TIFF 2015: Hail, Hail, the Gangsters Are Here 

Gangsters are back. The time-tested genre will be fill our movie screens in the coming months, with two of the better efforts featuring Johnny Depp.

click to enlarge Johnny Depp stars in Black Mass.
  • Johnny Depp stars in Black Mass.
You'll get a chance to see Depp starring in Black Mass when it opens nationwide Friday, Sept. 18. The bottom line on the movie is that it's pretty darn good and showcases some of Depp's best work in many years.

Depp plays the infamous crime boss Whitey Bulger, who terrorized Boston for the better part of three decades. It's an epic film with great supporting performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon and Peter Sarsgaard. Far and away the film's best performance comes from Joel Edgerton, who plays John Connolly—Bulger's childhood friend-turned-FBI agent. 

Depp also appears in London Fields, a stylish crime noir based on Martin Amis' bestselling novel. The movie co-stars Jim Sturgess, Billy Bob Thornton and Depp's main squeeze, Amber Heard. The real style points are scored by cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth), who wraps the characters in a 1990s era production design. Even when its story sags, which it does a too often, London Fields is a glamorous, gorgeous two hours.

After Boise Weekly and the world press got its first glimpse of London Fields, TIFF organizers pulled the film from the Toronto lineup after director Matthew Cullen filed a lawsuit against the film's producers, alleging that that they had made drastic changes to the final cut of London Fields. TIFF's decision to yank the film came hours before its scheduled premiere. The film's producers wrote that they were "greatly disappointed," according to a prepared statement. "It's the first time we have ever heard of a festival removing a movie from the festival due its imagery being deemed too provocative."

click to enlarge Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy in Legend
  • Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy in Legend
But a third gangster movie generated even more buzz at TIFF this week is Legend,  starring Tom Hardy in a wonderful double performance as both Reggie and Ronnie Kray—twins who ruled London's underworld in the 1960s.

Hardy is fantastic at portraying one brother as cunning and the other as a sociopath but, regardless of its unique casting, the movie is a bit of a mess. Even more unfortunate, much of the chatter about the film has to do with an incident that occurred off-screen during a press conference.

Post-screening question-and-answer sessions are routine at TIFF, but when a reporter from Toronto-based LGBT publication Daily Xtra wanted to talk with Hardy about something that had nothing to do with his film, the proceedings were anything but routine.

The reporter opened by making reference to other media reports hinting at Hardy's "ambiguous" sexuality."

"What on earth are you on about?" Hardy asked. "What is your question?"

"I'm wondering if you find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality," the reporter said.

"I don't find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality. Are you asking about my sexuality?" Hardy asked.

"Sure," said the reporter.

"Why?" asked Hardy.

Experience the awkwardness for yourself below.

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