Gary Oldman at the 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' premiere in Venice, Italy
Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan
Garnering strong reviews and more than a bit of awards-season buzz following its recent debut at the Venice Film Festival (where it was also nominated for the Golden Lion), Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" had its first U.S. trailer released today.
The film stars Gary Oldman as a secret agent coming out of "semi-retirement" to sniff out a Soviet mole who has been working at the highest levels of British intelligence for a period of several years. Oldman, who has received an immense amount of praise for his performance, is joined in the period drama by Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Kathy Burke and Toby Jones. The film was adapted from a 1974 novel by best-selling novelist John Le Carre.
I have to say, the trailer for the labyrinthine thriller is pretty gripping, and after "Let the Right One In" I'm anxious to check out Alfredson's follow-up. And Oldman, well...it's about time he was nominated for an Oscar.
Focus Features will release the film on December 9th. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think:
Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy in Madonna's second directorial effort, "W.E."
Credit: The Weinstein Company
TORONTO - Something peculiar happened at the press screening for Madonna's "W.E" this morning at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Unlike, the packed first showing at the Venice Film Festival less than two weeks ago, there were no unexpected irruptions of laughter. And you didn't have press passionately ripping the drama as they walked out of the theater. In fact, the reaction was much more subdued. Granted, the Venice reaction scared away many of the industry and press who might have seen it (about 40% of the theater was full), but there was no flurry of "The sky is falling! Madonna directed a movie!" tweets afterward. Having now seen "W.E" with a roomful of non-Venice critics, it only convinces this pundit that the reviewers that day were either consciously or subconsciously looking for anything in the film to rip its director and rip they did. And while their scathing reviews were harsh (um, did anyone see "Anonymous"?), let's be clear; "W.E" is not a good movie. Yes, it has serious problems, but it also has a lot of impressive things about it as well.
Jon Hamm walking the red carpet at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival for Ben Affleck's "The Town."
Credit: AP Photo
TORONTO - When Jon Hamm sits down into the hotel room chair to begin our interview he's obviously very tired. The "Mad Men" icon has had a roller coaster of a 24 hours after the premiere of his new film "Friends with Kids" at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. Directed by his longtime companion Jennifer Westfeldt (co-star and co-screenwriter of "Kissing Jessica Stein"), the ensemble comedy stars Adam Scott (an old friend), Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Ed Burns, Megan Fox as well as Hamm and Westfeldt. It's a funny and dramatic look at how two friends (Scott and Westfeldt) deal with the fact their circle of friends are having kids and, well, they aren't. Hamm was a full producer on the project, a first for him, and based on the results on screen he helped Westfeldt put together a pretty solid product. So, in something of a surprise for Hamm, this is one interview he wasn't going to be inundated with questions about the long awaited new season of "Mad Men." Not that the subject didn't come up...
Ellwood: So, I have to tell you I have first hand experience that you worked very hard as an actual producer on this film.
Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I in Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous."
Credit: Sony Pictures
Film festivals are always filled with "passion projects." Films that directors, producers or screenwriters have spent years or even decades trying to get made. This year's festival season has more then recent memory including Glenn Close scripted "Albert Nobbs" and David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" which playwright Christopher Hampton has been trying to get made for over 15 years. A more peculiar entry to that club debuted this afternoon at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival in the Roland Emmerich revisionist thriller "Anonymous."
Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen."
TORONTO - A romantic comedy or dramedy featuring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt is never going to be a box office slam dunk. Yes, the two Brits are incredibly talented actors, but they haven't had much success as cinematic leads. However, when you are adapting a best selling novel you often hope the notoriety of your source material can help overcome your lack of celebrity starpower. Unfortunately, that may not be the case for Lasse Halstrom's "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" which debuted at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival on Saturday night.
Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt in the latter's directorial debut, "Friends with Kids."
TORONTO - One of the more anticipated potential acquisition titles at the Toronto International Film Festival this year is Jennifer Westfeldt's directorial debut, "Friends with Kids." And, it's not hard to figure out why. Especially when you've recruited an ensemble cast that includes Jon Hamm (also a producer), Megan Fox, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Adam Scott. Happily for distributors and moviegoers, "Friends" delivers the goods and should spark a bidding war before heading to a theater near you.
"Sarah Palin - You Betcha!" co-director Nick Broomfield and a larger than life image of his subject Sarah Palin.
TORONTO - No one over the past three years has been a more polarizing figure in American politics than Sarah Palin. The former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor has transformed herself from a self-proclaimed "Hockey Mom" to a major media and political figure while alienating most of the country in the process. There have been many investigative and in-depth pieces on Palin during that time, but that didn't stop British filmmaker Nick Broomfield ("Kurt and Courtney") and his partner Joan Churchill ("Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer") from trying to find out the "truth" about the "real" Sarah Palin in their new documentary "Sarah Palin - You Betcha!"
Fox Searchlight has made one of the big acquisitions of the Fall 2011 festival circuit, snagging domestic distribution for Steve McQueen's provocative drama "Shame."
"Shame" had its US premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, drawing raves from critics including this blog's regular Oscar pundit Gregory Ellwood, who speculated that star Michael Fassbender, plus co-star Carey Mulligan, could be Oscar contenders with the proper handling.
In the press release announcing the pick-up, Fox Searchlight mentions specific plans for a 2011 release, putting Fassbender and Mulligan in early Oscar discussion.
"Steve McQueen’s courageous exploration of modern life’s extremes is breathtaking. He has crafted an extraordinary film that probes some of the deepest and darkest issues ever portrayed on screen with amazingly gifted performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan," state Fox Searchlight Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley.
Fassbender, already having himself quite the 2011, stars as Brandon, a sex-addicted New Yorker whose life enters a downward spiral when his younger sister (Mulligan) moves in with him.
"Fox Searchlight contacted us immediately after the screening in Telluride to tell us how much they loved the film. Their approach to marketing and distributing the film this year was incredibly detailed and impressive. We are excited to be working with them on a film that is sparking debate and a strong emotional reaction from audiences," say producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.
Adds McQueen, "This is a brave statement and an important move by Fox Searchlight. I am very happy they came on board to release Shame in the U.S. It's great to be working with a team that is so passionate about cinema."
In his review, Ellwood mentioned the "intense sex scenes and nudity" which would make it impossible for "Shame" to be released with an R rating, while McQueen told press at Telluride that he had no plans to cut the movie in any way. The Fox Searchlight release makes no mention of whether "Shame" will be released with an NC-17, or whether it will go out unrated.
The legal dispute between the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions over negotiating the rights to the Golden Globes is still being battled in a Los Angeles courtroom, but cooler heads have prevailed for at least 2012. All three parties announced this morning that the 69th Golden Globes will air as scheduled on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 at 5 PM PST/8PM EST.
Dick Clark Productions will continue to produce the telecast as well as an official hour long NBC pre-show (that should be fun) from 4-5 PM PST/ 7-8 PM EST.
The announcement also clearly noted the HFPA will co-produce the show along with Dick Clark Productions. It is assumed the legal case will have been settled by then which means one party may be much happier than the other.
The nominees for this season's Globes will be announced bright and early at 8 AM EST on Thurs., Dec. 15.
No word yet on whether the Globes will have a host this year. Ricky Gervais received mixed notices after his two-year run, but has publicly stated he's not that interested in returning.
Ryan Gosling in "Ides of March" and Brad Pitt in "Moneyball."
TORONTO - It's only the first day of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and two major prestige pics have already shown their wares to the assembled international press corps; Bennett Miller's "Moneyball" and George Clooney's "Ides of March." Both films have the potential to be solid box office performers and receive very positive reviews. Critically, this pundit fell for the political leanings of "Ides of March" (grade: B+) a bit more than Billy Beane's story in "Moneyball" (grade: B), but both films have the potential to make their mark on awards season. With that in mind, let's run down the best awards season bets for each picture.