The Toronto wrap-ups are rolling in â€” a few selections:
Although the Toronto Film Festival lacks an official competition, lots of awards are handed out on closing day. As they were announced Saturday, I felt like I was standing on the pier waving sadly as the ship sailed. Although I saw 43 of this year’s films, either here or at Telluride, Cannes or Sundance, I managed for the first time to get through the entire festival without having seen a single film that won a prize.
David Poland (who also picks his top twenty from the festival here):
I saw four unmitigated disasters this year at TIFF. (I didn’t catch "Tideland," so I remain hopeful.)
All four of the car wrecks were high profile. Part of that is because everything ugly is uglier under a microscope, and part of it is that I’m not real interested in shredding small, helpless indie films whose birth already left enough marks for the filmmakers. Still, the most disastrous directing debut of the festival was that of Stephen J. Mavilla, whose pre-show "no cameras/no cell phones" piece for Motorola was universally despised, marking the fastest rise and fall of a career in movie history, not just TIFF’s history. You shouldn’t have put your name all over that thing, Steve. So change your name or start writing documentary grant applications.
If you’re wondering, his disasters picks are: "Mrs. Harris," with Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening; "Elizabethtown" (nothing but bad buzz about that one â€” heh, Cameron Crowe!); "Edison" (Justin Timberlake‘s acting debut); and "Revolver" (Raising the question: when would you call time of death on Guy Ritchie‘s career? Now, or around "Swept Away"? Or when he married Madonna? You burned bright, Mr. Ritchie.). Also, you can watch Mavilla’s piece here.
(Also, baaaad buzz for "Tideland" (sniff!). At a screening the other day we heard someone refer to it as "career suicide for Gilliam.")
Sharon Waxman on the new film investors:
[Several of the big studio acquisitions] are "independent" in the most basic sense: paid for by these individuals and a few other investors who believed in the material. And if Hollywood has expressed skepticism about the affluent neophytes who have entered the business in the past few years – mainly Internet, retail and trust-fund tycoons – this, their first real crop of movies entering the marketplace, may indicate that they have a future in the industry.
Patrick Goldstein on SPC’s old-school biz style:
In an era when most studio films vanish from multiplexes in a matter of weeks, Sony Classics will patiently work a film for months to find a broader audience. "Triplets of Belleville," which was released in November 2003, was still in theaters on July 4, 2004. "That’s our mantra," says Barker. "The longer you keep a film in the theaters, the more value it’ll have down the line."
Eli Roth (who directed "Cabin Fever"), writing to Empire about screening his latest gory horror (gorror?) flick "Hostel" at the festival:
At the first screening…we had not one, but TWO medical emergencies. One guy left
in the middle because he was so distraught and dizzy, and he passed out
and fell down the escalator outside the theater! Paramedics were called
and, luckily, the guy was fine, although if he had died it would have
been a better story.
About 15 minutes later, a woman flees the theater thinking that the film’s
giving her a heart attack! She’s having chest pains – so the festival
people called the paramedics again!!! Turns out she was fine, too. Oh
well, serves ‘em right for leaving in the middle!
Tim Robey of the Telegraph on falling for an unexpected film:
[T]here’s no way of summarising [Curtis Hanson‘s] "In Her Shoes" without making it sound like bog-standard chick-flick mush, but it really isn’t.
Hanson has always been a skilled actor’s director…and this movie really is the reinvention of Cameron Diaz. She isn’t afraid to make Maggie a total hair-flicking pain even past the point when the film strictly needs her to be, but we always know there’s something in the character worth redeeming. [Shirley] MacLaine, who has done little but chew scenery for the past decade, reins it all back in to give us a lovely, contained supporting turn.
But even so, it’s [Toni] Collette‘s film, all the way. Rose is more sympathetic than a dozen Bridget Joneses, and this sublime actress – so good at romantic frustration, welling emotion, and outbursts of giggly euphoria – is the reason why.
We dunno about you, but we’re feeling positively positive about film again, possibly because we saw "L’Enfant" this morning, but mostly because of all the good words reaching us from TIFF. ’bout damn time.
+ Toronto #8: The winners (RogerEbert.com)
+ TORONTO WRAP UP (The Hot Button)
+ TORONTO WRAP UP. PART 2 (The Hot Button)
+ And the Film Deal Goes to . . . an Outsider (NY Times)
+ Savvy kings of the art house (LA Times)
+ Hostel Causes Hospitalisation (Empire)
+ Toronto Film Festival: when feelgood is actually very good (Telegraph)