"Mudbound," "Darkest Hour," "Lady Bird" and other exciting new films received special presentations at the Virginia festival.
A dispatch from the Toronto International Film Festival on the latest by Guillermo del Toro, Paul Schrader, and Joe Wright.
Premieres at this weekend's Telluride Film Festival include the latest from Alexander Payne, Errol Morris, Greta Gerwig, Angelina Jolie, Guillermo del Toro and more.
Marie writes: According to the calendar, summer is now officially over (GASP!) and with its demise comes the first day of school. Not all embrace the occasion, however. Some wrap themselves proudly in capes of defiance and make a break for it - rightly believing that summer isn't over until the last Himalayan Blackberry has been picked and turned into freezer jam!
Marie writes: This week's Newsletter arrives a day early and lighter than usual, as come Tuesday morning, I'll be on a Ferry heading to Pender Island off the West Coast, where I've arranged to visit old friends for a few days and enjoy my first vacation in two years; albeit a brief one. No rest for the wicked. :-)
Marie writes: It was my birthday June 25th. Unlike Roger however, I'm a Crab not a Gemini. So to celebrate and with my brother's help (he has a car), I took my inner sea crustacean to Barnet Marine Park on the other side of Burnaby Mountain... and where our adventure begins....
Marie writes: They call it "The Shard" and it's currently rising over London akin to Superman's Fortress of Solitude and dwarfing everything around it, especially St. Paul's in front. I assume those are pigeons flying over-head and not buzzards. Ie: not impressed, but that's me and why I'm glad I saw London before they started to totally ruin it.Known as the "London Bridge Tower" before they changed the name, when completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in Europe and 45th highest in the world. It's already the second highest free-standing structure in the UK after the Emley Moor transmitting station. The Shard will stand 1,017 ft high and have 72 floors, plus another 15 radiator floors in the roof. It's been designed with an irregular triangular shape from base to top and will be covered entirely in glass. The tower was designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect best know for creating Paris's Pompidou Centre of modern art with Richard Rogers, and more recently the New York Times Tower. You can read an article about it at the Guardian. Here's the official website for The Shard. Photograph: Dan Kitwood.
Skip Lievsay, sound genius. (photo: Mix Online)
... Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland -- and un-nominated co-conspirator, Carter Burwell -- for sound in "No Country for Old Men"! (See below.)
Meanwhile, I'm happy to see several mildly surprising nominations: Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promises"; Saoirse Ronan for "Atonement"; Hal Holbrook for "Into the Wild"; "Persepolis" for animated feature. No surprise, and absolutely proper: Roger Deakins for shooting both "No Country for Old Men" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (though I hope they don't cancel each other out). But nothing for "Zodiac"? At the very least it should have received a nomination for its amazing visual effects. But unless you've seen the Director's Cut DVD (or some Digital Domain clips on YouTube) you probably wouldn't have known they were effects. That's how good they are.
Looking at the odds, "Atonement" is an unlikely best picture because its director (Joe Wright) wasn't nominated. "Michael Clayton" and "Juno" lack an editing nomination, which (statistically speaking) is are crucial to winning the top prize. On the other hand, "Michael Clayton" is honored in three acting categories, for George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton -- and guess which branch of the Academy is the biggest? "No Country for Old Men" didn't claim a lead acting slot, perhaps because it's an ensemble piece. If you go strictly by statistically significant nominations, only "There Will Be Blood" has 'em all -- an old-fashioned Hollywood epic built around a big performance (by a previous Oscar winner). But will its unremittingly bleak nihilism (and the bizarre ending that alienated even some admirers) prove too bitter for Academy voters? I dunno.
I just want to take a moment here to acknowledge my favorite nomination. (This is where I congratulate myself on my foresight -- hey, I predicted Tom Wilkinson, too -- even though I'm a lousy Oscar guesser.) Back in September when I first saw "No Country for Old Men" in September, I wrote:
View image Roger & Chaz Ebert, with Roger's second sidewalk star. (All photos by Jim Emerson. Thanks to Kim Robeson for the use of the camera on this one!)
View image Man Push Dog. Anyone will tell you that one of the joys of TIFF is the street food. I was inspired to take this after seeing "Chop Shop," Ramin Bahrani's second film after "Man Push Cart." Want green olives on that dog? I do.
On average, I saw two to four movies a day at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival -- and, incredibly, I didn't see a bad movie. That's nine days and 20-something pictures (less than one tenth of the total screened), but I don't think I've ever had a run of good movies like that in my life. No, I didn't write about everything I saw -- but I also liked Ira Sachs' "Married Life," Chaude Chabrol's "A Girl Cut in Two" (figuratively and literally), Gus van Sant's "Paranoid Park," and those other movies I saw, except for the one I walked out on (the third in a four-movie day) that was not so much bad as doleful and predictable. And there was the Woody Allen movie I accidentally half-saw, without knowing I was half-seeing it.
View image Toronto Film Festival Co-Founder Dusty Cohl with Roger Ebert. Ya got a coupla stars here.
View image Ingmar Bergman's Death (center, rear) welcomes ticketbuyers, lined up at the TIFF box office in the Manulife Centre, which is being remodeled (nice duct-work, eh?) and currently looks like something out of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." The woman in orange (center, foreground) is one of the fest's fantastically friendly and organized volunteers.
On the other hand, I also didn't take all that many risks. Most of what I saw was by familiar directors I like, or came recommended by fellow critics or other film festivals. There were some movies I wanted to see just because they sounded interesting (not because I'd ever heard of the filmmakers), but I couldn't squeeze them in, and in that sense I did not have the full experience a festival has to offer.
View image They do love their celebs up in Toronto. Last year, air-polluting, environment-destroying Sean Penn smoked at a press conference and it was a huge scandal. The paparazzi couldn't wait to catch him with a cigarette this time. And when they did -- front page news!
View image The "Juno" guys.More photos after the jump...
Anyway, although I fear some of the films I saw even ten days ago are no longer as vivid in my memory because of the ones I've seen since, here were my ten favorite Toronto movies, in very rough order of preference:
"No Country for Old Men" (Joel & Ethan Coen)"I'm Not There" (Todd Haynes)"Chop Shop" (Ramin Bahrani)"Secret Sunshine" (Lee Chang-dong)"Eastern Promises" (David Cronenberg)"Atonement" (Joe Wright)"The Orphanage" (Juan Antonio Bayona)"Persepolis" (Marjane Satrapi & Vencent Paronnaud)"Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon" (Eric Rohmer)"4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days" (Cristian Mungiu)
More photos after the jump...