TIFF 2012: Midnight Madness and Other Goodies

I've fallen behind in skimming through the TIFF program announcements to see what looks good. Let's rectify that:

Midnight Madness

No Man With the Iron Fists, sadly, but the program still looks pretty crazy even without it.

- The ABCs of Death is a 26-chapter horror anthology by, well, everybody. I'm sure the quality will be uneven (anthologies always are) but my big worry with this one is that, unless it's a six hour epic, each film is going to be no more than about four-five minutes long (even if they average five minutes, with no framing device, that'd still be an over two hour movie). That's a lot of shorts to digest in one sitting.

- Aftershock: a US/Chilean co-production starring Eli Roth and Selena Gomez, which appears to be a post-earthquake survival thriller or something. No, seriously, Eli Roth and Selena Gom... shit, what if Biebs shows up at the screening? OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

- The Bay is "a brutal and harrowing film about a deadly parasite" infecting a Maryland town, which is fine except that it's directed by Barry Levinson. Yes, Diner/Homicide/Wag the Dog Barry Levinson. Or, if you're a pessimist, Sphere/Envy/Man of the Year Barry Levinson.

- a Mexican creepy kids (as in, the kids are creepy, not that it's a kids movie that is creepy) flick called Come Out and Play

- Dredd. Fantastic.

- JT Petty's exorcism spoof Hellbenders, which should make a fine double bill with...

- John Dies In the End. Most excellent.

- Rob Zombie's latest, Lords of Salem. Unless the buzz is off the charts, or Rob agrees to come out to karaoke with me, I imagine I'll be skipping this one.

- Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura's latest, No One Lives. Ain't skipping this one, especially with that title.

- In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh re-teams with Colin Farrell for another crime comedy-thriller, called Seven Psychopaths. It also stars Chris Walken and Sam Rockwell. Yes please!

Other Crazy Stuff

- when they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, this is what they're talking about: Cronenberg's son Brandon directs a film called Antiviral, in which a guy who works at a clinic that specializes in celebrity diseases (not to treat them, but to inject them into obsessed fans) gets accidentally infected himself and has to track down the mysterious star whose pathogen he now shares. I mean, of course he's Cronenberg's son. Who else would be making a movie like that?

- apparently learning nothing from I'm Still Here, 30 Seconds To Mars singer and Brad Pitt punching bag Jared Leto directs a doc called Artifact about his fight with EMI over some bullshit or other. I'm sure it won't be hopelessly myopic and self-indulgent in the least. Nope. The fact that he directed it under a Dr. Seuss-inspired, multiple hat-themed pseudonym isn't a tell-tale sign of wankery at all. I strongly suspect this will be epically bad.

- Berberian Sound Studio is about a composer who loses his mooring to reality while working on the score for a '70s Italian horror flick. Sure, what the heck.

- another Mexican creepy kid flick called Here Comes the Devil, although this one seems more of the psychological thriller "maybe the parents are just nuts" variety. Still, if I'm seeing one I better see them both.

- Johnnie To produces a Hong Kong car chase movie called Motorway.

- [REC] writer Juan Carlos Medina directs a "creepy kids grow up and one of them starts digging into the past" thriller. Seriously, what is it with Hispanic filmmakers and creepy kids this year?

- Peaches directs and stars in a semi-sorta-authobiographical rock musical called, naturally, Peaches Does Herself.

- Luis Prieto's English remake of Pusher gets a showing. I guess I'm obligated to see it, aren't it?

- I'll finally get to see Room 237, the doc about crazy Shining fans and their crazy theories

- Down Terrace/Kill List director Ben Wheatley returns with Sightseers, which sounds like the love child of Natural Born Killers and Grant Morrison's Kill Your Boyfriend. Very nice.

Other Non-Crazy Stuff

- one of my early hunch picks, The Lesser Blessed is a Native Canadian coming-of-age story.

- Ken Burns and crew bring a doc about the Central Park Five

- more docs: ones on Tomi Ungerer (Far Out Isn't Far Enough) and Iceberg Slim (Portrait of a Pimp), a Julien Temple doc on his London (London - The Modern Babylon), an Alex Gibney film on the Catholic Church's cover-up of widespread abuse (Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In the House of God), and a doc/spoof on disco called The Secret Disco Revolution

- Michel Gondry's The We and the I is about kids on a school bus. That's all, just kids on a school bus. Good enough for me.

- Hotel Transylvania is... hang on a minute, before you slag me for wanting to see it, keep in mind it's the feature debut of Genndy Tartakovsky. Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, Clone Wars Genndy Tartakovsky. Fuck you, it'll be awesome.