As long as the focus is on Mia and Elliot, the film is involving and moving.
Susan Wloszczyna spent much of her nearly 30 years at USA TODAY as a senior entertainment reporter doing her dream job: Visiting the New Zealand film set of "The Lord of the Rings," being a zombie extra in George Romero’s "Land of the Dead" and interviewing countless show biz figures including icons (Vincent Price, Shirley Temple, Peter O’Toole, Mr. Rogers), A-list stars (George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Denzel Washington) and big-name filmmakers (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Nancy Meyers, Spike Lee, Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne).
Her positions at the newspaper included being a film reviewer for twelve years as well as the Life section copy desk chief. Now unchained from the grind of daily journalism, she is ready to view the world of movies with fresh eyes.
When Harvey Weinstein is in the house, you know it's a big deal. After all, one of his possible Academy-bait babies was taking its first steps in public at the bustling Scotiabank theaters before the press and industry on Monday. He is not going to leave that special occasion to chance.Day 5 at Toronto brought the unveiling one of the most anticipated pieces of the Oscar-prediction puzzle—"August: Osage County" a.k.a. When Meryl Met Julia—and, judging from the "I like it but…" comments exchanged by audience members as the film came to a close, the reaction was one of tempered admiration.The comically caustic domestic situation, based on the 2008 Tony-winning play, concerns a contentious Oklahoma clan called the Westons who reunite following a family crisis. With a cast jammed with recognizable faces ranging from Sam Shepard's hard-drinking poet of a patriarch to Abigail Breslin's precocious pot-smoking teen, it sometimes comes off like one of those "We Are the World" all-star songs where everyone involved gets a for-your-consideration solo in order to shine.Of course, there are soloists and then there are divas. Nothing can be that bad when there's Meryl Streep as a pill-popping, cancer-ravaged matriarch who puts the diss in dysfunctional as she engages in a verbal dinner-table death match with movie daughter Julia Roberts. Imagine "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" filtered through "Terms of Endearment." The explosive results left some in the theater gasping.A couple of the casting choices seem wonky (Ewan McGregor is out of place as Roberts' roaming husband while Dermot Mulroney is basically playing the Dermot Mulroney role as a sexy self-serving jerk).But some of the most enjoyable portions are when the Weston sisters—joining Roberts' Barbara are Juliette Lewis' flighty Karen and Julianne Nicholson as dark horse Ivy—kick back with glasses of wine and trade stories about their challenging mother and personal secrets.All could be up for Oscars, including Margo Martindale as Streep's big-mama of a sister. The real question is whether it can be justified to place either Streep or Roberts in a supporting category to avoid competing with one another since they are both clearly co-leads. And that is where the mighty Harvey comes in. It has been finally decided: Meryl is lead and Julia is supporting, The negotiations over Syria probably have nothing on the intense discussions that went into that move.As for best picture chances, that is up to Harvey and his magical marketing machine. "August: Osage County" is more certain to fill several acting nomination slots, but just the fact that Roberts and Streep—who have only previously collaborated in the animated "The Ant Bully"—are together at last is a powerful reason to applaud this movie as much as possible.
The male bonding/rivalry and cars-go-vrooom of "Rush" leaves Susan Wloszczyna bored, but the Sandra Bullock and Dame Judi Dench save the day with great work in "Gravity" and "Philomena" respectively.
Here are links to all our coverage from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Saturday night is party night at the Toronto International Film Festival, when all the celebs and journalists float from soiree to soiree promoting or being promoted at.
Susan Wloszczyna reports on Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club," Kate Winslet in "Labor Day" and "The Fifth Estate" director Bill Condon's thoughts on fact-based movies.
The first day of the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Toronto International Film Festival tribute to Roger was a time for tears, laughter and memories.
Susan Wloszczyna will be covering the Toronto International Film Festival for us. Here's what to expect.
Contributor Susan Wloszczyna remembers her stepson and the role movies played in her relationship with him.
Though the new film "Planes" is almost a sequel to "Cars," it's not from Pixar and was originally intended to be a direct-to-video project. How is Disney handling this tricky bit of brand confusion?