You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.
Why, it’s New Year’s Eve, of course!
Watch the first trailer, if you dare.
The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first 54 in its 2011 line-up today, and there are some pretty exciting features on the list. A few major Oscar contenders are making their world debut at the festival, and a number of indies that I’ve been interested will also have their first screenings. As well, favourites from festivals like Sundance and Cannes will be making stops in Toronto. Here’s a look at what will be screening at TIFF. Get the details over on the TIFF website.
* denotes gala presentation
Bold titles denote a Times Like Those pick
11 Flowers (Wang Xiaoshuai) – A young boy befriends a runaway murderer
360 (Fernando Meirelles) – The director of City of God takes a multi-storyline approach to modern love around the world. Stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Foster, and a huge international cast.
50/50 (Jonathan Levine) – Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young man diagnosed with cancer in this…comedy? Seth Rogan and Anna Kendrick also star.
*Albert Nobbs (Rodrigo Garcia) – A historical drama about a woman (Glenn Close) who must pretend to be a man to survive. Also stars Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Janet McTeer, and Aaron Johnson
Americano (Mathieu Demy) – A young boy looks for peace after the death of his mother. Starring Salma Hayek
Anonymous (Roland Emmerich) – The director of The Day After Tomorrow asks a question that is only important to literary geeks: Who really wrote Shakespeare’s work?
A Better Life (Cedric Kahn) – French hottie Guillame Canet plays a chef who pursues a beautiful woman.
Burning Man (Jonathan Teplitzky) – British hottie Matthew Goode plays a chef being pursued by beautiful women.
*Butter (Jim Field Smith) – A comedy about competitive butter carving starring Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, and Ty Burrell
Countdown (Huh Jong-ho) – After being released from prison, a man tries to con a debt collector.
The Deep Blue Sea (Terrence Davies) – Rachel Weisz plays a privileged 1950′s housewife who finds temptation outside the home.
The Descendants (Alexander Payne) – George Clooney tries to get his life back on track after his wife is involved in a boating accident.
Elles (Malgoska Szumowska) – Juliette Binoche plays an Elle reporter who covers prostitution amongst university students. (This is the first I’ve heard of this film, but it sounds very interesting.)
Friends With Kids (Jennifer Westerfeldt) – Two people find that they are the only childless ones amongst their friends. This comedy stars Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, and Maya Rudolph.
*From the Sky Down (Davis Guggenheim) – The U2 documentary that will open the festival.
*A Happy Event (Remi Bezancon) – A young couple deals with the birth of their first child
Hick (Derick Martini) – A 13-year-old hits the road to become a superstar and escape her trainwreck mother. Stars Blake Lively, Chloe Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Rory Culkin, and Eddie Redmayne.
The Hunter (Daniel Nettheim) – A psychological drama about a man (Willem Defoe) who is sent to find the last Tasmanian Tiger.
Jeff Who Lives At Home (Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass) – The directors of Cyrus and Baghead present “the story of one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue”. Stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon.
*The Lady (Luc Besson) – The director of Leon and The Fifth Element brings a story of love amidst political turmoil starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis
Machine Gun Preacher (Marc Forster) – A former drug dealer (Gerard Butler) turns his life around to help others. Also stars Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon. (This one could go wrong, but it’s an interesting premise and a promising cast.)
*Moneyball (Bennett Miller) – Brad Pitt plays a MLB general manager who must reinvent his approach to the game. Also stars Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Wright
The Oranges (Julian Farino) – A guy falls in love with a family friend or something groundbreaking like that. Stars Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Hugh Laurie, Alia Shawkat, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, and Oliver Platt.
*Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding (Bruce Beresford) – A hippie-themed comedy starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth Olsen
Pearl Jam Twenty (Cameron Crowe) – It’s a documentary about Pearl Jam, shockingly enough.
Rampart (Oren Moverman) – The director of The Messenger re-teams with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster for this story of a renegade cop (Harrelson) set in his ways. Also stars Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche, and Ice Cube.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Lasse Hallstrom) – People fish for salmon in the Yemen. I realise that alone is pretty thrilling, but it also stars Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
*Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley) – A relationship drama starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, and Sarah Silverman
Ten Year (Jamie Linden) – Old friends reunite on the night of their high school reunion. That sounds pretty standard, but this cast is intriguing. You’ve got Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Kate Mara (if you’ve seen a movie from the past three years, you’ll know her), Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights), Lynn Collins (she’s one to watch), and Brian Geraghty (also from The Hurt Locker). Oh, and Channing Tatum is in it, too.
Trishna (Michael Winterbottom) – A contemporary, eastern take on Tess d’Urbervilles starring Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Riz Ahmed (who I loved in Four Lions).
Twixt (Francis Ford Coppola) – A writer gets caught up in a small town mystery. But is it just me or does that plot description not really correspond with this set picture? Anywho, it stars Val Kilmer and Elle Fanning.
Woman in the Fifth (Pawel Pawlikowkski) – Ethan Hawke plays an American writer who travels to Europe and meets Kristin Scott Thomas instead of Julie Delpy this time.
(Sorry, you’re not getting plot synopses for all of these)
The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius) – That silent movie you’ve probably already heard about.
Chicken with Plums (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)
Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes) – Possible Oscar contender
*A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg) – The Freud/Jung love triangle starring Fassbender, Mortensen, and Knightley.
Dark Horse (Todd Solondz) – It’s Solonz, so this Justin Bartha/Selma Blair drama about “thirty-something in arrested development” is probably a bit less conventional than it sounds.
Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn) – The Ryan Gosling/Carey Mulligan joint from Cannes. Check out the trailer, it’s pretty badass.
The Eye of the Storm (Fred Schepisi) – Charlotte Rampling plays a woman on her deathbed who tries to reconnect with her son (Geoffrey Rush).
Habemus Papam (Nanni Moretti)
Headhunters (Morten Tyldum)
*The Ides of March (George Clooney) – Clooney directs Clooney in this drama about a young press secretary (Ryan Gosling) navigating the dirty world of politics. Also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, and Paul Giammati.
Killer Joe (William Friedkin) – A dramedy about a man (Emile Hirsch) who puts out a hit on his own mother out of financial desperation. It also stars Matthew McConaughey and up-and-comer Juno Temple. And it’s by the Oscar-winning director of The French Connection. Go figure.
Like Crazy (Drake Doremus) – College angst + Anton Yelchin + Felicity Jones + Jennifer Lawrence = Sundance winner.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sean Durkin) – This breakout hit at Sundance looks moody, intense, and fantastic. I’m excited to see what Elizabeth Olsen can do, and John Hawkes and Hugh Dancy are huge pluses.
Melancholia (Lars Von Trier) – Obviously.
Shame (Steve McQueen) – Michael Fassbender re-teams with the director of Hunger. Should be a light-hearted romp at the multiplex, right?
A Simple Life (Ann Hui)
The Skin That I Live In (Pedro Almodover)
Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols) – It looks crazy in a good way, and it stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.
Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine)
*W.E. (Madonna) – Abbie Cornish and Andrea Riseborough play women in two different eras dealing with love in this multi-storyline drama
We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsey) – It was a hit at Cannes, and it stars Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and up-and-comer Ezra Miller (I’m going to predict right now that he’ll blow up after The Perks of Being a Wallflower next year)
Where Do We Go Now? (Nadine Labaki)
A number of high-profile trailers have been released in the past few days, so it seemed like a fitting time for rundown of what we can expect to see in the coming months. That is, a lot of Jude Law.
Release Date: September 9, 2011
Contagion looks a bit different from what I expected. I thought it would be more of a contained story about the scientists trying to stop the disease. But I am totally down for this sweeping, borderline-apocalyptic thriller. Aside from what seems to be a pretty major spoiler about a character death (I’m sure it happens early in the film, but still), I really like the trailer. I’m not a big Soderbergh fan, but this might be the film that turns it around for me. Law and Damon seem to be going “big” with their performances, but I imagine that will fit better in context. And Hawkes looks great, even just from his one line in the trailer. This looks like a good ol’ fashioned thriller with a top-notch cast, and that exactly what I want it to be.
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Not to be a complete Negative Nancy, but I can’t help but think that this looks lame. Like, really lame. I know it’s based on a kid’s book and is largely aimed at kids, but I was expecting more from a Scorsese film. Not all of his films have to be The Departed, but I thought this would have a little more heft to it. Instead, it seems overly focused on the special effects, which seem copious. Though I was invested at first (partly thanks to Jude Law’s kindly presence), the trailer quickly became a numbing, frenzied mess of CGI. A little “whimsy” goes a long way for me in movies. And though I normally like Sascha Baron Cohen, his character is already annoying me. It looks like a poor man’s Harry Potter. But hopefully Hugo is better than the trailer looks.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Release Date: December 16, 2011
Even though Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are two of my favourite actors, I was a bit underwhelmed with the first Sherlock Holmes movie. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t that…good, either. And it looks like more of the same for the sequel. The trailer doesn’t offer much that is new or interesting (but man, it could sure use some more super slo-mo, right?). I don’t know, it looks okay, I guess, but I just don’t have much to say about it. And are we really reusing the exact same joke again at the end of the trailer? Between this and The Hangover II I’m getting some serious 2009 film-related amnesia this year.
Release Date: March 9, 2012
There are a lot of things that I like about Friday Night Lights. But if I had to pick the most watchable aspect of the show, it would definitely be Taylor Kitsch as the brooding, oddly multifaceted ne’er-do-well, Tim Riggins. So it’s fun to see him get a leading role in The Prince of Persia John Carter. That said, I have no idea what to make of this movie. The trailer was interesting, in a bizarre, hard-to-follow kind of way. IMDB tells me the following: “Civil War vet John Carter is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians.” It also tells me that Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Chuch, Mark Strong (gee, do you think he’s playing a villain?), and Willem Defoe are in this movie, yet I spotted NONE of them in the trailer. But I’m still very intrigued by this. It could be an incoherent, overly serious mess of CGI, but moments in the trailer seemed legitimately epic and impressive.
ALSO: I just realised that John Carter is the first live-action film by Wall-E and Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton. Those were two of Pixar’s most visually dazzling films, so that kind of explains visual scope that we see here. I am even more hopeful now.
Release Date: October 14
Monster movies are always in style, so it makes sense that they would reboot another franchise. This time, it’s The Thing, and it stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom). I’m not a big horror fan, but The Thing actually looks better than I expected. It certainly doesn’t appear to offer anything new, but the whole “who among us isn’t human?” premise is often entertaining. Winstead seems to be a capable leading lady here, and I’m always intrigued by Edgerton (though he didn’t have much to do in the trailer other than look concerned). I won’t be rushing out to see it, but The Thing looks like it could potentially be a cut above the usual horror fare.
Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Linney – The Big C
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly
Martha Plimpton – Raising Hope
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
- Obvious Picks: Fey, Falco, Linney
- Snubbed: Lea Michele (but I’m not that sad about it, to be honest. She was grating this season on Glee)
- It’s great to see Poehler nominated for the second year running. I think she could be a darkhorse to win the category.
- Plimpton is great on Raising Hope, and I’m pleasantly surprised by her nomination
- I don’t watch Mike and Molly, but McCarthy seems like the biggest surprise in this category. She was hilarious in Bridesmaids, though, so I’m sure she’s deserving.
Actor in a Comedy Series
Matt Le Blanc – Episodes
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell – The Office
Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory
Louie C.K. – Louie
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock
- Obvious Picks: Baldwin, Carell, Parsons
- Snubbed: Matthew Morrison, I guess? (Though I was never sure why he got nominated last year)
- LeBlanc and especially Louie C.K. are slightly surprising since their shows are pretty under-the-radar
- I like that Galecki finally got some recognition, too.
- Since it was his last season on The Office and he’s never won, this will probably be Carell’s year. It’s a bit of a weak year for this category, so he doesn’t have a lot of competition.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Jane Lynch – Glee
Betty White – Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski – 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
- This was a fairly predictable category, but pretty deserving all around (But Hot in Cleveland? Really?)
- I think this category is actually pretty wide open. Lynch wasn’t featured as much on this season of Glee, and they turned her character into more of a caricature. Plus, the show is obviously losing traction with the Emmy’s. No one else has won before, so it could be anyone. Forced to predict a winner, I’d go with Vergara. (I don’t particularly like her on Modern Family, but other people seem to.)
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
John Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer – Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
- Obvious Picks: Colfer, Stonestreet, Burrell
- Snubs: Neil Patrick Harris, Nick Offerman (Whyyyy! He’s so good!)
- Ugh, I have some beefs with this category. Are we seriously still nominating Two and a Half Men for stuff? Is this some kind of pity nomination for Cryer because he had to work with Charlie Sheen all of these years? He’s funny on the show, but that show is way past its “prime”, and he already has his Emmy.
- I’m happy to see Ferguson, Stonestreet, and Burrell all get nominated, but I was fine with snubbing O’Neill last year. I really don’t like him on the show.
- If Burrell, Ferguson, or Colfer win, I will be a very happy camper. They are all fantastic.
- I’m going to predict Burrell for the win (wishful thinking?), but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Colfer won.
Parks and Recreation
The Big Bang Theory
- I LOVE that Parks and Recreation got recognized. It was on fire this season.
- I understand nominating Steve Carell, but The Office totally doesn’t deserve this nomination. I didn’t watch much of it this year, but I was extremely unimpressed from what I did see. It’s been on the decline for a few seasons now, and it hit a new low this year IMO.
- Community may have been a bit inconsistent this year, but it would have been a way more deserving nomination. I’m not that surprised that it got snubbed, but I’m sure all the fanboys are fuming right now.
Random thoughts on the other nominations (because I am uncultured and don’t watch any fancy drama shows):
- Big thumbs up to Matt Damon getting nominated for Guest Comedy Actor on 30 Rock. Zach Galifianakis is also deserving for his hosting stint on SNL.
- Mad Men is definitely deserving of its mountain of nominations. All four nominated actors are great!
- It’s great to see Friday Night Lights finally get nominated for Best Drama Series (I’m only at the third season, though, so I can’t say whether or not it deserved its nomination this year. But I’m going to guess yes.) Any chance Kyle Chandler and/or Connie Britton can beat out all the Emmy vets and win for their last season?
- CAT DEELY for Best Reality Host!!! Yay! She was long, long overdue. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who was a lovely, hilarious judge last night on So You Think You Can Dance) was saying that he hoped she’d be nominated, so I imagine there will be much shoulder-patting on tonight’s show.
- And speaking of SYTYCD, they picked some great routines in the choreography category. Stacey Tookey’s “Mad World”, Tabitha and Napoleon’s “Outta Your Mind”, and Travis Wall’s “Fix You” were all very memorable.
- Nice to see Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon in the variety series category (Colbert, too, but that was less surprising)
- I really enjoy the fact that the “Jack Sparrow” song from SNL is nominated in the Original Music and Lyrics category (as is “I Just Had Sex” and “3-Way”)
The Emmy nominees are announced tomorrow, so here’s a list of the eligible shows that I watch, and which nominations I hope they’ll receive. It’s mainly for my own reference, but here goes.
Names marked with an asterisk are the ones who I predict will be nominated.
Outstanding Comedy Series*
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Alec Baldwin*
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Tina Fey*
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Jane Krakowski*
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Matt Damon (“Double-Edged Sword”)*
The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Comedy Series*
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Jim Parsons*
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Kaley Cuoco
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Joel McHale
Friday Night Lights
Outstanding Drama Series*
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Kyle Chandler*
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Connie Britton*
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Chris Colfer*
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Jane Lynch*
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Mike O’Malley – Glee (“Furt”)*
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Dot-Marie Jones (“Never Been Kissed”)*
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Kristen Chenowith (“Rumours”)*
Outstanding Drama Series*
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Jon Hamm*
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Elizabeth Moss*
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – John Slattery*
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Christina Hendricks* (She really came on strong this season)
Outstanding Comedy Series*
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Ty Burrell* (I love so many of the guys in this very tough category, but Burrell is my choice to win. His physical comedy is unmatched.)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Eric Stonestreet*
Parks and Recreation
Outstanding Comedy Series*
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Amy Poehler*
Outstanding Supporting Actor in Comedy Series – Nick Offerman* (I really, really hope he gets nominated)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Aubrey Plaza
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Will Forte (“Time Capsule”)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Mo Collins (“Harvest Festival”)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Megan Mullally (“Ron and Tammy: Part Two”)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Pamela Reed (“The Bubble”)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Garrett Dillahunt
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Martha Plimpton
Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Bill Hader (He’s not going to be nominated because this category is overstuffed, but he would be completely deserving for his “Stefon” character alone)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Kristen Wiig*