Tag Archives: Toronto International Film Festival

Juno: Marketing, The Dancing Elks And…Oscar?

As many have mentioned, Fox Searchlight might just reap gold with the possibly counter programming genius, that being the release of Juno in December when theaters are otherwise jammed with serious “awards films” and some movie goers simply want some diversion from the onslaught of There Will be Blood, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Kite Runner and No Country For Old Men. Not to disparage these films, of course. I’ve seen the Coen Brothers’ pic (genius), will be seeing Blood on Friday and am looking forward to seeing the others, but sometimes you need something….else. Juno fills the “funny and smart” niche to a T. You know what else? It’s also a bona fide Oscar contender for best original screenplay and has an outside chance at best actress, as well. I’ll definitely continue to be watching and posting on the awards buzz for this and the rest of the “contenders” as the winter unfolds!
Word of mouth on this film is overwhelmingly positive and so far it has an 81 on Metacritic but it ain’t just the critics who are pushing this pic. While the film is indeed worthy of praise (but there are two critics on the Metacritic list I am ashamed of agreeing with…guess who!) the studio has been pretty smart in building buzz at fests, in part by employing local teams of “Dancing Elks,” dressed like Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) the progenitor of the “sea monkey” (Juno’s phrase, not mine!) being carried by the title character. They even hand out orange tic tacs, a favorite of Bleeker’s. No one knows what’s going on, so of course they ask and then are intrigued. Seems to be working at the three places I’ve seen it, Toronto, AFI and Denver. I wonder what they made of it in Thessaloniki and Gijón?
After the jump, some pics from Toronto, AFI and Denver:

Continue reading Juno: Marketing, The Dancing Elks And…Oscar?

Assassination Of Jesse James: Masterpiece

The first masterpiece of awards season has just screened for the press here in Toronto (after premiering in Venice) and it is Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I have to run into another screening right now, so more on this astonishing film later.
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Shortbus Opens In NYC

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People, I cannot urge this enough. Shortbus opened in New York City today and I urge every one of you out there to go and see it, asap! Even the few pin-headed, racist, sexually uptight, reactionary, fundamentalist Christian douche bags that might stumble across my blog. Maybe this film will open up a new world for you and you’ll realize that singing sodomites are a wonderful thing.
The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis wrote a wonderful review of the film, which you can find here. Yes, that’s the same Manohla with whom I apparently almost had a flame war a few months back. What can I say, on that film we disagreed, on this one, we are on the same page…no Foley pun intended.
That said, TV Guide’s review while positive, has the most baffling lead I’ve read in a long time, and I quote:

A darkly comic trifle that follows in the footsteps of such films as Catherine Breillat’s Romance (2000), [Vincent Gallo’s] The Brown Bunny (2003) and Michael Winterbottom‘s 9 Songs (2004) by incorporating hard-core sex into a nonpornographic narrative.

Uh, ok. Except that the only thing Shortbus really has in common with those three films is genitalia. And “darkly comic trifle?” What does that even mean?
Shortbus is being released by ThinkFilm in New York City as of today, October 4th and in Los Angeles & San Francisco on October 6th. Make it a point to support the film on opening weekend and remember, we all get it in the end!


Other posts about of Shortbus:
The Rabbi Report’s TIFF Review: Shortbus
Tom Hall’s Back Row Manifesto…TWHiii nails it once again: Toronto 2006 | Ideas And Liberation
The Rabbi Report:
Shortbus Party At Cannes – 1st Video Blog
2nd Shortbus Cannes Video – Shoo Bee Doo Bee Doo Wop!
3rd Shortbus Cannes Video – Ça Plane Pour Moi!
Final Shortbus Cannes Video – Wig In A Box


Photo © Think Film Company Inc.

My TIFF Reports For E! Online

As at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, I was recently contracted by E! Online to provide some reportage from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and filed two weekly dispatches from the Fall’s major kick-off event.
The first dispatch is called North Country and it runs to a 2nd page, so click the link at the bottom.
The second piece is called Toronto to Tango and it too runs to a 2nd page.
UPDATE: Apparently when E! Online redesigned their website, all archived stories, 10 years worth, were jettisoned, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Below, a pic I snapped at the Sarasota Film Festival party. L to R: NewFest honcho Basil Tsiokos, Bahamas International Film Festival chief Leslie Vanderpool and indieWIRE.com Ed-in-Jefe, Eugene Hernandez
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TIFF-Summercamp! Party

Some pix and movie clips from the party for Sarah Price and Bradley Beesley’s TIFF doc Summercamp!, hosted by SXSW and Orchard Pictures in which the Flaming Lips provided some fantastic entertainment while we the guests made s’mores around an open fire….in a parking lot!
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Sarasota Film Festival director of programming Tom Hall doing an insouciant “fuck you” (right) while Summercamp! co-director Sarah Price blows the doors off the sexy meter in her Mae West (left). Producer Diana Williams just looks bemused.

Continue reading TIFF-Summercamp! Party