In Contention

Gary Oldman writes up Coppola across the pond

Posted by · 12:10 pm · September 15th, 2011

Here’s a nice change of pace. On the occasion of the UK opening of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” London’s Telegraph newspaper has commissioned actor Gary Oldman for his thoughts on director Francis Ford Coppola. It’s kind of random, though. Yeah, Oldman starred in Coppola’s 1992 film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” but there’s no real connection otherwise. […]

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‘Barrymore’ trailer

Posted by · 9:40 am · September 15th, 2011

It’s been a bit slow on the whole for acquisitions at Toronto, but one film I’ve kept an eye on is “Barrymore” (which we pointed to over the weekend as a potential Oscar play for Christopher Plummer). It absolutely seems like a powerhouse performance, but man, it’ll be hard to sell a one-man show. I […]

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Taking questions for Oscar Talk

Posted by · 8:54 am · September 15th, 2011

You know the drill. Fire off your queries and we’ll try to address a few. Keep in mind we’ll surely be talking plenty about Toronto so try to be specific otherwise. And since we didn’t get to any last week due to the rushed session, feel free to re-post something you really want addressed. If […]

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Jon Stewart on Eddie Murphy as Oscar host

Posted by · 8:42 am · September 15th, 2011

I have to be honest and admit that sometimes I forget that Jon Stewart hosted the Oscars. Part of that is because the host is just so rarely memorable (everything that’s not novel starts to become a blur). And Stewart’s done it TWICE, mind. The first time (2006 ceremony), his dry “Daily Show” writers failed […]

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‘Oranges & Sunshine’ trailer

Posted by · 8:10 am · September 15th, 2011

I feel like Guy was talking up Emily Watson’s performance in “Oranges & Sunshine” earlier in the year. I can’t remember. But the film tells the true story of the 300-year practice of sending poor or orphaned children to British settler colonies to help alleviate the shortage of labor. It’s the other pony in Cohen […]

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9/15 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Flamboyant ‘Drive’ strategy, Oscilloscope nabs ‘Heights,’ eight minutes of ‘Dragon Tattoo’

Posted by · 7:45 am · September 15th, 2011

• John Horn talks to FilmDistrict honcho Bob Berney about the flamboyant advertising of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive.” [24 Frames] • Dana Harris chats with “Albert Nobbs” stars Glenn Close and Janet McTeer. [indieWIRE] • Oscilloscope picks up Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” in Toronto. [Variety]

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Cohen Media Group nabs Besson’s ‘The Lady’

Posted by · 5:22 pm · September 14th, 2011

Everyone’s just been waiting to see who would pick up Luc besson’s “The Lady” out of Toronto, just for an excuse to go ahead and shuffle Michelle Yeoh over to the pile of likely Best Actress contenders. Yeoh stars in the film as Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi and David Thewlis has a […]

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Lurie’s ‘Straw Dogs’ finds its own way

Posted by · 4:48 pm · September 14th, 2011

I should really write something about Rod Lurie’s “Straw Dogs” remake, which, naturally, has been met with a lot of skepticism ever since it was announced. “How dare someone tinker with Peckinpah,” etc. As if Peckinpah is beyond reproach. He’s not, I’d argue, and Lurie’s version of the novel that Peckinpah’s film was based upon […]

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Summit hits the ground running with first screener of the season: Chris Weitz’s ‘A Better Life’

Posted by · 2:37 pm · September 14th, 2011

Deadline’s Pete Hammond already reported that this was imminent, but since it arrived on my doorstep this morning, it seemed worth conveying here. Summit Entertainment is first out of the gate this year with FYC screeners aimed at drawing attention back to Chris Weitz’s “A Better Life.” I was a big fan of Weitz’s film, […]

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‘We Bought a Zoo’ trailer

Posted by · 11:38 am · September 14th, 2011

Just in time to capitalize on Scarlett Johansson’s nude photo scandal (that was low, sorry), the trailer for Cameron Crowe’s latest, “We Bought a Zoo,” hits the web. The first half of this early glimpse really makes it look like a return to character study form for Crowe, while the second half lays on the […]

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Posted by · 10:07 am · September 14th, 2011

I’m elated to see that this morning’s news has been so warmly received, both by the readership here and behind the scenes in the industry. In Contention has been — as my quote mentions in the press release — a labor of love since I opened the doors (on an unassuming Blogspot domain) back in […]

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Moverman’s expressive ‘Rampart’ offers tour de force performance from Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 8:26 am · September 14th, 2011

Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” is absolutely fantastic. Top to bottom, it’s a considerable directorial achievement, and an exciting, brazen departure from his excellent 2009 debut, “The Messenger.” The film — from an original screenplay by James Ellroy, re-written by Moverman — uses the 1999 Los Angeles Police Department Rampart corruption scandal as a frame, a state […]

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‘Le Havre’ tapped to represent Finland in foreign film race

Posted by · 7:52 am · September 14th, 2011

I finally caught up with Aki Kaurismaki’s “Le Havre” at Telluride two weeks ago. “I don’t count myself as the biggest Kaurismäki fan,” I wrote at the time, “but it’s very difficult to argue with the heart in this film. It should melt you a bit, if you have warm blood pumping through your veins.” […]

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Clooney on ‘Descendants’ at Telluride, with clips

Posted by · 7:40 am · September 14th, 2011

Via our new partners at HitFix, specifically Greg Ellwood’s Awards Campaign blog:

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9/14 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Plays storm the screen in Toronto, Liddell acquires ‘Killer Joe,’ Barker on Calley

Posted by · 7:30 am · September 14th, 2011

• Michelle Kung writes up Toronto from the perspective of plays taking to the screen en masse, like Tracy Letts’s “Killer Joe”… [Speakeasy] • …which Liddell Entertainment, by the way, picked up at the fest. [Variety] • Sasha Stone on life after the 2011 fall festival circuit. [Awards Daily]

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InContention.com partners with HitFix

Posted by · 4:03 am · September 14th, 2011

I’m happy to forward the following exciting news via press release. I’ll get into the details of all of this later today, but for now… INFLUENTIAL INCONTENTION.COM FILM BLOG NOW POWERED BY HITFIX.COM LOS ANGELES, September 14, 2011 – HitFix, a leader in entertainment news, today announced a strategic partnership with film and awards season […]

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The writing shines in dense and rewarding ‘Moneyball’

Posted by · 11:53 am · September 13th, 2011

Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” is a tightly constructed piece of work, thematically layered, rich in substance, hard work from two of the best writers in the business clearly evident. And the last thing it is is a sports movie. The film is about so much. It’s a David vs. Goliath story of changing the status quo. […]

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9/13 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Madonna in Toronto, SPC’s would-be ‘Shame’ plan, Clooney overexposed?

Posted by · 9:12 am · September 13th, 2011

• Michael Cieply reports from the “W.E.” press conference in Toronto, where Madonna is doing slightly better than she did over in Venice. [Arts Beat] • Speaking of Toronto, Tilda Swinton keeps hitting the press rounds at the fest. [Speakeasy] • Pete Hammond hears that Sony Classics wanted to lay the groundwork for a Michael […]

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