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?
It's hard to tell whether Blue Jasmine is a sad story about funny people or a funny story about sad people. In his latest effort, which brings the director back home from Europe to the streets of upscale Manhattan and the alleys of working class San Francisco, Woody Allen grabs from his bundles of comedic and dramatic tricks, weaves the lot together, and renders something altogether undefinable in mood. Throughout the story of Cate Blanchett's fallen-from-grace socialite Jasmine, we find ourselves unsure of whether to laugh at her obnoxious eccentricities or cry over her wicked toxicity. So what do we do? We simply take it all in, welcoming the delightful confusion as something altogether new for cinema.
There aren't a lot of movies like Blue Jasmine, not even in Allen's repertoire. Yes, he's done "dramedies" before. But Blue Jasmine doesn't stock comical scenes beside dramatic ones. The mood, as a matter of fact, is quite stable throughout the film (funny, considering just how far from that description the main character ends up being). In every scene, there is the call to arms for laughter: it's hilarious that Jasmine is so self-obsessed that she stomps all over her good natured sister's very sense of being, instinctively putting down her lifestyle, apartment, job, taste in men, et al. It's also quite sad, for the both of them. For the irreparably corroded Jasmine her poor victim Ginger, played with such a brilliant earnestness by Sally Hawkins that you'll wonder how she didn't snag top billing.
The collection of inhabitants of Allen's colorful worlds — the dazzling New York upper echelon of Jasmine's past living as the do-nothing housewife to a Bernie Madoff doppelganger (Alec Baldwin), scenes of which are interspersed through the narrative of her "getting back on her feet" story that takes place on her estranged sister's San Francisco shantytown apartment — are equally riveting and bleak. As Ginger's ex-husband, we have perhaps the film's star player Andrew Dice Clay, who reserves unkempt resentment for his former sister-in-law after her husband robbed him of every penny he had. Now in hot pursuit of Ginger's hand in marriage is Chilli, another action hero of the blue collar flavor. Offering the best performance of Bobby Cannavale's career, Chilli serves as Jasmine's primary external conflict in the post-nervous breakdown era of her life, urging Ginger to wake up to the selfish machinations of her narcissistic sis.
In every crevice of this film, there are pastel brights and Allen's signature pitch black blues. His main characters and background players — the most memorable of the yet unmentioned bunch being Louis C.K. as a stammering suitor to Ginger — are so endearingly effervescent, but all the while steeped in a maudlin, dank desperation, that no particle of the complex movie gets away without both the urge to chuckle and well up. For a filmmaker so vividly embedded in a specific creative identity, Allen proves himself capable of surprises with Blue Jasmine. It is unlike anything he has done lately, perhaps ever. Unlike anything Hollywood in totality has put out, as a matter of fact. In its perplexing muddled identity, Blue Jasmine finds itself to be a nearly perfect story of humanity.
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Demonstrators turned Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan into a camp site in September (11) as they campaigned against corporate greed.
Their numbers swelled within two months and riot police were called in to evacuate the privately-owned park in the early hours of 15 November (11) under the instruction of Bloomberg, who claimed the masses had become a danger to public health and safety.
Activists have since been allowed to re-enter the park, which is now barricaded and heavily guarded by cops and security guards, but they have been forbidden to set up tents there.
Protesters are now calling on supporters to add their names to an online petition addressed to Bloomberg and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly asking them to remove the barriers to allow easier access for demonstrators to freely gather at the site - and human rights activist Farrow's signature is among them.
The petition letter reads: "Zuccotti Park was ambushed by police in riot gear on Monday, November 15th, 2011. Mayor Bloomberg gave a high-profile press conference 'welcoming' the protesters to return to Zuccotti Park to exercise their 'freedom to assemble'. The park is wall to wall barricades, police and security guards. Give us back our park. Whose Park? Our Park."
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has now spread to major cities around the world, has not been short of star support - rocker Tom Morello, rap mogul Russell Simmons, and newly-engaged actress Anne Hathaway are among the stars who have taken part in demonstrations for the cause.
Shocked bystanders watched as a crowd of extras and actors waving fake guns charged along a Manhattan road in a scene for The Dark Knight Rises, which stars Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader.
Almost 1,000 extras, along with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt wearing a Gotham City Police Department uniform, took part in the shoot close to the city's financial district.
Filming will continue in the area over the weekend (05-06Nov11) and posters have been put up around the neighbourhood by producers, warning residents to expect fake gunfire in the next few days, according to Dnainfo.com.
The notice from Subconscious Productions reads, "The scenes we will be filming will have simulated gunfire and automatic weapon fire. Be assured, we are working in close cooperation with the NYPD Movie and Television Unit as well as the FDNY."
The film, which also stars Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, is due for release in July 2012.
Three people were arrested and two hospitalized at an audition for hit TV series America's Next Top Model.
Potential contestants for the forthcoming season of the modeling series, fronted by Tyra Banks, were waiting to try out on Saturday when chaos broke out on the streets outside the Park Central New York hotel in Manhattan.
Two women and a man were arrested on charges of inciting a riot and disorderly conduct, according to a New York Police Department official.
Two people were taken to a hospital, while a further four declined treatment for their injuries.
Authorities also shut down the audition, saying it wasn't properly organized.
Police are still unsure as to what prompted the chaos involving hundreds of people, but the panic left the street outside the hotel littered with shoes and clothing, according to news reports.
A spokesperson for the show was unavailable for comment at WENN went to press.
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Following months of negotiations over the running time and release date of Gangs of New York, director Martin Scorsese and Miramax Films co-chairman Harvey Weinstein have reached an agreement.
The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, will now open Christmas weekend, Variety reports.
Production on the film, which Scorsese and Weinstein greenlighted three years ago, has since turned into its own mini-saga.
Gangs of New York, a stylized epic about gang warfare in pre-Civil War Manhattan, was originally slated for release last December. But according to the New York Times, Miramax pushed the film's release date from December to July 2002 after Weinstein screened a 3-hour, 40-minute version for Miramax executives in October.
One executive who saw a screening told the paper, "It was like watching a miniseries. There was so much slosh in between the things driving the story it was impossible to get through."
The studio was also worried that certain scenes in the film, including a scene in which corrupt firemen participate in a riot and another in which a police officer is hanged from a lamppost, would offend audiences following the events of Sept. 11.
The film has since been trimmed to 2 hours and 40 minutes.
According to the Times, Scorsese and Weinstein's failure to see eye to eye has caused the picture's costs to soar to $103 million--25 percent over the original budget of $83 million. Scorsese and DiCaprio have both agreed to pay a combined $7 million to defray the cost overruns, which at that price, could be Miramax's most expensive film to date.
It has been speculated that Miramax executives are trying to ready a 25-minute preview to show at the Cannes Film Festival in May, but according to Variety, the company has no such plans.
Although some elements in the film may still be tweaked before its release, disputes seem to have been resolved, and the final edit is now locked in.