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25 Must-See Films at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival

From a Roger Waters documentary to several heavily-buzzed Oscar contenders, these are the movies we’re dying to check out at TIFF

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Courtesy of TIFF

Ask anybody who's been making the trek to the Great White North every September for the Toronto International Film Festival for a while to define what, exactly, the annual event represents, besides 11 days (September 4th-14th) of gorging on movies, and you'll get a dozen different answers. Is it the official start of the awards season, when studios drag out the big guns (The Judge, Wild, The Theory of Everything) and the fall's prestige films start building up hype? Is it a chance to check out the cream of Cannes' crop, as well as some of the best of Sundance (Whiplash, The Guest) and beyond? Is this where you go to see the latest high-fiber documentaries? Or the high-calorie midnight-movie offerings from around the globe? Or bleeding edge of experimental shorts and boundary-pushing "Wavelength" features? Or….

Yes, yes, yes, and yes: TIFF is indeed all of those things, which is why adventurous movie lovers keep making the trek every year. You do get to see the pacesetters early on, true — but you also get a well-rounded diet of everything under the cinematic sun, there for the perusing and picking should you want the whole experience. Our round-up of the best of this year's fest will go up next week, but until then, here are 25 movies we're looking forward to checking out, or in a few cases, seeing again. The viewing begins now.

Top Five

Courtesy of TIFF

‘Top Five’

Modern-day Renaissance Man Chris Rock writes, directs and stars in the story of a stand-up comic who, after getting a torn apart by a vicious New York Times review, decides to do some soul-searching and make a serious drama. Whether his latest turn behind the camera is semi-autobiographical or not remains to be seen, but the fact that the cast is stocked with virtually every major working African-American comedian not named Chappelle or Buress has us intrigued.

While We're Young

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Courtesy of TIFF

‘While We’re Young’

The new Noah Baumbach joint stars not one but two Heartbreak Kids (Charles Grodin and Ben Stiller), a Mulholland Drive vet (Naomi Watts), the handsome fuck-up from Girls (Adam Driver) and the Beastie Boys' Ad Rock (Adam Horowitz). As if that cast were not enough enticement, the press notes make it sound as if the director's latest is a fusing of Greenberg's middle-aged sad-sackitude and Frances Ha's nouveau boho malaise. That sound you just heard was a number of Noah-heads squealing with joy.

Wild Tales

Courtesy of TIFF

‘Wild Tales’

"Wild," apparently, doesn't begin to describe this Argentine anthology of loosely connected, vignettes — involving out-of-control air transportation, out-of-control wedding receptions, out-of-control vehicular abuse — that come together, Voltron-style, to form one cracked look at vengeance and modern society. The combo of humor and violence had a lot of Cannes festgoers throwing around Tarantino comparisons; others said it was sui generis. Either way, we're so there.

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