The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off in earnest this Thursday (September 6) with a glimpse of the future. Two futures, to be precise, as director Rian Johnson's "Looper" is the starting point for the festival. A sci-fi thriller that sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger version of Bruce Willis in the 2040s (complete with Willis-esque prosthetics) killing targets from even further in the future, there's no better film than "Looper" to demonstrate the eclectic lineup on display at TIFF this year.
It's not just time-jumping life-and-death struggles on display at TIFF, of course. Some of your favorite stars from "Twilight," "The Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter" are attending the festival, now in its 37th year, in support of a wide variety of films. You might even catch a glimpse at Earth's Mightiest Heroes if you look in the right places, and if you're not careful, you'll find yourself victimized by the horror that is this year's Midnight Madness lineup.
Read on for our preview of what to expect from Toronto this year!
TIFF has been the birthplace of more than a few eventual Academy Award magnets in its time, including "The Hurt Locker" and "Crash," and the 2012 festival is well positioned to continue the trend. Paul Thomas Anderson's hotly anticipated "The Master," already said to contain an Oscar-winning turn from Joaquin Phoenix, will bow in Toronto before its limited release around the U.S. on September 14. Ben Affleck's "Argo" will also take flight at TIFF, with the Wachowski siblings and Thomas Tykwer's mesmerizing adaptation of "Cloud Atlas" premiering as well. And don't discount "Looper," which could very well be the "Inception" of this year's Oscars.
Whether you're Team "Potter," Team "Twilight" or Team "Hunger Games," there's something for everyone. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" screens at TIFF starring Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson, who will be on hand to support the film. Kristen Stewart bares it all in the adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," and none other than Katniss Everdeen herself, Jennifer Lawrence, will be in town as part of the cast of "The Silver Linings Playbook," the latest film from "The Fighter" director David O. Russell.
No, there isn't some sort of top-secret "Avengers" sequel screening at TIFF. Close enough, though, as director Joss Whedon premieres "Much Ado About Nothing," his modern-day Shakespeare adaptation he filmed during production on "Avengers." Whedon isn't the only one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in town either, as Agent Coulson himself, actor-writer-director Clark Gregg, is also attending Toronto to support his work in "Much Ado." Captain America and the incredible Hulk will both be at the festival as well, with Chris Evans supporting "The Iceman" and Mark Ruffalo championing "Thanks For Sharing."
Madness, We Say!
If it's blood, guts, gore and more you crave, look no further than Toronto's Midnight Madness lineup. Comic book flick "Dredd," which premiered at Comic-Con this year, is screening at Toronto ahead of its September 21 release date. "Inglourious Basterds" actor and "Hostel" director Eli Roth takes the lead role in "Aftershock," a thriller that takes place during an earthquake in Chile that traps a group of travelers (Roth included) underground and turns their glorious vacation into something awful. Rob Zombie's long-developing "The Lords of Salem" will also make its debut during Midnight Madness, bringing the horrors of Salem's witch legend into the modern day. And if you're a horror nut, there's simply no escaping "The ABCs of Death," featuring 26 terrifying shorts from 26 terrifying directors, including "Hobo with a Shotgun" filmmaker Jason Eisener and "V/H/S" director Ti West.
Bring The Kids!
For the most part, this year's TIFF lineup is decidedly for the adult crowd — it should go without saying that you don't want to bring the young ones to Midnight Madness — but there is definitely something for everyone, kids included. If you're traveling with little children, you'll score major points for bringing them along to the September 9 screening of "Finding Nemo 3D," the 3-D rerelease of the Pixar classic. The Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez-voiced "Hotel Transylvania," too, is set for a major Toronto appearance, screening twice: once on September 8, and again on September 15. Parents, plan accordingly!
Tell us what you're looking forward to from this year's TIFF lineup in the comments section below!