie centers on teenage son Ned (Liam Aiken), who emerges from the witness protection program with a single, fixed purpose: to kill his father for ruining his mother’s life. Aubrey Plaza co-stars as a grad student obsessed with the work of Ned’s uncle (James Urbaniak), a former poet laureate. Hartley regular Martin Donovan also co-stars.
If you remember the events of “Fay Grim” (an enjoyable and underrated movie in retrospect), Posey becomes embroiled into a world of espionage when the CIA coerces her to look for her husband’s novel that actually may contain code for government secrets. In the end she crosses paths with terrorists and by the looks of these photos, the CIA jails her in the end. Hence Ned wanting revenge on his good-for-nothing father, essentially responsible for leaving her in a bind during the conclusion of “Fay Grim.”
It’s an intriguing trilogy, with many twists and turns (you would have never guessed that “Henry Fool” would have any political connotations as the movie was really just about the rogue and seemingly untalented novelist Henry Fool). New photos below. We’re super curious to find out how this all turns out.