(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Woody is the New Gay American Gigolo

If the Academy Awards are the Super Bowl, then the Toronto International Film Festival is the first game of the season, kicking of the awards race for the year with a host of Oscar-bating movies eager for that much desired "early buzz".

TIFF recently announced this year's line-up, filled with world premieres from the top directors of today and starring, well, a galaxy of stars. Here is a preliminary look at some notable entrants.

- Paul Schrader, writer/director of American Gigolo, returns to the subject matter with The Walker, starring Woody Harrelson as a high society escort who, like Richard Gere before him, gets mixed up in a murder. What may set this apart from the first film is the fact that Woody's character is gay. Also stars Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily Tomlin.
- Sidney Lumet brings together an impressive cast (Philip Seymor Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei) in the shocking drama, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
- In Neil Jordan's The Brave One, Jodie Foster is in peril ... again!
- In Captain Mike Across America, Michael Moore aims his camera at himself ... again!
- Guy Pearce is Harry Houdini and Catherine Zeta-Jones is the psychic he falls for (in more ways then one) in Gillian Armstrong's Death Defying Acts.
- Viggo Mortensen re-teams with his A History of Violence director David Cronenberg for the gritty crime drama Eastern Promises, co-starring Naomi Watts.
- Paul Haggis can boast three Oscar-winners in the cast of his home front-themed drama In the Valley of Elah: Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron.
- Rendition has three more Academy vets with Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Alan Arkin, plus nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, all wrapped-up in a terrorism scandal.
- Maria Bello, Hugh Dancy, Marc Blucas, Emily Blunt and Kathy Baker are among the members of The Jane Austen Book Club.
- Juno is a sassy pregnant teenager who comes up with a unique solution to her situation in Jason Reitman's latest comedy.
- George Clooney is Michael Clayton, a high-priced lawyer in the case of his career. Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton co-star.
- And finally: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is described as an "erotic espionage thriller", which may explain why it has been tagged with a NC-17 rating.

TIFF opens September 6 and runs through September 15.

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