September 8th, 2010
05:49 PM ET
Currently in Toronto, Canada, it's 66 degrees Fahrenheit and party cloudy with a 100 percent chance of major star power moving in, thanks to the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow.
It is widely considered one of the most influential film festivals in the world alongside Sundance and Cannes. Certainly, it is Canada's premiere festival, attracting 500,000 guests in 2009 alone.
Because of its timing (just before Hollywood's push toward awards season) the 10-day event has also become the destination for Oscar-hopeful films to make their debut. In recent years, best picture winners "No Country for Old Men" and "Slumdog Millionaire" both premiered at TIFF.
Amongst this year's offerings are veteran filmmakers, world-famous actors, fresh-faced newcomers and a nice mix of politically heated documentaries.
Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich and Frances Conroy stretch their acting chops in the intense, dialogue-driven drama "Stone." John Curran's film weaves together the unexpectedly parallel journeys of two men struggling with the law.
Former "Friends" star David Schwimmer is taking another swing at directing with the emotional family drama, "Trust." The film stars Clive Owen and Catherine Keener as the parents of a 14-year-old girl whose unexpected online friendship turns gravely serious and changes the entire family forever.
If you've ever experienced claustrophobia, Rodrigo Cortes' film "Buried" might just be your worst nightmare. The film follows the story of a truck driver working in the Iraqi desert who wakes to find himself buried alive in a wooden box, with nothing more than a lighter, a dying cell phone and limited air supply. Actor Ryan Reynolds must negotiate the physical and emotional challenges of trying to escape from an unimaginable reality.
On the lighter side, Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" will likely garner a lot of attention, given the film's prolific director and famous ensemble cast. Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Lucy Punch and Freida Pinto star as a group of Londoners struggling with various marital problems and the universal notion that the grass is somehow always greener on the other side.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of such comedic success stories as Reese Witherspoon, Rachel McAdams and Alicia Silverstone, Emma Stone stars in the high school angst comedy "Easy A." A modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," the film boasts a fast-paced witty script and impressive supporting cast including Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow and Thomas Haden Church.
Among the political documentaries hoping to stir debate and raise eyebrows this year are "Cool It," director Ondi Timoner's answer to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"; Davis Guggenheim's "Waiting for Superman," about America's broken public education system; "Windfall," Laura Israel's exploration of a small town's concerns over wind turbines; and "Inside Job," Charles Ferguson's documentary about the financial meltdown.
For updates from the Toronto International Film Festival, start following @JDCargillCNN on Twitter and keep checking back here for more.
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