The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled its first batch of major programming, giving movie buffs a preview of the 11-day gathering that has a Sept. 10 kickoff. Though some of the selected films have yet to offer more than a brief description and photo — such as Jean-Marc Vallee’s opener “Demolition” or Michael Moore’s stealth project “Where to Invade Next” — others are beating the drum with full-on trailers.
From sci-fi survival story to gay rights drama to criminal biopic, here are five notable ones.
Ridley Scott’s thriller starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet will look to follow the trajectory of “Gravity,” a fellow space-set survival story that blasted off to commercial and Oscar success after playing Toronto two years ago.
Twentieth Century Fox will release “The Martian” on Oct. 2. [Trailer link]
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, this fact-based drama starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page seems timely. The story centers on a New Jersey police officer (Moore) who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and fights to ensure that her pension benefits can be passed on to her domestic partner (Page).
The film, directed by Peter Sollett (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”), opens Oct. 2 from Lionsgate. [Trailer link]
The Lance Armstrong doping scandal has been explored in documentaries such as “The Armstrong Lie” and “Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story"; now comes Stephen Frears’ narrative take on the seven-time Tour de France winner (played by Ben Foster) who was stripped of his victories after an investigation revealed his systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs. Chris O’Dowd portrays David Walsh, the Irish sports journalist who doggedly pursued the Armstrong story.
“The Program” does not currently have a U.S. distributor or release date. [Trailer link]
This crime thriller about the rise and fall of the twin English gangsters Ronald and Reggie Kray stars Tom Hardy and, well, Tom Hardy: The actor plays both brothers, who ran London’s underworld in the 1960s with Cockney accents and smart suits.
Brian Helgeland (“42") directs the film, which also stars Emily Browning, Colin Morgan and David Thewlis. “Legend” opens Oct. 2 from Universal Pictures. [Trailer link]
Another true-crime tale, Scott Cooper’s long-gestating portrait of the South Boston gangster Whitey Bulger features a transformed Johnny Depp. Sporting blue eyes, slicked platinum hair and a gravelly voice, Depp embodies a man who enjoyed a 16-year run as both a ruthless mobster and an FBI informant.
Warner Bros. will release the film Sept. 18. [Trailer link]
Follow @ogettell for movie news