Some of the best films from Toronto — and there were a lot of them — to look for at a theater near you
I’m back from Toronto with my moviegoing experience revitalized by 26 films in nine days at the Toronto International Film Festival. I must be in synch with the moviegoing public in T.O. (That’s Toronto, Ontario, football fans) since my favorite film at the fest, The King’s Speech, won the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, voted on by the Festival audience.
And, while The King’s Speech was my only 3.5-star movie from TIFF, there were a lot of three and 2.5-star movies, and very few total stiffs. So while the highs weren’t as high, there weren’t many low points either.
Here is an excerpt of my final breakdown; see full list on the AC Weekly blog “Atlantic City Central.”
The King’s Speech – A wonderfully touching and funny film about Prince Albert (Colin Firth), the man who would become king, who must overcome his terrible stammer with the help of an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Expect Oscar nods for both Firth and Rush. (3.5 Stars)
It’s Kind of A Funny Story – Amusing look at a hospital’s mental hospital wing, a less anguished, funnier, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson). (3 Stars for this and all films below)
13 Assassins – A classic Samurai action flick that pays tribute to The Seven Samurai as well as carving it’s own path.
Buried – Ryan Reynolds is a civilian truck driver in Iraq who wakes up in a coffin buried underground with just a cell phone and flashlight.
The Conspirator – Robert Redford is back with a film about the only woman (played by Robin Wright) who was put on trial for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Trust – A terrifying tale, directed by David Schwimmer, about a scary world of Internet predators who prey on young girls. Clive Owen is wonderful as the distraught dad and Liana Liberato is remarkable as the daughter who won’t believe her rapist is a bad man.
Conviction – Hilary Swank plays a real life woman who spent 18-years becoming a lawyer so she could free her brother (Sam Rockwell) who was convicted of murder. Swank might earn an Oscar nomination for this Erin Brockovich-style film.
Bunraku – A wild — and wildly entertaining — futuristic fantasy, full of style and exciting fight scenes, about a post-apocalyptic world in which guns are outlawed but knives and martial arts skills rule. Stars Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Japanese pop star GACKT, Kevin McKidd, Ron Perlman and Demi Moore.
To read more about movies and other topics covered by movie critic Lori Hoffman visit the ‘Atlantic City Central’ blog at http://blog.acweekly.com/
HBO Renews ‘Empire’ For Second Season
Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming, has announced that the cable station has renewed its new drama series, Boardwalk Empire, for a second season, following “resounding critical approval and high viewer numbers for the series’ Sept. 19 debut.”
“All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson’s initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese’s enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi,” said Lombardo in a release to the media Tuesday. “The response from the media and our viewers has been nothing short of amazing.”
The show is based on the book of the same name by Atlantic County judge Nelson Johnson and the Prohibition era in 1920 Atlantic City. It is executive produced by Martin Scorsese, show creator Terry Winter, Tim Van Patten, Stephen Levenson and actor Mark Wahlberg.
(Some of the cast members of Boardwalk Empire at the Atlantic City premiere party held at Caesars Thursday, Sept. 16. Photo Tom Briglia)
The Sept. 19 premiere was a resounding success, with “rave reviews and debut ratings that rank among the best in HBO’s history,” according to Variety, the showbiz industry publication.
After five days and 18 movies viewed at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, I’ve got a few favorites and a little Oscar buzz. David O. Russell, writer-director of Three Kings and more recently, The Fighter, introduced his latest, Silver Linings Playbook.
When Brad Pitt and George Clooney are in Hollywood North to promote movies, the media blitz hits the frenzy button and rarely dies down. And so it was on the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival with Pitt in town to promote the baseball movie Moneyball, and Clooney ...
So, which movie will emerge from the Toronto International Film Festival this year as an Oscar frontrunner? Last year it was The King’s Speech, and previous seasons have launched Slumdog Millionaire, Precious, and American Beauty to Oscar glory.
Woody Allen hasn’t made himself accessible to the press for awhile, but he came to the Toronto International Film Festival to talk about his latest film,' You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,' a typically Allen-esque look at several marriages falling apart thanks to reckless and foolish behavior.
My early festival experience has been invigorating, especially on day two.
No matter how much film critics bitch and moan about the state of the movies — and we’ve been doing a lot of bitching and moaning this past summer — we always remain hopeful that the next great movie is right around the corner. With that philosophy in mind, here are a baker’s dozen flicks that I’m looking forward to seeing soon.
This is exactly why I spend my working vacation every year at the Toronto International Film Festival. The 35th TIFF takes place this year from Sept. 9-19. This will be my 23rd trip to cover the global cinematic feast. The festival has grown from an understated, unpretentious celebration of emerging filmmakers, to a film festival that officially launches the Oscar buzz season
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A Lavish ‘Gatsby’
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
‘Lucy’ on Stage at Harrah’s