Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cronenberg and Coens for TIFF

Leelee Sobieski and Tricia Helfer in Walk All Over Me

I've just been reading through the list of already announced titles for TIFF trying to decide what other films I ought to see in addition to the aforementioned Midnight Madness programme. Here's what's caught my eye so far (apart from the above picture):

THE BRAVE ONE (Dir: Neil Jordan, USA/Australia)
Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster stars in a bracing thriller from filmmaker Neil Jordan (BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, THE CRYING GAME). New York radio host Erica Bain (Foster) has a life that she loves and a fiancé she adores - and it all is taken away when a brutal attack leaves Erica badly wounded and her fiancé dead. Unable to move past the tragedy, Erica begins prowling the city streets at night to track down the men she holds responsible. Her dark pursuit of justice catches the public's attention, and New York is riveted by her anonymous exploits. But with the NYPD desperate to find the culprit and a dogged police detective (Terrence Howard) hot on her trail, she must decide whether her quest for revenge is truly the right path, or if she is indeed becoming the very thing she is trying to stop. Also starring Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt and Mary Steenburgen.

CHRYSALIS (Dir: Julien Leclercq, France)
In Julien Leclercq's action feature debut, a lieutenant returns to the line of duty to hunt down a dangerous smuggler behind a series of murders, including his wife's own. The investigation leads him to a state-of-the-art clinic where memories are a precious and highly coveted commodity. Starring Albert Dupontel, Estelle Lefébure, Marie Guillard, Marthe Keller and Mélanie Thierry.

CONTROL (Dir: Anton Corbijn, UK/Australia)
Dutch photographer Corbijn moves into filmmaking with the story of the life and death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.

EASTERN PROMISES (Dir: David Cronenberg, UK/Canada)
Acclaimed director David Cronenberg reunites with his A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE leading man Viggo Mortensen for a new thriller. EASTERN PROMISES follows the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen), a Russian gangster tied to one of London's most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is shaken when he crosses paths with Anna (Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family. This sets into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution, with Nikolai at the apex of it all. EASTERN PROMISES also stars Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinead Cusack, and Jerzy Skolimowski.

HELP ME EROS (Dir: Lee Kang-sheng, Taiwan)
From acclaimed actor Lee Kang-sheng comes a darkly comic and sexually daring tale that follows a young, penniless stock broker (Lee) who consoles himself with marijuana grown in his apartment closet. In his misery, he calls a suicide help line and falls for his counsellor, then sets a love triangle in motion when he projects his fantasy of her onto another girl who sells nuts at a nearby stall.

From acclaimed Canadian writer/director Paul Haggis (CRASH) comes the story of a young soldier who goes missing upon returning to the U.S. from Iraq. When his war veteran father (Tommy Lee Jones) and his mother (Susan Sarandon) begin questioning the circumstances surrounding their son's mysterious disappearance, they embark on a journey to piece together their son's final days, enlisting the help of a police detective (Charlize Theron) to aid in the investigation. Also starring Jason Patric, Josh Brolin and James Franco.

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (Dir: Craig Gillespie, USA)
The socially inept Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) lives a nondescript life in a small, equally nondescript Midwestern town, working a generic job in an office cubicle and living a bland existence in a garage apartment. But all that's about to change when Lars meets the girl of his dreams: a stunning Danish-Brazilian missionary from the tropics named Bianca - who also happens to be a made-toorder, life-size doll. From writer Nancy Oliver ("Six Feet Under") and emerging filmmaker Craig Gillespie, the film also stars Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner and Patricia Clarkson.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Dir: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, USA)
Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law - in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) - can contain.

PLOY (Dir: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand)
Ratanaruang (INVISIBLE WAVES) returns to the Festival this year with an erotic psychological drama which sees three strangers locked inside a hotel room.

RENDITION (Dir: Gavin Hood, USA)
Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Peter Sarsgaard and Alan Arkin head an all-star ensemble cast in RENDITION, a compelling thriller from Gavin Hood, director of the Academy Award-winning TSOTSI (winner of the TIFF 2005 People's Choice Award). Witherspoon plays Isabella El-Ibrahimi, the American wife of Egyptian-born chemical engineer Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) who disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington. Isabella desperately tries to track her husband down, while a CIA analyst (Gyllenhaal) at a secret detention facility outside the U.S. is forced to question his assignment as he becomes party to the man's unorthodox interrogation.

THEY WAIT (Dir: Ernie Barbarash, BC)
Inspired by true events, the skillful and stylish THEY WAIT tells the terrifying tale of one family's encounter with angry spirits during Ghost Month, a traditional Chinese festival. After living in Shanghai for three years, Sarah (Jamie King) returns to North America with her family for a funeral. Soon after they arrive, her son falls ill and she must save him from the grip of a tormented spirit. Also starring Cheng Pei Pei, Terry Chen, Henry O, Colin Foo, Regay Oey and Michael Biehn.

WALK ALL OVER ME (Dir: Robert Cuffley, AB/MB)
Starring multiple Golden Globe nominee Leelee Sobieski, WALK ALL OVER ME is the story of Alberta (Sobieski), who runs into serious trouble when she takes on her friend's identity as a dominatrix (Tricia Helfer) in order to pay the bills. Alberta's soirée with her first customer is interrupted by a trio of criminals and she soon becomes targeted by one of them who believes that she has their money. Also starring Lothaire Bluteau and Jacob Tierney.

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