‘Joker,’ Tom Hanks’ Mr. Rogers pic among TIFF selections

The festival kicks off Sept. 5 with opening-night film ‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band’

An origin story about the Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, a Mr. Rogers biopic with Tom Hanks and a film about strippers scamming Wall Street bankers with Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B are among the films premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and Executive Director Joana Vicente announced 16 gala selections and 37 in the special presentation category Tuesday morning, including Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers.” Iranian-born director Marjane Satrapi’s Marie Curie film “Radioactive,” in which Rosamund Pike plays the groundbreaking physicist, will close the festival on Sept. 15.

READ MORE: See Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in the new ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’ trailer

Bailey told The Associated Press that “Joker” is somewhat of a first for the festival.

“This is our first entry into the superhero world as far as I can remember,” he said. “But it’s a really original vision. It’s disturbing, utterly compelling, really gripping from start to finish. … And one of the most remarkable things is that Joaquin Phoenix, in a career of great performances, gives one of his very best.”

Other standout performances the programmers love are Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx in Destin Daniel Cretton’s civil rights drama “Just Mercy,” Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh’s investigative journalism drama “The Laundromat,” Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in Noah Baumbach’s divorce saga “Marriage Story” and Renee Zellweger in the Judy Garland biopic “Judy.”

“It’s one of those career-best performances,” Bailey said. “And that’s coming from a guy who absolutely loves ‘Jerry Maguire.’”

The Toronto selections often help define the looming awards race. Last year, TIFF’s audience award winner “Green Book” went on to win the best picture Oscar.

“It’s not the motivation, but it’s always great to be a launchpad for films that will be part of the awards conversation,” Vicente said.

Other high-profile films premiering include James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari” with Christian Bale and Matt Damon, Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman film “Harriet” starring Cynthia Erivo, Rian Johnson’s star-studded ode to Agatha Christie “Knives Out,” with Chris Evans and Daniel Craig, Edward Norton’s adaptation of “Motherless Brooklyn,” John Crowley’s adaptation of “The Goldfinch” and the Bruce Springsteen concert film “Western Stars.”

Some, a little less flashy, but just as worthy according to Bailey include the cancer drama “The Friend,” from Gabriela Cowperthwaite with Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck, the animated teen love story “Weathering With You,” from Makoto Shinkai, the Japanese director of the anime breakout “Your Name,” and Michael Winterbottom’s “Greed.”

Bailey said “Greed,” about the economy of fast fashion, is “one everybody should see.”

Steve Coogan plays a mogul in the fast fashion world and it is “very funny and very biting.”

And then of course there is “Hustlers,” with Lopez and Constance Wu, which Bailey said is “a great watch.”

“It feels like ‘Casino’ or ‘Goodfellas,’” he said. “But instead of gangsters killing, these are women just scamming these guys.”

Although films aren’t selected with any theme or agenda in mind, Bailey said some do emerge eventually.

“It became clear that although we’re living in a complicated, difficult world with a lot of conflict, a lot of the films that really resonated the most this year were ones that were about empathy, about reaching out and across borders to other people,” Bailey said. “Maybe most emblematic of that is ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ but also ‘Just Mercy,’ a really tough film about the death penalty … and ‘Jojo Rabbit.’”

“Jojo Rabbit,” from filmmaker Taika Waititi, is about a young member of a Hitler Youth group.

“But he grows, he changes, he learns,” Bailey said. “And you begin to feel at least some empathy for the possibility of change.”

Vicente added that it was “one of our favourites. It really surprises and we all kind of fell in love with it.”

The festival kicks off Sept. 5 with the previously announced opening-night film “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band.” More films will be announced in the coming weeks.

___

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni pickleball winners announced

Men and women competed in annual Nick Hoekstra tourney

Brothers win Mac Five Challenge at Alberni Golf Course

Congratulations to the Savard Brothers, Mike and Andre, on their spectacular win

Interactive art exhibit in Port Alberni challenges stigma

‘Stigmatized’ presented by the Port Alberni Community Action Team

ARTS AROUND: Learn felting techniques at the Rollin Art Centre in Port Alberni

Saltspring Island artist Laurie Steffler will present two felting workshops

BCHL: Bulldogs new coach Joe Martin looking for hard skill, winning attitude

Alberni Valley team heads into new era with new owners, coaches, expectations

UPDATE: Wildfire east of Port Alberni under control

Crews continue to mop up 3.1-hectare fire

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Most Read