Benedict Cumberbatch's The Imitation Game has won the top prize at Canada's Toronto International Film Festival. The film, in which Cumberbatch portrays British mathematician Alan Turing who helped break Germany's Enigma Code in World War II, landed the Grolsch People's Choice honour on Sunday (14Sep14).
Patricia Clarkson and Sir Ben Kingsley's Learning to Drive and St. Vincent, which features Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, were named runners-up.
Other winners included Beats of the Antonov, which claimed the People's Choice Award as the festival's best documentary and What We Do in the Shadows, which was feted with the People's Choice Midnight Madness Award.
Sunday's awards ceremony brought the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival to a close.
Never before The Guest has a film so accurately reproduced that feeling you got upon entering a popular upperclassman’s Halloween-themed red cup party. That combination of bated excitement, casual danger, and vaguely sexual panache is eminent from minute one in the fun, “retro” thriller, once Dan Stevens (himself a package of excitement, danger, and sexual panache altogether) pays a visit to the average suburban Petersons, revealing himself to be an army buddy of their deceased eldest son.
The fact that there’s more to Stevens’ David than meets the eye should be evident from the second the film opens. Making no bones about keeping its secrets close to the chest, The Guest allows itself to have as much fun with the “mysterious stranger” gambit as possible. That we are brought to realize over and over how little we know about David, and how far we may be from figuring out The Guest’s puzzle, is what makes it such a delight to watch. In short, we never quite know what David is going to do next, and it’s always fun to watch him do it.
Picturehouse via Everett Collection
Of course, the fun is ours alone, as the Peterson’s 20-or-so-year-old daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) is charged to unearth the true intentions of her family’s houseguest. Steady tension (the affable kind) builds to ribald chaos (still relatively affable) and ultimately unbridled dementia (despite its subject matter, this movie never wants to assault or alienate, and really never does) as Anna, David, the Petersons, the neighborhood do-nothings, and a few other unexpected parties find themselves ensnared in a maniacal and yet somewhat whimsical game of “What the hell is going on and how do we stop it?”
If The Guest really suffers from anything it is from its simplicity. The movie is fun, articulate, and charismatic, but ultimately gets done everything it has to between titles and credits. Like David, The Guest is a supreme soldier: concerned with doing its job as meticulously as possible and deigning not to cross the appropriate margins thereof. As such, the flick might not stay too long with any of us after it's over and done with, but it proves all the while to be a fun, evocative good time. So, pretty much exactly like all those high school Halloween parties... or high school in general.
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A basic command of rhythm will make your film watchable; kinetic proficiency will make it dramatically effective. But the aural language instituted by Damien Chazelle in his second directorial feature, Whiplash, lands you with a goddamn symphony.
Chazelle constructs what might wind up being one of the great music movies of all time, conducting each tier of his film with an active ear. Whiplash opens with a literal drum solo — courtesy of driven Schaffer Academy student Andrew (Miles Teller) — setting precedent for a collection of tremendous jazz numbers to follow throughout. Immediately afterward, we watch Chazelle weave scenes together via the harmonies of brass, building an atmosphere that he molds and contorts as the picture progresses.
But the most impressive symphonic feat is that which follows Andrew’s chaotic run toward a stature as jazz prodigy, and the tutelage, camaraderie, and enmity he earns from his no-nonsense-is-putting-it-lightly teacher Mr. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, playing the gruffest, fieriest, most intimidating role yet in a career that has tossed him no shortage of opportunities of the like).
Sony Pictures Classics
Andrew’s story unravels, ribbons out, leaps, explodes, and recollects at such an absolutely delightful pace. Character beats are inset with such expert timing, that we occasionally get the rush of watching a live performance. Ultimately, Andrew’s story breathes and moves like a song — a jazz number, naturally — which renders every turn, reveal, and twist of perspective a tremendous showstopper.
And what it has to say about music? Everything that jazz might entail: how beautiful it is to love the art so wholly, and how toxic and destructive it is to devote yourself entirely to its whims. Whiplash doesn’t shove us to either side of favor regarding either of its central heroes/villains (they are equal parts each, and merrily so), nor to either side of the dividing line on whether succumbing altogether to the corrosive call of the drumsticks is, to put it reductively, a “good idea.” With such gratitude we can affirm that the movie doesn’t want to teach us a lesson. It just wants to play us a song.
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Actor Robert Downey, Jr.'s son pleaded guilty to cocaine possession at a California court hearing on Friday (12Sep14).
Indio Downey, 21, was arrested after police spotted him smoking from a pipe while sitting in a car in West Hollywood in June (14), and he was later charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanour possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Friday, Indio, who attended the hearing with his father, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to complete a drug education program. He has been seeking treatment for the past 70 days at a facility and will remain there for another three months. If he stays sober and out of legal trouble, the case will be dismissed.
During the hearing, Indio told the judge, "I appreciate this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it." The judge responded, "You've learned a lot of good coping skills from the program, I hope. This is a 24/7 disease... it can pop up at any time. You have to be vigilant and on top of it at all times. "I know in life people always look up to superheroes. You have contact with one superhero, and that's Iron Man."
Downey, Jr. has previously offered to support his son through his legal and drug woes, insisting addiction problems are a family issue.
Shortly after Indio's arrest, the actor released a statement, which read: "Unfortunately there's a genetic component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it. Also, there is a lot of family support and understanding, and we're all determined to rally behind him and help him become the man he's capable of being. "We're grateful to the Sheriff's department for their intervention, and believe Indio can be another recovery success story instead of a cautionary tale."
The movie star spent years battling drug problems after finding fame in Hollywood in the 1980s.
Lionsgate via Everett Collection
I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to get past the fact that Bill Hader’s name is Milo. This was the forerunner of a number of elements that seemed to introduce The Skeleton Twins as an aggressively “Sundancey” picture: Hader and Kristen Wiig, estranged siblings living a country apart, both attempt suicide at the precise same moment, executing their mirror glowers and macabre goodbye letters in nearly perfect harmony; it’s that combination of dark and cute on which a generation of independent film was founded. But once the distance is mended — Maggie (Wiig) is brought to the bedside of her hospitalized brother — Skeleton Twins finds its pulp: the chemistry between the titular sibs.
A film like Skeleton Twins rests its weight on whether or not its principal characters can be believed (and loved) as family. Where many fail, Twins strikes gold: we’ve seen Hader and Wiig play husband and wife, Californian lovers, game show host and incompetent contestant, and phone sex perpetrators rivaling for the vocal company of Joaquin Phoenix, but history does not dissuade entry into what makes for a touching, challenging fraternity in this film.
Lionsgate via Everett Collection
Individually, their performances sparkle too. Hader is fun as the frustrated, pithy fish-out-of-water (back in his hometown, appropriately) failed actor Milo, and Wiig duly charming as a woman suffocated by her marriage to the impossibly nice Lance (Luke Wilson, being tolerable). But it’s the togetherness — and the film’s permission to let the old friends play to their hearts’ content — that wins us over. The banter, the shtick, the “up” moments.
But this dynamic chemistry comes at a price: Hader and Wiig are so effortlessly good together, we find it difficult to believe they ever might have let the years pass by without contact. Each is so readily funny that it is difficult to understand what brought them both to suicide at the film’s dawn. Skeleton Twins is so good at the up moments that it practically uproots the down, rendering its emotional core something of a nonentity.
Still, Skeleton Twins lives up to its principal promise: a funny, sweet, more or less impressive platform for Hader and Wiig. They show off what we love about them and what we’ve long hoped we’d get to see, leaving plenty of room for growth in the next optimistic installment. And, miraculously, they manage to overcome the anchors of a movie that introduces itself as insistently “indie” as this one does.
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One-time abuse victim Rihanna's introduction to U.S. TV's Thursday Night Football special was yanked at the last minute on Thursday (11Sep14) and replaced with an interview with embattled league commissioner Roger Goodell amid the sport's ongoing domestic violence drama.
Rihanna’s Jay Z collaboration Run This Town was billed as part of the launch of the 2014 season of the CBS show, but network bosses decided the programme should open with a more serious message following the recent Ray Rice scandal.
Rice was arrested earlier this year (14) following an altercation with his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sickening footage of the incident has since been released and earlier this month (Sep14) the sportsman was kicked off the Baltimore Ravens roster and banned from playing in the National Football League (NFL).
Goodell came under fire from the media and women's rights groups for not acting sooner in dealing with Rice, amid accusations he and NFL bosses don't take domestic violence seriously enough. The commissioner has since spoken out about the scandal, dismissing reports that suggested the footage of Rice knocking his now-wife unconscious was made available to NFL executives in April (14), and his exclusive interview with CBS newswoman Norah O'Donnell was replayed at the beginning of the Thursday night football coverage, as well as a chat with Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti.
As a result, Rihanna's reworked Run This Town, featuring a comedic segment starring Don Cheadle, was axed.
Announcing the decision hours before the big game, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said, "We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone coverage." Ironically, the featured game was a clash between the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. Rihanna was a victim of abuse in 2009 when her then-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her during a fight on the eve of the Grammy Awards. The R&B singer is still on probation following his violent actions.
"You won't find her on (dating website) Tinder... 'Are you in the area? I'm looking for lunch!'" Iggy Azalea insists her Booty video co-star Jennifer Lopez won't be taking desperate steps to rejoin the dating game.
Hugh Jackman showed off his bowling skills on Wednesday (10Sep14) as he joined U.S. TV presenter Jimmy Fallon in a fun game of Pool Bowling during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The newly-invented game required the stars to knock bowling balls into the pockets of a giant pool table. The Australian actor struggled and narrowly lost out to the talk show host.
Jimmy Fallon spends most of his time as The Tonight Show host creating ridiculous games and situatons for his guests. Last night was no different. With the wonderful, Australian Hugh Jackman as his guest, Fallon decided to try something new. He created "Pool Bowling," which is on a giant pool table, with no pool cues, and played with bowling balls.
Watch these two men duke it out on the world's biggest pool table:
Our favorite part about this is the fact that Hugh Jackman decided to play this game sans shoes. He must not have been afraid of those bowling balls. We also love that his (failed) attempts at cheating made him laugh so hard, that he had to immediately confess to his wrong doings. Congrats to Jimmy on the first ever win at Pool Bowling! Hugh, remember, cheaters never prosper!
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"I'm pretty addicted to PlayStation's NCAA Football. (There are) several nights my road manager would come on the bus and say, 'It's time to go onstage' when I'm in the middle of the fourth quarter (of a game), and I'm like, 'They can wait!'" Country star Kenny Chesney relaxes before shows by playing the college football video game.