andPOP’s #TIFF18 Picks

Published: August 17, 2018

Posted on ANDPOP:

The Toronto International Film Festival announced its final round of films this week. Naturally, we poured over the list and picked out our top 10 films. Here’s the list of what we here at andPOP are dying to check out come September 6th.

A Star is Born
Gala Presentation – North American Premiere

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is the third remake of the 1937 Academy Award winning film about an aging star who finds purpose (and romance) helping a struggling Hollywood newcomer become a star. In Cooper’s version he’s a hard drinking country crooner while Lady Gaga plays his unlikely protégé. This contemporary remake was initially supposed to star Clint Eastwood and Beyonce, and cycled through a few leading men (Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Tom Cruise) before settling on the Cooper/Gaga combo.

Assassination Nation
Midnight Madness – International Premiere

The black comedy from writer director Sam Levinson follows a group of high school seniors in Salem who get caught up in a crazy social media fuelled slaughter after the whole town gets hacked. When their privacy is destroyed, so is the town. The film features an all-star cast of up and comers, Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, ABRA, and Bella Thorne.

Ben is Back
Special Presentations – World Premiere

Lucas Hedges (Ladybird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) reunites with his father, writer/ director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, The Odd Life of Timothy Green) in Ben is Back. Lucas stars as Ben Burns, who is in serious trouble and brings it home when him when he returns to see his estranged family on Christmas Eve. The cast is rounded out by Julia Roberts, Kathryn Newton and Courtney B. Vance as the other members of the Burns household.

Giant Little Ones
Special Presentations – World Premiere

The quiet coming of age drama Giant Little Ones comes from director Keith Behrman and explores the life of two popular teen boys – Franky (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas (Darren Mann) – as they navigate their friendship, romantic relationships and changing families.

If Beale Street Could Talk

From director Barry Jenkins comes the follow-up to Moonlight, If Beale Street Could talk. Based on James Baldwin’s novel by the same name, the film stars Toronto native Stephan James as Fonny, a young man falsely accused of rape. While he awaits trial, his girlfriend, Tish (Kiki Layne) attempts to prove his innocence.

Life Itself
Gala Presentations – World Premiere

From Dan Fogelman the creator of This is Us comes Life Itself. Which basically, looks like This is Us but in movie form with an A-List cast. That cast includes Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Mandy Patinkin and Antoni Banderas.

Teen Spirit
Special Presentations – World Premiere


Another actor – turned director making his directorial debut at TIFF with a musical is Max Minghella. Following in his late father’s footsteps, Max goes behind the camera for the coming of age story Teen Spirit staring Elle Fanning as a shy teenager who attempts to achieve her dream of pop stardom when she enters an international signing competition.

The Hate U Give
Gala Presentations – World Premiere

From George Tillman Jr and based on the YA novel by Angie Thomas. The Hate U Give has everything that’s “hot right now” Amandla Stenberg, gun violence, racial tension in the states, relationship between black community and cops, social/economic divide. It’s YA but not set in a dystopian future, instead it takes place in a time that’s just as messed up as the Hunger Games, our present.

The Predator
Midnight Madness – World Premiere

Not your typical film festival faire, The Predator is the latest instalment in the horror movie franchise. Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes the helm as the extraterrestrial threat destroys a small town. The film stars Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Alfie Allen, and Keegan-Michael Key.

Special Presentations – Canadian Premiere

Paul Dano makes his directorial debut with the family drama Wildfire. We were a bit shocked that it took the writer/actor this long to approach the director’s chair so we’re hoping the wait is worth it. Set in the 60s the film follows a teenager dealing with his parents’ unstable marriage. It stars Ed Oxenbould, Carrie Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal.

TIFF runs from September 6th – 16th in Toronto. Check out more information, including the full TIFF line up over on

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