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Sunday, October 9, 2011
TIFF 2011 WRAP-UP
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
No, That's not Brian De Palma pictured at left, but Ralph Fiennes, who, as Malene Arpe notes, "kinda looks like Brian De Palma." Fiennes was at the Toronto International Film Festival with his directorial debut, Coriolanus, which sets the play by William Shakespeare in contemporary Europe.

We don't know whether or not De Palma had a chance to catch that film while he was at the festival, but, thanks to various tweets and other posts online, we're aware of about a handful of screenings the director was spotted at last month. According to indieWIRE's Meredith Brody, De Palma attended a screening of Bruno Dumont’s Outside Satan on the first day of the festival (September 8th). Brody writes that the film, which she likes, is classic Dumont: "simple rural people in pastoral landscapes, interesting compositions, brutal sex, brutal violence, brutal religion." At the screening, Brody met up with Atom Egoyan and his wife, Arsinée Khanjian, and they all ran into De Palma outside the theater. Brody told De Palma that she was looking forward to seeing A Separation, but De Palma had to be at the Talent Lab later that night at the time of that screening.

Later into the festival, De Palma was spotted with his friend, filmmaker Noah Baumbach (who interviewed De Palma for Criterion’s recent Blow Out package) at a screening of Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress. On another day, De Palma was spotted at a screening of ”an Egyptian doc” that was most likely Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad and the Politician, a three part documentary that looks at the recent uprising in Egypt from the points of view of three Cairo-based filmmakers.

In his entry on Fandor’s TIFF wrap-up, Slant’s Simon Abrams wrote about seeing De Palma twice:

Seeing Brian De Palma (twice!) at the festival was frankly more thrilling than several of the films I saw at the festival. Seeing him seated just across the aisle from me at Dark Horse, Todd Solondz’s newest and maybe best film, was a delight. Mostly because I identify with Solondz’s latest to a freakish degree and think its a potent and deeply unnerving film. But also because I could look straight ahead and freak out one way and then look to my right and freak out another. Diversity rules.

De Palma was later spotted at a screening of Terence DaviesThe Deep Blue Sea. John R. Kennedy noted that “Fans outside Intercontinental on Front don't recognize iconic director Brian De Palma as he strolls past them.” Jesse Hawkin said it made his day when he got to “directly assist Brian De Palma.” Hawkin added, “Resisted the urge to thank him for all his great films.” And finally, the win for best tweet from the festival goes to Erik Childress, who wrote, “Earlier today saw Brian DePalma enter men's washroom and then exit immediately. Assume he saw no lesbians making out & just left.”


Posted by Geoff at 10:05 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:00 PM CDT
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Friday, September 9, 2011
DE PALMA TO TALENT LAB FILMMAKERS:
'YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES - YOU SHOULD ALL BE GOING OUT AND MAKING MOVIES'
The Montreal Gazette's T’Cha Dunlevy interviewed four of the twenty-four participants at this year's Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival. All four participants seemed energized by Brian De Palma's one-hour talk to close the opening day of the workshop yesterday. Here is the first part of Dunlevy's article:

“It ended with Brian De Palma,” Halima Ouardiri said.

Her ’nuff-said reply came in response to my query about how the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) eighth annual Talent Lab had gone. Ouardiri and three other budding Montreal filmmakers – Omar Majeed, Catherine Chagnon and Mark Slutsky – are part of the four-day workshop that puts them and 20 other participants in close quarters with their idols.

Among Talent Lab’s guest speakers this year are Gus Van Sant, documentary icons Frederick Wiseman and Alfred Maysles, Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees Of Separation) and Davis Guggenheim (whose U2 doc From the Sky Down was the opening film of this year’s festival). But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – one at a time:

“(De Palma) was awesome,” Slutsky said, explaining how the director of such films as Scarface and Mission: Impossible had spent an hour with the group, sharing insights and telling stories. “He’s very, very smart – he’s obviously got a huge brain; and he’s pretty outspoken and honest.”

“He gave us notes,” Chagnon said, “very direct notes.”

“He said, ‘You have no excuses,’ ” Majeed continued. “‘You should all be going out and making movies.’”

Slutsky: “He also said, ‘If you can’t put a movie on a credit card, get financing from friends or make a movie with no money – give up!’ ” (General laughter.)

(Pictured above from left to right: Catherine Chagnon, Omar Majeed, Halima Ouardiri and Mark Slutsky.)

OTHER VISITS ON DAY ONE: SARAH POLLEY, FERNANDO MEIRELLES, JASON REITMAN
According to Dunlevy, day one began with an introduction by the three governors of this year's Talent Lab: Jason Reitman, documentary director Jennifer Baichwal, and Bingham Ray. The three governors "split their charges into groups for smaller discussions," according to Dunlevy. “They didn’t seem too prepared,” Slutsky told Dunlevy. “It was more, ‘What do you want to know?’” Other visitors included Sarah Polley (who brought along the crew from her new film, Take This Waltz) and Fernando Meirelles.


Posted by Geoff at 10:35 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 9, 2011 10:54 PM CDT
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DE PALMA TO TALENT LAB FILMMAKERS:

'YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES - YOU SHOULD ALL BE GOING OUT AND MAKING MOVIES'
The Montreal Gazette's T’Cha Dunlevy interviewed four of the twenty-four participants at this year's Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival. All four participants seemed energized by Brian De Palma's one-hour talk to close the opening day of the workshop yesterday. Here is the first part of Dunlevy's article:

“It ended with Brian De Palma,” Halima Ouardiri said.

Her ’nuff-said reply came in response to my query about how the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) eighth annual Talent Lab had gone. Ouardiri and three other budding Montreal filmmakers – Omar Majeed, Catherine Chagnon and Mark Slutsky – are part of the four-day workshop that puts them and 20 other participants in close quarters with their idols.

Among Talent Lab’s guest speakers this year are Gus Van Sant, documentary icons Frederick Wiseman and Alfred Maysles, Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees Of Separation) and Davis Guggenheim (whose U2 doc From the Sky Down was the opening film of this year’s festival). But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – one at a time:

“(De Palma) was awesome,” Slutsky said, explaining how the director of such films as Scarface and Mission: Impossible had spent an hour with the group, sharing insights and telling stories. “He’s very, very smart – he’s obviously got a huge brain; and he’s pretty outspoken and honest.”

“He gave us notes,” Chagnon said, “very direct notes.”

“He said, ‘You have no excuses,’ ” Majeed continued. “‘You should all be going out and making movies.’”

Slutsky: “He also said, ‘If you can’t put a movie on a credit card, get financing from friends or make a movie with no money – give up!’ ” (General laughter.)

(Pictured above from left to right: Catherine Chagnon, Omar Majeed, Halima Ouardiri and Mark Slutsky.)

OTHER VISITS ON DAY ONE: SARAH POLLEY, FERNANDO MEIRELLES, JASON REITMAN
According to Dunlevy, day one began with an introduction by the three governors of this year's Talent Lab: Jason Reitman, documentary director Jennifer Baichwal, and Bingham Ray. The three governors "split their charges into groups for smaller discussions," according to Dunlevy. “They didn’t seem too prepared,” Slutsky told Dunlevy. “It was more, ‘What do you want to know?’” Other visitors included Sarah Polley (who brought along the crew from her new film, Take This Waltz) and Fernando Meirelles.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 8, 2011
DE PALMA SPOKE AT TIFF TALENT LAB TODAY
WAS AT DEAUVILLE OVER THE WEEKEND, AS FESTIVAL SEASON HITS FULL SWING
Brian De Palma is pictured speaking at the Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier today, the first day of the festival. This year's TIFF will include the premiere of Paul Williams Still Alive, a documentary by Stephen Kessler. Colin Geddes provides a TIFF description of the film, which premieres this Sunday (De Palma's birthday)...

With songs about loneliness and his outsider persona, Williams struck a chord with many, including director Stephen Kessler. When he began to investigate his childhood idol, Kessler was surprised to learn that Williams is still very much alive, and set out to make a documentary. Williams allows Kessler to accompany him on his travels, but the director soon discovers that his subject isn’t the same man from television that he once idolized.

Despite Kessler’s initial plan to stay behind the camera, Williams coaxes him out, and Kessler becomes part of the story. He follows Williams from small hotel gigs to celebrity golf tournaments to a stadium show in the Philippines — where the downright manic and nervous director must accompany Williams on a six-hour bus ride through a terrorist-infested jungle to get to a gig. During this expedition, their strained relationship helps shape a candid examination of an artist who fought against his own drug-fuelled ego run amok and then became more in love with the attention than the music.

Paul Williams Still Alive is both a rollicking pop-culture flashback filled with great television and performance clips, and the humorous journey of an awkward documentarian and his reluctant subject. Yet it ultimately evolves into the touching tale of a man who has made peace with the beast that fame and celebrity awoke.

DE PALMA PICTURED AT DEAUVILLE
De Palma was photographed at the Deauville Film Festival in France over the weekend, courtesy News De Stars.


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 11:58 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 18, 2010
TORONTO TIDBITS
JULIA'S EYES, DETECTIVE DEE, BANG BANG CLUB, AND MORE BLACK SWAN
The Toronto International Film Festival winds down this weekend, and Brian De Palma was spotted as recently as yesterday, when Guardian critic David Cox tweeted that De Palma was sitting behind him at a screening for Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. Regarding De Palma, Cox tweeted, "Don't think there's time to get him to explain FEMME FATALE." Regarding the film, which is said to have stunning visuals, Cox tweeted that it "was a flamboyant way to bring my festival to a close. It even had fire turtles." On Monday (September 13th), Empire Movies' Liam Cullin tweeted that he saw De Palma waiting in line for a screening of Steven Silver's gonzo journalist film The Bang Bang Club, which Screen Daily's Mark Adams was quite impressed by. Based on true events, The Bang Bang Club follows "a band of freewheeling, hard-partying, daredevil photographers in South Africa of 1994, in the turbulent moments of the final days of apartheid" according to Adams. "The sequences of them photographing the violence around them," writes Adams, "a violence the[y] start to become immune to – is wonderfully staged, and a scene of Ryan stumbling onto a brutal photograph of a killing that will win him a Pulitzer Prize is quite memorable. So too a similar (though very different) scene where Carter travels to the Sudan and take a photo of a starving girl stalked by a menacing vulture, which will eventually win a Pulitzer for him as well."

BLACK SWAN
Meanwhile, De Palma' name keeps popping up in reviews of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Empire critic Damon Wide on Monday blogged, after seeing Black Swan in Toronto, that "At the moment, the film, for me, is still too fresh to filter, but I suspect that once it has settled, and I've stopped wondering why it reminded me of films as diverse as Brian De Palma's Sisters, P&P's Black Narcissus and John Cassavetes' Opening Night, it will reveal itself as a film of great power and longevity." Jorge Mourinha calls Aronofsy's film a "smart shocker of the sort Brian de Palma knew how to do so well in his prime, with a strong lead and confident handling making the slightly overwrought plot work." Writing from the Venice fest early this month, TIME's Richard Corliss also mentioned De Palma in his Black Swan review:

I've also heard from folks at Venice who think Black Swan is a junky horror show and [Natalie] Portman way too strident. Me, I'm of two minds about a movie that wants to be a nail-ripping thriller and a statement on an artist's unholy communion with her role. It's reminiscent of older, better movies: the late-'40s backstage dramas A Double Life (Ronald Colman plays Othello, becomes fatally jealous of his actress ex-wife) and the classic ballet melodrama The Red Shoes; and of films about tender, troubled psyches in the films — I won't say which ones — of Roman Polanski, Dario Argento, Brian De Palma, David Cronenberg and David Fincher. Black Swan also takes a view of women that might kindly be described as old-fashioned.

JULIA'S EYES SUGGESTS DE PALMA, SAYS SALON CRITIC
And finally, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir sees a De Palma influence in the Guillermo del Toro-produced Julia's Eyes, a horror film directed by Guillem Morales. O'Hehir writes that Julia's Eyes, "which reassembles much of the creative team that made The Orphanage in 2007," is "altogether a chillier, slicker and colder affair, formal and beautiful in composition and shot through with a sadistic eroticism that strongly suggests Brian De Palma." O'Hehir concludes, "I doubt this project occupied much of del Toro's attention, and it's fundamentally an exercise in genre and style -- but what style! The brooding skies and gray-green trees, the closely packed prewar houses, the naked bodies in a locker room full of blind women, the deepening shadows as Julia's sight gives way and evil comes ever closer. Even the deep, dark crimson when we finally see blood. (Despite this movie's moodiness, it's not without its share of gruesome gore.) In the long arc of Guillermo del Toro's career, Julia's Eyes is a minor side project -- but we can only wish that one in 20 American horror films were this well made."


Posted by Geoff at 11:24 AM CDT
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Saturday, September 11, 2010
DE PALMA AT TIFF AS HE TURNS 70
SPOTTED NEAR BLACK SWAN & BAD FAITH SCREENINGS
Brian De Palma turns 70 today, and he appears to be celebrating by attending the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, of which he has been a loyal patron for years. On Thursday, Roger Ebert tweeted that he spotted De Palma at the festival ("Brian de Palma, the only big-time director who often attends film festivals on his own dime," wrote Ebert). Grey Goose's Mohit Rajhans also saw De Palma on Thursday. "The bulk of the buzz so far was centered around the press office yesterday while people gathered the necessary passes," wrote Rajhans. "I spotted Brian De Palma chatting just outside the office with friends – word has it Toronto is one of his favourite cities for movie watching." Today, Fernando F. Croce tweeted that he "saw Brian De Palma just outside yesterday's screening of Black Swan," adding that he "should have wished him happy b-day." (Croce is covering the festival for Slant Magazine.) And finally, Swedish journalist Rebekah Åhlund, while attending the premiere yesterday of Kristian Petri's Bad Faith, spotted De Palma in the lounge, prompting her to recall the days when she used to watch De Palma's Carlito's Way once a month. Steve Gravestock's description of Bad Faith at the TIFF website sounds intriguing:

Monia (Sonja Richter), a rather strange young woman who may be in the midst of a nervous breakdown, walks alone through the streets of a Gothenburg. Walking past a sinister alleyway, she sees a badly injured man struggling to breathe. The man’s been dispatched by the Bayonet Killer, a murderer who’s been plaguing the city for the last couple of months. Monia is immediately plunged into a mystery only she and the strangely solicitous and philosophical Frank (Jonas Karlsson) seem to care about. As Monia stumbles on one killing after another, she confronts a shady hoodlum (Kristoffer Joyner) who, rather suspiciously, seems to be at the scene of every crime.

With Bad Faith, Swedish director Kristian Petri intelligently riffs on the history of the suspense film, deftly combining its highs and lows. On one hand, the film offers up a gloss on giallos – the lurid, visually stylized, Italian-thriller form popularized by Mario Bava and later by Dario Argento. At the same time, Petri and his collaborators make reference to the most cerebral and self-conscious mysteries ever made, from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up to Paul Verhoeven’s international breakthrough, The Fourth Man. Like Verhoeven’s underrated classic, Bad Faith is propelled by the characters’ awareness that they’re caught in a narrative they should recognize but refuse to – a conflict which allows for ample amounts of suspense and for a very sly comedy.

Central to the film’s success is our suspicion that Monia isn’t playing with a full deck. As she grows more and more obsessed with the murders and her daily life crumbles around her (she hides in her apartment for weeks on end), we begin to question her sanity and, by extension, the rules and assumptions of the genre which she inhabits. It’s a genuinely postmodern thriller, a sublimely funny movie that questions its characters mental soundness and our own addiction to narrative.


Posted by Geoff at 11:08 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
TIFF 2009 TIDBITS
DE PALMA AT TALENT LAB; LIKES FISH TANK; ALSO: NOE & EGOYAN


Brian De Palma was a surprise guest Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival's Talent Lab, which took place September 9-12. According to Catbird Productions' Twitter page, De Palma, actress Tilda Swinton, and director Scott Hicks all showed up on the last day of the lab, which offers development opportunities to up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers. De Palma has participated in the event a number of times over the years.

ANDREA ARNOLD'S FISH TANK AT TORONTO
According to the Globe And Mail's Johanna Schneller, De Palma liked Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (pictured above), which won the Jury Prize at Cannes earlier this year. The film stars Katie Jarvis, who had never acted before this, as a foul-mouthed 15-year-old who dances with headphones on and has a crush on her mom's boyfriend. The newcomer is said to have been approached by the casting director on a railway station platform. The trailer can be viewed here.

GASPAR NOE'S ENTER THE VOID AT TORONTO
Meanwhile, the Globe And Mail's Rick Groen reports that Gaspar Noé was excited to hear that De Palma was at the Toronto press screening for his latest film, Enter The Void, which features, we hear, the most extreme use of subjective point-of-view camerawork possible, moving from death to womb. Noé and De Palma shared an interesting link in 2002, when each of the films they released that year (Noé's Irreversible, De Palma's Femme Fatale), which were both made in France, featured Jo Prestia as a menacing rapist (although in De Palma's film, Prestia's character is no less than a tool used by the femme fatale to provoke Antonio Banderas' Nicolas into a rage). Here is what Groen posted on Saturday:

"Did you see Brian De Palma in the audience for my film?" The question bubbles up in a boyishly excited rush, which both charms and surprises me. That's because the questioner is French director Gaspar Noé, the last guy you'd expect to give a tinker's damn about the audience or anybody in it. His approach to filmmaking, in Irreversible and now again in Enter the Void, is, well, combative, assaulting us with triple-barrelled bursts of brutal imagery and fractured time-frames and kaleidoscopic effects. All sighted through his talented eye, the result is riveting to some and revolting to others. People get mesmerized by his movies, people walk out of his movies, and Noé has always seemed delighted with either reaction. Clearly, though, this is an exception: He wants Brian De Palma to have been there, and he really wants Brian De Palma to have stayed.

So Noé continues in the same bubbly rush: "Someone told me he was in the audience yesterday. At the press and industry screening. So I rushed over and looked at the seats but I couldn't see him." A pause, then he repeats: "Did you see Brian De Palma in the audience for my film?"

Okay, I was there, the theatre was maybe half-filled, and, since poor Noé seems on the cusp of imploring, I'd love to give him the right answer. But. "Um, sorry, I did not see Brian De Palma in the audience. But I was looking up, not around, and I've heard that De Palma, even when he doesn't have a film at the fest, has a history of coming to Toronto anyway just to watch lots of movies, so, you know, maybe he was there."

Noé, who spent several years raising the money for Enter the Void and two more years shooting and editing it and who doesn't yet have a North American distributor for his prodigious labour of love, tries to take heart from that "maybe." And who can blame him?

ATOM EGOYAN'S CHLOE AT TORONTO
The Film Farm, which announced yesterday that De Palma's Tabloid is currently on the company's production slate, produced Atom Egoyan's Chloe, which had its premiere in Toronto Sunday. The film is a "reinvention" of Anne Fontaine' Nathalie..., with an all new screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Fur), that is said to have more Hitchcockian overtones than the original film. Amanda Seyfried, who also stars in Jennifer's Body, is said to give a breakout performance in Chloe. She and De Palma were spotted by The Star's Rob & Rita at a Toronto party the other day.

OTHER DE PALMA SIGHTINGS
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Stephen Rea spotted De Palma "walking from one screening to another, and then later out in Yorkville, sitting on a rock in a pocket park in his trademark safari jacket, adjusting his iPod." Rea added that "De Palma is one of the fest's annual fixtures." The opening of Rea's post offers an interesting contrast of viewpoints:

Never mind health care, here's the real difference between the United States and Canada: Driving into the country from the States side of Niagara Falls, you pull up to the customs officer's booth; he asks you the purpose of your visit, and when you say you're covering the Toronto Film Festival, his next question is, "What's your favorite movie?" And then he tells you his (Raiders of the Lost Ark), and then he wants to know what's up with James Cameron's Avatar because he'd heard that it's going to revolutionize the moviegoing experience.

And then: What are you looking forward to seeing in Toronto? Are there going to be a lot of stars?

Somehow I can't picture the Homeland Security dude on my return through New York asking me if the new Pedro Almodóvar is as good as All About My Mother.

And finally, Bill Chambers of Film Freak Central tweeted yesterday, "I think I just pissed off Brian DePalma." After someone asked him for more details, Chambers wrote, "It might be too abstract to sum up in a tweet. I should add that my DePalma encounters are always fantastically unpleasant."


Posted by Geoff at 6:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:20 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 10, 2009
DE PALMA AT TIFF
WELL, OF COURSE HE IS
Looks like Brian De Palma is attending his favorite film festival again this year in Toronto. This photo of the director was taken in Yorkville, and posted today at The Hollywood Minute. Meanwhile, Johanna Schneller at the Globe And Mail, looks at the reasons various people have for attending the Toronto International Film Festival. For her own self, she writes that she is looking for the type of chance encounter she had at last year's fest when she met De Palma:

And for me? I'm looking, as always, for moments of truth. I'm hoping for a chance encounter that gives me goosebumps, as happened in my final TIFF screening last year, where the gracious man I chatted with turned out to be Brian De Palma. I'm hoping for that rare unguarded flash when an actor says something personal enough to reveal something universal - like the time Dustin Hoffman said of his children leaving home for university, "Nobody tells you about the empty bedrooms," and his eyes filled with tears. (I can't tell you how many people I've mentioned that to when their kids fly off, and it's utterly true.)

I'm hoping for a film that makes my hair stand on end, and for a collection of them that shows us where we are as humans. So far, the ones I've seen are suffused with a sense of loneliness, of people fighting very hard simply to get by. Maybe it's just my state of mind (and credit-card bills).


Posted by Geoff at 6:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2009 6:13 PM CDT
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Friday, September 12, 2008
REPORT FROM TALENT LAB
DE PALMA GIVES "SOLID ADVICE" TO YOUNG FILMMAKERS
Tom Quinn reports that he was honored to be "the first American filmmaker to take part in the Toronto International Film Festival Talent Lab" last week. Quinn provides details of all the guest speakers at the Lab, including Brian De Palma. Of the latter, Quinn writes:

Brian De Palma kicked off the week by reminding us to always be assertive; to seize every opportunity. He spoke of meeting young filmmakers who complained about their lack of money and studio attention, or worse, filmmakers who did not take charge of their own careers. De Palma feels that breakthroughs in video technology over the past 10 years has erased any lingering excuses. "If you can’t go get a digital camera and get some actors together," he asked, "why are you here?" However, his best advice was regarding clear communication on set. "Be careful," he told us, "Not with what you’re saying, but what they’re hearing. Red to one means blue to another." Solid advice.


Posted by Geoff at 7:53 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 12, 2008 7:59 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 7, 2008
Holland & Koepp Nest Fest Reviews
GENOVA EVOKES ROEG'S DON'T LOOK NOW
Willa Holland is pictured here at last night's premiere for Middle Of Nowhere, one of two features she has premiering at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. We haven't seen any reviews yet for that film, but Michael Rechtshaffen at the Hollywood Reporter has filed a review of Holland's other Toronto film, Michael Winterbottom's Genova. While Rechtshaffen does not single out any specific evaluation of Holland in his positive review of the film, he does mention "fine performances," and states that Colin Firth is "well-cast." More interestingly, Rechtshaffen writes, "With Italy providing an evocative backdrop, not to mention an unsettling vibe that intentionally evokes Nicolas Roeg's 1973 classic, Don't Look Now, the tautly-choreographed, effectively acted film shouldn't have any trouble finding a distributor despite the generally downbeat tone." Interesting that the film stars Firth and evokes the Roeg film with its Italian setting, because Don't Look Now was one of the reasons Brian De Palma wanted to make Toyer, which was to star Firth, in Venice. There are many (including myself) who still hope De Palma's Toyer will get made someday.

KOEPP COMEDY A MODEST AFFAIR
Screen Daily has filed the first review of David Koepp's new film, Ghost Town, which premiered a couple of days ago at the Toronto fest. Calling it "a minor studio comedy," the review states that Koepp "has a light touch with the comic material and actors, and there's a sweetness to the supernatural storyline that gives the film its heart." Jeffrey Wells writes elsewhere that Ghost Town is "a playful mainstream studio wanker that has no business being in Toronto, really, except to satisfy the ambitions of its distributor, Paramount Pictures." Koepp collaborated with De Palma on a trio of films in the '90s: Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible, and Snake Eyes.

LINKLATER PRESENTS A "DAZZLING" WELLES
Also of interest at Toronto, Richard Linklater's Me And Orson Welles has been reviewed by Screen Daily's Allan Hunter as "a sweetly entertaining putting-on-a-show period drama that celebrates a defining moment in the life of American theatre and one of its most iconoclastic stars." Hunter is particularly taken with Linklater's casting in the role of Orson Welles, writing:

If you are going to make a film about Orson Welles then you need an actor who can provide a brilliant impersonation of this colossus of the New York stage. They have found such an actor in Christian McKay who gives a superlative performance. He captures both the look and sound of Welles, convincing in every aspect from his sing song cadences to the mischievous twinkle that dances in his eyes. It is a performance that achieves the same kind of verisimilitude and depth that earned Philip Seymour Hoffman plaudits and a Best Actor Oscar for Capote.


Posted by Geoff at 4:10 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 7, 2008 5:02 PM CDT
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