Toronto unleashes 3D porn and Turkish nightmares with Vanguard and Midnights

08.11.15 2 years ago

TIFF

This year's Toronto Film Festival is already overwhelming when I look at the line-up, just in terms of trying to schedule everything I'd like to see. There are so many interesting and promising films that I'm not sure how I'm going to see even half of the titles. And of course, they hold the announcement of my two favorite sections of the festival until after they've announced all the big stuff, and now that they have, I'm about to throw my hands up in delicious exasperation because oh my god does it look like September should just be renamed Movie Christmas for me this year.

First up, let's look at the Vanguard section. When I didn't get to go to Cannes this year, there was one title that made that unbearable. I think Gaspar Noe is a beautiful terrorist, a filmmaker who takes a nearly-giddy delight in grabbing his audience by the face and shaking them. His 3D film “Love,” full of graphic sex, got mixed reviews from the festival, but I remain manic about getting a chance to see it. And now, thankfully, I will. I am equally excited about seeing new films from Alex de la Iglesia and Anders Thomas Jensen, whose last film as a director was in 2005.

As usual, Colin Geddes has put together an eclectic and dangerous list of ten titles for the Midnight Madness program, and I remain deeply impressed by the way he balances returning Midnight Madness alumni and brand new voices that need the platform, and by just how broad his definition of a midnight title is. I have heard just enough about Jeremy Saulnier's “Green Room” to make me crazy. I thought “Blue Ruin” was a truly beautiful small-scale hand grenade of a revenge movie, and whatever he's done with his new film, I'm excited to check it out. Sean Byrne's “The Loved Ones” is a delightfully horrifying film that never quite captured the audience it deserved, and I'm thrilled that he's bringing “The Devil's Candy” to the festival. Joe Begos rocked the fest a few years back with “Almost Human,” and he'll return with his lead actor Graham Skipper and his own personal Chewbacca Josh Ethier to premiere “The Mind's Eye,” which sounds like Begos is as big a an of “Scanners” as I am.

Congratulations to all the filmmakers who were included in today's announcements for these sections, and here's hoping I find a way to clone myself so I can see everything I'm curious about.

Here's the full list of Vanguard titles, and then afterwards, the full list of Midnight Madness titles.

VANGUARD 2015

“Collective Invention” (South Korea)
dir. Kwon Oh-kwang

Young and unemployed Gu is desperate to make some money and participates in a clinical trial for a pharmaceutical company”s new drug. As an unknown side effect, he slowly transforms into a fish. This bizarre situation becomes Korea”s hottest news and fish man Gu is catapulted into the spotlight and becomes a superstar, only to fall from grace just as quickly.

“Demon” (Poland/Israel)
dir. Marcin Woran

Peter is a stranger in the hometown of his future wife Janet. As a wedding gift from the bride's grandfather, he receives a piece of land where the two can build a house and raise a happy family. While preparing the land for construction, Peter finds hidden bones of human bodies in the ground beneath his new property. Then very strange things begin to happen.

“Der Nachtmahr” (Germany)
dir. AKIZ

When 17-year-old Tina passes out at a party, she assumes it was just the side-effect of her wild lifestyle on the decadent Berlin-party scene. Soon she becomes unsettled and nervously manic as a mysterious ugly creature starts to haunt her, in both her dreams and waking hours, and nobody believes her.

“Evolution” (France)
dir. Lucille Hadžihalilovi?

A 10-year-old boy discovers a dead body in the sea just before he is brought to the hospital for a mysterious injection. Before long, something appears to be growing inside of him.

“February” (USA/Canada)
dir. Osgood Perkins

In “February,” beautiful and haunted Joan makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all girls prep school, where Rose and Kat find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break. As Joan gets closer, terrifying visions begin plaguing Kat while Rose watches in horror as she becomes possessed by an unseen evil force.

“Lace Crater” (USA)
dir. Harrison Atkins

On a weekend trip to the Hamptons with friends, Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) encounters a mysterious ghost (Peter Vack) haunting the guest house. One thing leads to another and they find themselves in the throes of an unexpected one-night stand. Soon, Ruth begins suffering from a bizarre sexually-transmitted disease that leaves doctors and friends confused and frightened. As her body and social connections begin to disintegrate, she must find a way to reconcile her condition with the world around her, or risk losing herself to a void from which she may never emerge.

“Love” (France)
dir. Gaspard Noe

January 1, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and two-year-old child. He listens to his voicemail: Electra”s mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra”s been missing for a long time. She's afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of a long rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life: his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games, excess and mistakes.

“Men & Chicken” (Denmark)
dir. Anders Thomas Jensen

“Men & Chicken” revolves around two special-natured brothers, Elias and Gabriel (Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik). Upon their father”s passing, they find out through their father”s will that they are adopted. Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their natural father and set out for the island Ork, where their biological father lives. Here they discover a most paralyzing, yet liberating truth about themselves and their family.

“My Big Night” (Spain)
dir. Alex de la Iglesia

The story unfolds amidst a frenzied and lavish New Year's Eve television special, taped during a sweltering hot August in Madrid. An unemployed Jose is sent to join hundreds of extras cooped up on set, day and night, as they hysterically celebrate the fake coming of the New Year – over and over again. The star of the show, Alphonso, is a charismatic ratings-chasing diva; and Adán, a young Latino singer, is being hounded by fans that are trying to blackmail him.

“The Missing Girl” (USA)
dir. A.D. Calvo

“The Missing Girl” tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive, aspiring graphic novelist he's hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn”t missing and the discovery that it's never too late for late bloomers.

“Veteran” (South Korea)
dir. Rio Seung-wan

A tough cop targets the tyrannical heir to a mega-corporation in this hard-hitting thriller from South Korean cult auteur Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist, City of Violence).

Previously announced Canadian titles in the Vanguard programme include André Turpin”s “Endorphine,” Bruce McDonald”s “Hellions,” and Mark Sawers” “No Men Beyond This Point.”

MIDNIGHT MADNESS 2015

“Baskin” (Turkey)
dir. Can Evrenol

A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building. The nightmarish feature debut “Baskin” is the first-ever Midnight Madness film from Turkey.

“The Devil's Candy” (USA)
dir. Sean Byrne

The director of the 2009 Midnight Madness People”s Choice Award winner “The Loved Ones” is back with an equally fresh twist on the supernatural genre. A struggling artist (Ethan Embry) and his family buy the house of their dreams only to discover the property's mysterious dark past and a former tenant who wants more than to simply come back home. From the producers of Midnight Madness hits “You”re Next” and “The Guest.”

“The Final Girls” (USA)
dir. Todd Strauss-Schulson

Max (“American Horror Story””s Taissa Farmiga) is a high school senior whose mom (Malin Akerman) was a celebrated “80s scream queen. At a screening, Max and her friends are mysteriously transported inside her mom”s most infamous movie, where they must fend off the camp counselors” raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and get back home.

“The Girl In The Photographs” (USA)
dir. Nick Simon

Big-city glamour clashes with small-town values and a killer”s knife, in this bloody cocktail of terror from director Nick Simon and executive producer Wes Craven. Colleen”s life in the sleepy town of Spearfish is disrupted when she starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered women. Things get even crazier for Colleen when L.A. based celeb-photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn) returns to his hometown of Spearfish to investigate.

“Green Room” (USA)
dir. Jeremy Saunier

Broke, tired and at each other”s throats after a cancelled gig, a young punk rock band accepts a sketchy matinee show to get themselves home. When they stumble upon something they weren”t supposed to witness, the quartet is trapped in a terrifying siege. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (of 2013 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner “Blue Ruin”), the film stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, and Patrick Stewart.

“Green Room” is preceded by the previously announced short film “The Chickening” from directors Nick DenBoer and Davy Force.

“Hardcore” (Russia/USA)
dir. Ilya Naishuller

Resurrected with no recollection of his past, a cyborg named Henry (the audience”s POV) and his ally, Jimmy (Sharlto Copley, “District 9”) must fight through the streets of Moscow in pursuit of Henry”s kidnapped wife in the world”s first action-adventure film to be entirely shot from the first person perspective.

“The Mind's Eye” (USA)
dir. Joe Begoss

Joe Begos returns with a psychokinetic thriller about Zack Connors (Graham Skipper), whose abilities have kept him off the grid for years until he”s recruited by the mysterious Dr. Slovak. The snowy New England landscape turns into a whirlwind of psychic rage, flying axes, and brutal revenge as Zack does everything in his power to stop Dr. Slovak's deadly descent into synthetically engineered telekinetic madness.

“Southbound” (USA)
dir. Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence

Five intertwining tales of terror unfold along an endless desert highway. On a desolate stretch of road, weary travellers – two men on the run from their past, a band on their way to the next gig, a man struggling to get home, a brother in search of his long-lost sister and a family on vacation – are forced to confront their worst fears and darkest secrets in these interwoven tales of terror and remorse on the open road.

“SPL 2 – A Time For Consequences” (Hong Kong)
dir. Soi Cheang

The anticipated follow-up to the bone-cracking martial arts brawler “SPL” (also known as “Sha Po Lung” and “Kill Zone”) that debuted in the programme in 2005 stars Midnight Madness discovery Tony Jaa (“Ong Bak”). When an undercover cop (Wu Jing) has his cover blown and is thrown into a prison in Thailand run by a crime syndicate, he must team up with a prison guard (Jaa) to bust out and get revenge on those who wronged him. Filled with gun battles, prison riots and frenetic fight choreography, “SPL 2” might knock the wind out of you – and possibly a few teeth.

“Yakuza Apocalypse” (Japan)
dir. Takashi Milke

Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike returns to his gonzo roots with this mind-melter that finds room for vampires, gangsters, monsters, martial arts and even a yakuza knitting circle. A true master and MVP of the programme, Miike wowed previous Midnight Madness audiences with such hits as “Fudoh: The New Generation,” “Audition,” “The City of Lost Souls,” “Ichi the Killer”, “Zebraman,” “The Great Yokai War,” and “Sukiyaki Western Django.” He returns with a film too wild to be described and too fun to be missed!

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015.

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