Look out, the Toronto International Film Festival is coming to your town! Now that the festival has finally wound down and the celebs have flocked back to Hollywood, it’s time to see which movies will make their theatrical debut worldwide. As for those hidden gems that will probably stay hidden? We suggest you keep an eye out for them in rep cinemas, on demand or at your local video store.
20 of TIFF’s hottest flicks, coming soon to a theatre near you
Wild (Dec. 5)Too early to talk about awards season? Too bad because Jean-Marc Vallée's follow up to Dallas Buyers Club already has Oscar buzz. Reese Witherspoon had to be convinced not to quit the project over fears that the part was too raw and naked (both literally and metaphorically) but her brave performance doesn’t disappoint. (CA)Fox Searchlight
Rosewater (Nov. 7)Jon Stewart’s directorial debut about a Western journalist held captive and tortured in an Iranian jail during the country's 2009 elections is an excellent first effort. He even manages to inject the film with some of his trademark wry humour — an impressive feat in a movie based on such a harrowing true-life tale. (CA)Open Road Films
St. Vincent (Oct. 24)It's a mystery how Theodore Melfi wrangled Bill Murray, Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd for his very first feature but he got some great performances out the star-studded cast. McCarthy especially stands out as the emotional centre of the film while O'Dowd brings wry wit in steady, bite-sized doses. (CA) Weinstein Co.
This is Where I Leave You (Sept. 19)Come for the Tina Fey, stay for the Tina Fey (with a side of always awesome Connie Britton). Montreal director Shawn Levy's ensemble cast comedy features funny humans pulled from some of the best shows on TV — but it's Fey (and her left hook) that'll have you laughing hardest. (CA)Warner Bros
The Imitation Game (Nov. 21)Two words: Benedict Cumberbatch. The British actor is back in fine form after last year’s festival flop, The Fifth Estate. This time, he’s playing WWII code breaker Alan Turing and captivating us with his careful, nuanced performance of a hero who went uncelebrated for far too long. (CA)Weinstein Co.
Men, Women and Children (Oct. 17)While Jason Reitman’s last film (Labor Day) landed with a thud, he redeems himself somewhat with this exploration of love and family in the age of the internet. If you have a hard time tearing yourself away from Facebook to watch a movie, this should make for a reasonable compromise. (JD)Paramount
Nightcrawler (Oct. 31)Jake Gyllenhaal went to surprising extremes in last year’s Prisoners, but wait until you see where he goes in Nightcrawler. If you’re not afraid of video journalists, just wait: Gyllenhaal’s about to change that. (JD)Elevation
FoxcatcherThe recipe for Oscar success isn’t always easy to pin down, but this Cannes award winner seems to have all the crucial ingredients: murder, drugs, wrestling and a semi-unrecognizable star (Steve Carell). The fact that it’s based on a true story will only magnify the shocks – and your fear of billionaires. (JD)Sony
Love and Mercy (release TBD)Of all the iconic rock stars, Beach Boy Brian Wilson had one of the most unusual lives – and he lived to tell the tale. His story is so loaded with fascinating behaviour and incidents that director Bill Pohlad needed two actors (John Cusack, Paul Dano) to play the role. (JD)Roadside Attractions
While We're Young (release TBD)Insightfully dissecting the lifestyle choices of urban twenty-somethings and forty-somethings, While We’re Young will inspire amused waves of recognition in viewers anywhere near those age groups. Looking for a provocative night out with much older or younger friends? This is the ideal conversation starter. (JD) A24
Félix et Meira (no release currently planned)A film out of the movie-making hotbed that is Montreal, Félix et Meira is a look inside the city’s Orthodox Jewish community at a woman who wants out. Through a chance meeting with her secular neighbour, a door is opened. Like your love stories sweet but not saccharine? This movie is the perfect choice. (CA)Meta Films
Clouds of Sils Maria (no release currently planned)Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche play women — not stereotypes but real, interesting women who engage in interesting conversations, do interesting things and have an interesting (and complicated) relationship. As for men? Well, there’s barely a moment to even think about them. (CA)Mongrel Media
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (no release currently planned)2014 has been busy for Chloe Grace Moretz, who had four films showing at TIFF. She voices the title character in legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli’s latest movie, based on a folktale about an otherworldly princess. Don’t want to watch your kid’s favourite Pixar film for the 17th time? Try this instead. (CA)Studio Ghibli
Two Days One Night (no release currently planned)Marion Cotillard never lets us down and in the Dardenne brothers’ new film it’s no different. Playing a woman recovering from crushing depression, her character has one weekend to convince her co-workers to vote for her to keep her job — sacrificing their annual bonuses in exchange. It’s a tense and touching movie. (CA)Mongrel Media
Laggies (no release currently planned)Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister was at TIFF in 2011 and won audiences over with a fresh, honest take on the rom-com. With Laggies, Shelton tackles a coming-of-age story — with a twist. For her main character (Keira Knightley) the coming-of-age comes a bit late and that, of course, is where the comedy comes from. (CA)A24
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (no release currently planned)If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are good you spent some time watching the ridiculous low-budget oddities produced by Cannon Films. Featuring dozens of hilarious film clips, this documentary has a bit of everything, including break dancing, disco, monkeys, aliens and Sharon Stone during a period of her career she’d rather forget. (JD)Mongrel Media
Seymour: An Introduction (no release currently planned)Ethan Hawke goes behind the camera for this poignant and revealing portrait of 87-year-old piano great Seymour Bernstein. If nothing else, this doc will convince you that quitting piano lessons was a terrible mistake. (JD)Sundance Selects
Whiplash (no release currently planned)This Sundance award-winner deals with a very different kind of music instructor, a raging perfectionist who drives a young drummer to the brink of madness. Complete with life and death crises and all kinds of intricate mind games, this is not your grandparents’ inspirational teacher movie. (JD)Mongrel Media
Manglehorn (no release currently planned)Al Pacino gives one of the best (and most subdued) performances of his career in this low-key drama about a locksmith who can’t get his mind off a lost love. You may have had bad dates in your life, but you’ve never experienced one as disastrous as the evening Manglehorn spends with Holly Hunter’s Clara. (JD)Worldview/Dreambridge/Muskat/Rough House
99 Homes (no release currently planned)In spite of a finale that rings completely false, 99 Homes proves to be an enlightening look at the lucrative (and very corrupt) business of the American foreclosure crisis. Thanks to the involvement of Andrew Garfield, this film may also influence your perspective on another important topic of our time: Spider-Man. (JD)Noruz Films