Two of the movies I'm most looking forward to this fall are Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dreamand Julie Taymor's Across the Universe. My interest in them has nothing to do with their being reportedly problematic (Cassandra's apparently wasn't suitable for Cannes; Universe has had some editingissues), but the rumors have made me more curious. Fortunately, I now have an opportunity to get an advance heads up on both movies, as they're set to screen at next month's Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 6-15). This is what I love most about the fall festivals (since I don't attend them): the chance to hear the buzz about a possibly troubled or possibly redeemed film long before I have to make up my mind about buying a ticket. For Cassandra's Dream, we'll actually get an earlier report when the film officially premieres at the Venice Film Festival a week prior -- Cinematical's Ryan Stewart will be on the scene with that scoop. As far as I know, Toronto will have the first public viewing of Across the Universe.

Cassandra's Dreamwas shown to an audience last month in Avilés, Spain, and I'm guessing attendees of that screening include the 154 people who've given the film a 9.4 rating on That's a pretty awesome score for any Woody Allen film, let alone a recent Woody Allen film (Annie Hallonly has an 8.2), so obviously the Cannes rumor must be false. Sure, the rating will go down and some critics will even hate the film, but unless The Weinstein Co. screws with the thing, I anticipate enjoying the thing when it's released November 30. As for Across the Universe, I expect to love the music and the cinematography anyway, but I still want to hear from my colleagues -- Ryan, Monika and James will be covering Toronto -- about the overall quality of the film. Columbia Pictures releases that one September 28.