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]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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At the moment there are few greater clichés in the media than the freaking out single woman on the cusp of 30. Of course clichés are clichés for a reason worth exploring even through the lens of just one or two women as in Lola Versus. Unfortunately while the intention behind Lola Versus isn't that we should all be happily married by the age of 30 it still fits into the same rubric of all those "Why You're Not Married" books.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) has a gorgeous fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) and they live in a giant loft together the kind of dreamy NYC real estate that seems to exist primarily in the movies. Just as they're planning their gluten-free wedding cake with a non-GMO rice milk-based frosting Luke dumps her. It's cruelly sudden — although Luke isn't a cruel man. Lola finds little comfort in the acerbic wit of her best friend the eternally single Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) who is probably delighted to see her perfectly blonde best friend taken down a peg and into the murky world of New York coupling. Lola and Luke share a best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) a messy-haired rumpled sweetheart who is kind and safe and the inevitable shelter for Lola's fallout. Her parents well-meaning and well-to-do hippie types feed her kombucha and try to figure out their iPads and give her irrelevant advice.
Lola Versus is slippery. Its tone careens between broad TV comedy and earnest dramedy almost as if Alice is in charge of the dirty zingers and Lola's job is to make supposedly introspective statements. Alice's vulgar non-sequiturs are tossed off without much relish and Lola's dialogue comes off too often as expository and plaintive. We don't need Lola to tell Henry "I'm vulnerable I'm not myself I'm easily persuaded" or "I'm slutty but I'm a good person!" (Which is by the way an asinine statement to make. One might even say she's not even that "slutty " she's just making dumb decisions that hurt those around her just as much as she's hurting herself.)
We know that she's a mess — that's the point of the story! It's not so much that a particularly acerbic woman wouldn't say to her best friend "Find your spirit animal and ride it until its d**k falls off " but that she wouldn't say it in the context of this movie. It's from some other movie over there one where everyone is as snarky and bitter as Alice. You can't have your black-hearted comedy and your introspective yoga classes. Is it really a stride forward for feminism that the clueless single woman has taken the place of the stoner man-child in media today? When Lola tells Luke "I'm taken by myself. I've gotta just do me for a while " it's true. But it doesn't sound true and it doesn't feel true.
In one scene Lola stumbles on the sidewalk and falls to the ground. No one asks her if she's okay or needs help; she simply gets up on her own and goes on her way. It's a moment that has happened to so many people. It's humiliating and so very public but of course you just gotta pick yourself up and get where you're going. In this movie it's a head-smackingly obvious metaphor. In one of the biggest missteps of the movie Jay Pharoah plays a bartender that makes the occasional joke while Lola is waiting tables at her mom's restaurant. His big line at the end is "And I'm your friend who's black!" It would have been better to leave his entire character on the cutting room floor than attempt such a half-hearted wink at the audience.
Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein co-wrote the screenplay for Lola Versus as they did with 2009's Breaking Upwards. Both films deal with the ins and outs of their own romantic relationship in one way or another. Breaking Upwards a micro-budget indie about a rough patch in their relationship was much more successful in tone and direction. Lola Versus has its seeds in Lister-Jones' experience as a single woman in New York and is a little bit farther removed from their experiences. Lola Versus feels like a wasted opportunity. Relatively speaking there are so few movies getting made with a female writer or co-writer that it almost feels like a betrayal to see such a tone-deaf portrayal of women onscreen. What makes it even more disappointing is how smart and likable everyone involved is and knowing that they could have made a better movie.
Last night, viewers were treated to a particularly emotional Grammy Awards. Naturally, the tributes to the deceased Whitney Houston were some of the most moving moments of the night, and in recent television. But many rising artists had a lot to celebrate; particularly, Adele, who swept the awards with four major wins. Check below for a complete list of winners from the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, and for a recap, hop over to our Seven Things You Need to Know About the 2012 Grammys list.
Album of the Year
21 by Adele
Record of the Year
"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
Best New Artist
Best Country Album
Own the Night by Lady Antebellum
Song of the Year
“Rolling In The Deep” by Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele)
Best R&B Album
F.A.M.E. by Chris Brown
Best Rock Performance
“Walk” by Foo Fighters
Best Rap Performance
“Otis” by Jay-Z and Kayne West
Best Pop Solo Performance
“Someone Like You” by Adele
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Body and Soul” by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse
Best Pop Instrumental Album
The Road from Memphis by Booker T. Jones
Best Pop Vocal Album
21 by Adele
Best Dance Recording
“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex
Best Dance/Electronica Album
“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Duets II by Tony Bennett & Various Artists
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance
“White Limo” by Foo Fighters
Best Rock Song
“Walk” by Foo Fighters
Best Rock Album
Wasting Light by Foo Fighters
Best Alternative Music Album
Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Best R&B Performance
“Is This Love” by Corinne Bailey Rae
Best Traditional R&B Performance
“Fool For You” by Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona
Best R&B Song
“Fool For You” by Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim, Jack Splash
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
“All Of The Lights” by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie
Best Rap Song
“All Of the Lights” by Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West
Best Rap Album
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
Best Country Solo Performance
“Mean” by Taylor Swift
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars
Best Country Song
“Mean” by Taylor Swift
Best New Age Album
What’s It All About by Pat Metheny
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
“500 Miles High” by Chick Corea
Best Jazz Vocal Album
The Mosaic Project by Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Forever by Corea, Clarke & White
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
The Good Feeling by Christian McBride Big Band
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music
“Jesus” by Le’Andria Johnson
Best Gospel Song
“Hello Fear” by Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
“Blessings” by Laura Story
Best Gospel Album
Hello Fear by Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
And If Our God Is For Us… by Chris Tomlin
Best Latin Pop, Rock, Or Urban Album
Drama Y Luz by Maná
Best Regional Mexian Or Tejano Album
Bicentenario by Pepe Aguilar
Best Banda Or Norteno Album
Los Tigres Del Norte And Friends by Los Tigres Del Norte
Best Tropical Latin Album
The Last Mambo by Cachao
Best Americana Album
Ramble At the Ryman by Levon Helm
Best Bluegrass Album
Paper Airplane by Alison Krauss & Union Station
Best Blues Album
Revelator by Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best Folk Album
Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
Best Regional Roots Music Album
Rebirth of New Orleans by Rebirth Brass Band
Best Raggae Album
Revelation Pt 1: The Root Of Life by Stephen Marley
Best World Music Album
Tassili by Tinariwen
Best Children’s Album
All About Bullies… Big And Small
Best Spoken Word Album
If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t) by Betty White
Best Comedy Album
Hilarious by Louis C.K.
Best Musical Theater Album
The Book of Mormon: Josh Gad & Andrew Rannells; Anne Garefino, Robert Lopez, Stephen Oremus, Trey Parker, Scott Rudin & Matt Stone (producers); Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone (composers/lyricists)
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1: Various Artists
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
The King’s Speech by Alexandre Desplat
Best Song Written For Visual Media
“I See The Light (From Tangled)” by Alan Menken & Glenn Slater, songwriters (Mandy Moore & Zachary Levi)
Best Instrumental Composition
"Live In Eleven” by Béla Fleck & Howard Levy, composers (Béla Fleck & The Flecktones)
Best Instrumental Arrangement
“Rhapsody In Blue” by Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
“Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” by Jorge Calandrelli, arranger (Tony Bennett & Queen Latifah)
Best Recording Package
Scenes From the Suburbs, Caroline Robert, art director (Arcade Fire)
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge of Town Story by Dave Bett & Michelle Holme, art directors (Bruce Springsteen)
Best Album Notes
Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond As Recorded By the San Francisco Bay By Chris Strachwitz In The 1960s, Adam Machado, album notes writer (Various Artists)
Best Historical Album
Band On the Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection — Deluxe Edition), Paul McCartney, compilation producer; Sam Okell & Steve Rooke, mastering engineers (Paul McCartney & Wings)
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
Paper Airplane, Neal Cappellino & Mike Shipley, engineers; Brad Blackwood, mastering engineer (Alison Krauss & Union Station) Producer Of the Year, Non-Classical Paul Epworth
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
“Cinema (Skrillex Remix)” by Sonny Moore, remixer (Benny Benassi)
Best Surround Sound Album
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (Super Deluxe Edition), Elliot Scheiner, surround mix engineer; Bob Ludwig, surround mastering engineer; Bill Levenson & Elliot Scheiner, surround producers (Derek & The Dominos)
Best Engineered Album, Classical
Aldridge: Elmer Gantry, Byeong-Joon Hwang & John Newton, engineers; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (William Boggs, Keith Phares, Patricia Risley, Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra) Producer Of the Year, Classical Judith Sherman
Best Orchestral Performance
“Brahms: Symphony No. 4” by Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Best Opera Recording
“Adams: Doctor Atomic” by Alan Gilbert, conductor; Meredith Arwady, Sasha Cooke, Richard Paul Fink, Gerald Finley, Thomas Glenn & Eric Owens; Jay David Saks, producer (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Best Choral Performance
“Light & Gold” by Eric Whitacre, conductor (Christopher Glynn & Hila Plitmann; The King’s Singers, Laudibus, Pavão Quartet & The Eric Whitacre Singers)
Best Small Ensemble Performance
“Mackey: Lonely Motel — Music From Slide” by Rinde Eckert & Steven Mackey; Eighth Blackbird
Best Classical Instrument Solo
“Schwantner: Concerto For Percussion & Orchestra” by Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Christopher Lamb (Nashville Symphony)
Best Classical Vocal Solo
“Diva Divo” by Joyce DiDonato (Kazushi Ono; Orchestre De L’Opéra National De Lyon; Choeur De L’Opéra National De Lyon)
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
“Aldridge, Robert: Elmer Gantry” by Robert Aldridge & Herschel Garfein
Best Short Form Music Video
“Rolling In The Deep” by Adele; Sam Brown, video director; Hannah Chandler, video producer
Best Long Form Music Video
“Foo Fighters: Back And Forth” by Foo Fighters; James Moll, video director; James Moll & Nigel Sinclair, video producers Grammy Trustees Award Dave Bartholomew, Steve Jobs, and Rudy Van Gelder
Green Zone is a story we’ve already heard shot in a manner we’ve already seen and starring Matt Damon in a role he’s already played. Remember those WMDs that were never found in Iraq and later exposed to be the invention of a dubious and poorly-vetted informant? Remember the misguided and hideously botched attempt at establishing democracy after the fall of Saddam and the violent prolonged insurgency that ensued? If you’ve been away from the television for the past hour and somehow managed to forget any of these details Green Zone is here to remind you.
Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller an Army weapons inspector whose frustration over repeatedly coming up empty in his search for Iraqi WMDs leads him on a quest to track down and expose the people responsible for leading him (and us) down that infamously bogus path. Though his hand-to-hand skills are a notch below Jason Bourne’s Miller’s single-mindedness moral certainty and permanent expression of square-jawed defiance — always threatening another “How do you like them apples?” rebuke — in the face of an insidious multi-level government conspiracy are essentially equivalent to those of Damon’s Bourne trilogy soulmate.
And like Bourne his most dangerous adversary isn’t found on the battlefront but rather within the government he once served so proudly. As Miller delves ever deeper into the Case of the Faulty WMD Intelligence Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) the duplicitous arrogant Defense Department bureaucrat in charge of U.S. operations in Iraq summarily relieves him of his post. (Hint: the better dressed a Green Zone character is the more sinister his ambitions.) But Miller remains undeterred and he goes rogue to locate the CIA informant “Magellan ” a formerly high-ranking Iraqi official whose supposed confirmation of Saddam’s nuclear ambitions served as the basis for U.S. invasion.
We know how the story ends. Green Zone’s pervasive overarching sense of deja vu is accentuated by director — and veteran Bourne helmer — Paul Greengrass who employs the trademark hand-held super-shakycam style which was so fresh and inventive in 2004 but now feels stale and predictable. (Admittedly my aversion to Greengrass’ approach was no doubt heightened by a previous night’s viewing of Roman Polanski’s excellent The Ghost Writer a political thriller as subtle and precise and finely tuned as Green Zone is ham-fisted and haphazard — and which also uses the phantom WMD controversy to far greater narrative effect.)
Green Zone culminates in essentially a violent footrace between Miller and the Army Special Forces as they scour a heavily-armed insurgent stronghold to find Magellan with Miller hoping to secure his potentially damning testimony before the Army can silence him for good. The climactic sequence for all I could tell was either shot in Damon’s backyard culled from Bourne trilogy deleted scenes or assembled from scattered YouTube clips. This punishingly chaotic often incoherent and ultimately exhausting approach to storytelling isn’t cinema verite; it’s dementia pugilistica.