People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Friday, September 4, 2009
  Trio of TIFF trailers
The Toronto International Film Festival begins next week, and in honor of my hometown film festival I thought I'd look at a couple of trailers for three films screening at TIFF this year that I'm personally very excited about.

I'll start with what's probably the biggest, most "mainstream" movie of the three (though that's a relative term), The Men Who Stare At Goats, starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor. The film was directed by actor/writer/director/Clooney pal Grant Heslov (he co-wrote and produced Clooney's truly excellent 2005 directorial effort about legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, Good Night, And Good Luck.), and after watching this trailer this movie immediately took a position near the top of the list of movies I really want to see this year. It's a "based on a true story" tale about a reporter (McGregor) following a former "psychic spy" (Clooney) developed by the American government as part of a top-secret project. I have no idea how true any of the stuff in the movie is (though I suspect only the truly out-there stuff is real; life's funny that way), but this is one of the best trailers I've seen in a while. It's funny as hell, does a great job of selling the movie's bizarre premise, and it got Boston's 'More Than A Feeling' (one of my favorite songs of that era) wedged in my head for days. I gotta see this thing.

Check out the trailer for The Men Who Stare At Goats via Apple.

Next up is Defendor, a...unique-looking take on superheroes. I actually promised myself after all the comic book-themed posts I've been writing lately that I'd take a break from talking about anything cape-related, but this one just looks too promising for me not to mention. And it's not even really the geek in me that's interested in this one; the appeal is that it seems more like an indie film about a guy (Woody Harrelson) who thinks he's a superhero, and all the problems that sprout from that. (He's ostensibly in pursuit of a villain called Captain Industry, but I suspect he'll be revealed to be a figment of Defendor's imagination). A movie like this is definitely an ambitious debut for first-time Canadian writer/director Peter Stebbings, but the trailer definitely hooked me, and I'll do my best to see this one as soon as I can.


And finally, on a purely personal note, this year's TIFF will host the latest film from one of my favorite Hong Kong directors, Johnnie To. Vengeance is a bit of a change of pace for To, as it stars a French rock star, Johnny Hallyday, and seems to be mostly in English. Hallyday plays an aging chef whose daughter is seriously injured in a mob hit that also kills her Chinese husband and their children in Hong Kong, but the gangsters who whacked his family soon learn this "chef" is actually a retired hitman himself. I love revenge movies, and I love Johnnie To movies, so naturally I'm pretty stoked about Vengeance. I don't know a ton about this movie beyond the plot, but the trailer promises some beautifully-shot action and cool setpieces (To's 2006 movie Exiled has the best gunfights I've seen since John Woo went to Hollywood), so I'm sold.

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