As Toronto Festival heads into final days, good movies and Oscar buzz.
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. The film stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as two broken people who find each other, and while that might sound like a drama, it is so funny it resists being so easily labeled. And, as an added bonus, the film is also a love letter to the city of Philadelphia and in particular, the passion of Eagles fans. Robert De Niro plays Cooper’s father, a rabid Eagles fanatic and bookie. That the native New Yorker is on screen trashing the Giants and Cowboys made me smile.
The film is smart, funny and delivers an unconventional love story that is as winning as it is believable. It is one of the few films so far that is generating enthusiastic Oscar talk.
The Master, the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), might get some Oscar consideration for stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, but it lacks an emotional connection. We are kept at arm’s length by this tale about a cult leader in the 1950s that may or may not be based on the birth of Scientology.
Argo was a disappointment to me, but I seem to be in the minority; other journalists have called it Oscar-worthy. It wasn’t bad, but Ben Affleck’s drama, about how the CIA, in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy, managed to smuggle six Americans out of Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 is bland and lacks suspense except for the final 15 minutes when the actual escape takes place.
The Sessions stars the amazing John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) as a man confined to an iron lung who doesn’t want to die a virgin and hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to accomplish that goal. Hawkes should be on Oscar’s short list and Hunt deserves supporting actress consideration.
The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes and directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), just picked up a U.S. distributor (Focus Films). If it is released before the end of the year, it could earn some Oscar interest but it’s likely to turn up next year. The film is a fascinating mash-up of crime thriller and police corruption then in its third act provides a “sins of the fathers” finale.
When Day Breaks is just the type of delightful European movie (from Croatia) that rarely makes it on U.S. screens anymore, which is why this film critic likes to mix in smaller movies with all the big buzz movie star-laden fare I see. It’s about a man who finds out that he was adopted and that his biological parents perished at Belgrade’s concentration camp. There is an outside chance it might earn a foreign language Oscar nod. No is a film from Chile about an advertising executive (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) who is hired in 1988 to create the political advertising campaign to convince the people to vote against dictator Augusto Pinochet and asked for a democratic election. The film is loaded with unexpected humor as we watch the use of slick advertising tricks to topple a dictator.
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The film stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in game-changing performances as two broken people with mental issues who find each other, and while that might sound like a drama, it is so funny it resists being so easily labeled.
I wanted Flight to soar and instead it crashed after the tremendous opening section of the film that showed the events leading up to the crash of a commercial airline.
This writer is in the minority in calling the film a reasonably entertaining, but not all-that-exciting, recreation of this joint Canadian-CIA operation that wasn’t declassified until 1997.
Here is a list of my 10 favorite films from the Toronto Film Fest...
As the summer movie season winds down, the focus switches to the fall and the beginning of the cinematic frenzy known as the Oscar race. The traditional start of the search for Oscar worthy filmmaking begins at the Toronto International Film Festival, which I will be attending for the 25th time.
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 ...
When Brad Pitt and George Clooney are in Toronto to promote movies, the media blitz hits the frenzy button and rarely dies down. I managed to get into a packed press conference featuring Pitt, his Moneyball costars Chris Pratt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and director Bennett Miller (who directed Hoffman in his Oscar-winning Capote performance.
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.
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.
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
It’s the time of the moviegoing season when the stars fly north in search of positive Oscar buzz for their movies. The 34th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be even more crucial as an award launching pad now that the rules have changed and 10 movies will be nominated for best picture. This change is perhaps reflected in the number of stars attending this year’s fest.
for movie showtimes, click here for movie capsules, click here The 33rd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) begins Thursday, Sept. 4, and runs through Saturday, Sept. 13. This year marks my 2...
The Master, the latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), might get some Oscar consideration for stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, but it lacks an emotional connection.