TIFF 2015: Hosers, Not Posers 

Boise Weekly wings to the Toronto International Film Festival

Here are my traditional answers to the three most-asked questions about Boise Weekly's annual visit to the Toronto International Film Festival:

No. 1. About 50 (the average number of films I try to screen).

No. 2. Yes, I still get a bit star-struck (but it's usually based on an actor/actress exceeding my expectations).

No. 3. No, it never gets tedious (seeing that many films in a 10-day period isn't for everyone).

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, TIFF sets the standard for film festivals. It is perfectly timed to launch the award season; it is in the perfect setting; and most importantly, it is a people's festival, where the movie-going public is the real star rather than press and film industry types. I always make a point of watching at least a third of my films at public screenings—it's still invigorating to queue up with hundreds of film lovers who are practically jumping out of their skin at the chance to see a world premiere.

Here are a select few of the premieres I'm particularly anxious to see this year:

1. The Martian, director Ridley Scott's new blockbuster stars Matt Damon as an astronaut trying to stay alive on Mars while NASA builds and launches a rescue mission.

2. This year's Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne reaches for some more Oscar gold in The Danish Girl, a sumptuously photographed epic that begins when a young woman asks her husband to stand in for a female model so she can complete her latest painting.

3. Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish woman who crosses the Atlantic in the 1950s to begin a new life in America but when she returns to her homeland, she must decide where to spend the rest of her life.

4. Our Brand Is Crisis stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton as American political spinmeisters who get tangled in a Bolivian presidential election.

5. Spotlight stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber as the Boston journalists who uncovered a massive scandal of child abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church.

6. Truth stars Robert Redford as CBS News anchor Dan Rather and Cate Blancett as his producer in the story of how an investigation into George W. Bush's past nearly brought down the network.

7. Black Mass stars Johnny Depp as notorious gangster Whitey Bulger. Co-stars include Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon and Peter Sarsgaard.

8. Lady In the Van stars the legendary Maggie Smith in the true story of a homeless woman who lived in a van in the driveway of London playwright Alan Bennett for 15 years.

9. Freeheld stars this year's Oscar winner Julianne Moore along with Ellen Page and Steve Carell in the true story of a 2005 legal battle in which a woman is unable to pass on her pension benefits to her domestic partner.

10. Trumbo stars Bryan Cranston as the legendary screenwriter and Hollywood blacklist victim Dalton Trumbo. The case is rounded out by Louis C.K., John Goodman and Helen Mirren.

Another guilty pleasure at TIFF is its Midnight Madness programming, and this year's craze-fest includes the much-buzzed-about Yakuza Apocalypse, The Witch, Green Room and The Final Girls. Yes, there will be blood.

Look for our daily dispatches from TIFF at boiseweekly.com.

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