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TIFF Teaser: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a teen movie with real depth (we hope)

The presence of Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger) ensures that The Perks of Being a Wallflower will appeal to the Harry Potter set, but will the film also appease the now-adult outsiders who embraced Stephen Chbosky’s YA novel back in 1999? The fact that Chbosky both wrote and directed the adaptation bodes well. Sure, the trailer contains a few stale teen movie tropes (the kind English teacher, the outcast sitting alone at a cafeteria table), but if Chbosky can replicate the insight, emotional depth and humour of the book, all will be forgiven. If not, the ’90s-era soundtrack should still make for a pleasant bout of nostalgia.

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TIFF Teaser: Cloud Atlas, which will either be epic or epically confusing


It’s no surprise that David Mitchell‘s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas was once called unfilmable—it has six storylines that leap from a mid-19th-century Pacific voyage to interwar Belgium, California circa 1975, present-day London, dystopian Korea and post-apocalyptic Hawaii (whew!). To knit together those narratives, which spill forward into one another and back again, the film’s stars take on multiple roles: Tom Hanks plays a ship’s doctor and a post-apocalyptic tribesman; Halle Berry plays a journalist and a member of a technologically advanced but shattered civilization; and Hugh Grant plays the CEO of a nuclear energy firm and a cannibal. In each of the settings, everything is different, yet eerily similar, which is exactly the point. The sheer scale of the film could result in it becoming a philosophical dog pile, but then again, its three directors, Tom Tywker (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy), have all successfully navigated ambitious projects before.

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TIFF Teasers: Argo, a Ben Affleck movie that finally leaves Boston


After a string of terrible films in the early aughts (Gigli being the most egregious), Ben Affleck reinvented himself by co-writing and directing the critical and commercial successes Gone Baby Gone and The Town. The now credible star’s latest effort is Argo, a highly charged political thriller based on a so-strange-it-must-be-true story. Amid the chaos of Iran’s 1979 revolution, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist (Affleck) makes a plan to smuggle six trapped Americans to safety by having them pose as the crew of a fake Canadian sci-fi epic. Having proved himself capable of gritty tension and action, Affleck was able to attract a cast that is nothing short of an ensemble, featuring Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Victor Garber.

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TIFF BUZZ POLL: which film are you most excited to see?

(Images: TIFF)

After we narrowed down the 372 films screening at TIFF to the buzziest 50, we started wondering which movie sits at the top of the heap. Cloud Atlas has a stacked ensemble cast, a rousing five-minute-long trailer and some highly regarded literary source material to live up to, but On the Road has an even more beloved literary antecedent (and, in Kristen Stewart, a star with very devoted fans). Then there’s Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which has netted the (free) hype that stems from opening the festival. Of course, The Master has many expecting standout performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman—not to mention its Church of Scientology-tinged subject matter.

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TIFF Teaser: Inescapable, sort of like Taken, but with more Syrian politics and less Liam Neeson


Inescapable is one of only two Canadian films to get the gala treatment this year (the other is Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Midnight’s Children). The film, which was shot in Toronto, has already been pegged as a Syrian-flavoured Taken: Alexander Siddig plays a mild-mannered father forced to return to Damascus after a 30-year absence when his vacationing daughter goes missing. He enlists the help of a former flame (Marisa Tomei), encounters a bothersome bureaucrat (Joshua Jackson) and is remarkably quick in his Liam Neeson-esque transformation—asses are kicked, names are taken. The film is Toronto-based writer-director Ruba Nadda’s first thriller, and we’re hoping her taste for politically charged drama (her film Cairo Time won Best Canadian Feature at TIFF 2009) will add dimension to the action.

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TIFF Teaser: Looper, the latest mind-bending movie to star Joseph Gordon-Levitt


In director Rian Johnson’s world, “loopers” are assassins who kill targets from the future who have been sent back in time (just go with it). Joseph Gordon-Levitt, having earned some action flick cred with Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Premium Rush, plays one such killer whose life (and professional integrity) is jeopardized when his newest target turns out to be his future self, played by a grumble-voiced Bruce Willis. The adrenaline-heavy flick will open the festival this year, and should set an appropriate mood for the rest of the week—with so many screenings, we’re constantly wishing we could be in two places at once.

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TIFF Teaser: Passion, Brian de Palma’s film about a really bad (but really sexy) boss

Brian de Palma’s recent efforts (The Black Dahlia, Mission to Mars) may not have lived up to his earlier works, but we’re still hoping that Passion will be a renaissance for the director. Noomi Rapace plays a young businesswoman who must contend with the sadistic mind games of her boss (Rachel McAdams)—mind games which apparently include girl-on-girl make-outs and shadowy boudoirs straight from the set of Eyes Wide Shut. This Sapphic game of cat-and-mouse follows the (successful) formula of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan: Oscar-nominated director, professional intrigue, murder and a much-talked-about lesbian love scene that will crowd the lines at your local arthouse cinema with high-fiving frat boys.

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TIFF Teaser: Reincarnated, or how Snoop Dogg went to Jamaica and came back as Snoop Lion

The jokes write themselves about the newly renamed Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg), but the documentary Reincarnated, premiering at TIFF, takes a serious look at what exactly happened during Snoop’s month-long vacation/pilgrimage in Jamaica—and why he traded rap for reggae. Vice Magazine global editor Andy Capper hones in on how the rapper’s acquittal on a murder charge, numerous arrests and bans from the U.K., Australia and Norway culminated in the journey to Jamaica, where he found some peace and a lot of marijuana and renewed his conviction that he is a reincarnation of Bob Marley. The newfound mellowness is charming—though we’ve yet to accustom ourselves to his new moniker.

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TIFF Teaser: The Master, which is most certainly not about Scientology


The Master’s producers are denying any intentional parallels to the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, though we imagine the whispers surrounding Paul Thomas Anderson’s film won’t hurt ticket sales when it’s released in theatres just after TIFF. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, an apparent polymath who founds a religious movement in the ’50s. Joaquin Phoenix co-stars as an alcoholic war vet who, in need of something to believe in, finds himself in the arms—or clutches—of Dodd and Dodd’s wife (Amy Adams). Three acting heavy-hitters, plus a perfectly creepy score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and compelling cinematography, all but guarantee a presence in the upcoming awards season.

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VIDEO: Life of Pi gets a traditional trailer after all

Sure, Yann Martel may have won the Booker Prize for Life of Pi, but these early peeks at Ang Lee’s cinematic translation are making us wonder whether it shouldn’t have just been a movie in the first place. In this trailer alone, there’s an epic storm (reminiscent of one scary sea witch), stunning shots of an island and a very large hologram whale that’s probably best appreciated on screens tailored for such multi-million-dollar epics instead of YouTube. Yes, it’s a gorgeous piece of Oscar bait, but here’s hoping that Life of Pi has more soul than the last big 3D epic.

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VIDEO: check out Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in the official Take This Waltz teaser trailer

The trailer for Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz has arrived, complete with Michelle Williams taking an aquafit class with Sarah Silverman, hanging out on a ferry boat (which island is she going to? Ward’s?), fraternizing with three gentlemen (Seth Rogen, Aaron Abrams and Luke Kirby), running by Clafouti and then taking a rickshaw down Queen Street West. We can tell we’re in for a pretty wild journey.

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VIDEO: Rachel McAdams has amnesia in The Vow, and Channing Tatum is just stressed out about that

A follow-up trailer has come out for The Vow, a movie coming out in February featuring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. This isn’t groundbreaking cinema: a married couple gets into a car accident, and the wife (played by McAdams) gets amnesia. Will he ever get his wife back? Probably.

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The last place to get a nice-sized home on a quiet, leafy street for less than $150,000 in the GTA—Twin Pines trailer park

Going Mobile

On a bright morning in August, Judi Lloyd drove through Twin Pines with the air of a visiting dignitary. The preternaturally cheerful 57-year-old real estate broker was on her way to list a home. The Mississauga trailer park is located just off Dundas, one of the city’s main arteries. Like all of Lloyd’s visits to the park, the trip quickly turned into a mixture of socializing and networking as she waved to and chatted with residents from the driver’s seat of her black Ford Escape. She gestured at the mobiles we passed, noting the histories and special features of each. “You wouldn’t even know that’s a trailer,” she said, pointing at a 48-by-24-foot mobile on a spacious, pie-shaped lot. “If someone dropped you in there and you didn’t see the outside, I swear you’d think it was a little bungalow.”

Bob Barclay and Ena Barclay, paid $8,000 for their mobile home 45 years ago

1| Bob and Ena Barclay, paid $8,000 for their mobile home 45 years ago

Stephen Plume, paid $125,900 for his mobile home in 2007

2| Stephen Plume, paid $125,900 for his mobile home in 2007

Debi Little, paid $105,000 for her mobile home in 2011

3| Debi Little, paid $105,000 for her mobile home in 2011

Patrick Rostant, paid $140,000 for his mobile home in 2009

4| Patrick Rostant, paid $140,000 for his mobile home in 2009

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TIFF Teaser: Sleeping Beauty, a tale of a college student making her way as a niche sex worker

Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty is impressively shot, with long takes and even longer silences that, we assume, will make audiences feel anxious and uncomfortable. After all, viewers are witnessing Lucy’s (played by Emily Browning) very slow transformation from college student to waitress who works in lingerie to full-on high-end prostitute. Rachael Blake plays the madam, Clara, who says Lucy is beautiful, but could be “even more beautiful” and is responsible for arranging her staff as naked art pieces in rooms with well-to-do men. We don’t want to make big claims, but we’re almost certain it will be better than Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (there will at least be more dialogue).

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TIFF teaser: Melancholia, an apocalyptic family drama

We love Lars von Trier (he brought us Dogville and Dancer in the Dark), and we love Armageddon. Von Trier’s latest effort, Melancholia, combines the two, and includes Kirsten Dunst, who we hope is less annoying after her completion of rehab. Since the dreary family drama was already perfected by Ordinary People, this modern take introduces a rogue star on a collision path with earth. Where’s Harry Stamper when you need him?

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