Toronto Film Festival Preview: Oscar Season Starts Now

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Movie Fanatic hits the road and could not be more excited to head to the Great White North (which won’t be so white this time of year!) for the annual celebration of film that is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Who will we be talking to and what will be seeing to share with our readers? Only the best of the best and bets are safe that one of these films is likely to be this year’s Oscar Best Picture.

TIFF Logo Large
Just last year, we witnessed The Artist for the first time, and that charmer went on to take the Academy’s top prize. Which films on the slate this year stand to join that esteemed silent film of a year ago?

Ben Affleck directs his first feature since the astounding The Town and brings to life a little known true story of how the CIA rescued a handful of Americans who escaped the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979. If this doesn’t sound like Oscar bait, I don’t know what does. Affleck also stars as the real life CIA agent who came up with the idea of using the guise of a Hollywood production scouting locations in Iran in order to save the U.S. citizens. Be sure to check out the Argo trailer for a tease sure to raise your anticipation for this flick.

Look for our chat with Affleck in the coming week from Toronto!

Cloud Atlas
Very little is known about Cloud Atlas other than it stars Tom Hanks and Halle Berry and features the two in multiple roles that span centuries, regions and even celestial bodies. As soon as we see it and talk to the cast, we will bring you all the details!

Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay and directs the film based on his bestselling book about coming of age in early 1990’s Pittsburgh. The film features Emma Watson in her first starring role since leaving the Harry Potter franchise. The Perks of Being a Wallflower also features a certain The Vampire Diaries star in Nina Dobrev and what should be a star-making turn by Logan Lerman.

Our exclusive interviews with Chbosky, Dobrev and Mae Whitman will arrive next week.

Writer-director Rian Johnson teams up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt again after their work on Brick to create a sci-fi thriller that is unlike any you’ve ever seen, as shown in this Looper clip. Gordon-Levitt is a Looper, someone who lives in the past who is assigned by the mob of the future to take out their undesirables because murder is almost impossible in the future. But, what happens when one day Gordon-Levitt draws his weapon awaiting his next target to appear… and it’s him (Bruce Willis) from the future?

Movie Fanatic has exclusive video interviews with Looper stars Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt.

Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence co-star in the first film from director David O. Russell since his smash The Fighter. Cooper is Pat Solitano -- a former teacher who tries to make a life for himself after a stint in a mental institution. Silver Linings Playbook is based on Matthew Quick’s book and is definitely a movie with film fest pedigree written all over it.

On the Road
Jack Kerouac’s famous novel finally makes it to the big screen. Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams star in what is sure to be one of the most anticipated movies of the fall. As a huge fan of the On the Road book, Movie Fanatic has waited for the film incarnation for decades.

On the Road First Look

End of Watch
Writer-director David Ayer is back after his Oscar-winning Training Day with another LAPD story that illustrates what the City of Angels’ finest have to go through to bring justice to the streets of the city. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are partners who stumble on a small cache of money and firearms belonging to a cartel that unleashes a version of hell they could never have imagined.

Don’t miss our exclusive video interviews with the cast and filmmakers from Toronto the week the film debuts nationally, September 21.

The Master
One of the most buzzed about films debuting at TIFF is Paul Thomas Anderson’s (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights) The Master. Featuring an Oscar-worthy cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams), the story follows what may or may not be the beginnings of a Scientology-type religion after World War II.

Movie Fanatic gets an exclusive sit down with Adams at the fest!

Anna Karenina
Another iconic book makes its film debut in Toronto, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley as the title character and Jude Law as the literary character icon Alexei Karenin. The world turns upside down when Karenina begins an affair with the high society aristocrat Count Vronsky (Savages’ Aaron Johnson). 

Hyde Park on the Hudson
Bill Murray is already getting Best Actor buzz for his portrayal of FDR and the true story of when our famous World War II leader welcomed the King and Queen of England to his New York state retreat to discuss America’s involvement in World War II.

Ever elusive to the press, rumors are swirling that Murray will make a rare appearance and at least give a press conference for Hyde Park on the Hudson. We’ll bring it to you!

Bill Murray Hyde Park on the Hudson

Although not Oscar contenders by any stretch of the imagination, a few films debut at TIFF simply for the fun of it including…

Dredd 3D
Karl Urban is Dredd and steps into the role of the comic book hero who extols justice in a future where America has been wiped out except for a massive city that stretches from New York City to Washington, D.C. The update to the Sylvester Stallone movie is much more of a religious following of the iconic comic.

Look for our exclusive chats with Urban, his co-star Olivia Thirlby and writer Alex Garland in the coming days!

Hotel Transylvania
Where is a monster to go if they simply want to relax? Why… the Hotel Transylvania. Adam Sandler stars as Dracula, a monster who built the resort in order to give his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and his monster friends a safe haven from the human race that seeks to destroy them.

Movie Fanatic scored exclusive video interviews with cast members Andy Samberg, Gomez, Molly Shannon and Fran Drescher.

Seven Psychopaths
Woody Harrelson is a gangster who adores his Shih Tzu just a little bit. When it is kidnapped by Christopher Walken and his gang of misfits, Harrelson unleashes hell. Watch the Seven Psychopaths trailer and you'll see why Movie Fanatic is so excited for this one.

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