Matt Damon plays a NASA astronaut stuck on Mars and struggling to survive in The Martian. Matt Damon plays a NASA astronaut stuck on Mars and struggling to survive in The Martian. Matt Damon plays a NASA astronaut stuck on Mars and struggling to survive in "The Martian." (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

5 films to watch for at the Toronto Film Festival

Get out the popcorn: The Toronto International Film Festival is chock full of must-see movies.

The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 10 with a slew of A-list names, world premieres, Oscar hopefuls and rising international stars. With more than 40 movies slated to screen in the festival’s Gala and Special Presentations categories alone, savvy theatregoers will have to carefully coordinate their schedules. Whether you’re planning to stargaze in Toronto or wait for the winners to come out on Netflix, here are five films you won’t want to miss.

'Black Mass'

Johnny Depp plays ganster James "Whitey" Bulger in Black Mass.From "Pirates of the Caribbean" to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to "Black Mass" (above), it's clear Johnny Depp has range. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Johnny Depp stars as Irish-American gangster turned FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger in "Black Mass." The movie, from up-and-coming director Scott Cooper and based on a book by the same name, depicts the tough, clannish world of the South Boston mob scene of the 1970s and '80s. Cooper told the New York Times his intention was to show Bulger’s humanity. “I wanted to make a film about humans who just happen to be criminals,” he said.

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays Bulger’s brother, Massachusetts senator William Bulger, with Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard and Sienna Miller rounding out the all-star cast. The movie made its official world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and will be shown in a special out-of-competition presentation in Toronto.


'Thru You Princess'

Thru You Princess tracks the collaboration between singer Princess Shaw and Israeli YouTube mixologist Kuitman.When we're introduced to Princess Shaw, she has only a modest following on YouTube. (Photo: Atzmor Productions)

"Thru You Princess" is a feature-length documentary that traces a cross-cultural online collaboration between Princess Shaw, a young black singer from New Orleans, and Ophir Kutiel, an Israeli YouTube mixologist who goes by the name Kutiman. Kutiman samples YouTube videos to create his own compositions in a project called “Thru You.” When he meets Princess and decides to focus his project on her, he's immediately drawn to her – and in this film, it's easy to see why.

The Huffington Post wrote that the film, directed by Israeli documentarian Ido Haar, makes “a profound statement on the universal access to music that YouTube provides,” while also captivating viewers with the drama of a woman “stuck in the dregs of the American dream.”


'The Dressmaker'

Actress Kate Winslet dons designer clothes and an Australian accent in "The Dressmaker."Actress Kate Winslet dons designer clothes and an Australian accent in "The Dressmaker." (Photo: Film Art Media)

Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth star in this wickedly comic drama set in Australia’s Outback. Making its world premiere in Toronto, the film is an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Rosalie Ham about Tilly Dunnage (Winslet), a dressmaker who returns from the chic fashion houses of Paris to her tiny Australian hometown to take care of her sick mother. Tilly immediately turns heads with her form-fitting frocks, and before long she’s designing haute couture for the local townswomen, but still no one can get past the rumors that she murdered a young boy when she was 10 years old.

The film was made by Australian director Jocelyn Moorhouse, who was also a producer on the popular 1994 film "Muriel's Wedding."


'The Man Who Knew Infinity'

Jeremy Irons (left) and Dev Patel star in this true-life tale of an Indian mathematician.Jeremy Irons (left) and Dev Patel star in this true-life tale of an Indian mathematician. (Photo: Animus Films)

Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Newsroom" star in "The Man Who Knew Infinity," an inspirational biopic about Srinivasa Ramanujn, the early 20th century Indian mathematician who left his poverty-stricken life to attend Cambridge University, where he made major contributions to number theory while struggling to overcome racial prejudice.

The movie, which is premiering in Toronto and will open the Zurich Film Festival at the end of the month, is already on several shortlists to win an Oscar of its own.


'The Martian'

Matt Damon in The MartianMatt Damon gets stuck on Mars and is forced to improvise to find a way back home. (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

Matt Damon stars as a NASA astronaut stranded on Mars in the aftermath of a once-in-a-century dust storm in Ridley Scott’s latest interplanetary epic "The Martian." While citizen critics everywhere will be debating the likelihood of the storyline, NASA's director of planetary sciences, Jim Green, who served as a consultant on the movie, says it’s more fact than fiction. “I think 'The Martian' is as close to science fact as any science fiction that I've seen about the journey to Mars and going to Mars.”

Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels play Damon’s ground crew racing to mount a rescue mission. The movie is based on Andy Weir’s bestselling 2011 novel by the same name.


'Every Thing Will Be Fine'

Rachel McAdams and James Franco in Every Thing Will Be Fine.Rachel McAdams cozies up to James Franco, who portrays a writer in this international tale. (Photo: IFC Films)

Making its North American premiere, German filmmaker Wim Wender’s "Every Thing Will Be Fine" has a backing as international as the Toronto International Film Festival itself. It's a German-Canadian-French-Swedish-Norwegian collaboration starring James Franco as a struggling writer, linked with the lives of his long-suffering girlfriend (Rachel McAdams), a grieving mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and a publisher's assistant (Marie-Josée Croze) by a tragic car accident.

Norwegian playwright Bjorn Olaf Johannessen wrote the script for the movie, which was shot in Quebec.

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