Davis: Prisoners getting Oscar buzz

Prisoners is getting rave critical reviews, especially for Canadian director Denis Villeneuve.

Canada has a strong presence in the movie industry this week with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) wrapping up and two new movies opening with strong Canadian talent.

Prisoners is a mystery-thriller starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis that is getting rave critical reviews, especially for director Denis Villeneuve.

Hailing from Quebec, Villeneuve is best known for the Academy Award-nominated Incendies two years ago and critics are using words like “sensational,” “intense,” “riveting” and “masterpiece” to describe Prisoners.

It was also the runner-up for People’s Choice Award for Best Film at TIFF.

Jackman plays a father living his worst nightmare—his six-year-old daughter and her friend have been kidnapped. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street.

Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective in the investigation and the RV’s driver is arrested but lack of evidence forces his release.

Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic father decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands—but how far will he have to go to protect his family?

Prisoners was not the only success that Villeneuve had at TIFF.  He had a second movie with Gyllenhaal which also received raves called Enemy.  Watch for it later this year or early next year.

Another movie that premiered at TIFF and is opening in Kelowna tomorrow is the comedy The Art of the Steal.

Canadian writer-director Jonathan Sobol previously delighted festival-goers with A Beginner’s Guide to Endings three years ago and he has gathered Hollywood legends Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon and Terence Stamp, along with Canadian talents Jay Baruchel, Chris Diamantopoulos, Katheryn Winnick and Jason Jones for this cross-border caper.

Russell plays Crunch Calhoun, a motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief who agrees to pull off one more heist with his brother Nicky (Dillon). When Crunch gets his old team back together to steal a priceless historical book, the plan leads into another riskier plan formed by Nicky.

The two brothers don’t realize that each of them have their own hidden agenda.

The trailer for The Art of the Steal reminded me of movies like the great Elmore Leonard adaptations Get Shorty and Out of Sight as well as Ocean’s 11.

Yet another movie from TIFF could see director Ron Howard in the Oscar race again.

Rush is the true story of the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. I will predict that you do not have to be a racing fan to enjoy this movie and your first chance to see it is next Thursday at 8 p.m.

And watch for other TIFF favourites over the next few weeks including director Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, which fellow director James Cameron called the best space movie ever.

Also opening soon is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut (in which he also stars) with Don Jon, an edgy romantic comedy also starring Scarlett Johansson.

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