Our QMI writers and TIFF experts tell us which movies they can't wait to screen at this year's festival.
The Wind Rises: Nothing from Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki ever disappoints, even as he works into his 70s at the famed Studio Ghibli. This unusual piece of work, covering decades of time, is a poetic reverie about a pre-WWII aeronautical engineer who becomes inspired by visits to a fantasy world in the clouds.
Gravity: Nothing from Mexico master Alfonso Cuaron fails to ignite the fires of my imagination. That applies even with his part of the Harry Potter franchise. This time around, working from a script he co-authored with his son, Cuaron tells an American story set in space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who will soon face a crisis.
Blue is the Warmest Color: Nothing about Tunis-born director Abdellatif Kechiche's lesbian love story is routine, so this French production won the Palme d'Or as best film at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It is said to be frankly told, sexually explicit and extraordinarily personal and insightful. Can't wait!
Gravity: Though the trailer may give the impression that this is an explosive sci-fi adventure starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, by all accounts it's an intense yet intimate look at survival in the harshest environment of all: outer space. And besides, "by the director of Children of Men" is really all I needed to hear to be on board.
The Devil's Knot: Being a fan of Atom Egoyan's work and also intensely interested in the case of the West Memphis Three, this one's a no-brainer. The story's been told several times - most recently in last year's TIFF documentary West of Memphis - but I'm eager to see Egoyan's dramatized take on the tragedy.
Why Don't You Play in Hell:? This blood-drenched Japaxploitation movie (I think I just made that term up) has been compared to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, except possibly even bloodier. It tells the tale of a film crew that gets caught up with a yakuza gang, and apparently includes gunplay, swordplay, decapitated heads and lots of very black humour.
12 Years A Slave: Start with the extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup, a free man tricked and sold into slavery in 1841; add a cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt; then toss in brilliant director Steve McQueen (Hunger; Shame) and -- voila!-- you have a must-see proposition.
Blood Ties: This is a gritty crime thriller set in New York in the 1970s. It's a story about brothers on different sides of the law, and it stars Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, Billy Crudup and Marion Cotillard. The film is from Guillaume Canet, who directed Tell No One, so you know you'll be on the edge of your seat at all times.
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
Who doesn't like a gossipy biopic of a fascinating music biz insider? This documentary is the directorial debut of Mike Myers and involves lots of archival footage and interviews with, among others, such stars as Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone. Take a walk down memory lane with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
And the Dalai Lama. Go figure.
Attila Marcel: Call it a hunch. Few French-language films this side of Amelie were ever as warmly received as Sylvain Chomet's The Triplets Of Belleville. His first life-action film -- about a man-child's fantasy life -- suggests a dreamlike musical experience. Something to see if you've seen too many dark TIFF films.
The Armstrong Lie: Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi To The Dark Side, Client 9) was well within Lance Armstrong's circle doing a conventional "sports hero" doc when the doping-scandal volcano erupted. Not a bad place to be. Can't wait to see what he got.
Rush: The Niki Lauda/James Hunt story. Expect the details-obsessed Ron Howard to focus as much on the verisimilitude of Formula 1 auto racing as he did on zero gravity in Apollo 13. And Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) is a terrific screenwriter who makes big themes personal.