This week, Toronto turns into Grand Central Cinema. Now in its 26th year, the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 6 to 15) is North America’s hottest showcase for new movies. Stars expected to appear include Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Denzel Washington, Anthony Hopkins, John Cusack and Jeanne Moreau. Here’s a sampling of titles likely to create a buzz:
Last Wedding Finally, a Canadian movie that is wickedly funny. The festival’s opening-night gala, from Vancouver’s Bruce Sweeney, tracks three imploding couples through darkly comic bouts of jealousy, infidelity and professional envy. Monsoon Wedding Mira Nair paints the screen with colour, music and sensual chaos in this pageant of an arranged Punjabi marriage.
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Jill Sprecher (Clockwatchers) directs a criss-cross narrative of five characters who converge in New York City. With John Turturro and Alan Arkin.
Sidewalks of New York Another deft ensemble piece. Directed by Edward Burns, it’s like a (good) Woody Allen picture, with Stanley Tucci as the cradle-robbing creep, and Heather Graham in the role of a prim wife.
Prozac Nation Jessica Lange and Christina Ricci take a motherdaughter ride through emotional hell, based on the best-seller.
The Triumph of Love Ben Kingsley and Mira Sorvino revive Marivaux’s classic romp in an Italian country manor.
The Grey Zone Tim Blake Nelson (0) adapts his own play about armed revolt in Auschwitz, with Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel.
World Traveler Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) plays a New Yorker who abandons his family for the holidays and hits the open road.
Cet Amour-là The Indomitable Jeanne Moreau plays author Marguerite Duras in the story of a romance with a man half her age.
Amélie Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s modern, very French fairy tale about an ingenue waitress was a hit as Montreal’s closing-night gala.
Le Souffle Damien Odoul shows a raging talent with his feature directing debut, about a hormonal teenage boy in the French countryside.
Dark Blue World Czech director Jan Sverak, who directed the Oscar-winning Kolya, delivers a romance set against the Battle of Britain.
The Butterfly Set in South Korea, a dystopic vision of a near-future ravaged by pollution, and a virus that purges painful memories.
Y tu mamá también Alfonso Cuarón’s panoramic and controversial sex-and-drugs odyssey broke box-office records in Mexico. La Ciénega Heat, decay and sticky tension in a family villa on the edge of the Argentine rainforest.
The Safety of Objects Glenn Close plays a suburban mother caring for a teenage son in a coma.
Waking Life Drawing on live actors, Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) directs a dizzying feat of animation, and undergrad philosophy.
The Man from Elysian Fields Andy Garcia stars, but Mick Jagger-who co-produced Engima, another festival entry-steals the movie as the manager of a male escort agency for wealthy women. Dogtown and Z-Boys Sean Penn narrates a skateboard documentary set in Santa Monica. Mulholland Drive David Lynch is up to his old tricks with noir mind games and lesbian sex. Heist Shooting in Montreal, David Mamet throws new twists into a classic genre.
Lantana A psychological thriller from Australia, starring Geoffrey Rush and Barbara Hershey.
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