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Entries in film festivals (318)

Wednesday
Sep142016

TIFF: Michelle Rodriguez & Sigourney Weaver in (re)Assignment

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

We must ban the use of the word "problematic" so that it may be deployed to describe pop culture offerings which are PROBLEMATIC in all caps. (re)Assignment is one of those, even if its too dumb to capitalize on its sophomoric provocations.

A hired hitman named Frank (Michelle Rodriguez...with prosthetic dick because her figurative big one wasn't enough) is drugged and operated on by an amoral vengeful doctor (Sigourney Weaver) and wakes up with breasts, vagina and a smoother more beautiful face...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

TIFF: Isabelle Huppert is "Elle"

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 8th-18th)

On any given day around the movie internet you will see the headine "What You Need To Know About ['Movie You Haven't Seen Yet']". It's clickbait. The sum total of what you need to know about a movie before you see it is nothing. Go to the movie theater and actually experience it. So if the promise of a new acclaimed Paul Verhoeven feature (his first since the riveting Black Book in 2006) that's been loudly labelled a "rape comedy" starring the world's most casually transgressive movie star Isabelle Huppert is enough to sell you a ticket I urge you to not read any reviews before seeing it, including this one. It's not that the film has twists that can spoil the experience if they're known ahead of time so much as it's in the way the movie is itself twisted.

Just how twisted is revealed through the careful deployment of its psychosexual landmines. And just how often they're successfully played for laughter ... albeit of the discomforting 'what am I laughing at?' variety. 

Two provocative legends (Verhoeven & Huppert) on set

Which is not to say that the rape itself is the subject of comedy...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep112016

A Cocktail with Sigourney

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

That's me telling Sigourney Weaver some story (presumably about how awesome she is). It's all a blur...

You have to act quickly in these situations as you only get a minute. The event was a party for A Monster Calls in which Sigourney plays the emotionally distant British (!) grandmother of a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) whose mother (Felicity Jones) has cancer. As escape from his life or possibly as solution to it the boy meets regularly with a giant tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) who tells him morally ambiguous stories about witches, princes, and apothecaries.

I didn't once mention Ripley because I'm sure Sigourney hears this daily (on the red carpet outside there were people with Aliens posters wanting her to sign them) but took the opportunity to tell her how much I loved her on Broadway in Vanya & Sonya & Masha & Spike. Especially in the second act with her Snow White costume.

I almost wore that tonight.

...she quipped. Hee. Then she said it was funny I'd mentioned it because she had just emailed a playwright friend saying "we need a reunion" because she'd love to get back on stage. 

Now off to another screening! TIFF moves so quickly on the first weekend.

Sunday
Sep112016

TIFF Animated Wonders: The Red Turtle & My Life as a Courgette

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

In the American landscape of animated features, barring extremely rare indies like Anomalisa, it's always safe to refer to animated films as "a genre" even though it technically isn't one. But you always know the type of film you're going to get. Some of them are magnificent, but even those play safely in-line with expectations: family friendly, cute and colorful, noisy/busy for short attention spans, funny. So long as you meet those four expectations you're allowed to color outside the lines of the actual governing genre (adventure/comedy) used by animation studios and draw from other genres like musicals, fantasy pictures, and horror so long as the horror is cute-grotesque (think Tim Burton's forays into the genre or all of Laika pictures).

For the forseeable future, though, we'll have to keep looking abroad for an understanding of animation as a film medium (what it actually is), capable of telling any type of story that might spring from any kind of genre. Festivals that program animated films are wise. They're often beautiful counterprogramming to more typical art fare. On the first day of the festival I caught two of them, both of which are aiming for Oscar love...

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Saturday
Sep102016

Venice Prizes for La La & Lav

The 73rd annual Venice Film Festival came to a close today and with that comes jury prizes. Here's the list

Lav Diaz new film "The Woman Who Left" is inspired by Tolstoy's book "God Sees the Truth, But Waits". It's four hours long and took the top Venice prize.

Main Competition Jury (Jury President Sam Mendes)
Golden Lion: The Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz)
Grand Jury Prize: Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford)
Silver Lion (Best Director): [tie] Amat Escalante for The Untamed and Andrei Konchalovsky for Paradise
Volpi Cup Best Actress: Emma Stone for La La Land
Volpi Cup Best Actor: Oscar Martínez for The Distinguished Citizen
Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: Paula Beer for Frantz 

A FEW NOTES on the winners after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug302016

Team Experience's Most Anticipated Fall Festival Films

Oscar season is upon the horizon, dear readers. And the (un)official starting siren for the race ahead is the fall festivals. Venice kicks off tomorrow, overlapping with Telluride and Toronto in September, the comes New York and Chicago before the AFI Fest in November.

Our host Nathaniel will be heading out to Toronto in a few short days, so expect to see his responses during those days. While we can't all take in the glut of a major film festival, the fun of watching from home is hearing how the films on your radar are being received. So to let you know what we'll be waiting for, Team Experience has rallied our:

Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of the Fall Festivals

 

Films narrowly missing the list included Una, Voyage of Time, Loving, American Pastoral, and The Salesman. On our list you'll find five films directed by women and nine from non-US directors. We weren't at Cannes or Sundance, so not everything on our list is a world premiere (and we know you're still looking forward to those as well). Let's just say our #1 made like Katie Ledecky at the Olympics or Mo'Nique at the Oscars, but the list is still bursting with enticements. You can see previous posts on the festival lineups here and here. Chicago is just beginning to announce and Telluride doesn't announce their lineup until the start of the festival.

See what made our list and the festivals they will play after the jump...

Click to read more ...