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Toronto Film Festival Cheat Sheet

The Cheat Sheet: Toronto International Film Festival
Roll over photos for a quick look at the buzz-inspiring films screening in Canada. Complete coverage of the festival at 24 Frames.
The Contenders
  • "The King's Speech"
  • "Black Swan"
  • "Never Let Me Go"
  • "127 Hours"
The Dark Horses
  • "Ceremony"
  • "It's Kind of a Funny Story"
  • "The Whistleblower"
  • "Score: A Hockey Musical"
The Pot-Stirrers
  • "Trust"
  • "Miral"
  • "Casino Jack"
  • "Cool It"
The King's Speech
"The King's Speech" -- The unquestionable buzz title out of the Telluride Film Festival is Tom Hooper's period drama about King George VI (Colin Firth) overcoming a crippling stutter with the help of his speech teacher Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Harvey Weinstein is releasing it. We imagine he won't be lacking for words.

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company
Black Swan
American auteur Darren Aronofsky, who made a splash in Toronto two years ago with "The Wrestler," returns with a gender-bending supernatural character drama about an up-and-coming ballerina (Natalie Portman). Could it be any more out there than the trailer? Let the dance begin.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight
Never Let Me Go
"A movie with serious awards bona fides. A young all-star cast -- Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield -- star in Mark Romanek's dystopian mood piece based on Kazuo Ishiguro's bestselling novel.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight
"127 Hours"
The last time Danny Boyle came to Toronto, it was with "Slumdog Millionaire." That movie generated a huge reaction north of the border and then went on to clean up at the Oscars. It's far too early to say whether "Hours" -- in which James Franco plays the tough-as-nails mountain climber Aron Ralston (he amputates his own arm to save himself from a life-threatening situation) -- will do the same. But don't bet against it, either.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight
Last year's "(500) Days of Summer" referenced "The Graduate"; this romantic comedy pays homage to it. In Max Winkler's new film, a twentysomething man is thrown for a loop when he falls in love with an unavailable older woman -- and she returns his affection.
Photo credit: NALA Films/Polymorphic Pictures
"It's Kind of a Funny Story"
Wunderkind filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden dazzled festival audiences before with "Half Nelson" and "Sugar." They're back with a bigger-budgeted film, this one starring Zach Galifianakis and newcomer Keir Gilchrist as not-quite-disturbed patients in a psychiatric institution. It's essentially a modern-day coming-of-age story, or John Hughes for the Adderall generation. In the same vein, "Dirty Girl" literally takes us back to the 1980s in a period comedy about a pop-culture savvy girl who runs away with her gay best friend.
Photo credit: Focus Features
"The Whistleblower"
The slave trade in the Balkans in the 1990s isn't a topic you'll see Hollywood taking on very often. But the indie world will. In this based-on-a-true-story movie, Rachel Weisz keeps with the woman-against-the-system theme of her breakout "The Constant Gardener," playing a Nebraska policewoman who uncovers a sex-trade scandal. Like every other title in this category besides "Funny Story," it's seeking a distributor, and could emerge from the festival with both buzz and a buyer.
Photo credit: Whistleblower Canada Inc./Barry Films
"Score: A Hockey Musical"
"Glee" meets "Slap Shot." You need more?

Photo credit: Mulmur Feed Co.
David Schwimmer directs his second feature after 2007's "Run, Fatboy, Run" by diving right into the deep end of the pool with some serious subject matter. In the indie drama, a young girl is targeted by an online predator -- only to fall for him.

Photo credit: Nu Image / Millennium Films
Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell &the Butterfly") never shies away from controversy, and he's confronting it head-on with his new film. Freida Pinto stars as an orphan against the backdrop of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Toronto likes getting political, and this one more than fits the bill.

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company
"Casino Jack"
Jack Abramoff would be a hot-button topic no matterwho starred in a film about the disgraced lobbyist. Cast Kevin Spacey -- a well-known Democrat and friend of Bill Clinton's -- and you can imagine the fireworks.

Photo credit: Bagman
"Cool It"
Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg made waves with his book of the same title that attacked Al Gore's approach to global warming. Distributor Roadside Attractions isn't shy about billing this film as the anti-"Inconvenient Truth" -- and festival filmgoers, who embraced the Gore movie at Sundance, may be in for a provocative time with thisone.
Photo credit: 1019 Entertainment
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