Celeb spotting warm-up 2: let the speculation begin (again)

Celeb spotting warm-up 2: let the speculation begin (again)
Drew Barrymore, seen here with Corey Feldman at the 1989 Oscars, screens her directorial debut, Whip It, at TIFF ‘09 (Photo by Alan Light)
The titles of some of TIFF‘s films (and stars speculated to show up to promote them) have been announced over the past few days. They range from Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut—with a surprisingly star-studded, funny-lady cast—to Michael Moore’s latest documentary. The sequel to Todd Solondz’s Happiness (which we thought was unsequalable), the latest comedy by the Coen brothers and Werner Herzog’s new crime-fest will also be screened. A full run down of the latest flicks to be added to the Toronto International Film Festival schedule, after the jump.

Film: Whip It (U.S.A. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Rebellious, hair-dying girl finds empowerment and acceptance through roller derby and lots of slapstick action. Director: Drew Barrymore (debut) Actors: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Eve, Jimmy Fallon, Marcia Gay Harden, Zoe Bell Wild speculation: This will be one of the most anticipated films of TIFF. Barrymore and Page are shoo-ins: it’s the former’s world premier as director and the latter has CanCon status. We hope to see Drew flicking her tongue at Sweaty Betty’s again.

Film: Broken Embraces (Spain. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. Apparently, it’s a thriller, too. Director: Pedro Almodovar (Volver, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down) Actors: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar Wild speculation: Almodovar tends to turn up at these things, particularly if Penélope is on his arm.

Film: Life During Wartime (U.S.A. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: An unusual group of people struggles to find love, forgiveness and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos. Director: Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse) Actors: Allison Janney, Ciarán Hinds, Ally Sheedy, Paul Reubens, Shirley Henderson, Michael Lerner, Charlotte Rampling Wild Speculation: This one wins our vote for Most Insane Casting Ever. We hope they all show up and stay in the same hotel, if not the same hotel room.

Film: A Serious Man (U.S.A. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Black comedy set in the ’60s about a university professor whose wife is ditches him for his colleague. He is left with a deadbeat family that’s dysfunctional to say the least. Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (Fargo, Burn After Reading) Actors: Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick Wild speculation: There are no blockbuster names attached (aside from the C-Bros.) so we expect the studio to send at least the top-billed actors hoping this will be their big break.

Film: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (U.S.A. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: A corrupt and drug-addicted cop in New Orleans tries to take down a dealer suspected of killing a family of African immigrants. Director: Werner Herzog (Encounters at the End of the World, Grizzly Man) Actors: Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Xzibit Wild speculation: Cage is a likely no-show since this is not the film’s world premiere—though after viewing the trailer, he seems unable to say “no” to whatever his agent proposes (see unintentionally funny films Wickerman and The Knowing). Mostly, we hope Xzibit turns up, so that we can make fun of his name.

Film: Capitalism: A Love Story (U.S.A. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Takedown on the global financial meltdown focusing on middle America, Wall Street and Moore’s perennial favourite, the Bush administration. Director: Michael Moore (Sicko, Bowling for Columbine, Roger & Me) Actors: Michael Moore Wild speculation: Moore needs to nurse his Canada crush, so you can count on him. Besides, unless Bernie Madoff is on standby (which would be pretty awesome), who else would to promote this thing?

Film: Dorian Gray (U.K. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Straightforward non-updated, non-musical, non-3D Pixar adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic. Director: Oliver Parker (An Ideal Husband, Othello) Actors: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth Wild speculation: Barnes and Mr. Darcy are likely to return for the gala presentation after the duo came last year to promote Easy Virtue.

Film: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (U.S.A. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Adapted by the novel written by the director, it’s a tale of a woman whose perfect life falls apart when she moves with her much older husband to a retirement community. Director: Rebecca Miller Actors: Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin Wild speculation: Penn was here for last year’s Witch Hunt and she already finished filming her next two films, so why not show up for this gala?

Film: Harry Brown (U.K. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: A “modern urban western” that sees an old man become a revenge-seeking vigilante after seeing his best friend get murdered by a teenage gang leader. Director: Daniel Barber (The Tonto Woman) Actors: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer Wild speculation: Filming hasn’t finished for Caine’s next film, Inception, but with no other big name attached to the flick, we think he’ll drop by for the world premiere.

Film: Perrier’s Bounty (U.K. and Ireland. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: A man, his father and his best friend are on the run from a gangster after one of his cronies is accidentally killed (yep, it’s a comedy). Director: Ian Fitzgibbon (Spin the Bottle, Showbands) Actors: Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent Wild speculation: Cillian’s been to TIFF in ’05 and ’06 so we expect to see him again, though we’re sure he’s dreading the inevitable onslaught of Batman-related questions.

Film: Triage (Ireland and Spain. World premiere.) One-sentence synopsis: The girlfriend of a war photographer sets out to find out why he returned home without his colleague and best friend. Director: Danis Tanovic (L’enfer) Actors: Colin Farrell, Jamie Ives Wild speculation: We previously guessed it was unlikely for Farrell to show up since he was absent last year. But with two films announced now, the chances of his return are upped.

Film: Women Without Men (Germany, France and Austria. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: The stories of four Iranian women during the summer of 1953 when Iran’s prime minister was brought down by American and British-backed forces and the Shah was reinstalled to power. Director: Shirin Neshat (debut) Actors: Unlisted Wild speculation: Artist-filmmaker Neshat has been working on this video series since 2003 (each segment was filmed over the years) so it’s a safe bet that she’ll be in Toronto.


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