TIFF ’10: The five films I won’t see at Toronto Intl Film Fest

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: For three weeks, I’ve previewed the films that litter my still-formulating TIFF screening schedule. (Seriously, the festival starts tomorrow, and I’m still not 100% sure what I’m seeing. That’s how jam-packed TIFF is this year.)

Before I board a plane for the 35th Toronto International Film Festival (and my fifth), allow me to lament four movies I wish they were screening — and one I just can’t seem to make it to — at the annual cinematic celebration this year.

5. The Way Back

Peter Weir, the Oscar-nominated Aussie filmmaker with diverse credits that include “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Mosquito Coast” and “The Truman Show,” hasn’t directed a film since the underrated “Master and Commander” back in 2003. He brings his survival story “The Way Back” to Telluride and scores some passionate raves. Now, Weir’s fact-based drama about soldiers who escape a Siberian gulag, will go off the radar until it (presumably) gets awards-consideration screenings. TIFF would have been a larger launch pad, but it sounds like Weir fans who’ve patiently waited seven years for a new picture will have to hang in there a little bit longer.

4. Let Me In

A victim of scheduling. Matt Reeves’ remake of the moody, terrifying “Let the Right One In” will be at TIFF, but it screens opposite other must-sees films or conflicts with potential interviews. Ah, the annual give-and-take of TIFF. And right when I’d convinced myself that I could wait the extra three weeks to see “Let Me In,” as it opens wide on Oct. 1, Bilge Ebiri of New York Magazine posts that the movie, “is one of the best films of the year.” That wait feels like an eternity now.

3. The Tree of Life

A few weeks back, we were left wondering if Terrence Malick would ever release his elusive “The Tree of Life,” a meditative loss-of-innocence drama starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt. Then stories began to float across the Internet about “Tree” screening in remote, regional markets. Another speculated that Malick might screen his anticipated movie at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Who knows with this director, who plays by his own rules (and often gets commended for doing so). We do know “Tree of Life” will not be in Toronto. Unless it is.

2. The Social Network

So far, I’ve loved everything David Fincher has put out. Yes, even “Benjamin Button.” When I spoke to Jesse Eisenberg earlier this year about “Holy Rollers,” we worked our way around to “Social Network” and I watched his enthusiasm level rise as he began explaining it. Then came that glorious trailer, with the expert use of Radiohead’s “Creep.” I’m all in. Fincher’s Facebook drama has been screened for select press members ahead of its New York Film Festival bow, prompting Scott Foundas to jump the embargo gun and declare it “splendid entertainment from a master storyteller.” Manhattan residents will have to wait until the picture kicks off NYFF on Sept. 24. The rest of us will have to wait until “The Social Network” opens in theaters

1. True Grit

The Coens have been staples at Toronto the past few years, bringing eventual Oscar winners (“No Country for Old Men”) slapstick farces (“Burn After Reading”) and contemplative period pieces (“A Serious Man”). I thought TIFF would score the first look at Best Actor-winner Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon in the brothers’ remake of the John Wayne western, but alas, it’s not to be. Right now, “True Grit” has a Dec. 25 release date. A once-in-a-lifetime, early Christmas gift, however, would have been the chance to unwrap this bad boy in Toronto.

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