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Toronto: Film Critic Betsy Sharkey on U2, Clooney and Pitt

September 10, 2011 |  9:15 am

To begin the day with coffee, Bono and U2 and end it 'round midnight with George Clooney, and spend time with Brad Pitt along the way ... with apologies to Rebecca Black (or is she still supposed to be apologizing to us?) it’s Toronto, Toronto, gotta get down. Sorry, film festivals are an easy place to lose your mind in.

Ahem. So just two days in and it’s hard not to get excited about what is coming to theaters in the fall. After a very cotton-candy summer, the autumn is shaping up to be dark, rich and full-bodied (really when you’re averaging four to five movies a day, coffee literally and metaphorically becomes a constant thread in your life).

Here are some snapshots of a few favorites thus far: With David Guggenheim’s new documentary on U2, “From the Sky Down,” the band gets introspective about their time in the spotlight. If you’re a U2 fan (and I am), this film will only make you appreciate the group more. And that they stayed together to keep making music is something of a miracle.

“Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, proves that less is more and that director Nicolas Winding Refn is going to be a force in the future. The film has such an exceptionally strong voice and style that it is likely to send you to Netflix for his previous films as it has me, with “Bronson” and “Valhalla Rising” awaiting me when I get back. (See our Sunday Calendar feature on "Drive" here.)

George clooney ryan gosling toronto film festival

Sure, Brad Pitt and George Clooney look good on the red carpet –- especially when their arrival is projected on the massive screen at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall where Pitt’s “Moneyball” and Clooney’s “Ides of March” premiered Friday to, as they say, standing O’s. But they are also increasingly putting their imprint on the cinematic world. These films were both passion projects for the actors, “Moneyball” a baseball as a love and science story, and “Ides of March” on the politics of politics. If they’re not already on your fall to-do list, well, grab your favorite writing implement. Now.


Toronto 2011: Six juicy storylines worth following

Toronto 2011: Our guide to festival films, in photos

Toronto 2011: Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball' looks to get on base

-- Betsy Sharkey in Toronto

Top photo: Brad Pitt, right, and Jonah Hill, who star in "Moneyball," at the Toronto International Film Festival. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: George Clooney, left, and Ryan Gosling, who costar in "Ides of March," also at Toronto. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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