Toronto Film Fest Announces First 50 Flicks

Directors Robert Redford, Mark Romanek, Michael Winterbottom, David Schwimmer and John Cameron Mitchell, and actors Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Sam Rockwell, Emma Stone, Vera Farmiga and Carey Mulligan are among those who will be unveiling their new films at the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

There's no shortage of familiar titles, both ones we're dying to see and a couple we were lucky enough to have caught earlier this year:

  • "The Black Swan" - Director Darren Aronofsky's new film stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival ballet dancers vying for the professional and personal attentions of Vincent Cassel.
  • "The Debt" - A remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, about three young Mossad agents who are sent to capture and kill a notorious Nazi "surgeon." When a man surfaces 30 years later claiming to be the Nazi in question, one of the ex agents must find the truth. Stars Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington. We didn't love the recent trailer, but were intrigued.
  • "The Town" - Ben Affleck's stars in his own sophomore effort as a director in this bank heist thriller co-starring Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively and Rebecca Hall. Now this trailer we liked.
  • "Another Year" - Director Mike Leigh could direct the phone book and we'd watch for at least two and a half hours, luckily he's directing the likes of Jim Broadbent in a film about a middle-aged couple who are visited by a string of miserable friends.
  • "Biutiful" - Word is that the film is lacking overall but that star Javier Bardem is fantastic and Alejandro González Iñárritu's camerawork is a good as ever. We liked the teaser more than the trailer.
  • "Blue Valentine" - Writer-director Derek Cianfrance's new film takes a hard look at courtship and the death of a marriage between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. We saw this at Sundance and it remains in the running for our favorite film of the year.
  • "Buried" - Ryan Reynolds spends 90 minutes in a coffin desperately trying to escape while armed only with a Zippo and a cell phone. Check out the trailer.
  • "Easy A" - Emma Stone stars as a high school girl unfairly labeled as a slut in this teen comedy co-starring Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church. This could go terribly wrong, but we love the cast and both the trailer and teaser look pretty good.
  • "The Illusionist" - From Sylvain Chomet, director of "Triplets of Belleville," comes this story about an aging magician finding himself squeezed off the world's stage by rock n' roll, and the young fan who inspires him. Like "Belleville," it looks gorgeous.
  • "Jack Goes Boating" - Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this film about two damaged New Yorkers, played by Hoffman and Amy Ryan, finding love. We caught it at Sundance and it's a bit uneven, but John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega give great performances in their supporting roles as the couple who brings Hoffman and Ryan together.
  • "Miral" - Julian Schnabel follows up his brilliant "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" with this story about the struggle to establish an orphanage in Jerusalem. Stars Willem Dafoe, Freida Pinto, Vanessa Redgrave and Alexander Siddiq.
  • "Never Let Me Go" - Director Mark Romanek brings to life Kazou Ishiguro's novel about three friends at a British boarding school who slowly realizes what exactly they're being prepared for. Stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. A simply haunting and beautiful trailer.

Suffice to say we could go on for a while. If you'd like to see the complete list of films that have been scheduled so far, you  can check out the festival's website. A complete list will be posted by Aug. 24.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 9 to 19.

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