The Toronto Film Festival slate can be a fickle animal. Some years, it is packed with noteworthy dramatic heavyhitters and potential Oscar contenders from some of the top names in the storytelling business. And other years, the initial blast of programmed films lacks pizzazz, meaning that it's time to hunker down and find gems from unheralded voices (and gems, believe me, can always be found on the fest slate at TIFF). The 2018 schedule -- of which we have only seen a sliver -- already belongs in the former category, with highly-anticipated titles by household-name directors like Alfonso Cuaron, Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Damien Chazelle, Jason Reitman and Bradley Cooper, making his directorial debut with Lady Gaga in tow.
The first wave of announced programming for the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival was limited to 17 Gala screenings and 30 Special Presentations, and already, we found 10 movies that are categorized as "Must See" for us as we prepare to head to the Great White North to cover another chapter in the ongoing TIFF saga. A full list of announced titles can be found on the festival's official website. Here, though, are the 10 high-profile films we can't wait to see.
A Star Is Born
This isn't the first time this material has been adapted to the big screen. In years past, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand have stepped into the role of a timid songwriter with a powerful voice who has to be coached to find their inner goddess. This time out, Lady Gaga tests her acting chops in the title role, while Bradley Cooper proves he can thrive as a director... or not.
I've already got a box of tissues ready to go. Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet star as a father and son grappling with the teenage boy's descent into drug addiction. The movie is based on the best-selling memoir by David Sheff, and based on the early footage shown at CinemaCon and in trailers, the cast is sinking their teeth into the inherently dramatic material. As the father of two boys of my own, this might be horrifying... but I'll be at the first screening!
Damien Chazelle is one of the few directors I trust wholeheartedly, and I'll go see whatever he puts out, knowing next to nothing about it. His two previous films, Whiplash and La La Land, were both my No. 1 films the years that they were released, so I am all in on First Man, the story of the moon landing with Ryan Gosling playing Neil Armstrong.