10 Must See Films at TIFF 2013

By @cj_prin
10 Must See Films at TIFF 2013

With 288 features set to play over 11 days, it was a tough process to narrow down our top picks for the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF can function as a way to catch up on some of the hotter festival titles from earlier this year, or as a sign of what 2014’s films will look like. Our list, which you can read below, covers a wide range from genre films to Cannes winners and even some movies generating Oscar buzz. Way Too Indie will be covering the Toronto International Film Festival this year, and we hope to catch as many films on this list as we possibly can along with many other films as well. This year the Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 5th to 15th.

Way Too Indie’s 10 Must See Films at TIFF 2013

#10 – The Sacrament

The Sacrament movie

It’s safe to say that Ti West is one of the best American horror filmmakers working today. The House of the Devil is one of the best horror movies in the last ten years, a nostalgic and atmospheric throwback to the 80’s that still causes the creeps even on repeat viewings. His follow-up, The Innkeepers, was a ghost story that had the audacity to spend time (!) developing its characters before putting them in horrifying situations. Now West is back with The Sacrament, a film that takes its inspiration from Jim Jones’ cult in the 1970’s. A reporter takes a camera crew along with him to investigate a cult that his sister ran off to, where presumably things will take a turn for the worse. With Eli Roth producing, The Sacrament might finally expose mainstream audiences to something truly scary for once. [CJ Prince]

#9 – The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty movie

I’m quite the admirer of Paolo Sorrentino’s last film, This Must Be the Place (I believe I placed it at #2 on my top ten list of that respective year). I thought it was a very well-directed piece on the oddities that liter America, spearheaded by a delicious lead performance by Sean Penn (one of his best). Sorrentino has finally followed up that overlooked gem with The Great Beauty. The film played at Cannes earlier in the year, where it was met with a lot of acclaim. Our very own Dustin Jansick liked the film too. The Great Beauty has been described as a 2.5 hour love letter to Rome, its history and its beauty. If I were attending this year’s edition of Toronto, this film would be near the top of my must see list. [Blake Ginithan]

#8 – Devil’s Knot

Devil's Knot movie

“The West Memphis Three.” No, that’s not the name of the bluegrass band that plays at your local farmer’s market. It’s the handle that was given to three teenagers who were wrongfully accused of brutally murdering three children in 1993 and subsequently sentenced to life in jail, despite the lack of hard evidence. Devil’s Knot, Atom Egoyan’s (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) crime drama take on the murderous tale as inspired by Mara Leveritt’s book of the same name, has got an interesting assemblage of a cast gracing the screen: the criminally underrated Elias Koteas; the mysterious, moody up-and-comer Dane DeHaan (Chronicle); the always-solid-sometimes-great Reese Witherspoon; the supremely talented Colin Firth. And that’s just a handful. The reaction coming out of TIFF (where it’s making its world premiere) will likely be a good indication of how big a splash the genre thriller will make in the domestic market. [Bernard Boo]

#7 – Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club movie

Matthew McConaughey has been a popular name across the festival circuit this year. I had the chance to see his memorable performance in Mud at Sundance London in April and was extremely impressed by both actor and film. I’d love for Dallas Buyers Club to be another example of McConaughey’s diversity as the plot has a lot of potential to explore controversial topics and utilise the dramatic undertones which should ensue. [Amy Priest]

#6 – The Double

The Double movie

Not to be confused with the awful film of the same name starring Richard Gere from a couple years ago, The Double is Richard Ayoade’s directorial follow-up to his fantastically whimsical and charming coming-of-age film Submarine. The Double follows a man (Jesse Eisenberg) who discovers his doppelganger (also played by Eisenberg) who is constantly one-upping him in life and at work. Billing itself as a comedy comes as no surprise given Ayoade’s comedic background in The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, which are all reasons even for some to get excited for the newest work baring his name. [Dustin Jansick]

#5 – Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings movie

In addition to getting some of the best buzz out of Sundance this year, Kill Your Darlings already has almost unanimous approval among critics who’ve seen it. The film dreams up the early beginnings of the Beat generation’s founding heroes, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Brought together during their time at Columbia University in the 40s, their friendship was made bond by a gruesome murder, which sets the backdrop to what appears to be an edgy, sexy and intriguing film. These sexually-curious, substance-abusive, and creatively-unconventional icons provide excellent inspiration for a young cast and relatively young director. John Krokidas’s film is, as he put it in an interview, a sort of “origin” story for these influential anti-conformist heroes. Furthermore, with change happening all over the world as more accepted norms are challenged, it’s no surprise that several films have been released of late focusing on this historic cultural shift. I look forward to it’s October release to see it myself. [Ananda Dillon]

#4 – Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color movie

It’s a little difficult, after seeing the movie poster—the soft, pale skin; the snow-white background; the seductive, dangerous, staring eye; the shimmering splash of arctic-blue hair accompanied by color-matched brushstrokes that spell out B-L-U-E—to not be more than a little intrigued by Abdellatif Kechiche’s upcoming French drama, Blue is the Warmest Color. Then there’s the massive, snowballing hype surrounding the film that’s been steadily picking up speed ever since it came out of Cannes as the belle of the ball—critics adored it, and it won the Palme d’Or, which pretty much secures it a spot in the “must-see” column in the back of every cinephile’s mind. If that’s not enough to entice you, the film has received an NC-17 rating due to the extended, “is it porn?” lesbian sex scenes between stars Adéle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. [Bernard Boo]

#3 – Don Jon

Don Jon movie

Written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this comedy is set to impress many at TIFF this year as many film fans are already calling it a “great directorial debut” and with recommendations across the board. Jon Martello (Levitt) is the modern day Don Juan who objectifies everything in his life, especially women. His journey is focused on learning about love and appreciating life. I’m very excited to see it succeed, but also very sad I’ll have to wait for it’s UK release on 15th November compared to my lucky U.S. friends who’ll catch it on 27th September. [Amy Priest]

#2 – Gravity

Gravity movie

I have been waiting for Alfonso Cuaron to follow up Children of Men for 7 years. Seven. Years. Well folks, he’s finally back and boy does it seem like he’s ready to drop another masterpiece on us. Already being met with raves from the Venice Film Festival, Gravity is ready to take the fall awards circuit by storm. Certainly on its way to getting multiple technical Oscar nominations, Cuaron’s Gravity tells the story of two astronauts who, after a freak accident, are stranded in the nothingness of space. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock anchor the film’s heart and soul, but it’s the Mexican director and his cinematographer (Emmanual Lubezki) who will probably steal the show here. Word is that Cuaron still loves his long tracking shots and Gravity has one that is nearly 13 minutes in length. This isn’t just my most anticipated film of the festival, it’s my most anticipated of the year. [Blake Ginithan]

#1 – 12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave movie

It is almost hard to believe that 12 Years A Slave will only be Steve McQueen’s third feature film because an amateur quality is never sensed in his work. Going by his (short) track-record of films we can expect two things from this new film; a commanding narrative with powerful cinematography and Michael Fassbender (who has appeared in every film of his to date). McQueen’s last film Shame stunned audiences all-over, including its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, but because of the explicit sexual content in the film it earned the dreaded NC-17 rating, which essentially forfeited its chances to receive any Oscar nods. However, people are already gossiping about 12 Years A Slave being an Oscar contender ahead of its premiere because the film has all the checkmarks the Academy favors: American historical drama, award winning cast, and an mid-October release date. Time will tell how much, if any, accolade 12 Years A Slave will earn, but we will count earning the top spot on our list as its first. [Dustin Jansick]

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