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Toronto displays the season’s most anticipated films

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The summer movie season has come and gone. Much excitement was shared, but it’s time to now get into the Award-worthy cinematic season. Last week, many lucky film buffs were treated to premiers and Q&A’s from tons of this season’s most anticipated films from some of the best directors working today. That’s right, I’m talking about the Toronto International Film Festival. Founded in 1976 at the Windsor Arms Hotel, it was intended to be a collection of the best films from film festivals around the world.

Some see it as the beginning of Oscar season, and a real help to those who follow the yearly telecast. Usually films that come from TIFF end up being huge award winners, and often big hits among serious moviegoers. This year, audiences got an early look at what is to be a fantastic rest of the year for film. The festival opened with the world premier for the new Sci-Fi action adventure, “Looper,” starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis. Levitt and the film’s director, Rian Johnson, came to introduce the film, which made for a big surprise for those in the theater. Reactions were close to perfectly positive for “Looper,” which hits theaters nationwide on Sept. 28.

Another big time flick shown was the much anticipated Paul Thomas Anderson film, “The Master.” After Anderson’s last film, “There Will Be Blood,” was considered to be a masterpiece by many, cinema goers everywhere were eager to see his next work of art. However, the reactions were surprisingly mixed. Being compared to last year’s “The Tree of Life”, “The Master” is being called a beautiful but confusing film with Oscar worthy performances from Joquien Pheonix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Audience members walking out of the showings didn’t know what to make of it initially. But what is clear is that it’s still not a film to miss and bound to strike up many controversial conversations throughout the fall. It was also so successful in the eyes of critics and voters, that it wasn’t able to win the best picture award at this festival. The rules state that no film can win more than two major awards. They gave the Best Director award to Anderson and split the best actor award between Phoenix and Hoffman. Who would have thought that a film could be so well made that it couldn’t win the ultimate award?

The festival also has a program every night called “Midnight Madness”, in which mainstream action or comedy films are shown to very enthusiastic “midnight viewers” that acts as a break from all the serious works. The most popular one to come out of this was the hyperactive action picture, Dredd 3D. This remake of the 1995 cult following, “Judge Dredd” (starring Sylvester Stallone). The trailer left a bad taste on people mouths, including my own. But to the world’s surprise, audiences really loved this movie. “Stylistic” “Action-packed” and “satisfyingly gritty” were words used to describe what was seen and it really brought out the wild side of festival goers.

What may be the biggest news yet, are the films that ended up winning the “People’s Choice Award.” David O. Russell’s “The Silver Lining Playbook” (starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) surprised everybody by being the most talked about and well received movie at the Festival and is sure to gather real Oscar buzz these next few months to come. The runner up for this great honor went to the political period thriller, “Argo.” It stars Ben Affleck (who also directs it) and has a stellar cast full of talented actors from Alan Arkin to “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston. You may not know much about these two films yet. But I predict they will both be the talk of the town after their wide release dates. So keep your eyes open for these and much more as Award season begins with a bang.

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