This year's Toronto International Film Festival, the 37th of its kind, announced its award recipients today. With a variety of awards at stake, Festival highlights such as Silver Linings Playbook and Seven Psychopaths took home big honors. In a ceremony that took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto, eleven awards were handed out for their achievements. The full list of winners is below.
Best Canadian Short Film
Deco Dawson for Keep a Modest Head. The jury--comprised of journalist and author Matthew Hays, journalist Katrina Onstad and filmmaker Reginald Harkema--remarked: "For the winner of this year’s best short, we chose a film that expands the boundaries of documentary, one that perfectly reflects its surreal subject. The award offers a $10,000 cash prize. The honourable mention goes to Mike Clattenburg’s Crackin’ Down Hard for its unpredictable zaniness."
The City of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways. The jury--comprised of producer and filmmaker Jody Shapiro, CPH PIX Festival Director Jacob Neiiendam, actor and filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar and director, writer and producer Patricia Rozema--remarked: "For its breathless cinematic energy and its entirely new love story, the jury felt honoured to watch such unfettered genius at play." This award is made possible thanks to the City of Toronto and Canada Goose and comes with a cash prize of $30,000.
The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film
A tie between Brandon Cronenberg's Antiviral and Jason Buxton's Blackbird was announced. The jury--comprised of producer and filmmaker Jody Shapiro, CPH PIX Festival Director Jacob Neiiendam, actor and filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar and director, writer and producer Patricia Rozema--remarked: "For Best Canadian First Feature Film, we have made a decision that reflects the broad spectrum of Canadian styles and voices. The prize this year has been split between Blackbird, for its authenticity and clear-eyed social conscience, and for its ambitious commentary and visual sophistication, Antiviral." Generously supported by SKYY Vodka, the award carries a cash prize of $15,000. TIFF takes great pride in our role of supporting championing emerging filmmakers and as such, TIFF will be doubling the prize, so that both Brandon and Jason will receive a cash prize of $15,000 each.
The BlackBerry People's Choice Award
The BlackBerry People's Choice Award is voted on by Festival audiences. This year’s award goes to David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. TIFF explained in a press release that "the film is an intense, loving, emotional and funny family story from the director of The Fighter, David O. Russell, in which Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence find themselves partners in a secret arrangement to rebuild their broken lives. Robert De Niro yearns to get closer to his son (Cooper), as he tries to keep the family afloat with his compulsive bookmaking. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by BlackBerry. First runner up is Ben Affleck’s Argo. The second runner up is Eran Riklis' Zaytoun.
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award
Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. First runner up is Barry Levinson's The Bay, and second runner up is Don Coscarelli's John Dies at the End.
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award
Bartholomew Cubbins for Artifact. First runner up is Christopher Nelius and Justin McMillan's Storm Surfers 3D. Second runner up is Rob Stewart's Revolution.
NETPAC Award for the Best First or Second Feature World or International Asian Film Premiere
Sion Sono's The Land of Hope. The jury--made up of Laurice Guillen (Philippines), Shelly Kraicer (Toronto/Beijing) and Azize Tan (Istanbul)--remarked: "For its subtle, complex and artful account of the social and political aspects of a national trauma that ends in hope and love, the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival NETPAC Award for best feature film is given to The Land of Hope by Sion Sono."
Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award
The inaugural award went to Rola Nashef for Detroit Unleaded.
For the 21st consecutive year, TIFF welcomed an international FIPRESCI jury for the competition. The jury members consist of jury president Peter Keough (United States), Jon Asp (Sweden), Ashok Rane (India), Louis-Paul Rioux (Canada), Juan Manuel Dominguez (Argentina) and Brian McKechnie (Canada). The following awards were decided upon by the above jury.
The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations
Francois Ozon's Dans la maison (In the House). The jury remarked: "For achieving an exquisitely crafted entertainment that blurs the distinction between the storyteller and the story told, and that assuages with playful complexity the tragedies of life with the consolations of art, the FIPRESCI award for Special Presentations goes to Francois Ozon's In the House."
Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery Programme
Mikael Marcimain's Call Girl. The jury remarked: "With an intense sense of cinema reminiscent of the American thrillers of the 1970s, Mikael Marcimain’s debut feature achieves a portrait of an obscure world involving women’s rights and political corruption. Marcimain deals with his sensitive subject with immense ease and craftsmanship. Because of these accomplishments the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film in the Discovery Programme goes to Mikael Marcimain’s Call Girl."
[Photo Credit: TIFF]
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First thing's first: Magic Mike delivers on the eye candy. Club Xquisite the wildest male strip club in Tampa sports an ensemble of muscled men ready to flash their ridiculous moves in even more ridiculous dance numbers (this crew has never seen a pair of assless pants they didn't like). Bringing a few dollar bills to the movie is recommended — Magic Mike is shot up close and personal enough that flailing them about will come naturally.
But between the codpieces air humping and penis pumps Magic Mike tells a surprisingly relatable funny and poignant parable centered on a character all too familiar to anyone with an ounce of ambition. Mike (Channing Tatum) leads a triple life: By day he's a roof tiler; by night an exotic dancer; and in his dreams he's a furniture craftsman and entrepreneur. When Mike first crosses paths with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) his worries about the future are dispelled slipping right into mentor mode to show the 19-year-old the wonders of sex drugs and rock and roll. Adam's broke and without direction — the perfect state of being for a stripper-in-the-making. Mike's sales pitch is irresistible and when Adam unwillingly takes the stage for the first time he feels the rush of a dozen woman screaming groping and stuffing singles down his jock strap. There's no question: A stripper's life is a journey worth embarking on.
In his typical fashion director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic Erin Brockovich) defies conventions sticking with Mike's ups and downs rather than transforming Magic Mike into a Goodfellas-esque "newbie in over his head" story. Between playing protector to the mesmerized Adam and attempting to strike up an actual relationship with Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) Mike finds himself for the first time looking inward. Does a job define a man? He's convinced it doesn't but as Adam loses himself to the profession becoming the Xquisite's cutthroat owner Dallas' (the wonderfully slimy Matthew McConaughey) right-hand man and parlaying the gig into more dangerous ventures Mike realizes breakdancing in thongs may be more poisonous to his dreams than he ever realized.
Exploitation Magic Mike is not. The film's dance sequences are sexy and sleek but only to clue the audience into the job's allure. Backstage is equally important; Soderbergh does an amazing job constructing the boy's club atmosphere that keeps Mike and Adam coming back. Lively characters like Ken (Matt Bomer) and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) say little but speak volumes in the background of every scene. They're palling around and when they finally do reach out to Adam to profess their friendship it makes perfect sense. For a guy without a family the dancers are a perfect replacement.
While the cast is stellar Tatum continues his streak of star-making performances in the role of Mike. Obviously the man can dance — and he blows any memories of Step Up into oblivion. Beyond that he's perfectly in tune with Soderbergh's naturalistic style cool on his feet with the comedy and devastatingly subtle in the drama. His rapport with Horn who is equally striking in her casual approach is sweet and real a constant reminder that even a guy who lap dances in a fireman costume for a living has feelings too. Soderbergh enhances each of his performers with spot on photography: His Tampa is gritty and yellow-tinged the interior of the club a safe haven from the blase nature of reality. Magic Mike carries a full package.
Magic Mike hits all the right notes of comedy and drama that's completely unexpected in the summer blockbuster surroundings. Come for the stripping stay for the high-caliber filmmaking. Magic Mike is one of the year's best.
Top Story: Clear Channel Dumps Howard Stern
Many listeners who regularly listen to shock jock Howard Stern's nationally syndicated show were in for a surprise this morning. Radio giant Clear Channel Communications, Inc., said Wednesday it was dumping Stern from its six radio outlets that carry his show (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Louisville, Ky.) under a new "zero tolerance" policy toward indecency, Reuters reports. Stern's Tuesday interview with Rick Salomon--hotel heiress Paris Hilton's partner in the infamous sex tape--is the reason why. According to a transcript of the show released by Clear Channel, Stern asked Salomon if he engaged in anal sex and referred to the size of his penis. Then, using a racist term, a caller asked Salomon if he had ever had sex with any famous black women. "Clear Channel drew a line in the sand today with regard to protecting our listeners from indecent content, and Howard Stern's show blew right through it," Clear Channel Radio president John Hogan said in a statement. "It was vulgar, offensive and insulting, not just to women and African Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency."
Jackson Documentary Wins Journalism Prize
Martin Bashir's 90-minute documentary Living With Michael Jackson, in which the self-proclaimed King of Pop said he sometimes lets children sleep in his bed, has been named program of the year in the Royal Television Society's TV journalism awards. The industry group said Tuesday the interview showed "great journalistic enterprise," The Associated Press reports. "To get the interview was remarkable enough, but to turn it into such riveting television with serious revelations that have stood the test of fierce reaction marked this out as the outstanding program of the year," the society said. Jackson is currently facing charges of child molestation in California.
Woman Alleges Martin Lawrence Hit Her
A woman sued Martin Lawrence Monday in Superior Court, accusing the comedian of hitting her in the jaw at a party after she asked him if he'd be interested in attending another party at the Playboy mansion. According to the lawsuit, when Jennifer Palmer approached Lawrence at a Jan. 18 party, he responded by "wildly waving his hands around, slurring and mumbling in a manner suggesting that he was intoxicated or otherwise disoriented, using very foul language." Palmer alleges she tried to push him away and he struck her in the jaw. Lawrence's publicist called the accusations false and "financially motivated." Palmer is seeking more than $25,000 for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the AP reports. A hearing is scheduled for June 7.
Wedding Scene Cut From Jersey Girl
Director Kevin Smith said he cut a wedding scene with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez from his upcoming Jersey Girl. "I didn't know if [it was right] to leave it in," Smith is quoted as saying in the March 8 issue Us Weekly magazine. "People might forget they're watching a picture, like, 'Wait, didn't these two NOT get married?'" Affleck and Lopez abruptly postponed their September 2003 nuptials because of the excessive media attention surrounding the ceremony. They have since ended their engagement. Jersey Girl is set for release March 26.
Elvis' Granddaughter Makes Modeling Debut
The late Elvis Presley's 14-year-old granddaughter made her modeling debut at a fashion show in Milan, Italy, for designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Reuters reports. Riley Keough, daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and her first husband, musician Danny Keough, did her turn on the catwalk Wednesday, dressed in a tiny denim miniskirt and T-shirt. "I was really nervous before, I was shaking," Riley said after the show. "But it was fun. I'm looking forward to the next one."
Puddle of Mudd Singer Arrested
Puddle of Mudd lead singer Wesley Scantlin was arrested Sunday, after throwing a bottle and spitting at fans during a concert in Toledo, Ohio, AP reports. "We thought we were going to have a riot based on this guy's conduct," Earl Mack,an undercover state liquor agent with the Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit, told the AP. "It could have been a lot worse." Scantlin was charged with disorderly conduct, intoxication, misconduct involving a public transportation system and criminal mischief. He was released Monday after posting $150 bond.
Doonesbury Wants Proof Bush Served
The Doonesbury comic strip is offering $10,000 to anyone who can prove President Bush served in the Alabama Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, Reuters reports. "That's right--we're offering $10,000 cash to anyone who can prove George W. Bush fulfilled his Guard duty in Alabama," Wednesday's strip said. "So if you served with Mr. Bush--even if only in the officers' club--we want to hear from you right now!" Readers are referred to the Web site doonesbury.com, where a Witness Registration Form asks for online testimony, Reuters reports. The winner, however, will not actually receive the reward but instead the Web site says the cash will be donated in the winner's name to the United Service Organization (USO), which entertains American troops.
Role Call: Rodriguez To Commit Sin
Director Robert Rodriguez will direct Sin City, an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic noir crime novel series. According to Variety, the story is set in Las Vegas and interconnects storylines that involve unsavory inhabitants of the town. Rodriguez has already shot the film's opening with Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton, and Variety reports he's now casting the remaining roles as the rest of the film gets under way in March.
Reported by Guylaine Cadorette and Kit Bowen