My TIFF Picks

dir.Danny Boyle
Slumdog Millionaire is a film directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and written by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty). The film is based on the bestselling novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup. Release date is on November 28, 2008.
Premise: An illiterate Indian streetkid from Mumbai wins the jackpot on Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He had gone onto the game show to reach his missing girlfriend, whom he knows watches the show religiously. When he wins the jackpot, he is suspected of cheating.
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, and received very positive reviews. Boyle announced that he made minor re-edits before its screening at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival, where it went on to win the Cadillac People's Choice Award, voted on by festival audiences. It is set to close the London Film Festival next, on October 30 before its wide release. (Wikipedia)

dir.Kevin Smith
Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a 2008 comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. It is scheduled for October 31, 2008 release.
Plot: A comedy about two lifelong platonic friends who have managed to trudge into adulthood with a satisfying lack of accomplishment. However, a high school reunion and dire rent problems spark the novel moneymaking idea of pulling together an amateur porn enterprise with their friends. As the film begins shooting, however, Zack and Miri realize their feelings for each other might be more than just friends.
In an interview with MTV.com, Seth Rogen commented "It's a really filthy movie. I hear they are having some problems getting an R rating from an NC-17 rating, which is never good". He continued, complaining that "They [fight against] sex stuff. Isn't that weird? It's really crazy to me that Hostel is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and shit like that... But you can't show two people having sex — that's too much". On August 5, the rating was successfully appealed to an R with no cuts. It attained the rating for "strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language".
A poster for the film, released in September 2008, which shows the two characters in split screen as they perform oral sex on each other, was banned for use in U.S. theaters by the MPAA, and will only be used in Canada. (Wikipedia)

Smith's old Clerks star gets shit on his face in a crude scene - & so do the cult director's fans with a movie that blows so hard it makes actual porno look like Fellini. (NOW Magazine/Sept.4-10 2008)

dir.Saul Dibb
The Duchess
is a film based on Amanda Foreman's biography of the scandalous, 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.
While her beauty and charisma made her name, her extravagant tastes and appetite for gambling and love made her infamous. Married young to the older, distant Duke of Devonshire, intimate of ministers and princes, Georgiana became a fashion icon, a doting mother, a shrewd political operator and darling of the common people. But at the core of her story is a desperate search for love. From Georgiana’s passionate and doomed affair with Earl Grey to the complex ménage à trois with her husband and her best friend, Lady Bess Foster, The Duchess is a very contemporary tale of fame, notoriety and the search for love.
The film received mixed, but mostly positive reviews, gaining 67% out of 21 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus that "Keira Knightley squeezes into a corset again, and pulls off another worthy performance in this sumptuous and emotional period drama, that serves parallels to the Duchesses descendent Princess Diana."
Most reviewers have highly praised Knightley's and Fiennes performances. Both Fiennes and Knightley have already generated Oscar buzz for their roles in the film.
Marketing: Studio executives wanted to use digitally altered images of Keira Knightley in promotional materials. The alterations were specifically aimed at enlarging her breasts. However, Knightley objected to the alterations and they were not used. (Wikipedia)

dir.David Koepp
A misanthropic dentist (Ricky Gervais) gains the ability to communicate with ghosts after a near death experience in which he dies for seven minutes during a colonoscopy and is then miraculously revived. Ghosts begin to pester him, particularly Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) who wants him to break up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni), putting him in the middle of a supernatural love triangle.

dir.Guy Ritchie
RocknRolla is a film directed by Guy Ritchie. The film stars Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, and Tom Wilkinson. It was filmed in London and released on September 5, 2008. It hit No.1 in the UK box office in its first week of release.
Premise: When a Russian mobster sets up a real estate scam that generates millions of pounds, various members of London's criminal underworld pursue their share of the fortune. Various shady characters, including Mr One-Two, Stella the accountant, and Johnny Quid, a druggie rock-star, try to claim their slice...
In contrast to the mostly negative UK reviews, reception post screening at the Toronto International Film Festival was glowingly positive. The general public, also appeared to receive the film in a positive manner with the Rottentomatoes user rating coming in at 88% .
Guy Ritchie is planning to extend RocknRolla into a trilogy if enough people like the first one, following characters still alive at the end of the first film. (Wikipedia)

dir.Steven Soderbergh
Che is a 2008 film about Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Benicio del Toro as Che.
Che was screened on May 21 at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival reportedly running over four hours. Del Toro won the Best Actor Award at the festival for his portrayal of Guevara in the film.
In his review for Esquire, Stephen Garrett criticized the film for failing to show Che's negative aspects, "the absence of darker, more contradictory revelations of his nature leaves Che bereft of complexity. All that remains is a South American superman: uncomplex, pure of heart, defiantly pious and boring". (Wikipedia)

This is the more adventurous work of the two halves. Its fragmented chronology lets us appreciate the tiny changes Del Toro works on the development of Guevera's unflappable persona - but those tiny changes are all we get. The movie doesn't really let us inside Che's head, preferring to view him as the icon he's become rather than the man he had to have been. (NOW Magazine/Sept.4-10 2008)

dir.Steven Soderbergh
Just as he did in Part 1, Del Toro plays Guevera as a man so committed to his cause that he's cast everything aside - family, friends, his own physical & emotional needs - to bring "the revolution" to the world. His Zen calm is impressive, but it means we spend a lot of time watching him sit around the jungle telling young hotheads to chill out. (NOW Magazine/Sept.4-10 2008)

dir.Ari Folman
An animated memoir set in the Middle East, this film tells the wrenching story of one man - specifically, filmmaker Folman - trying to come to terms with his experiences as an Israeli soldier in occupied Lebanon in the early '80s.
Folman's decision to tell his story, & those of several other veterans, through stylized digital animation is both visually striking & dramatically inspired. The medium let's him plug us directly into the mindset of his 19-year-old self, all bright colours & loud noise, while also allowing him to film a number of stunning sequences that would be entirely unwatchable if they were presented in live action. (NOW Magazine/Sept.4-10 2008)

The film took 4 years to complete.
The Guardian called it "an extraordinary, harrowing, provocative picture". (Wikipedia)

dir.Davis Guggenheim
Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), the Edge (U2) & Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) recall their fondest memories of playing & listening to the electric guitar in this slick but chaotic love song - or maybe elegy.
Page is dapper, Edge is deep, & White is endearing - still humble, still dreaming. But together they lack chemistry, & the much-hyped conversation among them yields little besides an entertaining jam session. (NOW Magazine/Sept.4-10 2008)

Guggenheim directed and produced Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and the TV series "Deadwood."
I, for one, can't wait to see this movie. The jam session alone is worth the price of admission. Getting to watch three masters of their craft at work is always a pleasure. Having three generations of guitarists go toe-to-toe is icing on the cake. (Lehigh Valley Movies/May 2008)

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33rd_Annual_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

TIFF's Hottest Movies: tiff2008.sympatico.msn.ca/gallery/HotMovies.aspx?cp-documentid=591584