It is sad to me that reviews of We Have a Pope weren’t all that positive when the film premiered at Cannes last year. Because this trailer features a couple of great concepts that could be the basis for a funny and thoughtful film.

The core idea is that, after the death of the Pope, a Cardinal (Michel Piccoli) totally inexperienced with the spotlight is chosen to be the new pontiff. (Mostly because no one else seems to want the job.) He freaks out and tries to skip out of the Vatican, and a psychologist (Nanni Moretti, who also directed) is brought in to counsel him. Shades of The King’s Speech, The Sopranos, The President’s Analyst, and probably ten other films you could eventually list. But some moments, particularly the first section with the election of the new pope, look promising. Check out a trailer below. Read More »

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 »