OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly […]

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Toronto reception takes ‘360’ back to zero

Posted by · 6:10 am · September 12th, 2011

The warning signs were there for “360.” An umpteenth reworking of “La Ronde” didn’t seem an obvious fit for either Fernando Meirelles or Peter Morgan — a pretty dispassionate writer even on his best form, he came badly unstuck last year when he veered from his fact-based template with “Hereafter.” Meirelles, too, is seeking to […]

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London Film Festival unveils Weisz-bookended lineup

Posted by · 2:26 pm · September 7th, 2011

I’m not going to spend too much time on the London Film Festival lineup, which was announced in all its glory this morning — partly because I’m still at Venice and am experiencing disturbing festival double vision, and partly because I’ve already seen a number of its choicest selections. As usual, festival director Sandra Hebron […]

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Meirelles’s ‘360’ to open London fest

Posted by · 9:20 am · August 24th, 2011

I’m trying not to think too much about my hometown film festival right now — with the chaos of Venice only a week away, the idea of diving into another five-films-a-day fortnight shortly afterwards seems somewhat deadly. Still, with this week essentially amounting to the calm before the storm, now is as good a time […]

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‘Descendants,’ ‘Moneyball,’ ‘Twixt’ among Toronto premieres

Posted by · 10:00 am · July 26th, 2011

As usual, there are few surprises in the newly unveiled lineup for September’s Toronto Film Festival — which is largely because, as usual, the lineup consists of pretty much everything. We know by now to expect a cherry-picked selection of proven successes from previous festivals, including Cannes (“The Artist,” “Drive,” “We Need to Talk About […]

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‘The Whistleblower’ trailer

Posted by · 12:03 pm · May 31st, 2011

One film with reported Oscar potential that was left without a buyer at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival was Larysa Kondracki’s “The Whistleblower.” Rachel Weisz has a lot to work with and, by most accounts, gives a stellar performance in the film. Samuel Goldwyn Films eventually picked it up and it’s set for an […]

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TIFF: ‘Brighton,’ ‘Rabbit,’ ‘Debt,’ ‘Whistleblower,’ ‘Boating’ reactions

Posted by · 9:15 am · September 14th, 2010

A quick round-up this morning.  First, we already offered some reactions to Rowan Joffe’s “Brighton Rock,” which is still looking for a distributor.  But things aren’t looking great for awards prospects should it land a buyer, as Movieline’s Michelle Orange says the film “extends the Graham Green adaptation curse.” Meanwhile, John Madden’s “The Debt” could […]

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The Great Performances: 2005

Posted by · 5:07 pm · December 18th, 2009

2005 was the year of Heath Ledger’s beautiful, moving performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” which I saw for the first time in Toronto.  It instantly became the talk of the festival, and the film became the one to beat for the Academy Award. Ledger was astonishing as the taciturn cowboy who is more surprised than anybody […]

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David Poland’s Oscar underdogs … where are the ladies?

Posted by · 1:50 pm · November 13th, 2009

For those of you bored of reading the same ever-narrowing list of names in the assorted Oscar-speculation pieces across the web, David Poland’s latest column is a slight breath of fresh air. Decrying the fact that many pundits are making ludicrous long-shot calls like “This Is It” for Best Picture, while ignoring more deserving contenders […]

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Emily Blunt named British Artist of the Year

Posted by · 5:23 pm · November 3rd, 2009

Okay, let me get this out the way: I love Emily Blunt. On screen and off, she exudes smarts, class and a welcome streak of British eccentricity. Most still remember her principally as the girl who cut through “The Devil Wears Prada” like a hot knife through butter, though it was 2004’s “My Summer of […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the supporting ladies

Posted by · 9:37 am · October 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago in this space I took a dedicated look at the lead actress category.  With little in the way of actual development (this season is curiously divided on the timeline as we’ve got maybe another month before more major titles begin screening), I figured it would be a good idea to keep […]

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‘Agora’ trailer

Posted by · 4:04 am · August 29th, 2009

In yesterday’s inaugural edition of Oscar Talk, Kris and Anne Thompson discussed the bad buzz swirling around Alejandro Amenabar’s Rachel Weisz-starring historical epic “Agora,” which has been fruitlessly seeking a distributor since premiering at Cannes in May — and will continue the hunt at Toronto. Right on cue, here comes the trailer, and … let’s […]

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold

Posted by · 2:16 pm · June 3rd, 2009

Remarkable cinema can be born of lesser literary source material, and vice versa. An arresting narrative hook can be enough for an adept screenwriter and filmmaker to fashion into an evocative cinematic vision; the artistry (or otherwise) of the prose is of secondary importance. Sterling cast and credentials aside, it is for this reason that […]

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Mixed early word for ‘Agora’

Posted by · 9:51 am · May 17th, 2009

I’ve had slight misgivings about Alejandro Amenabar’s much-awaited historical epic “Agora” for a while, and I’m not really sure why. It’s certainly nothing to do with Amenabar’s own track record. For me, “The Others” stands as one of cinema’s great ghost stories, and while “The Sea Inside,” for which he won an Oscar four years […]

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Gorgeous ‘alternative’ poster for ‘Brothers Bloom’

Posted by · 10:06 am · April 15th, 2009

I may only be lukewarm on the film itself, but I wholeheartedly adore this poster design for “The Brothers Bloom,” which recalls (to me, at least) a 1970’s Robert Altman effort in its intricate, throwback Americana style. Dreamed up by director Rian Johnson’s cousin Zach, it seems it’s only being used for web purposes, though […]

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Sort-of-new ‘Brothers Bloom’ trailer

Posted by · 3:43 am · April 8th, 2009

Not significantly different from the one they put out way back in the mists of 2008, this one comes with not one, but two ringing critical endorsements from AICN. Make of that what you will. From what I remember of my now 6 month-old viewing of the film, it’s a nice enough little trifle, elevated […]

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Who almost starred in the season’s Oscar nominated films?

Posted by · 11:37 am · February 17th, 2009

The folks at notstarring.com have put together a list of the year’s Oscar contenders and the stars who turned down opportunities to star in them.  There is, of course, Nicolas Cage in “The Wrestler” and Russell Crowe in “Australia.”  Heath Ledger is also mentioned for the latter (somehow I didn’t know that). “The Curious Case […]

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Looking for comedy in the awards world

Posted by · 4:12 pm · November 16th, 2008

Over at his OscarWatch column, Dave Karger recently asked a question that has been bothering me for some time regarding this year’s awards race. Namely, how the hell are the Golden Globes going to fill out the ballot in the Comedy/Musical races? Best Actress looks solid enough. So far, we have two clear-cut frontrunners — […]

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