As far as I’m con­cerned, TIFF of­fers two dis­tinct plea­sures: dis­cov­er­ing films that may never ap­pear on a Toronto screen again, and catch­ing an early peak at ti­tles ear­marked for Os­car glory. When plan­ning my cal­en­dar, I like to mix it up be­tween the two.

The Master

True to the ti­tle of his lat­est en­ter­prise, writer/di­rec­tor Paul Thomas An­der­son is a master of films about mod­ern mas­culin­ity, where men de­fine them­selves through their ca­reers. There was Mark Wahlberg’s porn star in Boo­gie Nights, Tom Cruise’s sex guru in Mag­no­lia, and Daniel DayLewis’s oil ty­coon in There Will Be Blood. In The Master, PTA reg­u­lar Philip Seymour Hoff­man stars as an L. Ron Hub­bard-like cult leader, with Joaquin Phoenix as his emotionally un­sta­ble pupil. See it for the glo­ri­ous 70mm pre­sen­ta­tion, its Os­car chances (a sure bet since Har­vey We­in­stein will en­gi­neer buzz) or Phoenix’s re­turn to act­ing with­out irony (after the I’m Still Here shenani­gans). Ei­ther way, I’m there. Septem­ber 7, 9 pm, Princess of Wales; Septem­ber 8, 3:15 pm, and Septem­ber 16, 6 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 1


Eran Rik­lis’s The Hu­man Re­sources Man­ager was among my favourite ti­tles at TIFF 2010, yet it never played here again. So no way am I go­ing to miss his lat­est about an Is­raeli fighter pi­lot ( Stephen Dorff) shot down over Le­banon who finds his way out with the help of a Pales­tinian boy. Rik­lis, who di­rected The Syr­ian Bride and Le­mon Tree, tack­les Mid­dle East­ern prob­lems with an absurdist and hu­man­ist touch. Dorff’s pres­ence is a bit mys­ti­fy­ing, but I’ll give him the ben­e­fit of the doubt after his res­o­nant turn in Sofia Cop­pola’s Some­where. Septem­ber 9, 6 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 1; Septem­ber 11, 9:30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 2; Septem­ber 16, 3: 45 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 2

The Place Beyond The Pines

Ryan Gosling plays a stunt rider who moon­lights as a bank rob­ber, which sounds like a re­peat of Drive, a movie that was all su­per­fi­cial style pos­ing as post­mod­ernist art. But I have faith in di­rec­tor Derek Cian­france, whose de­but, Blue Valen­tine (also with Gosling), showed prom­ise. Cian­france’s sopho­more out­ing, with Bradley Cooper and Eva Men­des, should pro­vide a much more sub­stan­tial drive through thriller ter­ri­tory. Septem­ber 7, 6 pm, Princess of Wales; Septem­ber 8, 11 am, Ry­er­son The­atre

Spring Break­ers

James Franco sports corn­rows and a grill and Justin Bieber’s girl­friend is along for the ride in the lat­est from off-kil­ter di­rec­tor Har­mony Korine. I could pre­tend I’m ex­cited about Korine’s re­turn, but re­ally I just want to see Franco do some very bad things to Se­lena Gomez. Septem­ber 7, 6 pm, Ry­er­son The­atre; Septem­ber 9, 3 pm, and Septem­ber 14, 9 pm, Bloor


In­ter­view With The Vam­pire di­rec­tor Neil Jor­dan takes another bite out of the genre in Byzan­tium. Play­ing Nos­fer­atu’s min­ions are Saoirse Ro­nan, fresh from kick­ing ass in Hanna, and sexy for­mer Bond girl Gemma Arter­ton, a tal­ent in need of bet­ter movies. Septem­ber 9, 9 pm, Ry­er­son The­atre; Septem­ber 11, 11 am, El­gin; Septem­ber 15, 9 pm, Bloor

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