Toronto and Venice have started rolling out their selections, including premieres for a lot of expected awards contenders. TIFF especially has established itself as a major launching pad for eventual Oscar winners; Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men first started garnering buzz up Canada way. I’ll put out some of the biggest titles here, with presumably more to come as we get closer to festival season – Venice starts September 1st, Toronto a week later on the 9th. This and other tidbits in this week’s Lightning Round!
- Last week I passed along the news that Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’ would open the Venice festival. Organizers are upping the prestige factor even more by closing out things with Julie Taymor’s long-delayed, heavily anticipated, gender-swapping adaptation of ‘The Tempest.’ The full list of titles in Competition was also released today, and includes: Sofia Coppola’s ‘Somewhere,’ Julian Schnabel’s ‘Miral,’ and ‘Meek’s Cutoff,’ a period Western starring Michelle Williams and Paul Dano that is moving up my Must-See list. ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The Town’ should also be there at some point, since those two are listed as “North American Premieres” at TIFF, rather than ‘World Premieres.”
- Titles getting their world premiere at TIFF: Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator,” Guillaume Canet (“Tell No One”)’s “Little White Lies,” Rowan Joffe’s “Brighton Rock,” Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction,” Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating,” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go.”
- Apparently, Guillermo del Toro’s role on “The Haunted Mansion” will be strictly as producer; his next directing project will actually be a 3-D adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountain of Madness,” with none other than James Cameron as producer. We can probably expect this to turn into a major, tent-pole studio event like “Avatar.”
- A real trailer finally landed for Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” which got Juliette Binoche a Best Actress award at Cannes. From at least a technical standpoint, traces of Kiarostami’s earlier films like “Taste of Cherry” and “The Wind Will Carry Us” are clearly visible.
- I’ve resolved to generally only post posters that I find artistically striking; thus I’ve so far only shared the woozy, “Sunset Blvd”-esque one-sheet for “Somewhere.” Now, my favorite poster of the year so far, for Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go:”