Opening day for baseball enthusiasts is long gone but for movies buffs – attending opening-night at the Toronto International Film Festival – the reel action is set to begin.
What began as a small Canadian event has become one of the biggest and most-prestigious film festivals in the world. This year’s lineup includes 146 world premieres and films from 72 countries. Things kick off tonight with the Hollywood sci-fi tale “Looper” starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt – who were present at today’s press conference.
“Looper” is one of the big draws at this year’s festival. You know it to be true when you try to buy single tickets and they’re gone within 10 minutes. However, it’s not the only film creating a stir among audiences. Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths” starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are also among the films that sold out immediately. Even tickets for the obscure matinee for “Seven Psychopaths” were snatched up within minutes. Also on many TIFF wish lists were “End of Watch” starring Academy-Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as young Los Angeles police officers Taylor and Zavala patrolling the meanest streets of south central Los Angeles, and “Anna Karenina” the epic love story starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson. Director Joe Wright also worked with Knightley on “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement.”
Any one of these is worth the trip to Toronto, but it’s the films by no-one-I-know that make a pilgrimage there worthwhile. For example, there is the splashy documentary “Storm Surfers 3D,” a character-driven adventure story about two best friends on their quest to hunt down and ride the biggest and most dangerous waves in the world. At the center of the story is Aussie tow-surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time world champion Tom Carroll who enlist the help of surf forecaster Ben Matson. Thanks to amazing technology and likely a few monkey-cams, audiences are given the ride of their life as the team track and chase giant storms across the Great Southern Ocean. A still from the movie alone will cause you to pause in awe. Now imagine it in 3D on a big screen.
TIFF runs through Sept. 16. http://tiff.net/thefestival
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