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What will & should win Best Comedy at the Emmys?

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Wednesday
Sep112019

TIFF: "The Two Popes" is a Gentle Giant

by Chris Feil

Late in Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes, Jonathan Pryce’s Cardinal Bergoglio (who would eventually become the current Pope Francis) throws up his arms in befuddlement and spouts “Two popes?!” That kind of winning self-aware wit flows throughout the film, an unexpectedly comedic chamber piece that thrusts Pryce opposite Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI. Theirs is a gentle battle of minds as the film plays out mostly through several meetings between the two, with Bergoglio the somewhat progressive mind pushing for change in the Catholic church and Benedict adhering to stasis and tradition.

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Wednesday
Sep112019

Soundtracking: Coyote Ugly

by Chris Feil

Few modern soundtracks distill the essence of a film as wonderfully as Coyote Ugly. In the vein of Flashdance and its ilk, the film follows a creative young woman as she navigates a world of male objectification. It takes its name from the famous bar featuring hot chicks serving booze to cheering men and plops Piper Perabo’s heroine Violet in that environment as she chases her songwriting dreams. But instead of the Hooters brand of male-defined sexuality that immediately comes to mind, this bar finds the women in power of their male audience. The musical world of Coyote Ugly revels as much in the girl power as it operates around (and subverts) male gaze, thanks especially to a few great originals by LeAnn Rimes.

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Tuesday
Sep102019

What will win Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys?

by Abe Fried-Tanzer

There are many factors that go into the way Emmy voters choose the winner of their top awards, and we’re taking a look today at where the Outstanding Drama Series contenders stand from a statistical and recent history perspective.

Better Call Saul (Season 4 – 9 nominations)
AMC’s prequel to the acclaimed Breaking Bad, is back for the fourth time after the show missed last season’s eligibility window. It matched its nomination total from season three, but has yet to win an Emmy in any category. Consider the inclusion of supporting actor Giancarlo Esposito and the exclusion of supporting actress Rhea Seehorn a draw. Star Bob Odenkirk may finally break through and win a lead acting trophy this year, but this show has so little buzz that it would be a shock to see it triumph.

Bodyguard (Season 1 – 2 nominations)
This six-episode freshman thriller scored a major breakthrough with a bid in this race. But it managed only one other nomination, for writing, and, puzzlingly, missed out on a nomination for lead actor Richard Madden, who took home the Golden Globe...

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Tuesday
Sep102019

TIFF Quickies: Animated Bollywood, Mother/Daughter Science, and Annette Bening

by Nathaniel R

HOPE GAP (UK, William Nicholson)
Have you ever wanted to see Annette Bening play a retired British poet attempting to create her own 'Martha & George'  dynamic with her unwilling elderly husband (Bill Nighy)? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you want to see The Bening do that as you'd want to see her do all things onscreen if you have any taste. Hope Gap, the second directorial effort from long time screenwriter William Nicholson (Gladiator, Shadowlands, Nell, etcetera...), is about a married couple of 29 years whose marriage has died. The wife just doesn't know it yet and continually "has a go" at her husband, eager to see him fight back or express anything at all. Their loving but avoidant son (Josh O'Connor, doing a 180 from his breakout role in In God's Country) is completely out of his depth as he is forced into the role of shoulder-to-cry on, referee, and messenger boy all at once. Though Bening struggles a bit with the accent, she's on typical fire when it comes to blending a well of complex emotion with crackling comic timing...

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Tuesday
Sep102019

The Wise Guy

A quick shout-out to the director Robert Wise, who was born 105 years ago this very day. He passed in 2005, by then a four-time Oscar winner for a couple little movies called The Sound of Music and West Side Story (he won for both directing and producing), although he was nominated a couple other times. I mean he edited Citizen Kane! Obviously he was nominated other times. 

I do love his nomination for directing Susan Hayward's 1958 melodrama I Want To Live!, a film which looks way overcooked to modern eyes (as does most of Hayward's output) but which I love all the same. But Wise should've had several more nominations, if you ask me -- in between his two musical masterpieces he only directed one of the greatest horror films of all time, The Haunting, still effective to this day. There didn't seem to be a genre he couldn't master. How many nominations would you have given Robert Wise?

Tuesday
Sep102019

The New Classics: I Am Love

Michael Cusumano here to discuss a film that never fails to floor me.

Scene: Prawns
The story of Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love pivots on a life-changing plate of prawns. It sounds ridiculous until you pause and remember that life is actually like that. One moment you’re having a routine day and the next a flood of emotions is precipitated by an unexpected trigger. These instances are difficult to explain in words, but what are movies for if not the moments when language fails?

Tilda Swinton’s character Emma Recchi doesn’t realize it, but she is primed for such a moment. A Russian who married into an Italian family of great power, she lives a life of comfort and wealth. She is not unhappy, exactly, nor is she mistreated, but her is existence is a cloistered one and she is expected to play the role assigned to her. In the film’s lengthy opening act she oversees a family birthday party that has the coldness of a modern art exhibition...  

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