If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

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Back in 2009, we reported that screenwriter Mark Bomback (Race to Witch Mountain) was working on a screenplay adapted from Dark Horse Comics’ The Umbrella Academy series. Now, after a couple of years of not much activity, the project is getting a whole new draft. Universal Pictures recently hired Rawson Thurber, best known as the writer/director of Dodgeball, to rewrite the script.

Written by My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy follows a disbanded group of superheroes who reunite after the death of their adoptive father. The series won an Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series in 2008 and has received praise from writer Grant Morrison, who called it “An ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas.” More details after the jump.

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Todd Solondz, the provocative, some might say confrontational filmmaker behind such bold, brilliant films as Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness, has found his cast for Dark Horse. The indie drama began principal photography earlier this week, with frequent bit player, first-time lead Jordan Gelber taking the center role, Justin Bartha (The Hangover) playing his more successful brother, and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi (The Last Airbender) playing his love interest’s “not quite” ex-boyfriend.

Now there’s a casting update that sees the film’s actor roster getting a big push. Joining the film are Christopher Walken, Mia Farrow and Selma Blair, who round out a cast that revolves around “a thirtysomething man (Gelber) in arrested development who lives with his parents (Walken and Farrow), reluctantly works for his father and avidly collects toys. He seeks out a thirtysomething woman (Blair) in arrested development in an attempt to shed the “dark horse” status in his family and finally accomplish something.”

(After the break, more on Dark Horse, and Vanessa Hudgens gets cast in the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth.) Read More »

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