TIFF 2013: A FIELD IN ENGLAND Review

by     Posted 216 days ago

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Writer/director Ben Wheatley has become something of a favorite filmmaker of the Toronto International Film Festival. He’s popped up at the fest over the last three years for the international premieres of Kill List, Sightseers, and now A Field In England. Though none of the flicks are easy sits in the best possible sense, his latest film is his most challenging to date. It’s equal parts gothic horror, European art cinema, drug fueled metaphysics, and vicious dark comedy. The film fits in well with what we’ve come to know is a Ben Wheately picture; however, how it fits into the world of mainstream cinema is a reasonable question. Challenging, alienating, and intense, there was really nothing else like the film at TIFF this year. Hit the jump to find out whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

TIFF 2013: FOR NO GOOD REASON Review

by     Posted 217 days ago

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Celebrity documentaries are a tricky beast to make. After all, they are essentially hero-worship as a genre and can have a fairly limited potential if the subject fails to live up to expectations. So, there was a bit of trepidation to be found around the Toronto International Film Festival’s new documentary For No Good Reason, which dives into the life and times of illustrator Ralph Steadman. If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s the man who made the twisted heavy ink cartoons for Hunter S. Thompson and one of the few people alive capable of crafting work that can live up to Thompson’s brand of literary madness. There’s little known about the man behind the inkblots though. So if nothing else, Charlie Paul’s years-in-the-making docs dips into uncharted terrain. Hit the jump to see if the film answers any or all of the lingering questions about Ralph Steadman. 

TIFF 2013: ATTILA MARCEL Review

by     Posted 219 days ago

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When you love a filmmaker, it’s always exciting to see them stretch outside of their comfort zone. In the case of Sylvain Chomet, there was something undeniably fascinating about the idea of the man who made Triplets Of Bellville and The Illusionist trying his hand at a live-action filmmaker this year at The Toronto International Film Festival. After all, his aesthetic is so distinct, yet still identifiably based on the real world that it was easy to imagine Chomet being one of those live-action cartoon directors like Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, or even his countryman Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Sadly, based on his live action debut Attila Marcel, it might be best if Chomet sticks to the animation arena. Maybe it’s just that the script and concept for this were the misfire regardless of format, but even so Chomet’s sense of whimsy doesn’t seem to fly when applied to real people and locations. Hit the jump if you want to find out why, you lucky so and so.

TIFF 2013: PHILOMENA Review

by     Posted 220 days ago

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Steve Coogan and Judi Dench might not immediately jump out to most viewers as an obvious big screen dream team, but director Stephen Frears somehow saw a peanut butter and chocolate combination in the two legendary Brits and brought them together for a bittersweet dramedy (what else?) called Philomena. Mixing remorseful tragedy for Dench and sardonic a-hole comedy for Coogan, the film is an interesting combination and works fairly well. Sure, it’s not perfect. But really, what else could you expect from a clash of screen personalities this unexpected and diametrically opposed? Hit the jump for all the diddy-details. 

Director Jonathan Glazer Talks UNDER THE SKIN, Filming People Who Didn’t Know They Were in a Movie, His Music Videos, and More

by     Posted 220 days ago

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Jonathan Glazer was one of the biggest music video directors in the golden age of the medium in the 90s. His award-winning collaborations with bands like Radiohead, Nick Cave, Massive Attack, and Blur helped raise the bar on the format along with his contemporaries like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. When Glazer stepped into movies, it was with the unforgettably twisted and hilarious Sexy Beast, which memorably cast Ben Kingsley as the lovable psychopath Don Logan and gave the iconic actor a new career as a villain. After that, he made the unsettling psychological horror film Birth with Nicole Kidman and then disappeared for almost ten years.

Throughout that entire time Glazer has been working on his pet project Under The Skin, which at long last premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Taking cues from such headtrip 70s sci-fi movies as Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth, the film follows Scarlett Johannson as an alien who…well…falls to earth and struggles to adapt to humanity. It’s a wonderfully enigmatic film that Glazer shot almost entirely with hidden cameras and co-stars who didn’t know they were being filmed. We got a chance to chat with Glazer while he was at TIFF and picked his brain about the unconventional production, working with Johansson, and what it was like to be a part of the golden age of music videos. Hit the jump for the full piece.

John Turturro and Sofia Vergara Talk FADING GIGOLO, Writing for Woody Allen, a BIG LEBOWSKI Spinoff, and More at TIFF 2013

by     Posted 221 days ago

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John Turturro is one of the great character actors of our time, equally at home carrying a Coen Brothers movie, stealing scenes for Adam Sandler, getting vicious for Spike Lee or bouncing off CGI Transformers with Michael Bay. He’ll probably always be best know for his performance of everyone’s favorite bowling pederast named Jesus in The Big Lebowski, just because it’s one of the funniest characters of all time. However, his rich career spanning almost 100 movies is undeniably impressive and he’s also carved out a small side career as a director of stage and screen. This year Turturro brought his latest directorial to the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s certainly an odd one. In Fading Gigolo, Turturro plays a high end New York escort who is pimped out by none other than Woody Allen. Written and directed by Turturro, it’s a charming little oddball comedy that makes the most out of that pretty brilliant New York character comedy duo.

Collider got a chance to chat with Turturro and co-star Sofia Vergara (who plays one of his many clients in the film) during TIFF. The chat delved into everything from the challenges of writing for Woody, the strange nature of directing yourself, and even that long rumored Jesus-centric Big Lebowski sequel that will hopefully be made some day. Hit the jump for the full interview.

Penn & Teller and Tim Jenison Talk TIM’S VERMEER, How the Project Came about, PENN & TELLER GET KILLED, and an Anecdote on Martin Mull & Jimi Hendrix

by     Posted 225 days ago

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One of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is Tim’s Vermeer.  Made my legendary magicians and bullshit busters Penn & Teller the film is about the remarkable achievement of their friend Tim Jenison.  A professional computer/optics expert and amateur inventor, Jenison became fascinated with the work of the great Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer whose ground-breakingly realistic work has confounded art critics and historians for centuries.  Controversial recent theories have suggested that Vermeer used primitive camera lenses to essentially paint photographs and with a deep background in video technology, Jenison was not only qualified to see how that could be true, but also had a theory of how it was done.

Armed with the resources, dedication, eccentricity, and free time necessary to pull it off, Jenison dedicated a year of his life to proving the theory by recreating Vermeer’s studio, crafting a practical device Vermeer might have used to pull off the work, and meticulously recreated a classic painting using only tools and resources available in the 17th century. The only catch was that he’d never painted before, but with the invention he’d devised that didn’t matter.  So Penn & Teller filmed the entire journey and presented the Tim’s journey in a manner as clever, funny, insightful, and moving as any of their finest work.  Collider got a chance to chat with Penn, Teller, and Jenison at TIFF, delving into the making of their latest project, their underrated 1989 film Penn & Teller Get Killed, and, oddly, the relationship between Martin Mull and Jimi Hendrix.  Hit the jump for the full chat.  

TIFF 2013: THE UNKNOWN KNOWN Review

by     Posted 226 days ago

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In 2003 legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris finally won a long-deserved Oscar for his feature length interrogation of Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during America’s unfortunate war in Vietnam. Ten years later, Morris has made a sequel of sorts about Donald Rumsfeld, the man who held the same position for the Bush administration during September 11th and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately this time the results aren’t nearly as satisfyingly remorseful. Instead, it feels like more spun truths and crocodile smiles from a man who specialized in those unique skills throughout his time in office. Fortunately, those qualities make The Unknown Known arguably just as fascinating as it’s sort of prequel, just in a very different way. Go on, hit the jump to find out why you lucky, lucky person.

TIFF 2013: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE Review

by     Posted 227 days ago

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The words “Jarmusch” and “vampires” were never supposed to be in the same sentence. Yet, somehow, here we are living in a world where the proto-hipster behind Down by Law and Coffee and Cigarettes has made a movie about bloodsuckers. Predictably, the movie is not a teen soap opera with fangs or a carnival of entrail-spewing carnage. Instead, it’s more of a listless, haunting, and darkly humorous experience that plays right into the director’s strengths and slips in a few genre thrills along the way for flavor. It just might even be the director’s finest film in years. Hit the jump to find out why.

TIFF 2013: TIM’S VERMEER Review

by     Posted 227 days ago

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Made by legendary bullshit busting magicians Penn & Teller, Tim’s Vermeer already looks like not just one of the best documentaries at TIFF this year, but possible one of the best films of the year, full stop. Like all of the best docs, it’s a unique story that would probably be unbelievable were it not factual. And like all Penn & Teller projects it’s flippantly funny, weirdly revealing, and always magical. You wouldn’t think that a movie about a computer genius with too much time on his hands recreating a Dutch master’s painting could be this entertaining, but you also wouldn’t think Penn & Teller would make a movie about it. So, I guess the whole thing is filled with surprises, isn’t it? Hit the jump for more. 

TIFF 2012: Greg Kinnear and Josh Boone Talk WRITERS, Autobiographical Material, and Stephen King Cameo

by     Posted 1 year, 214 days ago

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Writers and neurosis, it’s like peanut butter and jelly. Oh sure, they can be separate, but chances are they are going to come together. That’s the wonderfully cracked world that = writer/director Josh Boone’s covers in his debut feature Writers. It’s about a family of writers, a successful father (Greg Kinnear) with a literary legacy, and his two children: Lily Collins’ a uber-cynical college student who just published her first novel about her sexual misadventures, and Nat Wolf’s struggling high schooler obsessed with Stephen King. Kinnear pays his children to keep diaries, which is ripe for reading and embarrassment and the absent mother (Jennifer Connolly) recently left the family in a painful divorce that scarred them all.

In Boone’s hands the loosely autobiographical material became a comedy of sadness, a tone helped in no small part by star Greg Kinnear. A former talk show host turned actor with a string of interesting work in films like As Good As It Gets, Auto Focus, Little Miss Sunshine, and Ghost Town, Kinnear has carved out a place for himself as a charmingly befuddled leading man equally capable of loosening his audience’s tear ducts and tickling their funny bones. Collider participated in a group interview with both the director and star shortly after the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, delving subjects like awkward autobiography, playing with big screen personas, and the difficulties associated with landing a Stephen King cameo. Hit the jump for all the details.

TIFF 2012: FRANCES HA Review

by     Posted 1 year, 216 days ago

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Even though his films are most easily classified as comedies, you rarely feel good coming out of project by writer/director Noah Baumbach. That’s not a bad thing as his caustic wit and insightful observations about terrible, self-obsessed people have lead to some great films like The Squid And The Whale. However, his latest feature is a little different. Teaming up with mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig following their collaboration on the underappreciated Greenberg, Baumbach has surprisingly delivered his most warm and sweet movie to date in Frances Ha. After being produced almost in secret, the film premiered at TIFF to a far more positive reception than he has ever received before. Hit the jump for additional appreciation for the appropriately frivolous and insightful ode to late 20s irresponsibility.

TIFF 2012: THE ACT OF KILLING Review

by     Posted 1 year, 216 days ago

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The Act Of Killing is one of those movies that you might only see at a film festival and don’t want to miss out on the chance of catching. It’s a documentary like no other I’ve seen and undoubtedly one of the most disturbing movies screened at TIFF this year. The title says it all. The film is about the weight of murder on the perpetrator’s conscious. That might take years to finally surface as it does for the subject of director Joshua Oppenheimer’s searing new doc. The fact that the unimaginable delay occurred is unthinkable, but the fact that Oppenheimer was somehow there with a camera to capture it is remarkable. The film will never be described as an easy watch, but it is something that will leave a deep impression on anyone able to see it and should definitely be sampled by those with the stomach to endure. Hit the jump for the details.

Brian De Palma Talks PASSION, THE UNTOUCHABLES Prequel CAPONE RISING, and His Upcoming Jason Statham Movie at TIFF 2012

by     Posted 1 year, 218 days ago

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One of the original 70s movie brats and a populist with a sneaky subversive streak responsible for a string of classics like Carrie, Scarface, and The Untouchables, Brian De Palma is one of those directors who never seems to get his due. Particularly when working in his personal brand of self-conscious thrillers, the filmmaker is almost destined to be equally revered and criticized for making tongue-in-cheek odes to stylized entertainment. Movies like Body Double, Raising Cain, or Femme Fatale are practically dark comedies when viewed in a certain way, while also being designed to operate as straightforward thrillers for audiences not interested in film-literate in-jokes.

His latest thriller Passion stars Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as a pair of manipulative advertising executives whose competitive work relationship escalates into a war of public humiliation. This being a De Palma movie, sexual mind games and violence are of course not far off. Almost inevitably, the film has premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival to an equal mix of praise from followers and condemnation from critics who just can’t seem to get past the sensationalism to see the knowing laughs. Collider recently got a chance to chat with the director about his latest film, the split reactions it caused, his controversial legacy, that long delayed Untouchables prequel Capone Rising (including who he was going to cast), and his upcoming feature with Jason Statham. Hit the jump for more.

TIFF 2012: Jorge Hinojosa and Ice-T Talk ICEBERG SLIM: PORTRAIT OF A PIMP, How Ice T Took His Name, Filmmaking Challenges and the Legacy of Iceberg Slim

by     Posted 1 year, 219 days ago

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Iceberg Slim is either a name you adore or haven’t heard of. He was a pimp in the early half of the 20th century, then went to prison, got out, raised a family, and in middle-age reinvented himself as an author. His autobiographical first novel “Pimp: The Story of My Life” became an instant underground classic and he followed it up with equally excellent and candid stories of the streets, the mafia, and conmen. He released an album (Reflections) and had his book “Trick Baby” turned into a movie. Yet, thanks to crooked publishers and literary prejudice, Slim died practically penniless.

Slim’s story has been vividly brought to life in the new film Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp, featuring interviews with surviving family members, colleges and celebrity fans like Snoop Dog (or Lion), Chris Rock, and Ice T. The man holds special importance to Ice T who took his name from the author and produced the movie that was directed by his longtime manager Jorge Hinojosa. The director and producer made a visit to the Toronto International Film Festival to promote their new documentary and Collider got a chance to speak with them about the legacy of Iceberg Slim and the challenges of making the film. Hit the jump for all the details along with some predictably saucy language.

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