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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Emmy Aftermath - how to fix the Emmys?

"Personally, I'm opposed to capping wins or even nominations, even if seeing Modern Family win year after year drives me up the walls. I think it look punishing to the winners, instead of addressing the real issue, which are the voters and the voting system, and how even as things change and get more diverse and they try to catch up, they still don't vote that outside that box at all. It still takes that little aura of prestige for different shows to break in, and there is such a gap between what's great and what's awards-material." - Tee

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Entries in TIFF (61)

Wednesday
Jul232014

TIFF Lineup 2014

There's been a snafu with my TIFF credentials so I'm currently in limbo. Therefore today's listing is not an 'OMG Look What Prezzies I Get in September' humble brag, merely today's listing. Which of these 46 films hitting Toronto (not a complete list) are you most excited for? If I do go to Toronto I may well use you readers as film-picking guide.

TIFF Lineup So Far 
100s more films to come
(If we've already covered the film somehow, it's linked up) 

I demand custody of... your Oscar!

Black and White (Mike Binder) - Kevin Costner reunites with his Upside of Anger helmer for a racial custody battle drama. Octavia Spencer co-stars
Breakup Buddies (Ning Hao) - a "raunchy romantic comedy" 
Cake (Daniel Branz) directs Jennifer Aniston and other stars in this drama about a depression support group 
Coming Home (Zhang Yimou) - Gong Li doesn't remember her husband, returned from mail, in this drama
Dearest (Peter Ho-sun Chan) 
The Dead Lands (Toa Frazer) a New Zealand action epic. You don't hear that every day.

40 more after the jump...

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Sunday
Feb022014

Links

Vidiocy Karina Longworth on the great Pauline Kael vs Meryl Streep wars
In Contention London Film Critics choose Cate Blanchett and Barkhad Abdi for honors (among others)
The Guardian on the Australian Oscars basically being one long party for The Great Gatsby (which won nearly every award it was up for)
Tom & Lorenzo what Cate Blanchett was wearing to that same event


Thompson on Hollywood TIFF is laying down the law with studios/filmmakers -- no more sloppy seconds due to Telluride "surprises"
Vulture how hot is Anna Kendrick? Improv class hot 

More on Philip Seymour Hoffman
TFE Amir already honored him here in case you missed it.
Kenneth in the (212) covering every major newspaper
Punch Drunk Critics told us that Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal for depression era creepy drama Ezekiel Moss...but this was the day before P.S. Hoffman died so who knows what will happen now. Sounds like a good project though
E Online tells that he hadn't yet finished filming his scenes for the two Hunger Games: Mockingjay films.


Slate strong piece positing that one particular scene in Boogie Nights made the actor a star
The Atlantic has a piece on PSH's talent that fascinated me. It's very well written but its thesis is EXACTLY the opposite about how I always felt about him as an actor, claiming that his greatest gift was understatement. I think he almost never understated anything... which is why he thrills people so much in big moments but also why I did not like his performance in Doubt at all (way too bold when that role needs exceptional restraint to cloud the issues, hence the title) and why my three favorite performances of his I consider very atypical because they have these lovely quiet non red-faced & screaming layers and subtle details. But it's a really good read. 

Thursday
Dec192013

Interview: Asghar Farhadi on Globe Nominee "The Past"

Amir and Asghar Farhadi @ TIFFAmir here, to share with you my fantastic experience of interviewing the director of The Past, A Separation and About Elly. About a decade ago, when Asghar Farhadi made his first feature film after years of successful theatre and TV work, even the most optimistic fan of Iranian cinema could not imagine his stratospheric rise to International Auteur status in such a short span of time. It is heart-warming for an industry that has only gained international prominence in the past two decades to see one of its sons holding an Oscar statue. Farhadi’s popularity comes at a critical point for Iranian cinema, when festival presence is not as regular as it was in the nineties and several major filmmakers have had their careers stalled for political reasons.*

Farhadi's follow up to the Academy Award-winning classic A Separation, The Past will be representing Iran in the Best Foreign Film Oscar competition and was just nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Farhadi's latest is a Paris-set melodrama starring two recognizable stars in The Artist's Berenice Bejo (Cannes Winner Best Actress) and Tahar Rahim as well as Iranian superstar Ali Mosaffa.** In the film, Bejo plays Marie, a French woman married to Ahmad (Mosaffa) who is in custody of their children after a breakup. When Ahmad receives a letter from his wife to return to Paris to finalize the divorce, he is confronted with Samir (Rahim), Marie’s new boyfriend, himself married with a son to a woman in a coma. And that’s just the beginning of the complications in this romantic triangle.

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Tuesday
Nov122013

Long Live the New Flesh: David Cronenberg's Exhibition

It’s Amir here, reporting on a couple of films I saw at the David Cronenberg exhibition currently held at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. As the biggest Canadian director working in cinema today, the master of body horror is held in high esteem in national circles. This comprehensive tribute to his body of work is a tremendous showcase for a filmmaker whose work has done a major service to the Canadian film industry over the past three decades.  

Running alongside the exhibition that includes all things Cronenberg like film memorabilia, set props and a life-size mugwump, Long Live the Flesh also hosts screenings of the director’s films with lectures and Q&A sessions. I had the chance to attend two of these events: a screening of Naked Lunch introduced by David Cronenberg and his longtime producing partner Jeremy Thomas (Oscar winner for The Last Emperor) and my first big screen experience with his seminal science fiction film, The Fly, which was followed by a Q&A with the film’s Oscar-winning make-up artist Stephan Dupuis. Both conversations were illuminating though the films didn’t quite affect me in equal measure.

Naked Lunch, adapted from the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, is one of the more personal projects in Cronenberg’s canon, born of his passion for the writer’s work. Cronenberg described the film as both a dream-come-true for allowing him the opportunity to adapt one of his personal favorite novels, but also one that made him extremely anxious as he felt the necessity to get the Burroughsian elements just right. Asked if adapting the supposedly unfilmable novel was a difficult task, Cronenberg referred to the project as one of the easiest screenplays he’s written for the way Burroughs’ prose and his dialogue transfers itself directly to the screen.

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Friday
Sep202013

Amir's TIFF Roundup, Pt 2: The Good

Amir here, back to finish my TIFF diary. With the bad taste of my previous roundup washed away, it's time to move on to the good stuff. And boy did we have a lot of that.

As a diligent ticket stub collector (I know some of you do that, too) it wasn't hard for me to look back at the previous editions of the festival, put the films side by side and compare this year to past festivals. Without a doubt, my 2013 lineup is the cream of the crop. So strong were the films I watched this year that my TIFF top ten can easily match the quality of any of my year-end top tens. Still, I hesitate to call this a good year for Toronto. TIFF is, by nature, impossible to classify as having a "good" or "bad" year. The festival's gargantuan program offers nearly 300 films and each person's experience hinges entirely on their particular selections. Essentially, every year is a good year for TIFF and every years is also a bad one. It all depends on which tickets you buy.

Yet, the films themselves aren't the only thing that made this festival special for me. The people did, too. Boring as it might be for you to read, I'd be cheating you if I pretended that the cinema was all I had on my mind, that the conversations and the atmosphere didn't affect my experience of the festival. And that's really what makes the whole ordeal worth it. Sure, I watched a few early morning screenings with pins holding my eyes open, but would you pass up on the chance to talk about actresses with Nathaniel and Nick over beer and nachos? Yes, I had to skip a screening I had paid for, but I dare you to find an Iranian cinephile who wouldn't take a dream-come-true interview with Asghar Farhadi over any film. I should have probably given a film its fair due by not watching it hungover, but hey! I got to Karaoke with the two German brothers who made my favourite film of the festival, so that's a win-win in my books. That's not to mention the invaluable friends I've made among journos whom I cherish more than the films I watched. The point is, the standard of films was more consistently great than previous years, but the mood was set just right, too. I'm aware, however, that most of you would rather read about the films than my beer-fuelled adventures, so let's get right to the point.

Starting from the top, the aforementioned German film by Ramon Zurcher, The Strange Little Cat, was the clear highlight for me... [more]

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