By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 3, 2011 at 2:30AM
Controversial Cannes Critics Week Entry 'Snowtown,' 'Kill List,' 'Oslo August 31,' 'Pina' Also Among The Highlights
Yep, it's that time of year again: Rise of the Planet of Film Festivals. TIFF and Venice already announced their first wave of titles last week, but don't fret, movie lovers, as today the good folks in Toronto have opened the curtain on their next batch of titles, focusing heavily on their Midnight Madness and documentary slate of programming. So let's get to the films you should be seeing, shall we?
First up, Werner Herzog will return to Toronto for the world premiere of this latest documentary, "Into the Abyss," focusing on the perpetrators of a triple homicide, including a 28-year-old who is on death row and scheduled to die within eight days of talking to the director. Meanwhile, Morgan Spurlock will bring the geeks out with "Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope," his exploration of the events that take place every year in San Diego. Alex Gibney continues to churn out fascinating tales, and his latest is no different, with "The Last Gladiators" focusing on famed hockey enforcer Chris “Knuckles” Nilan and his journey back into regular life after retiring from the ice. Wim Wenders will make you put on 3D glasses for his dance doc "Pina," Ron Fricke returns nearly two decades after "Baraka" with "Samsara," Nick Broomfield will stir the pot with "Sarah Palin – You Betcha!," and "Helvetica" and "Objectified" helmer Gary Hustwit continues his design oriented flicks with "Urbanized" focusing on, you guessed it, urban design.
Once you've had enough of films filling your brain with information, the Midnight Madness will provide some relief. Ben Wheatley's SXSW sensation "Kill List" -- which made one of our team physically ill -- will certainly be a big ticket item, while Bobcat Goldthwait will continue his strain of very dark comedy with "God Bless America." International horror film buffs will get world premieres of buzzed-about French flicks "The Incident" and "Livid" while Douglas Aarniokoski's "The Day" is already earning some attention.
Other films to keep an eye on? Cannes Critics Week chiller "Snowtown," the relentless and uncompromising tale of an Aussie serial killer that scared off audiences in droves; Joachim Trier's followup to "Reprise," the melancholy "Oslo, August 31" is worth a peek; and Pen-ek Ratanaruang returns with "Headshot." Check out the full slate over at TIFF.