Celeb spotting warm-up 3: Clooney! Bollywood! The guy who directed Gremlins!

Celeb spotting warm-up 3: Clooney! Bollywood! The guy who directed Gremlins!
Clooney cometh? (Photo by Culture Culte)

The organizers of Toronto International Film Festival continue to quietly release screenings confirmed for the 2009 festival. In the latest batch are offerings from Jason Reitman (Juno), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) and Joe Dante (Gremlins). And to top it off, there’s a possible Clooney sighting in the works. A full round-up of the latest titles, after the jump.

Film: Up in the Air (U.S. World Premiere) One-sentence synopsis: George Clooney plays a downsizing expert obsessed with obtaining airline points who falls in love with a fellow frequent flyer. Director: Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) Actors: George Clooney, Jason Bateman, Vera Farmiga Wild speculation: Reitman’s a safe bet since he was here in ’07 for Juno and he’ll probably do double duty and promote Jennifer’s Body where he serves as producer. Of course, everyone has Clooney in their sights as evidenced by all the newspaper (and blog) headlines. He has to show up, right?

Film: The Damned United (U.K. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Footballer flick based on Brian Clough’s infamous 44-day stint as the manager of the powerhouse Leeds United team in the ’70s Director: Tom Hoper (John Adams, Longford) Actors: Michael Sheen, Colm Meaney Wild speculation: North American audiences are probably most familiar with the film’s writer, Peter Morgan, who wrote the screenplays for Frost/Nixon and The Last King of Scotland. He’s also penning the next 007 flick, so chances are he’ll be here to push Damned as well as field speculative questions about Bond 23.

Film: Dil Bole Hadippa (India. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Bend it like Beckham meets Yentl: a cricket-obsessed Punjabi girl disguises herself as a man in order to play in the Cricket World Cup, but things get complicated (don’t they always?) when she falls for her coach. Director: Anurag Singh (Raqeeb) Actors: Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapoor Wild speculation: There are high hopes for this film since the Slumdog feel-good train is still running. Expect Singh and Mukherjee to show up—but will Mukherjee be the next Parminder Nagra?

Film: Micmacs (France. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: The description from the press release is confusing the hell out of every reporter (“Can you get drunk from eating waffles? Can a woman fit inside a refrigerator? What is the human cannonball world record?”), so here’s what IMDb has to say: “A man and his friends come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.” Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie, Delicatessen) Actors: Dominique Pinon, Dany Boon Wild speculation: It’s hyped to be Jeunet’s comeback after only making one film since 2001’s Amélie, so for him to snub TIFF would be a big mistake.

Film: What’s Your Raashee? (India. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Rom-com about a man who must find a bride within 10 days in order to save his family from ruin. Director: Ashutosh Gowariker (Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India) Actors: Harman Baweja, Priyanka Chopra Wild speculation: Indian newspapers reported that Chopra is really close friends with Gerard Butler (to a point where it caused a rift with her then-boyfriend, actor Shahid Kapoor). Perhaps Butler enjoyed last year’s festival so much that he’ll tell her to go this year.

Film: The Good Heart (Iceland. World premiere) One-sentence synopsis: A grumpy bar-owner takes a young homeless boy under his wing to continue his beer-dispensing legacy. Director: Dagur Kári (Voksne menneske, Lost Weekend) Actors: Paul Dano, Brian Cox Wild speculation: Dano’s a good bet since he was here last year for Gigantic. Plus, he gets bonus points for being the quirky, sensitive, anti-testosterone leading man that’s all the rage in cinema right how. Michael Cera best watch his back.

Film: The Hole (U.S. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Horror flick (in 3-D, natch) about two young brothers discovering a bottomless hole in their basement that brings nightmares to life. Director: Joe Dante (Small Soldiers, Gremlins and Gremlins 2) Actors: Nathan Gamble, Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Teri Polo Wild speculation: Dante. The studio surely knows that horror fans are stoked about the possibility of having the director of Gremlins and Eerie, Indiana come to town.

Film: Soul Kitchen (Germany. North American premiere) One-sentence synopsis: Heartbroken restaurant owner Zinos flies to China to be with his girlfriend and leaves his popular restaurant in the hands of his ex-con brother. Director: Faith Akin (New York, I Love You) Actors: Moritz Bleibtreu, Birol Ünel, Pheline Roggan Wild speculation: Bleibtreu’s films are no stranger to TIFF (Run Lola Run, The Walker, Adam Resurrected) and yet he’s always flying under the radar. It’s about time he gets the recognition he deserves.


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