Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux Talk BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, Exploring Aspects of Their Characters’ Love & Challenges of Intimate Sex Scenes

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Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux deliver heartbreaking performances in Blue Is the Warmest Color, an intimate tale of love and loss between two young women, each of whom belongs to a distinctly different social class.  The romantic drama directed by Abdellatif Kechiche is loosely adapted from French writer Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, Blue Angel.  Emma (Seydoux), a confident older art student, enters the teenage Adele’s (Exarchopoulos) life leading to an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade and is touchingly universal in its depiction.  The film’s graphic sex scenes are beautifully lit and choreographed to reveal the intense and powerful love between them.

At the film’s recent press day in Los Angeles, Exarchopoulos and Seydoux talked about what inspired their performances, how they explored the different aspects of their characters’ love, Kechiche’s unconventional directing style involving hundreds of takes and spending many days on the same scene, the challenge of shooting intimate sex scenes surrounded by multiple cameras, their close friendship, and why they are proud of the film.  Seydoux also discussed her upcoming projects including Grand Central, Beauty and the Beast with Vincent Cassel, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Saint Laurent, a biopic about French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent starring Gaspard Ulliel.  Hit the jump to read the full interview. 

TIFF 2013: A FIELD IN ENGLAND Review

by     Posted 338 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: 12 YEARS A SLAVE Wins People’s Choice Award; Midnight Madness Award Goes to WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?

by     Posted 339 days ago

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The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival is in the books, and earlier today, TIFF announced this year’s award winners.  The biggest award, the People’s Choice Award, went to Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave.  The People’s Choice Award is a biggie in the overall awards race since four of the past five winners have gone on to be nominated for Best Picture (Slumdog Millionaire, Precious, The King’s Speech, and Silver Linings Playbook).  While 12 Years a Slave will be sure to dominate awards talk, I hope that people remember that this is a great movie regardless.  It’s a movie that may appeal to Oscar voters, but it’s not Oscar bait.  Click here to read my review.  The film opens on October 18th.

The other People’s Choice Award is in the Midnight Madness lineup, and that went to Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell, and now I’m pretty bummed that I missed that one.  Hit the jump for the full press release.

TIFF 2013: UNFORGIVEN Review

by     Posted 339 days ago

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Westerns and samurai films translate fairly well.  They both feature groups who have a code, those groups are skilled with a particular weapon, and their way of life has begun to fade as the frontier closes and modernity arrives.  Most famous among the films that have made successful transfers are Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai going to John SturgesThe Magnifcent Seven and Kurosawa’s Yojimbo going to Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, although Kurosawa’s movies are superior to their remakes.  Now, America has sent one back the other way with director Lee Sang-il remaking Clint Eastwood’s classic western, Unforgiven.  While the markers are still in place, Sang-il attempts to reframe his remake through the lens of Japanese history.  However, he doesn’t change enough and remains tethered to the themes of Eastwood’s film, and these themes don’t coalesce in Sang-il’s picture.  Although Sang-il’s Unforgiven features stunning cinematography and a lovely score, the overall work is stuck between the demythologizing of one genre and the historical context of another.

TIFF 2013: FOR NO GOOD REASON Review

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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: STARRED UP Review

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In movies, a father-son bond can be repaired in various ways: A game of catch, a cross-country road trip, or a death in the family to name a few.  Starred Up finds a new one by putting the reconnection inside a prison, and the attempts of a father to protect his reckless son from getting murdered by other inmates.  Supported by excellent performances from Jack O’Connell and Ben Mendelsohn, director David Mackenzie and screenwriter Jonathan Asser have removed the schmaltz from this kind of story by taking two men who aren’t just estranged; they’re both violent and dangerous in a volatile environment.  The filmmakers then proceed to further expand the story by offering the son different support structures and choices that further complicate the father-son relationship.

TOP 5: INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 Interviews, Oscar Beat, HARRY POTTER Spinoff Film Series in the Works from J.K. Rowling, Cinemath, TIFF 2013 Coverage

by     Posted 340 days ago

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Having played in limited release since August, director James Ponsoldt‘s high school drama The Spectacular Now finally made its way to my Midwestern neck of the woods this weekend and I jumped at the chance to see it last night. Although it elicited fewer laughs than I expected, the film levied an emotional punch that I’m still shaking off today. As has been noted by many before me, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley‘s performances are fantastic and their chemistry is palpable from beginning to end (one scene in which Woodley’s Aimee describes her dreams of a perfect marriage stands out to me in particular). Moreover, Kyle Chandler‘s turn as Teller’s estranged father is as powerful as it is short-lived. If you have the slightest interest in the coming-of-age genre, and this film is playing nearby, take the time to see it. Few in the genre capture the nuance of high-school love and personal demons as honestly as The Spectacular Now.

With that ringing endorsement behind me, this week’s Top 5 includes a slew of Insidious: Chapter 2 interviews, Adam keeping his finger on the pulse of awards season with his recurring Oscar Beat feature, news that Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling are teaming up for a new film series inspired by Harry Potter, a new installment of Cinemath that takes a look at the history of movie ticket prices, and a recap of our robust TIFF 2013 coverage. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

TIFF 2013: UNDER THE SKIN Review

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Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin is strange, visually absorbing, cerebral, and rarely compelling.  The film attempts to obscure its fairly simple story and subtext in order to imply depth, and while it may take a while to figure out the movie’s motives, that’s due to the lethargic pacing rather than the complexities of the themes.  Thankfully, there’s no pretentiousness as Glazer clearly knows what he’s going for, and has made some admittedly clever moves to get there.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly fascinating beneath the surface.

Indie Spotlight: 17-Minute Short Film NOAH Takes Place Entirely on Computer Screen

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News out of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival isn’t all about the A-list premieres and million-dollar acquisitions, there’s also a strong indie showing in attendance.   The festival shined a spotlight on one such film, the 17-minute short, Noah.  From Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, Noah tells the story of the title character and his girlfriend, a relationship steeped in social media and told through the lens of Noah’s computer screen.  We watch Noah in “real time” as he navigates Facebook, YouTube YouPorn, iTunes, Skype and various rabbit holes of the internet while drama unfolds in his romantic life.  It’s an honest commentary on the way people, especially the Millennial Generation, interact in contemporary times and why all these multiple levels of connectedness does not necessarily lead to making an actual connection.  (It’s also rather NSFW, thanks mostly to ChatRoulette.)  Hit the jump to watch.

TIFF 2013: JOE Review

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After watching Prince Avalanche earlier this year, I hoped that director David Gordon Green would continue with smaller, more intimate stories.  With his follow-up, Joe, he has not only built on the palette-cleanser of Prince Avalanche, but also delivered one of his best movies.  Featuring tremendous performances from stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan as well as a cast of non-professional actors, Joe is both compassionate towards its characters and non-judgmental towards their actions.  It’s a story about men teetering between honest living and losing all restraint with their violent tendencies. Casually and with great subtlety, Green examines not only the inner struggle to maintain control, but also how much responsibility we owe to others and the limits of that responsibility.

TIFF 2013: BAD WORDS Review

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As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’m a Jason Bateman fan.  I think his critics are wrong when they say he only plays the straight man role.  That’s the role he’s best known for, and even then “straight man” is a bit of a misnomer.  Instead, Bateman’s adept at playing an outwardly nice guy with a not-very-nice guy deep down.  Sometimes the inner guy is moderately deceptive like Arrested Development, sometimes he’s aggressive like Horrible Bosses, and in the case of Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words, he’s one of the meanest motherfuckers around.  Bateman’s secret weapon is that he still looks and talks like a nice guy, and because he pushes this new character to a level of remarkable despicability, Bad Words is a damn funny flick that plays it safe by the script, but hits hard with the jokes.

TIFF 2013: Lionsgate Nabs David Gordon Green’s JOE; A24 Takes ENEMY Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Sci-Fi UNDER THE SKIN with Scarlett Johansson

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A few more exciting acquisition deals have been announced out of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Briefly:

  • Joe – Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have taken U.S. rights to director David Gordon Green’s drama, per THR. Nicolas Cage stars as an ex-con who befriends a hard-luck kid, played by Tye Sheridan.  Additionally, WestEnd Films will handle a number of other territories including the UK and Japan.  Click here to watch Steve’s interview with Cage and Green at TIFF.
  • Enemy – One of the buzziest titles at TIFF was director Dennis Villeneuve’s trippy pic, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in dual roles.  Per The Wrap, A24 Films is in final talks to acquire U.S. rights to the film after an intense bidding war, and a platform release in the spring is planned.  This is one of two Villeneuve/Gyllenhaal films at TIFF, with the other being Prisoners.
  • Under the Skin – Per THR, A24 Films has also acquired another much talked-about TIFF film, director Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beast) erotic alien thriller starring Scarlett Johansson.  Glazer used hidden cameras and non-actors to portray the victims of Johansson’s alien invader, and word has been very positive.

Hit the jump for the press releases, and look for Matt’s reviews of Joe and Under the Skin on Collider soon.  Click here to catch up on all of our TIFF 2013 coverage thus far.

TIFF 2013: ATTILA MARCEL Review

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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: LIFE OF CRIME Review

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I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed.  But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong.  They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart.  They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen.  Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club.  Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear Leonard speaking.  Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

TIFF 2013: TRACKS Review

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Tracks begins a quote from Robyn Davidson (played in the film adaptation by Mia Wasikowska) saying that most nomads feel at home everywhere, but she was a nomad because she felt at home nowhere.  There’s a romanticism and nobility in solitude, but director John Curran can’t capture it in his adaptation of Davidson’s memoir about her lonely trek across Australia.  Her extraordinary journey is mostly uneventful, and events are what define journeys.  Otherwise it’s just distance.  The movie desperately tries to look at her travel from every physical angle, but from an emotional standpoint, we’re left to wonder why a total loner would bother sharing her story with us in the first place.

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