Amir here looking at two films we should keep an eye on in Oscar's documentary race.
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to judging the quality of documentaries, I have a particular bias. My favourite docs tend to be innovative films that aren’t necessarily “significant” in the grand scheme of things, like Grizzly Man or Senna, but I often find myself giving a pass to films that use a conventional structure to tell an important story, merely because thee subject matter does the work, towering above the film itself. Every once in a while, however, I’m confronted with a film that utilizes the old “talking heads intercut with archival footage” formula so powerfully that it becomes impossible to imagine it in any other way. Two such films came my way during TIFF that absolutely blew me away.
The first is Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s The Central Park Five, which tells the story of five black and Latino youths who were arrested in 1989 for the alleged rape and physical abuse of a white female jogger in Central Park. Despite a lack of evidence to support the charges and their youth (they were all between 14 and 17), they each ended up serving several years in prison or juvenile detention centres. In 2002, more than a decade after their first trial, the real criminal stepped out and confessed; DNA evidence supported his claim. But the irreversible damage had been done. [more after the jump...]
My head is all ascramble. Last thing I know I was boozing it up with Joaquin* Suddenly I'm waking up adrift in the ocean** with only my beloved dog***, who I'd just brought back from the dead ****, and a fierce Bengal tiger for company. All of this while trying to chase and kill an older version of myself from the future ***** !
Which movies are jostling around inside your head right now vying for attention? Which one is winning?
* The Master ** Life of Pi *** Bwakaw **** Frankenweenie ****** Looper
(Thoughts coming on all of those pictures -- a streak of happy moviegoing -- though not in that order as soon as I can collect myself.)
P.S. I'm aware that I'm burying the headline which is that I've just seen Life of Pi. Judging on the joygasms on twitter, it looks like a critical crowdpleaser and a bonafide Oscar contender. I was less ecstatic but boy does it look good. Cinematography nomination #2 for Claudio Miranda (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) coming right up. Yes, I'll update the Oscar charts this weekend. A lot of adjustments are due from shifting release dates and buzz.
GQ an oral history of the great sitcom Cheers
/Film first looks inside Darren Aronofsky's Noah's Ark via the great cinematographer Matthew Libatique. They should've filmed this under the pseudonym Snakes on a Boat and surprised us all with a Noah's Ark movie.
Indie Wire talks to the director of Room 237. Is the documentary, a compilation of theories and obsessions surrounding Stanley Kubrick's The Shining a celebration or a critique of film critics? I'm dying to see this even though I'm no expert on The Shining.
NY Post the Self Styled Siren takes on Brian de Palma's Passion, a remake of the french thriller Love Crimes which starred Ludivine Sagnier (interviewed).
Oklahoma is excited about the stars of August: Osage County in their midst (reminder: filming has begun!) There's a few blurry pics of stars (as well as some clear ones) and one of Meryl Streep doesn't look much like her but I'll take their word for it given the blur.
Hollywood.com wonders if audiences want to be challenged at the movies. A question posed through the film Compliance (which you'll remember I wasn't crazy about though I do love a good movie challenge.)
Now Toronto Rian Johnson talking about his fine Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis
The Film Doctor notes on The Master
In Contention wonders if Skyfall could land a best picture nomination
Hollywood Elsewhere Guillermo Del Toro on Ken Russell's great film The Devils
Do you all follow the Vanity Fair tumblr? It's fun. I love this Bruce Handy quote they recently featured:
“PARKER POSEY IS SCARY AND ANGULAR AND LOOKS LIKE SHE COULD SAY SOMETHING MEAN ABOUT YOU IN BED. SHE’S TWO-THIRDS OF THE WAY TO CATHERINE KEENER. ZOOEY DESCHANEL, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS TWO-THIRDS OF THE WAY TO MY LITTLE PONY.”
and it just begs for a poll...
Sometimes movie publicists are telepathic. Last week I was thinking about The Hamptons and how it's weird that I've never been but I'm so eager to spend every weekend there this fall shivering from the icy cold glares of Victoria Grayson and Emily Thorne (Revenge returns Sunday night ~Holla). Then a friend who had never seen Scarface (1983) sent me a text that was basically like “Steven Bauer ♥ omg!” to which I responded with a “Queue Thief of Hearts - it's pure Bauer Porn." Last but not least, I was wondering which celebs I should invite as future guest stars and my mind wandered to Sally Kirkland, star of Anna (1986), for which she won the Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit and the Heart of Me.
All of these things were jostling for attention in my crowded celluloid packed-brain for the past few days when what should arrive in my inbox but the first photos from the set of the thriller Awakened which is... wait for it...
A) now shooting in The Hamptons...
B) co-stars my Sally Kirkland
and C) also features Steven Bauer in one of the leading roles.
(Well done, publicity team)