I managed to catch 10 movies in my 4 days at TIFF but there were plenty more films to see as the festival rolled on for a full week after I left. These were the films that flew under the radar as the festival began but by it’s end had picked gained some of the greatest buzz. Leaving aside the films I already listed in my Fall Preview (“A Dangerous Method,” “The Artist,” “50/50,” etc.), here are 5 more films that played the fest that I wish I had gotten the the chance to check out.
1. Damsels In Distress (dir: Whit Stillman) Writer/director Stillman was a fixture in the ’90s indie scene with his 3 features, the talky upper crust comedies “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona” and “The Last Days Of Disco.” After a 13 year hiatus, (who does he think he is, Kubrick?), he returns with his latest, starring “Greenberg“‘s Greta Gerwig as the leader of a trio of girls who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American University. And apparently there are musical numbers.
2. Wuthering Heights (dir: Andrea Arnold) I haven’t seen director Arnold’s breakthrough feature, “Fish Tank” yet but it’s only a Netflix stream away and probably something I’m going to remedy very soon. Her new film is yet another adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic novel but promises to take an unconventional approach to the classic tale with the film drawing comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick. I was never a fan of costume dramas but group of them recently (“Pride & Prejudice,” “Bright Star,” “Jane Eyre”) have turned me around.
3. Jeff, Who Lives At Home (dir: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass) Jason Segel and Ed Helms play brothers in the latest comedy from the Duplass brothers. The duo started out as mainstays in no-budget mumblecore movement but started inching towards the mainstream with last year’s Jonah Hill & John C. Reilly dark comedy “Cyrus.” It’s always interesting to see Segel and Helms away from their day jobs since both don’t seem to shy away from darker material.
4. The Awakening (dir: Nick Murphy) I’ll watch Rebecca Hall in just about anything and that will almost definitely include this 1920s set ghost story. The British actress stars as an author who is called to an English boarding school to investigate sightings of a phantom boy and it looks very good. Word from TIFF is that it’ll join “The Others,” “The Orphanage” as another upscale horror film worth getting creeped out over.
5. You’re Next (dir: Adam Wingard) Premiering during the Midnight Madness section of TIFF, this no holds barred indie is on the other end of the horror spectrum. Set at a family reunion that spirals into a night of terror when masked assailants show up and start murdering everyone, the film has drawn comparisons to “Scream” and “Shaun of the Dead” and Wingard looks to be a director to keep an eye on. With any luck FilmLinc will play this next month as part of their Scary Movies series.
6. Sleepless Night (dir: Frédéric Jardin) This French thriller came out of nowhere to earn raves at the fest, critics describing it as “Die Hard meets 24 by way of Taken.” The film involves a cop on a mad chase through Paris facing down corrupt cops and drug dealers to rescue his kidnapped son. It’s the sort of premise that seems primed for an American remake which is why I want to see the French version.