I spent a chunk of the weekend working on my schedule for the Toronto Film Festival, and I am overwhelmed by how many potentially great films they've got on the schedule.  I've seen a chunk of the movies already at the Cannes Festival and here in Los Angeles, and it's going to be an exciting fall at the movies as these things start hitting theaters.

There are two new trailers online today for movies that will be featured at the festival, and both of these also played at Cannes this summer.  I saw one of them there, but had to leave town before I could see the other.  Drove me crazy, too, since I am fond of Pedro Almodovar as a filmmaker.

In particular, I love early crazy Almodovar.  I think he's evolved into a great respectable director of women-driven melodrama, and I adore many of his later films.  His run since 1995 has been incredible, with "All About My Mother," "The Flower Of My Secret," "Live Flesh," "Bad Education," "Broken Embraces" and my favorite of this era, "Volver," all serving to highlight some of his strengths as a director. 

But the first film of his I saw was the 1986 film "Matador," which is dark and crazy and sexually supercharged and just a little bit deranged, and that led me to "Dark Habits" and "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", and at that point, I was hooked.  I thought he was like a Spanish cross between David Lynch and John Waters, and I loved the idea of this lunatic dropping a culture bomb on us every couple of years.

With "The Skin I Live in," Almodovar seems to be playing in his old neighborhood for the first time in a while.  This is so freaky it's borderline grindhouse, which is exactly the flavor I like in my revenge films.  And saying just that much, I feel like I've said too much about the movie, because this is not a film that you want to know anything about ahead of time, plot-wise.  It does some very strange things during its running time, and I'm glad I saw it without knowing those things.  With that in mind, let me check out this new trailer for the movie…

 
 
… and warn you that it comes very close to ruining the entire experience.  It's strange when I feel more of a responsibility as a reviewer than the marketing department of the distributor feels to protecting the secrets of a movie.  In this case, they don't tell you exactly what sort of lunacy you're dealing with, but they show you images that you don't need to see before the film, and having them in your head might help you make some jumps that would ruin the film's various twists and turns.  Like I said… it's borderline.  But if you want to be totally surprised, you might want to try and wait for the film's release in a few months.

I did manage to see "Miss Bala" at Cannes, and it knocked me flat.  I love this movie.  I wrote a review for it, and before Toronto, I'll be running my review with the film's director.  I hope more people see it at this festival, and that Fox does right by the movie in the US.  I think this is a big crossover mainstream movie if they sell it right.  It's thrilling, it's timely and it's gorgeously made.  It's also unlike anything else I've seen this year.  Produced by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, it is a major announcement for director Gerardo Naranjo, and I plan to see his earlier work as soon as possible based on the strength of this film.

The trailer does a nice job of selling how visceral the film is, but no trailer can really show you how smartly made it is or how impressive Naranjo's work is in context.  I look forward to more people seeing this one, because I think it's worth some great conversations afterward.

"The Skin I Live In" opens in limited release on October 14, 2011.
"Miss Bala" does not currently have a release date, but it may have a spot on my top ten list this year anyway.