The Weinstein Company
Sundance is long gone, Cannes sailed away months ago, and both Tribeca and the Los Angeles Film Festivals have cleared away until next year. But when one major film festival ends, another starts putting its lineup together, and this time, it's Canada's time to shine. The Toronto International Film Festival, which will run from September 4 until the 14, has unveiled the list of titles they'll be premiering this year, and it's packed with under-the-radar indies, highly anticipated returns from accliamed directors, and of course, several likely awards contenders. But with nearly 60 films all making their debut in Toronto this fall, it can be hard to pick out the good from the bad and the exciting from the ones you've probably seen before. In an attempt to simplify the decision-making process for you, we've highlighted some of the most exciting films to hit north of the border this fall.
The Imitation Game Who’s Involved: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Matthew Goode and Charles Dance star What It’s About: The British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who helped the Allies win WWII by cracking German codes, and was then prosecuted by the government for being homosexual. Thoughts: Finally, a cast good enough to convince you that math is interesting for two hours.
The Last Five Years Who’s Involved: Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan What It’s About: A musical that tells the story of a married couple’s five-year relationship – his perspective runs from the day they met to when it all fell apart, and hers from the end back to the beginning. Thoughts: The perfect example as to why you should pay attention when your theater nerd friend tries plays you cast recordings.
Foxcatcher Who’s Involved: Bennett Miller directs; Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo starWhat It’s About: Based on a true story, it follows two championship wrestler brothers and the tragic consequences that they face after getting involved with an eccentric millionaire coach. Thoughts: We really are going to have to come up with the Tatum equivalent of “McConaissance” sometime soon.
A Little ChaosWho’s Involved: Alan Rickman directs; Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Rickman star What It’s About: A landscape gardener finds herself struggling with the politics of Louis XIV’s court and her own demons after she’s hired to work at the Garden of Versailles. Thoughts: You had us at “Rickman.”
The Riot Club Who’s Involved: Lone Scherfig directs; Sam Claflin, Max Irons, Natalie Dormer and Jessica Brown-Findlay star What It’s About: A privileged young man is inducted into the “Riot’s Club,” an exclusive, wild group of young men full of debauchery and bad behavior, during his first year at Oxford. Thoughts: Look! It’s that guy from that thing! And that girl, from that other thing! I like them. They should be in more things.
Before We Go Who’s Involved: Chris Evans directs; Evans and Alice Eve star What It’s About: Two strangers bond over the course of one night in Manhattan, and the conflicts in their lives allow them to explore more about each other and themselves. Thoughts: Captain America is directing movies now!
Warner Bros. Pictures
This Is Where I Leave You Who’s Involved: Shawn Levy directs; Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Connie Britton and Jane Fonda star What It’s About: Four adult siblings return to their childhood home after their father dies. Dysfunction and hijinks ensue. Thoughts: Does Driver say “outer space” in this? Can we re-write the script so that he does?
Men, Women and Children Who’s Involved: Jason Reitman directs; Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler and Judy Greer star What It’s About: A group of parents and children navigate the way the Internet has changed their relationships and lives. Thoughts: Well, it’s got be better than Labor Day, right?
Miss Julie Who’s Involved: Liv Ullman directs; Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell star What It’s About: Set over the course of one night in the 1880s, an aristocratic woman and her father’s valet struggle for power. Thoughts: Should we also be thinking about the “Farrellissance?”
Nightcrawler Who’s Involved: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Bill Paxton star What It’s About: An ambitious journalist becomes involved with the world of LA nighttime journalism, and the line between spectator and perpetrator becomes blurred. Thoughts: Oh, so this isn’t an X-Men solo film? That’s slightly disappointing.
Rosewater Who’s Involved: Jon Stewart directs; Gael Garcia Bernal stars What It’s About: The true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who appeared on The Daily Show before being imprisoned for five months by the Iranian government. Thoughts: This is the movie that gave us Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and for that we shall always be grateful.
The Theory of Everything Who’s Involved: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, and David Thewlis star What It’s About: The life and relationship of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde from their first meeting at Cambridge through Hawking’s diagnosis through their numerous accomplishments. Thoughts: Oscar Season 2014: Alan Turing vs. Stephen Hawking in The Battle of the British Genius Biopics.
Whiplash Who’s Involved: Damien Chazelle directs; Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons star What It’s About: An ambitious jazz drummer who enrolls at a prestigious music conservatory, but must endure the brutal, intense tutelage of a brilliant, drill sergeant-like teacher in order to achieve greatness. Thoughts: Look, we’ll stop talking about this one once it finally comes out, and not a moment sooner, okay?
Embattled Chris Brown is heading back to court after rejecting a plea deal in his 2013 assault case. The singer is accused of beating up 20-year-old Patrick Adams outside a Washington, D.C. hotel and now he's heading to trial, insisting he is innocent of all charges.
Brown was in court on Wednesday (25Jun14), when he was offered a deal, but his lawyer Mark Geragos and the prosecutor could not agree on the details of the alleged assault.
The deal would have kept Brown out of jail, but now he could be back behind bars if he's found guilty.
The Kiss Kiss singer was released from prison on 2 June (14), over two months after he was incarcerated for violating his probation by getting kicked out of a court-ordered rehab programme for bad behaviour in March (14).
He was handed an additional four-month term in early May (14) after admitting to breaking the terms of his probation, served up during his 2009 Rihanna assault trial.
A new trial date has been set for September (14), reports TMZ.com.
Brown's bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, has already been convicted of the assault.
Bobby Brown marked Father's Day on Sunday (15Jun14) by reuniting with his daughter Bobbi Kristina. The New Edition star is believed to have been estranged from the 21 year old since the death of her mother, superstar singer Whitney Houston, in 2012, and even missed her wedding to Nick Gordon in January (14).
However, father and daughter were reunited this weekend (14-15Jun14) to mark Father's Day and Bobbi Kristina documented the meeting by posting a series of pictures on her Twitter.com page.
One of the shots shows Bobbi Kristina jumping into her dad's arms. She writes in a series of posts, "Out to dinner with daddy... #HappyHappyFathersDay! (sic)... #Happy Father's Day! (sic)."
Prosecutors in Chris Brown's Washington, D.C. assault case have asked a judge to bring forward the newly-freed singer's trial date to the end of June (14). The Kiss Kiss hitmaker was released from prison on Monday (02Jun14), over two months after he was incarcerated for violating his probation by getting kicked out of a court-ordered rehab programme for bad behaviour in March (14).
He was also handed an additional four-month term in early May (14) after admitting to breaking the terms of his probation, served up during his 2009 Rihanna assault trial, while in D.C. in October (13), when he allegedly became embroiled in a fight outside a hotel.
Brown is due to appear in a Washington, D.C. court on 25 June (14) for a status conference, but the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia filed legal papers on Wednesday (04Jun14), seeking to change the hearing to the start date for the trial.
The lead prosecutor claims there is no reason to delay it any longer as Brown's probation violation admission is grounds enough to try him on the misdemeanour assault charge, according to TMZ.com.
The embattled star's lawyer, Mark Geragos, previously insisted Brown's admission was not a confession of his involvement in the attack on 20-year-old Patrick Adams.
The singer's bodyguard Christopher Hollosy has already been found guilty of assaulting Adams, who accused the minder and Brown of beating him up and breaking his nose in an unprovoked altercation.
Troubled R&B star Chris Brown is counter-suing a sports fan for extortion, insisting he threatened to tell the police the singer started a fight unless he paid him off.
Brown, who is currently behind bars after pleading guilty to violating his probation by fighting with a 20 year old outside a Washington, D.C. hotel last year (13), claims Malcolm Ausbon wanted $250,000 (GBP156,000) to stay quiet about a basketball court scrap last summer (Jul13), which Brown insists he was not part of.
Ausbon previously sued Brown claiming the singer attacked him during a pick-up basketball game at a Los Angeles gym. In Brown's new counter-suit, which has been obtained by TMZ.com, the star's lawyer, Mark Geragos, claims Ausbon promised to keep the matter secret if Brown paid up. When he refused, the plaintiff filed suit.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Chris Brown will spend his 25th birthday behind bars after the Los Angeles judge who sentenced him to jail time almost two months ago ruled he must remain incarcerated for at least another week. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin jailed the R&B singer on 14 March (14), after Brown was dismissed from a rehab facility, violating the terms of his court-ordered anger-management treatment, related to his 2009 assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna.
The Kiss Kiss singer was back in court on Thursday (01May14) hoping to get the gift of freedom for his upcoming birthday on 5 May (14), but Judge Brandlin told him he would have to remain in jail for at least another week as he deals with ongoing legal woes. The lawmaker ruled Brown would remain incarcerated unless a resolution on the terms of his probation in the Rihanna case could be agreed between prosecutors and the star's attorney Mark Geragos before a scheduled hearing on 9 May (14).
The singer also faces a misdemeanour assault trial in Washington, D.C., relating to a fight outside a hotel last year (13). Brown's bodyguard Christopher Hollosy, has already been found guilty of assaulting 20-year-old Parker Adams, but the star's trial has been postponed until June (14).
Chris Brown's misdemeanour assault trial is facing a long delay after his bodyguard, a key witness for the defence, refused to testify unless he was granted immunity following his own conviction on Monday (21Apr14). Christopher Hollosy was found guilty of punching 20-year-old Parker Adams in the face during a bust-up outside a Washington, D.C. hotel in October (13).
The security guard claims he was the only one to hit Adams, and insisted during his trial that he lashed out because the victim was attempting to gain access to his client's tour bus.
Brown's trial relating to his involvement in the alleged assault began immediately after Hollosy was found guilty, but his lawyers were granted a continuance and the case was postponed until Wednesday (23Apr14).
Proceedings have stalled again after prosecutors denied Hollosy's request for immunity over evidence he had been expected to give during Brown's trial, which the defence team had hoped would clear the star of any wrongdoing.
Hollosy's lawyers have now revealed they plan to challenge the bodyguard's conviction and will not participate in Brown's trial until the appeal process is complete. The singer's attorney, Mark Geragos, believes this could take at least six months.
Judge A. Franklin Burgess, Jr. set a date for a status hearing in Brown's case for 25 June (14) - the same day Hollosy is due to be sentenced - although a new trial date has yet to be determined.
Brown, who has denied the assault charge, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 (£625) fine if convicted. He could land a further four years behind bars if the ruling is deemed a violation of his probation following his 2009 conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.
Meanwhile, the incarcerated singer is waiting to hear if he will be allowed to walk free from jail - a California hearing regarding his release is due to take place on Wednesday afternoon.
Brown has been behind bars since he was dismissed from a rehab facility in California, where he was receiving court-ordered anger-management treatment, last month (Mar14).
Victoria Beckham has officially ruled herself out of any future Spice Girls reunions, insisting her appearance at the London Olympics was her last with the band. The Wannabe hitmakers, who first split in 2000, reunited for a world tour in 2007 and 2008 and teamed up once again for a special performance at the Olympic Games closing ceremony in 2012.
The Spice Girls are reportedly considering a deal to hit the road with the Backstreet Boys to mark their 20th anniversary in the U.K. later this year (14), and bandmate Melanie Chisholm recently revealed they might tour as a quartet because Beckham is no longer interested in returning to her pop roots alongside Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown and Geri Halliwell.
Chisholm, aka Sporty Spice, said, "We've talked about it (a reunion). Victoria doesn't want to, which we completely understand. We are so proud of her and her incredible foray into fashion; it's incredible what she's achieved as a designer. The four of us could consider it maybe. We have Victoria's blessing to do that."
And now Beckham has made it clear she will never perform as a member of the Spice Girls ever again. Making the declaration in a 40 Facts About Me survey for People magazine, she writes, "I appeared for the last time with the Spice Girls at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games."
Beckham previously admitted she had simply become too busy to juggle motherhood and her fashion career with another reunion tour after their 2008 trek left her exhausted.
A Washington, D.C. judge has rejected a motion to dismiss Chris Brown's assault charge, clearing the way for his trial to begin as scheduled next week (begs14Apr14). The Kiss Kiss hitmaker's lawyer, Mark Geragos, was in court on Monday (07Apr14) and argued that prosecutors had abused the grand jury process in preparations for the upcoming trial, which relates to a fight involving the singer and his bodyguard Christopher Hollosy outside a hotel in October (13).
However, Judge Patricia Wynn dismissed Geragos' claims of misconduct, and now Brown will have to stand trial for the misdemeanour as scheduled on 17 April (14).
Brown, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, was not in attendance for Monday's hearing - he is still en route from a Los Angeles jail to the U.S. capital after being placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals last Wednesday (02Apr14). The long journey involves multiple stops across the country as the U.S. Marshals pick up other prisoners along the way.
Brown was jailed last month (Mar14) after violating his 2009 probation from his assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna by getting kicked out of a Malibu, California rehabilitation centre, where he had been seeking court-ordered anger management treatment.