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Anton Sirius Checks In With A Must-Read Preview Of The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival!



Holy shit, is this year's program loaded.

Starkinder, believe me when I tell you that anyone who claims they saw everything they wanted to see at this year's TIFF will be lying to you. I tried to make a short list, and wound up with 101 movies I wanted to try and catch in the span of 11 days. I would need to divide myself in three in order to make all those screenings, and while I do have access to that sort of technology I'm not a huge fan of the six-week hangover that results while my brain tries to assimilate three sets of simultaneous memories. Also, I'd end up meeting myself at parties and frankly I'm a bit of an asshole when I'm drunk.

Anyway, yeah, this year's TIFF looks like it might be incredible. Like, 1992 incredible. 1992 is the gold standard when it comes to TIFF (or The Festival of Festivals as it was called back then, with a most un-Canadian bit of swagger). 1992 featured the following films you might have heard of: Reservoir Dogs, Braindead (aka Dead-Alive), El Mariachi and Strictly Ballroom. Basically Tarantino, Jackson, Rodriguez and Luhrmann all had their careers launched to the stratosphere within days of each other. On top of that there were a host of other movies like Glengarry Glen Ross and Man Bites Dog and Benny's Video (the film that got Haneke's career rolling) and Husbands and Wives and Bad Lieutenant and Orlando and Hard Boiled and The Crying Game and Guy Maddin's Careful and Bob Roberts and Johnny Stecchino (Roberto Benigni's first international hit) and Blade Runner (the very first big director's cut of a movie) and Candyman and Manufacturing Consent and Baraka and... well, you get the idea. Hell, even movies that didn't get much attention that year ended up being important from a historical perspective, like Praying With Anger. Never seen Praying With Anger? It was M. Night Shyamalan's debut. How about Brother's Keeper? That was the small town murder doc Berlinger and Sinofsky made before they got involved in the West Memphis Three case.

Chances are this year's program won't end up looking as good in retrospect. I mean, how could it? But the fact that my first impressions hint it might end up deserving to be mentioned in the same sentence has me pretty giddy.

So here's what you'll be missing while you're slogging through your dull, uneventful lives over the next couple of weeks:


Thursday Sept 6th:


*    Things kick off with a bang as the opening night Gala is Rian Johnson's existential dilemma of a time travel thriller, LOOPER.

*    KINSHASA KIDS is a semi-doc about Congolese children thrown out onto the streets because of suspected witchcraft, only some of them form a band instead of moping (there's a lot of this in the program this year, by the way, where the lines between fiction and documentary are deliberately blurred.)

*    The 3D restoration of Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER gets a test drive.

*    RUST AND BONE stars Marion Cotillard and Bullhead's Matthias Schoenaerts as broken, damaged people trying to rebuild their lives. I can't think of two actors I'd rather see tackle that kind of material.

*    A doc on counter-culture illustrator Tomi Ungerer tells us that FAR OUT ISN'T FAR ENOUGH.

*    Motorcycle Diaries' Walter Salles brings us his long-awaited adaptation of Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, with Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Viggo Mortensen along for the ride.

*    And Midnight Madness hits the ground running with DREDD 3D, the plot of which sounds suspiciously like a riff on The Raid. Frankly, if it's as hard core as a Judge Dredd movie should be (and which all the early reports say it is), I'm OK with that.


Friday Sept 7th:


*    Another classic restoration sees the light of day, this time of Rossellini's little-seen STROMBOLI (the film on which he and Ingrid Bergman fell in love). It's paired with a doc on the shoot itself, WAR OF THE VOLCANOES.

*    IMOGENE stars Kristin Wiig in what seems like a fairly by-the-numbers American indie wacky family comedy but hey, it's Kristin Wiig.

*    THREE KIDS looks like a vaguely George Washington-esque film about some young 'uns trying to survive in Port-au-Prince in the wake of the Haitian earthquake.

*    Zizek returns for another round of analyzing film clips while making your head simultaneously spin and hurt with THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY.

*    Ryan Gosling re-unites with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, hooks up with Eva Mendes (in real life, I mean. I have no idea what their characters get up to in the film) and goes mano a mano with Bradley Cooper in moody crime drama THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.

*    CALL GIRL is a '70s Swedish period piece and stripped-down procedural recounting the tale of a prostitution scandal that derailed the government.

*    JANEANE FROM DES MOINES is another semi-doc, this one about a Iowan Republican housewife who experiences a crises of political faith during the 2012 GOP caucuses.

*    Ben Affleck returns as director (yay!), but also as leading man (uh oh...), in ARGO, a thriller about the Iranian hostage crisis and the too-crazy-not-to-be-true, Wag the Dog-ish rescue effort.

*    THE WE AND THE I sees Michel Gondry (who I've decided to forgive for Green Hornet) riding shotgun with a pack of Bronx schoolkids on a bus on the last day of school.

*    Hip hop godfather Snoop Dogg becomes reggae neophyte Snoop Lion in the doc REINCARNATED.

*    Paul Thomas Anderson. THE MASTER. 70 fucking mm. Holy fuck. Did I mention there's a non-zero chance of a Scientology protest or something given their large, decrepit church/chapter house/gormless office building in downtown Toronto?

*    I'm actually not terribly looking forward to this one, but the English remake of Nic Refn's PUSHER sees the light of day. At least Zlatko Buric returns as Milo.

*    Sally Potter is back with a Cold War coming-of-age flick starring Elle Fanning, GINGER AND ROSA.

*    WASTELAND looks like a Ken Loach film made a baby with The Usual Suspects, which is too ridiculous a mishmash not to check out.

*    Julianne Moore struts around in leopard print and spars with Steve Coogan in WHAT MAISIE KNEW, a 21st-century Kramer vs Kramer based on a Henry James book.

*    HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS is a doc exploring the US drug trade from the inside out, apparently structured like a video game that sees you rise from selling crack on the street corner to lording over a cartel and featuring interviews with everyone from David Simon to "Freeway" Ricky Ross (not the MC, the guy who says he invented crack).

*    A childless Vietnamese couple gets torn apart when the wife decides to let her husband's ex-best friend impregnate her in IN THE NAME OF LOVE.

*    Bernardo Bertolucci is back behind the camera with ME AND YOU, about a couple of troubled young half-siblings who have different ways of hiding, and different reasons for doing it.

*    Joe Wright teams back up with Keira Knightley, again, for an adaptation of ANNA KARENINA.

*    Indie darling Noah Baumbach teams up with indie darling Greta Gerwig for a film about a rootless Brooklynite that's sure to be an indie darling, FRANCES HA

*    And at Midnight Colin Farrell re-teams with In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh and drags Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Tom Waits and Goddess known who else along with him for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, which looks like nothing less than a rebirth of that crazy '90s sub-genre of crime film that featured insanely deep, talented casts and made no sense at all (you know the ones I mean... Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, 8 Heads In a Duffel Bag, Two Days in the Valley etc etc). Of course Seven Psychopaths looks like it might actually be good, unlike most of those 90s films, but I'll settle for random, entertaining bosh.

*    Also, repeat screening of Kinshasa Kids and On the Road.


Saturday Sept 8th:


*    Japanese box office champ THERMAE ROMAE is about a Roman architect who becomes a hit after accidentally time-slipping back and forth to modern Japan and adopting elements of their public bathhouse culture for his own time period.

*    Genndy Tartakovsky, the animation genius behind the Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, the Clone Wars and Dexter's Laboratory finally directs a feature, the 3D CGI romp HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA.

*    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING... sigh. Leave it to Joss Whedon to crank out a Shakespeare adaption with all his friends in 12 days while in the middle of shooting a massive Hollywood blockbuster.

*    The long, sad story of the West Memphis Three gets one more chapter, although not from Berlinger and Sinofsky, with WEST OF MEMPHIS.

*    There's a very The Man Who Was Thursday vibe about spy thriller THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON, from first-time Bulgarian director Emil Christov, that has me intrigued.

*    The Year of Big Screen Snow White Adaptations (which I'm sure is how 2012 will be immortalized by historians) wouldn't be complete without a silent art-house riff, BLANCANIEVES, in which Snow becomes a bullfighter. Because why the hell not.

*    Video director Ramaa Mosley debuts with the Twilight Zone-ish THE BRASS TEAPOT starring Juno Temple.

*    Viggo Mortensen plays twins with a dark past in the Argentinian thriller EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN.

*    The Wachowskis team with Tom Tykwer to film the unfilmable, Fountain-esque CLOUD ATLAS (Tykwer didn't do too badly with the almost-as-unfilmable Perfume, so I have hope this'll be more than just a spectacle).

*    [REC] writer Luiso Berdejo co-writes PAINLESS, about a surgeon with a mysterious past and an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War where bizarre experiments were conducted on bizarre children.

*    THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is Emma Watson's first big post-Potter chance to show she's worth paying attention to. Oh, and it's also an adaption of a beloved teen novel blah blah blah. We all know why you're really seeing it. You're fooling no one.

*    David O. Russell, who has yet to make a bad film in his career, returns to more idiosyncratic, Flirting With Disaster/I Heart Huckabees-ish territory with SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

*    Argentinian doc filmmaker Jose Luis Garcia tries to finish a film he started over twenty years ago, tracking down a North Korean activist who miraculously walked through the DMZ to South Korea in THE GIRL FROM THE SOUTH.

*    FIN looks like a post-apocalyptic thriller crossed with the Big Chill, from a first-time Spanish director. That's fest-speak for "total wild card that could be anything from great to awful".

*    Olivier Assayas does a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film set in the wake of the May 1968 Paris protests, SOMETHING IN THE AIR.

*    Julien Temple parades you through his version of the last 100 years of history along the banks of the Thames in LONDON – THE MODERN BABYLON.

*    THE ACT OF KILLING literally made me sit up and shout "Holy shit!" to an empty room when I read the synopsis. Former members of Indonesian death squads (people who have never been brought to justice and see themselves as the heroes of their own stories, since after all their side won) re-enact their crimes as though they were movie scenes, complete with special effects, sets, costumes and extras to gun down. Errol Morris and Werner Herzog apparently had the same reaction I did, since they signed on as executive producers after seeing early footage.

*    YELLOW sees Nick Cassavettes possibly remembering who his father was and ditching his relentlessly middle-brow CV to do a pic about a woman who hallucinates her way through life.

*    Leave it to Graham Chapman, Monty Python's most subversive member, to narrate his own animated pseudo-biodoc, A LIAR'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, decades after his death.

*    THE SECRET DISCO REVOLUTION continues a long, proud Canadian mock docs that began with the criminally-underseen The Canadian Conspiracy.

*    TAI CHI 0 is a cheeky, steampunk-and-anime-infused historical martial arts flick with fight choreography from Sammo Hung. That, folks, is what you call "must fucking see".

*    Palme d'Or winner AMOUR sees Michael Haneke trying to make something that isn't agonizingly misanthropic for once, as it portrays an old man watching his wife slowly fade away after suffering a stroke. On second thought, that could easily end up being just as misanthropic as the rest of his filmography...

*    Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow (Gwynnie-cakes to no one but me) headline THANKS FOR SHARING, a comedy about sex addiction from Kids Are Alright co-writer Stuart Blumberg

*    And finally, NO ONE LIVES sees Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura pitting kidnappers against backwoods clans against who knows what else at Midnight, with an appropriately high body count.

*    Also, repeat screenings of Reincarnated, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, Argo, The Place Beyond the Pines, The We and the I, Dredd 3D, Three Kids, What Maisie Knew, Imogene, The Master, Seven Psychopaths, Me and You, Anna Karenina, Frances Ha and Wasteland.


Sunday Sept 9th:


*    Ken Burns returns to Toronto with a doc about a more contemporary subject, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, about the Central Park Jogger case in New York.

*    Pixar takes their first crack at a 3D film with the FINDING NEMO re-release.

*    FREE ANGELA & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS examines the life and work of scholar, activist, firebrand and (depending on who you talk to) terrorist and traitor Angela Davis.

*    Hugh Laurie stars as a schoolteacher with a love for Dickens' Great Expectations caught on the fringes of a civil war in MR. PIP.

*    Documentary maestro Alex Gibney is back with MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, a scathing look at the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church.

*    One of my hunch picks, THE LESSER BLESSED is a First Nations coming-of-age story set in the Northwest Territories.

*    GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY recounts the period in Jeff Buckley's life just before he became, well, Jeff Buckley, leading up to a tribute concert for his father.

*    One of the biggest movers and shakers behind modern pop culture gets the biodoc treatment in AMERICAN MASTERS: INVENTING DAVID GEFFEN.

*    Deepa Mehta adapts Salman Rushdie's acclaimed MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN, which I'm sure will be all lush and magic realist and whatnot.

*    Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona tackles THE IMPOSSIBLE, a ground-level drama about a family caught in the 2004 southeast Asian tsunami starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.

*    THE DEFLOWERING OF EVA VON END looks kind of like a Dutch Welcome To the Dollhouse, which would be just fine with me.

*    Neil Jordan gets back to doing weird, Neil Jordan-y stuff with BYZANTIUM, a sexy vampire romp starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan.

*    Robert Redford gets back to doing righteous, political, Robert Redford-y stuff with THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, about a fugitive former Weather Underground member gone straight who has to go on the run when Shia LeBeouf threatens to expose him. Stupid Shia.

*    QUARTET sees Dustin Hoffman stepping behind a camera for the first time, directing a story of four opera singers reuniting in a retirement home for musicians.

*    And JT Petty returns to Midnight for the third time with HELLBENDERS, about a group of badass rogue exorcists led by Clancy Brown.

*    Also repeat screenings of How To Make Money Selling Drugs, Something In the Air, Silver Livings Playbook, Cloud Atlas, Pusher, Ginger and Rosa, In the Name of Love, Thermae Romae, Much Ado About Nothing, Call Girl, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Janeane From Des Moines, The Brass Teapot, Painless, and Yellow.


Monday Sept 10th:


*    Cate Shortland, who was here a few years ago with an Aussie coming-of-age story called Somersault that showed a fair amount of promise, shoots the moon with her latest film LORE, about a group of children raised by SS parents trying to escape across a war-ravaged Germany in 1945.

*    BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO sees Toby Jones as a British sound engineer used to doing nature docs hired to work on an Argento-esque '70s horror film, and slowly losing his grip on reality. So basically, DePalma's Blow Out made a demon spawn baby with In the Mouth of Madness. Sweet.

*    Vinterberg collaborator Tobias Lindholm makes his directorial debut with A HIJACKING, a doc-like procedural about the taking of a Danish freighter by Somali pirates.

*    Bill Murray plays FDR in... wait, I'll let that sink in for a moment. Bill Fucking Murray plays Franklin Delano Motherfucking Roosevelt in HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, from Notting Hill director Roger Mitchell. (Admittedly, that part's less mind-blowing.)

*    CASTING BY shines a spotlight on trailblazing casting director Marion Dougherty, whose name you've seen on more great movies than you realized.

*    Imagine if Haley Joel Osment's Sixth Sense character grew up and became a sad-sack high school teacher? And that the Breakfast Club ends with them all dying in a giant explosion, and that said sad-sack teacher ends up working in that school? Then, provided you're imagining it in Spanish, you're imagining GHOST GRADUATION.

*    If you could handle that last mental exercise, try this one: imagine if Matt Murdock gave up being Daredevil, and instead tried to teach a blind Portuguese woman how to 'see' like he does. Then you'd be imagining, umm, IMAGINE. Yeah, OK, enough of that.

*    It's becoming clear that David Cronenberg will probably never make another Videodrome, or even another Rabid. Fortunately, he had children, and one of them is now picking up that fleshy, throbbing gauntlet. Son Brandon makes his debut with ANTIVIRAL, about a black market for celebrity diseases and the people who procure and inject them. Hot damn.

*    NO PLACE ON EARTH pieces together the history of a small band of Jewish escapees who survived the Nazis by hiding in a series of underground caves for 18 months.

*    Fittingly, along with Lindholm's debut feature A Hijacking (listed above) we also get the latest film he co-wrote with Thomas Vinterberg, THE HUNT, about a town torn apart by accusations of pedophilia which stars the always awesome Mads Mikkelsen.

*    Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung star as the nice one and the slutty one, respectively, in a '30s Shanghai version of Cruel Intentio... err, I mean DANGEROUS LIAISONS.

*    THE ICEMAN has Michael Shannon doing what he does best (namely, being a sick, creepy fuck- in this case mob hitman and serial killer Richard Kuklinski).

*    Terrence Malick enlists Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem and others to help him analyze the mystery of love in TO THE WONDER.

*    IN THE HOUSE sees Francois Ozon in fine form, with a story about a teacher who unwittingly invites a bad seed into his home in the form of a prized pupil.

*    And Rob Zombie's latest for Midnight Madness, LORDS OF SALEM, sounds like an extended Night Gallery episode, with a rock DJ in Salem accidentally awakening witchy evil by playing a cursed record. Or something.

*    Also repeat screenings of Midnight's Children, The Act of Killing, The Girl From the South, The Company You Keep, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In the House of God, Blancanieves, Mr. Pip, The Impossible, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, Fin, Everybody Has a Plan, The Deflowering of Eva von End, London - The Modern Babylon, The Color of the Chameleon, No One Lives, Quartet, Thanks For Sharing and A Liar's Autobiography.


Tuesday Sept 11th:


*    HERE COMES THE DEVIL is another movie about creepy Spanish kids (there are a lot of them this year) who may or may not have been touched by something evil after disappearing for a day.

*    From Microcosmos on up, modern camera technology has made recent bug docs true wonders to behold. MORE THAN HONEY focuses that lens on the imperiled world of the noble bee.

*    INESCAPABLE casts ST:DS9 alum Alexander Siddig as a former Syrian dissident who's built a very comfortable life for himself in Canada only to have his daughter disappear in Damascus, forcing him to go back home and be a badass once again. So, basically, a Liam Neeson movie without Liam Neeson.

*    Many years ago I was a huge fan of Philippine films, and not just because the women in them were crazy hot and they all seemed to be ridiculous melodramas. There was an energy to their film industry that no one seemed to be matching at the time. I'm getting hints that West African films might be about to plug into that same socket... Kinshasa Kids I mentioned earlier, but BURN IT UP DJASSA is another one I get that vibe from. It looks a bit like a City of God-esque brother-against-brother crime flick from Cote d'Ivoire, from a director named Lonesome Solo (!!!). Buckle up.

*    In addition to films about creepy Spanish kids, there's also a subset of TIFF movies this year about Japanese bathhouses. Entrant #2 after Thermae Romae is THE KEY OF LIFE, about a down-on-his-luck actor who swaps identities with a hitman after the hitman slips in a public bathhouse, bumps his head and gets amnesia. So, basically, a Takeshi Kitano comedy without Takeshi Kitano.

*    A WEREWOLF BOY is a South Korean film about a poor family with a teenage daughter who take in a feral lad they find in the back yard and try to civilize him. It's described as a 'wistful fantasy'. Sure, what the hell.

*    Audrey Tautou graces us with her presence in THERESE DESQUEYROUX, Claude Miller's final film and based on a novel that's sort of the French equivalent to Tess of the d'Urbervilles or Anna Karenina.

*    Kill List director Ben Wheatley is back with a bloody romp across the English countryside that sounds as much like Grant Morrison's Kill Your Boyfriend as it does Bonnie and Clyde in SIGHTSEERS.

*    Since we have a film in Mr. Pip about people who like GREAT EXPECTATIONS it's only fitting that we also get a reverential adaptation of Dickens' classic as well, this one from Mike Newell and starring half the people who appeared in the Harry Potter series: Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter etc etc.

*    PASSION sees Brian DePalma trying to stay relevant by getting Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace to star in a sexually charged thriller set in the advertising world. I'm sure it'll be very DePalma.

*    And at Midnight, AFTERSHOCK casts Eli Roth (who also co-wrote it) as an American tourist caught in the middle of a devastating Chilean earthquake that quickly rips the veneer of civilization off the survivors. The director is Nicolas Lopez, who apparently has films called Fuck My Life and Fuck My Wedding on his resume. I guess he figured calling this one Fuck My Apocalypse might not play internationally.

*    Also repeat screenings of Byzantium, The Iceman, Greetings From Tim Buckley, Hyde Park On Hudson, Tai Chi 0, Berberian Sound Studio, Dangerous Liaisons, No Place On Earth, The Lesser Blessed, To the Wonder and Hellbenders.


Wednesday Sept 12th:


*    Takeshi Kitano, back doing yakuza flicks, cranks out a sequel to 2010's Outrage called OUTRAGE BEYOND. While I'm disappointed to see him throttling back his ambitions, hey, it's still Kitano.

*    Scott Pilgrim's Mary Elizabeth Winstead (what do you mean she was recently in a horror prequel? Lalalalala I'm not listening) gets to flex her acting chops in SMASHED, about an alcoholic teacher who tries to straighten out her life while her equally-unsober husband (Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) tries to keep it crooked.

*    I think the program note for THALE sums it up nicely: "Two forensic clean-up men discover a deadly mythological siren hidden in the basement of a remote cabin in the Norwegian woods." So, basically, Quentin Tarantino's Splash.

*    A ROYAL AFFAIR sees Mads Mikkelsen starring as a German doctor who tore apart the Danish court of Christian VII in the 1700s. Oh, and it's from the screenwriter of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

*    South Korea's resident demented genius Kim Ki-duk is back with PIETA, about a loan shark's sadistic enforcer who reunites with his long-lost mother. Wherever you think that set-up might go, I can pretty much guarantee it's going to go somewhere else.

*    Johnnie To produces MOTORWAY, which looks like some sort of Hong Kong mashup of Drive and The Fasts and the Furiouses.

*    Patrice Leconte, best known for crime-tinged dramas like Monsieur Hire and L'homme du train, turns up with an animated musical that Tim Burton will probably be doing a stop-motion adaptation of any day now, about a family-run SUICIDE SHOP that sells the accoutrements of euthanasia and their unfortunately optimistic white sheep of a son.

*    And on a day that features name-brand international directors like Leconte, Kim and Kitano, name-brand American director Barry Levinson does something I never in a million years would have expected from him: namely, make a Midnight Madness film, and a found footage MM film at that. THE BAY looks like a mutated hybrid of Slither and Contagion, and I have absolutely no idea what Levinson is up to in making this. That's a good thing.

*    Also repeat screenings of Great Expectations, Key of Life, Ghost Graduation, Antiviral, The Hunt, Lore, Lords of Salem, Imagine, Here Comes the Devil, In the House and A Hijacking.


Thursday Sept 13th:


*    There may be no pantheon director whose work is more susceptible to conspiratorial interpretations than Kubrick. The Eyes Wide Shut/Trance-formation of America theory alone (it's worth Googling) would push him to the top of that chart, but ROOM 237 delves deep into all the various theories that have sprouted up in the wake of The Shining, including the idea that it's a coded apology for Kubrick's faking of the moon landing.

*    Master mindfucker Kiyoshi Kurosawa is back with PENANCE, a four-hour episodic bit of craziness about a long-grieving mother visiting the schoolgirl chums of her murdered daughter, who may or may not have grown up to be emotional wrecks after witnessing the murder and not being able to help catch the killer.

*    PEACHES DOES HERSELF sees the electroclash queen turn her life story into a Hedwig-esque musical. And while she's in town, she's taking over a local hotspot for a night of boundary-blurring performance art.

*    South Korean action impressario Choi Dong-hoon brings us THE THIEVES, a glossy heist flick with the requisite gang of misfits and old scores to be settled.

*    And finally we get the official Midnight 'creepy Spanish kids' flick, COME OUT AND PLAY, about a vacationing couple trapped on an island where the kids have massacred all the adults. It's also directed by the Subcommandante Marcos of horror movies, a guy who calls himself Makinov and hides behind a mask to avoid the ego-trap that comes with being a director. Or something.

*    Also repeat screenings of Sightseers, A Royal Affair, The Bay, The Secret Disco Revolution, Inescapable, Smashed, Aftershock, More Than Honey, Thale, A Werewolf Boy, The Central Park Five, Passion and Burn It Up Djassa.


Friday Sept 14th:


*    30 Seconds To Mars front man/Fight Club punching bag Jared Leto directs (under a pseudonym no less, Bartholomew Cubbins - because he's wearing a lot of hats, see? Ha! Ha? Sigh) ARTIFACT, about the band's war with EMI. I'm hoping for something as monumentally indulgent as I'm Still Here, only for keepsies.

*    Legendary Bollywood actress Sridevi returns after a 15-year absence from the screen in ENGLISH VINGLISH, a fish out of water comedy about an Indian mom stranded in Manhattan before her daughter's wedding.

*    And at Midnight the massive horror anthology THE ABCS OF DEATH gets unveiled, as 26 directors turn the letters of the alphabet into excuses for mayhem and carnage.

*    Also repeat screenings of Much Ado About Nothing, Great Expectations, Motorway, Burn It Up Djassa, Mr. Pip, Blancanieves, Come Out and Play, Therese Desqueyroux, Outrage Beyond, Pieta, No One Lives, The Brass Teapot, Janeane From Des Moines, Ghost Graduation, Penance, The Thieves, in the Name of Love, Greetings From Tim Buckley, Passion and Ginger and Rosa.


Saturday Sept 15th/Sunday Sept 16th:


*    A dying woman (Vanessa Redgrave) tries to show her bitter husband (Terence Stamp) how to live on after she's gone by forcing him to take her place in a senior's choir in SONG FOR MARION. Before you roll your eyes, keep in mind that said choir has stuff like Ace of Spades and Let's Talk About Sex in their repertoire...

*    And to close out the fest perhaps the most anticipated Midnight Madness film this year, Don Coscarelli's adaptation of whacked-out cult novel JOHN DIES AT THE END, in which a couple of drugged-out losers try to thwart an interdimensional invasion, kind of.

*    Also repeat screenings of Three Kids, Key of Life, The Central Park Five, Cloud Atlas, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, English Vinglish, Hotel Transylvania, More Than Honey, Painless, Artifact, Argo, The We and the I, Peaches Does Herself, The ABCs of Death, Wasteland, The Girl From the South, Imagine, Thale, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, Room 237, The Deflowering of Eva von End, Everybody Has a Plan, Tai Chi 0, Dangerous Liaisons, Come Out and Play, Thermae Romae, Outrage Beyond, Byzantium, Me and You, Frances Ha, Thanks For Sharing and Hellbenders.

*    And Sunday sees repeats of Pieta, Lore, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In the House of God, The Color of the Chameleon, Imogene, A Werewolf Boy, Room 237, The Suicide Shop, London - The Modern Babylon,  Penance, Yellow, A Hijacking, Aftershock, What Maisie Knew, Artifact, Here Comes the Devil, Peaches Does Herself, John Dies At the End, The Thieves, Kinshasa Kids, The Master, The Act of Killing, No Place on Earth, Motorway, Reincarnated, Sightseers, Call Girl, The ABCs of Death, Fin, Amour, To the Wonder and How To Make Money Selling Drugs.



So there you have it. Over one hundred movies over 11 days, and that represents only about a third of the program. There will almost certainly be movies I hear buzz about that didn't make my, ahem, “short list”. Oy. Well, I'll do my best, but if I manage to get to 40 of them I'll consider it a job well done.

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