Our Top Film Picks for TIFF 2015

Besides all the questions we get about TIFF in regards to Getting Tickets and Where to See Celebrities – the #1 most popular question we get asked is “What should I see?”. It’s a tough question to answer since everyone’s taste in films is different (not to mention there are nearly 300 of them to choose from). Some people really want to see the next Blockbuster before anyone else, some people want to see obscure foreign films they’ll not see anywhere else, but most people want something in between. Something that’s worth the whole TIFF rigmarole, buzzworthy without being over-hyped, and just non-hollywood enough to be considered indie. Well, maybe the films we list here fit that bill, maybe they don’t. So to answer the question “what should I see at TIFF” all we can really tell you is what we want to see. TIFF2015Picks

Jason’s Picks

The Danish Girl

Surely to be a topical film given recent progress for the transgender community in North America, this will be one of the heavy hitters this year come awards season, with Eddie Redmayne jockeying for his second consecutive Oscar.  The book this is based on is beautiful and elegant and hopefully the film captures this special relationship with the compassion and intimacy it deserves. [Angelina AddsWhen I saw just the poster for this film I knew I was in. Eddie Redmayne has already proven that he can throw himself into a character so completely that the actor himself seems to disappear. Taking on the nuanced role of a transgender woman, I feel that he will bring beauty to the role. The fact that Alicia Vikander (whom I loved in A Royal AffairHotell and Ex Machina) will perform alongside him is just the icing on the cake.

Our Brand Is Crisis

Another of the hotly anticipated fall titles, this is a feature film retelling of a 2005 documentary.  Sandra Bullock is rumoured to have delivered yet another Oscar-worthy performance in this.  With a great cast and timely subject matter, this political satire piece looks to be one of the hits of the festival. 45Years 45 Years

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney, veteran actors who both won the top acting prizes at the Berlin Film Festival for this film, are front and center in what is sure to be a master class in acting.  Courtney has been quoted as saying this is some of the best writing he’s ever worked with.  I enjoyed the director’s previous film Weekend tremendously and his work on the HBO show Looking, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

The Witch

For horror fans, who doesn’t love a good witch story?  With this being set in 17th-century New England, I’m interested to see what kind of cinematic scare tactics the director has used with this idea that this superstitious and religious family becomes cursed by a witch.  The film looks brooding and atmospheric and appears to rely more on slow-burn psychological scares rather than the in-your-face scares that have become all too common.  I’m hoping for a smarter horror film.

Equals

I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Hoult and of futuristic sci-fi films so when both get combined together, I’m there.  Hoult has been choosing really interesting roles lately and I’m curious to see what he and Kristen Stewart do with this Utopian premise of a love story being set in a world where human emotion has been eradicated.  From the promotional images I’ve seen, this film looks absolutely gorgeous.

Angelina’s Picks

I’ve been waiting to see this film since it got mentioned by Cracked last year.
A lot of films start out with a great premise, but suffer from poor execution. This movie however has awesome written all over it. An entire film shot as a first-person shooter, with Sharlto Copley as a limey cyborg sidekick? This is a quintessential Midnight Madness flick and I can’t wait for it!

I Smile Back

I am not a huge Sarah Silverman fan, so I have to admit that I mainly want to see this film to judge for myself if she has the acting chops to pull off a completely dramatic role. It’s a huge opportunity for her, and the source material is pretty highly regarded. Jennifer Anniston blew me out of the water with Cake last year – let’s see what Silverman has to offer.

 

FinalGirls

 

I’ve heard it said that the best horror films these days manage to walk the line between self-referential without being self-indulgent. Scream and Cabin In The Woods brought us unique and hilarious takes on the genre, and The Final Girls is a new attempt at the same. There’s huge potential here and I hope it succeeds!
[Chantelle Adds: Although I’ll be missing this one during the festival, I’m definitely hoping it gets a bigger release – can anyone say ‘This Year’s’ The Guest?]
 

Shia LaBoeuf…what an interesting turn his career has taken recently. I never really liked him in the Transformer films and pretend that Crystal Skull never happened. But the premise, of taking PTSD and elevating it with the apocalyptic survival genre, has me intrigued. And as strange as it may sound, his performance in Sia’s Elastic Heart music video has me thinking he can pull of some  tough, emotional scenes.

Remember

Take Memento and replace Guy Pierce with Christopher Plummer, an elderly man with memory loss on an assassination mission. There is so much about the concept of this Atom Egoyan revenge flick that could be ridiculous on paper, but the trailer had me holding my breath. It seems like a pretty intense story and I am already enthralled.

 

Chantelle’s Picks

Room

Although I havn’t yet read the book on which this movie is based the overall plot sounds interesting, and quite frankly, really emotional. The trailer pulled me in and I didn’t even recognize Brie Larson, who hopefully might finally be able to break out of her Clever Teen typecast. I have a tendency to see films at TIFF that basically rip your heart out, I’m sure this will be no different.

Men & Chicken

When I tell people that I have a favourite Danish Screenwriter – mostly I just come off as pretentious. But in all seriousness, Anders Thomas Jensen consistently makes amazing movies. Usually with Susanne Bier at the directorial helm, he has written some of the most emotional, powerful and beautiful (not to mention Oscar-winning) films EVER, let alone in Danish Cinema. Having him return to TIFF with a film he directed himself (a dark comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen, no less) is going to be a real treat.

High-Rise

Based on the novel by  J.G. Ballard (aka, the guy who wrote Cronenberg’s Crash), and directed by Ben Wheatley of TIFF 2012’s SightseersTop it off starring Tom Hiddleston, and what you get is a film that I am super looking forward to, might hate, but hopefully not, and definitely not going to miss.

LondonRoad

London Road

I knew nothing of this film until I started doing my TIFF research, and the Trailer blew me out of the water, and quickly became one of my top must-sees of this year. Not only am I a huge musical theatre fan, I think the concept and execution of this particular piece is fascinating and, hopefully, very moving. Also, Tom Hardy is going to sing, right? Right?!

Trapped

If having a favourite Danish Screenwriter is pretentious – then I suppose having a favourite Icelandic Director is full-on Hipster territory. But, Balthazar Kormakur is returning to TIFF once again, and debuting his 10-part television series this as a part of the inaugural “Primetime” Programme, and it looks fantastic. Suspenseful, dangerous and as always, a nod to the savagery and beauty of Iceland itself.

There are literally HUNDREDS more films to see at the festival, what are you most looking forward to?

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