The Toronto International Film Festival announced their initial selections for the 2012 edition of the annual awards season kick off and it includes new films from Ben Affleck, the Wachoski's, Terrence Malick, Neil Jordan, David O. Russell, Joss Whedon, David Ayer, Joss Whedon, Derek Cianfrance and Joe Wright among others. Rian Johnson's "Looper" will be the opening night gala on Thursday, Sept. 6. The closing night film has not been announced.
t's been a strange summer season so for at the art house. Unlike last year, which was dominated early both critically and at the box office by "Midnight in Paris," "The Tree of Life" and "Beginners," 2012 looked like it would be much quieter. That's hardly been the case. Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" is a certifiable hit, "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is pretty much a global blockbuster (even if it's not really playing to the traditional specialty crowd), Weinstein's "Intouchables" is a solid foreign language player, the success of Millenium's "Bernie" is proving an embarrassment to all the major indies who turned it down and "To Rome With Love" and "The Beasts of the Southern Wild" have been superb in their limited runs so far. One film that could tap into the crowd that enjoyed "Moonrise" is "Ruby Sparks."
LOS ANGELES - Yes, as I sit down to do my interviews for "Magic Mike," I notice Matthew McConaughey has a bundle of $1 bills on his chair. Why? I'm not entirely sure. My guess is that it's a fun bit both McConaughey and Tatum have been having with the national press rotating through their TV room on this Friday afternoon. But, as entertaining as Steven Soderbergh's latest film is, I have no intention of spending my short time with the gents waxing about, er, male waxing, picking the right thongs and what their favorite stripping number was.*
Awards season is still months away from formally beginning, but the best actor race is already shaping up. It's going to be another competitive year with highly anticipated performances from Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln"), Denzel Washington ("Flight") and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master") on the way. There is, however, one phenomenal turn that's been waiting in the wings since Sundance, John Hawkes acclaimed portrayal of polio victim Mark O'Brien in "The Sessions."
LOS ANGELES - To remark that Quvenzhané Wallis is not your everyday 8-year-old is something of an understatement. In a relatively short amount of time she's been cast as the lead in an unconventional independent film, traveled to Park City, Utah where such film dominated Sundance's jury awards and then crossed the Atlantic where the same film became an international favorite at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. These are the magical and joyous days of the cast and filmmakers behind "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and as another newcomer and Wallis' onscreen father noted in an interview last week, "We're riding a wave."
NEW YORK - The last time I spoke with Keira Knightley we were sitting in an almost empty ballroom. Knightley had just come from the early afternoon Toronto premiere of "A Dangerous Method" and was in a gorgeous gown. I, on the other hand, had raced over in a t-shirt and jeans having no idea Knightley would be soon boarding a plane later that evening to cross the pond where production on Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" awaited her. Nine months later, it's a different movie, country and city and yet, Knightley still looks fantastic. On this day I've got a much shorter amount of time to talk about a rare contemporary role for the "Atonement" star - just five minutes - in Lorene Scafaria's "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World."
HOLLYWOOD - Walt Disney Studios and Pixar teamed up with Dolby last night to christen the "new" Dolby Theater with the world premiere of the new animated adventure "Brave" and, fortunately, everything sounded just fine.
LONDON - Some directors are enthusiastic about working with actors. Others get an adrenaline rush from difficult shots and exotic locales. And there is even a select group that find the most exciting part of the filmmaking process to be the decisions made in the editing room. Tim Burton may enjoy all aspects of making movies, but he admits there is a special joy he gets on a stop-motion animated film just from the "props and things that people are making."
LOS ANGELES - The LA Film Festival has always done an admirable job of bringing in major films for its opening or closing night galas. Last year Richard Linklater's "Bernie" had its world premiere to kick off the 2011 edition of the festival and the year before eventual Oscar best picture nominee "The Kids Are All Right" inaugurated the event's move to LA Live (with riot police surrounding the after party following the Lakers NBA Championship win to boot). 2012 got off to a memorable start Thursday night with the U.S. premiere of Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" and a surprise introduction from the legendary filmmaker himself.