5 September 2019

Book Adaptations at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival




This is always one of our favourite lists of the year (and also the most time consuming) because it gets us hyped for the festival and helps us decide what we are/aren't interested in seeing. Sometimes we luck out and get to see one of these movies during the festival, but not always. What we love about this list is that if we don't get to see one we're excited about, we have time to go out and read the book before we get out next opportunity. Many of these movies don't get released until much later in the year so have a look and pick one up! Some TIFF tickets are still available so if one of these adaptations look interesting you can see what's left here.



I feel like TIFF is working towards including more and more Canadian filmmakers and And the Birds Rained Down is both directed by a Canadian woman and based off a book written by one. I will admit I've never heard of this book at all but was completely shocked to learn author Jocelyne Saucier is from New Brunswick! She is from a tiny place I have never heard of (population 781 so no wonder) super far north in the province. This adaptation is about a group of elderly people who live off the grid in the woods.

This adaptation focuses on first-person accounts from women who lived in the Soviet Union during the war. Svetlana Alexievich is an investigative journalist who won a Nobel Prize for her writing. I don't know a ton about the Soviets but would be interested in learning more. It's also always interesting to learn from a perspective other than the "norm" - in this case women in relation to war.



This horror movie is adapted from an H. P. Lovecraft short story (of the same name) out of his collection Amazing Stories. I've never been a big fan of short stories but I would be mildly interested in checking out something from Lovecraft given how famous he is. This movie will star Nicolas Cage and that's honestly enough for me. Huge Nic Cage fan, huge fan of apocalyptic alien shit.



This blog is VERY pro Garrett Hedlund. We were both shocked and repulsed that our beloved Kirsten Dunst left him to start a relationship with Jesse Plemmons.. ANYWAYS, while the title alone might make you think "Australian A Star is Born," it's definitely not that. From the plot synopsis of the novel it seems like a complicated story of love, passion, and betrayal. It's also starring Kelly MacDonald who was amazing in No Country for Old Men.



This was one Meg and I were both moderately interested in seeing but it didn't fit into our schedule. I've seen this book on Indigo shelves for years now. Essentially it is semi-autobiographical and is supposed to follow a young woman's quest to be a music journalist. I don't know if this book is a YA novel but I have a hard time not seeing it as such. I think we are less inclined to watch after Meg Graham listened to a podcast with Beanie Feldstein (the star of the adaptation) and Dax Shepard where she referred to herself in the third person the entire time.



The plot to this novel seems interesting enough. It's about two families who connect after their children begin a relationship that ends in tragedy. The film adaptation has a great cast including Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Marisa Tomei. I believe the young couple is played by Maya Hawke (who the world loves now thanks to Stranger Things) and Alex Wolff. The book was apparently first adapted as an Italian movie, so that's something I might actually look in to.



Taika Waititi (director and star) is a New Zealand filmmaker famous for his work on the best Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok and the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. He is also incredibly attractive and will be at TIFF this year slinging his newest feature where he plays HITLER. The book sounds like it's a little less comedic than what I've seen in the trailer for Waititi's version, but I'm still very interested in both.



Of all the tickets we currently have for TIFF 2019 I would say this is the one I am most excited about. Meg and I were both in love with Short Term 12 and it was actually the first movie I ever saw at Hyland Cinema when I lived in London, ON. Just Mercy is from the same director and I've already heard buzz that this movie will clean up at the Oscars - including a best director nomination for Hawaiian-born director Destin Daniel Crettin. This will be his third film he makes with Brie Larson and I'm ready for it to be a lot better than The Glass CastleI'll know if I am interested in buying the book (written by the central character of the film) after watching his adaptation.



I am actually very interested in reading this book and checking out the movie. I was always so obsessed with the scene in American Hustle where Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale where they are looking at a Rembrandt where Bale's character asks "now who's the master? - the painter or the forger?" I do think there is something incredible interesting about people who get involved in art-world crime. I don't know how I feel about the title change for the film adaptation (which is called Lyrebird) but I'll probably need to watch it first before committing to my judgement. This one stars Guy Pearce.

I mistakenly read a Jack London novel when I was too young because it had a dog on the cover (The Call of the Wild) and I've yet to get over it. From what I've heard his novels are all fairly similar - characters reacting to their cold, punishing conditions - but this one seems quite different. It's about a young writer struggling for success and is directed by Pietro Marcello who I've never heard of. Frankly I'm not super interested in either reading or watching this.


This book will probably end up on my Christmas list. Apparently Edward Norton has been trying to get this book made into a movie for years, and he's finally succeeded and has quite a hand in it credited as director, writer, executive producer, and star. I sent this immediately to Stefan because he hates how controlling Norton is with his projects and this is a perfect example of the star's inability to collaborate. The trailer is already out for his adaptation so I'd recommend you check it out for yourself. The story follows a detective who suffers from Tourette syndrome.



Robbie Robertson's memoir where he chronicles his time as lead guitarist for The Band is being adapted into a documentary titled Once Were Brothers. The only thing I know about these guys is that there is a famous concert film called The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese. I have zero interest in anything other than watching the Scorsese doc, but this could be a great gift idea for any dad in your life.


I have to give props to one of the employees at the Hyland (Josh Lewis) who tweet predicted one of the main features of TIFF would be a biopic featuring someone in a STEM field dealing with their minority status (in this case being a woman of science in the late 1800s - i.e. Marie Curie). These movies are ALWAYS boring as hell, but I do love Rosamund Pike who will be playing Curie during her research with radioactivity. I love that this is not based off a 600-paged tomb but instead a graphic novel.



Of the five tickets we have so far this would be the only movie I'm not that excited about. Dakota Fanning stars as a woman who, after being orphaned and returning to England, begins helping other immigrants and refugees. I don't know why but I have a feeling this movie will be incredibly mediocre and potentially boring, but there are few things Meg and I love more than a Fanning. We saw Elle at the world premiere of Teen Spirit last year!



I was just listening to a podcast today where they were announcing their excitement for this film starring Elizabeth Debicki, Donald Sutherland, and MICK JAGGER. It follows an art heist gone awry and is directed by a woman who doesn't have a ton of film credits to her name. Still, Debicki was one of my favourite performances from last year's TIFF selection (her role in Widows) and I'm always looking forward to checking out her latest project.



This is potentially my favourite novel ever written and I cannot wait to see the film version. As with anything you love dearly, it can be nerve-wracking to see it in someone else's hands. The cast is stellar and the director (John Crowley) had a lot of success years ago with Brooklyn. I won't say much else other than that you can read my review of Donna Tartt's book here.



Steven Soderbergh consumes an insane amount of culture every year and he lists it every year on his blog found here. He reads a lot of nonfiction books of this nature and I'm starting to think if I want to push my IQ even remotely upwards I should start doing the same. His film adaptation of Secrecy World, titled The Laundromat, stars Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman and details the events surrounding the Panama Papers investigation. On The Big Picture podcast they likened it to a Streep version of Erin Brockovich - one of Meg's favs. I'm not too disappointed we won't be seeing it at TIFF because it comes to Netflix this fall!



This book has a very cool cover and is about a "gypsy" boy abandoned during the Second World War. This is a Czech-Slovak-Ukrainian film and I am curious to see if it will make an appearance in the foreign-language category during the Academy Awards.



Again, these period pieces typically bore me to death but we are big fans of Dev Patel (both in his role in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom AND when we saw Lion a few years ago at TIFF). Apparently David Copperfield was a character people largely believed to be a representation of Charles Dickens. My boyfriend thought The Death of Stalin was hilarious and this movie's by the same director, so maybe it will be funnier than I'd expect.



This book is fictitious but is loosely based off an Australian outlaw's life. I might actually be interested in reading the novel written by Peter Carey as his publisher ran a whole campaign citing the book as the next "Great American Novel," even though it is entirely set in Australia and the author was born there. The cast is pretty good, Nicholas Hoult and Charlie Hunnam starring alongside Russel Crowe. I love anything Crowe is in and I'm ready for him to get back to his action-star ways (instead of only taking roles that require him to gain 100 pounds).



This book is being directed by the same guy who did Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria - two very strange films that seem to have nothing in common with The Last Soldiers of the Cold War. This story follows five Cuban individuals who were arrested for espionage and stars bombshell Penelope Cruz. I think this is more of an "added to Crave" watch for me, but the book sounds pretty interesting.

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