Notable Films at TIFF 2011

Film festival fever has begun yet again in Toronto, with this morning’s announcement of films to expect at TIFF 2011. The Toronto International Film Festival is one of our favourite times of year, when the city becomes a hotbed for celebrity sightings and Hollywood North culture. Celeb hangers-on come out in droves with their Instagramming iPhones queued and their elbows sharply raised as they barrel through the crowds to be front row at the red carpets. Culturites don their A-list garb and attend the glittery events, while forlorn hipsters meander near the action but keep their facial expressions appropriately set to “blase.”

But at the heart of one of the world’s largest film festivals is the celebration of great films, some of which are being screened for the first time in front of characteristically critical eyes. Below are our picks for the notable screenings announced for TIFF 2011…

Dir. Jonathan Levine; Stars Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Seth Rogan and Anna Kendrick
A story of hope and struggle when a 27-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but doesn’t have to face his journey alone thanks to his best bud, doctor, and therapist-in-training.

A Dangerous Method
Dir. David Cronenberg; Stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Kiera Knightley
An adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s stage play about the turbulent relationship between Carl Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud.

Dir. Jim Field Smith; Stars Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde and Hugh Jackman
This comedy tells the story of the self-appointed First Lady of Butter Carving and her fight to win the butter carving championship after her husband declares that he no longer wishes to participate.

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn; Stars Ryan Gosling
Crime thriller about a stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night. Won Best Direction at Cannes.

The Ides of March
Dir. George Clooney; Stars George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman
In the last days before a key Ohio primary election, a press secretary must deal with a political scandal that threatens to ruin a candidate’s chances in this political drama.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Dir. Jay and Mark Duplass; Stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms
A journey of self-discovery and cosmic signs of destiny abound for an everyman, played by Segel.

Dir. Bennett Miller; Stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill
This film tells the true story of a man who tries to do away with the conventional methods of recruiting baseball players – but not everyone is a fan of how he challenges well-established traditions.

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
Dir. Bruce Beresford; Stars Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Chace Crawford
Urban New York sensibilities and hippie-style country living clash in this comedy about a lawyer who takes her daughters to her mother’s farmhouse for a weekend getaway.

Take This Waltz
Dir. Sarah Polley; Stars Seth Rogan, Sarah Silverman and Michelle Williams
Canadian director Sarah Polley brings us this story of a woman struggling to decide whether to leave her marriage for a man she’s just met.

Dir. Francis Ford Coppola; Stars Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, and Elle Fanning
Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic horror, this film tells the tale of a burnt-out mystery writer who’s life gets more interesting after getting mixed up in murder and evil in a small California town.

The Woman in the Fifth
Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski; Stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Ethan Hawke
An American writer finds himself in Paris to be closer to his daughter, and winds up taking a job as a security agent as he struggles to write his second novel and spend time with his daughter, made all the more difficult by a beguiling woman.

Dir. Cameron Crowe; Stars Pearl Jam
This much-anticipated documentary about Pearl Jam traces the group’s history from their formation through their rise to fame, making use of over 1,200 hours of rare footage.

Dir. Madonna; Stars Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy and Andrea Riseborough
In Madonna’s directorial debut, a Manhattan woman trapped in a loveless marriage becomes obsessed with Wallis Simpson and, inspired by her story, chooses to set out and find love.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Dir. Lynne Ramsay; Stars Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly
Parents must struggle with the idea that their son is more than just different or angry, and that he is perhaps evil in this psychological drama.

For the complete list of films, click here.

Top image from A Different Method.