The Top 20 Films I'm Excited to See at Torontoby keithsim | last updated - 23 Aug 2017
A number of the big films that will be at Toronto (Mother!, Downsizing) are opening a little earlier in Venice and are on my Top 13 Films I'm Excited to See at Venice list. I've also seen a number of the films that I'd recommend you see at Cannes and elsewhere (In the Fade, for the performance of Diane Kruger alone). Thus those titles aren't appearing on this one. But, even though Toronto scaled back the number of films they programmed, it's still a packed two weeks of movies in Ontario. Here's some that I want to catch.
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1. Darkest Hour (2017)
PG-13 | 125 min | Biography, Drama, History
In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
Votes: 118,401 | Gross: $56.44M
2. Novitiate (2017)
R | 123 min | Drama
Set in the early 1960s and during the era of Vatican II, a young woman in training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality.
Votes: 2,570 | Gross: $0.58M
3. Brad's Status (2017)
R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life's choices.
Votes: 11,595 | Gross: $2.13M
Amazon Studios (full disclosure: IMDb is part of the Amazon family) showed a clip of this at Cinema-Con and it looked great. I've never been a huge Mike White fan. I might have to become one.
4. Kings (2017)
R | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
The life of a foster family in South Central Los Angeles, a few weeks before the city erupts in violence following the verdict of the Rodney King trial.
Votes: 1,578 | Gross: $0.27M
If you saw Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven's Best Foreign Language Oscar-nominated film you know why this is a must on the Toronto list.
5. I, Tonya (2017)
R | 120 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.
Votes: 117,574 | Gross: $30.01M
This could really go a number of ways and director Gillespie has proved with Lars and the Real Girl that he can handle a quirky tale and find the humanity in even the oddest of situations. With the topic it would by easy (and boring) to make much of the white-trash, middle-America stereotypes, a la Butter, which will doom this picture. Let's hope it hews more to To Die For.
6. Unicorn Store (2017)
92 min | Comedy
A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.
I am not one for independent films that feature characters stricken by arrested development but this one stars and is directed by Brie Larson. Normally that hyphenate "stars-directs" give me caution and, yes, I saw Kong: Skull Island, but Larson continues to use her powers for good (see noble, if unsuccessful Glass Castle as Exhibit #22]). Support the good ones.
7. Hostiles (2017)
R | 134 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Votes: 42,858 | Gross: $29.82M
Scott Cooper's last two films, Black Mass and Out of the Furnace, had a distance to them, an unapproachable macho reserve that made them sterile. Can he imbue this film with the heart of Crazy Heart, for which Jeff Bridges won his Oscar? Hard to say. It seems unlikely that this film would be any nearer to the Western genre than Dead Man or Slow West so they'll be no firm footholds. The cast is stellar including Bale (who was with Cooper on Furnace) and three personal favorites of mine, Ben Foster (robbed of a Best Spprt nom last year), Jesse Plemmons, and Q'orianka Kilcher.
8. Submergence (2017)
112 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders ... See full summary »
9. Stronger (I) (2017)
R | 119 min | Biography, Drama
Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope after surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Votes: 29,214 | Gross: $4.21M
After Manglehorn I swore I was done with David Gordon Green. I moved back to my mother's, I changed my phone number and ditched him on social. But...ughh...I can't seem to quit him. Plus, Gyllenhaal has proven on several occasions (Nightcrawler, End of Watch) that he is one of our finest and fiercest actors today. So, once more into the Green I go.
10. Mary Shelley (2017)
PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
Life and facts of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who at 16 met 21 year old poet Percy Shelley, resulting in the writing of Frankenstein.
Votes: 4,920 | Gross: $0.10M
Director Al-Mansour made Wadjda, the film about the Palestinian girl who wanted a bike, that was nominated for Best Foreign Language at the BAFTAs and should have been nominated for an Oscar.
The Shelley mystique has been clumsily handled before. The presence of Al-Monsour and this cast suggest it will be done more deftly.
11. The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)
R | 98 min | Biography, Drama, War
A major league baseball player, Moe Berg, lives a double life working for the Office of Strategic Services.
Votes: 2,817 | Gross: $0.71M
12. Borg vs McEnroe (2017)
R | 107 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
The story of the 1980 tennis rivalry between the placid Björn Borg and the volatile John McEnroe.
Votes: 17,767 | Gross: $4.11M
13. I Kill Giants (2017)
Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Fantasy, Thriller
Barbara Thorson struggles through life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters.
Based upon the much-loved graphic novel by Joe Kelly this live-action adaptation includes Saldana and Poots.
14. Journey's End (I) (2017)
R | 107 min | Drama, War
Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, as they await their fate.
Votes: 3,741 | Gross: $0.16M
15. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017)
R | 105 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady.
Votes: 5,368 | Gross: $1.03M
16. Kodachrome (2017)
TV-MA | 105 min | Drama
Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.
17. The Ritual (I) (2017)
TV-MA | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that's stalking them.
I love Rafe Spall and the tagline, "They should have gone to Vegas" hints at cleverness inspired by the film. Or then again it may just be good marketing.
18. The Death of Stalin (2017)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, History
Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.
Votes: 50,135 | Gross: $8.04M
19. Euphoria (I) (2017)
R | 104 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
Sisters in conflict travelling through Europe toward a mystery destination.
Two fantastic lead actresses and Charles Dance and Charlotte Rampling? Yes please.
20. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2017)
Unrated | 98 min | Documentary
A portrait of unsung Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, whose bestselling memoir chronicled his decades spent as sexual procurer to the stars.
Votes: 215 | Gross: $0.46M
Give me a spoon because I could eat this kind of thing up.