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Several unspoken-for films came into this year’s Toronto International Film Festival determined not only to find a distributor, but to set a 2014 release date. In the case of Still Alice, the touching drama of a woman’s descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, that plan worked spectacularly well. It had a stirring world-premiere screening on Sept. 8 in a less-visible afternoon slot at Tiff and quickly sparked Oscar buzz for star Julianne Moore, a four-time nominee who has never won.
Sony Pictures Classics presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard quickly recognized the kind of role that has Oscar written all over it, and two days later the picture sold to Spc (which, despite having its largest slate of Oscar hopefuls ever, still had an »
- Pete Hammond
The guy in the short-sleeved, striped button-down shirt certainly looks happy enough, playing the bass alongside his brothers and relatives, watching the kids dance to his band's hits about girls and cars and surfing. But something is clearly troubling the Beach Boys' singer-songwriter and resident musical genius Brian Wilson, and in the film Love & Mercy, the epiphany that will give birth to both creative heights and a descent into dark times is communicated in a few facial expressions. There's the silent look of dread on Wilson's face, as hears »
By Anjelica Oswald
The Toronto International Film Festival ends Sunday and hundreds of films have been screened since the 11-day festival began. Throughout the years, Toronto has featured a number of Oscar hopefuls that have gone on to Oscar success. Just last year, best picture 12 Years a Slave (2013) was shown at Toronto (along with a number of other nominees). Hoping for the same success, some Tiff films have been met with instant Oscar chatter this year. Here are the top 10 films to generate buzz coming out of Tiff:
10. Maps to the Stars — Julianne Moore’s role in David Cronenberg’s dark satire of life in Hollywood won her the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, but it doesn’t look like the role is being pushed towards an Oscar nomination. Though the film might not be heading to the Academy Awards, it has generated quite the »
- Anjelica Oswald
Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy is a game of two halves: the good half features Paul Dano, in an awards-calibre performance, as the young Wilson at the height of his powers, when he created his masterpiece Pet Sounds (released in 1966) as his psyche simultaneously began to unravel; the bad half features an inexplicably cast John Cusack as Wilson in the late ‘80s and early ’90s, when he was under the ‘care’ of the sinister Dr Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).
The film cuts back and forth between the Dano/Wilson era and the Cusack/Wilson era, rather than having them follow each other chronologically, which helps the weaker Cusack section to an extent by allowing it to not have to stand on its own for an hour or so. Dano does an outstanding job with his impersonation of the troubled genius, which is bolstered as well by his general resemblance to Wilson. »
- Ian Gilchrist
“Oh, the loneliness in this world / Well, it’s just not fair” “Lonely. Scared. Frightened.” If we take Bill Pohlad’s impressive Love & Mercy at face value – which is difficult to do with any biopic, particularly ones that are as complicated and complex as Pohlad’s feature – Beach Boy Brian Wilson wrote both of those lines during a fraught time in his life. The first lyric is taken from his song “Love And Mercy,” from which Pohlad’s film (obviously) takes its name, the second is scribbled on a note early in the feature. Both lines reflect the pain Wilson felt throughout his life, an emotional and mental ailing that eventually pushed the musical genius into a lifestyle that approached that of a recluse, a captive and a victim. The story of the Beach Boys proper has been put to the screen before, but Pohlad’s film (beautifully scripted by Oren Moverman and Michael A. Lerner) is »
- Kate Erbland
"Yes, I'm doing War and Peace," she told Radio Times.
The series will air on BBC One in 2015.
Paul Dano has also been rumoured to star as Pierre Bezukhov, the love interest of James's Natasha.
War and Peace is set in 1805 during Alexander I's reign, following five aristocratic families and Napoleon's invasion in 1812.
Speaking to Digital Spy and others at the Downton Abbey launch, she said of McShera: "I »
Toronto - One of the most original interpretations of the music biopic in recent years was 2007's "I'm Not There," in which no less than six actors played different versions of Bob Dylan. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film used the different actors as a way of getting to the essential truth about an artist renowned for reinventing himself. The co-writer of that film was Oren Moverman, and now he's the co-writer of "Love & Mercy," a beautiful new movie that once again refuses to fall into the formula that hobbles so many biopics of any kind. The cliches of the genre are so pervasive that Jake Kasdan's "Walk Hard" essentially destroyed the entire form for me. Ultimately, I think the best way to approach any biopic is to pick a moment that you feel illuminates the subject in a way that allows you to narrow in, focus, and tell »
- Drew McWeeny
The Beach Boys are one of my favorite bands of all time, and their seminal 1966 album Pet Sounds is also one of my favorite albums of all time, so I came into director Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy with high expectations and a certain degree of skepticism. As it turns out, the film is actually really good. Pohlad takes a non-traditional approach to the biopic genre by splitting the story between young Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) and older Brian Wilson (John Cusack), focusing on the creation of Pet Sounds and the troubled SMiLE in the Dano timeline and Wilson’s severe mental illness and abusive relationship with his caretaker in the Cusack one. Both actors rise to the challenge, with Cusack turning in his best performance in years, and Pohlad ends up crafting not only one of the more interesting biopics to come along in a while, »
- Adam Chitwood
The deal was announced at the Toronto Film Festival, three days after its premiere at the Elgin.
Variety’s Andrew Barker gave “Love” a strong review, calling it “a wonderfully innervating cure for the common muiscal biopic.”
CAA repped the North American rights.
News was first reported by the Deadline.com site.
- Dave McNary
For studios looking to buy at the Toronto International Film Festival, Chris Rock emerged a very hot property. The comedian’s Top Five sparked a bidding war, according to multiple reports, with Paramount emerging the victor and scoring the worldwide rights to the film, the studio announced today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio paid around $12.5 million for the film.
“Chris and I go back decades, both personally and professionally, and so I am particularly proud to have watched his career grow to its highest heights over many decades,” Paramount Chairman and CEO Brad Grey said in a statement. »
- Esther Zuckerman
A wonderfully innervating cure for the common musical biopic, Bill Pohlad’s “Love & Mercy” vibrantly illuminates two major breakthroughs — one artistic, one personal — in the life of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Certainly more conventional than Todd Haynes’ fractured Bob Dylan collage “I’m Not There,” but miles removed from the cookie-cutter approach taken by so many other rock bios, this finely crafted split portrait should win over music nerds skeptical of yet another complicated life being reduced to a series of highlight-reel moments, and provided more mainstream auds are willing to take the trip, Paul Dano and John Cusack’s expert performances should attract an appreciative reception.
Alternating back and forth in time, Pohlad and screenwriters Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner eschew a long-winded biographical approach in favor of two temporally specific parallel narratives. In one, roughly covering the period from 1965-68, Dano plays Wilson as he resigns from touring, »
- Andrew Barker
By Anjelica Oswald
The Toronto International Film Festival is known for showing some of the best films each year. Some of my personal favorite films have come out of Tiff, including Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).
Trying to narrow down a list of films I am most excited to see from this year’s Tiff is a difficult process. After all, there are 393 films being shown. Based on plot summaries, entertaining trailers and actors I admire, I’ve managed to pick 10 films I am hoping to catch once they are publicly released.
The Judge // Tiff Premiere: Sept. 4
Dir. David Dobkin
The film follows Hank (Downey), a Chicago lawyer, who returns to his small, Indiana town in the wake of his mother’s death to find his estranged father (Duvall) accused of murder. »
- Anjelica Oswald
As we look in the rearview mirror of the summer blockbusters, September heralds the start of the fall movie season. Filled with Hollywood heavyweights and A-listers, here’s our Big list of the most anticipated movies coming to cinemas this autumn and during the holidays.
Our exhaustive list includes films that are playing at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival as well the ones that already have a theatrical release date. With the awards season on the horizon, we also added a few bonus films at the end to keep your eye out for in the months ahead.
Pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper and get ready for Wamg’s Guide to the 100+ Films This Fall And Holiday Season.
We kick it off with what’s showing in Toronto at the film festival that runs September 4 – 14.
- Movie Geeks
Woody Allen’s back catalogue casts a long shadow across contemporary romantic comedy. His tropes and trademarks are as ingrained into the collective sense memory as mother’s perfume. At the first tremble of a clarinet, mutter about mortality or meander across a Manhattan neighbourhood, we inhale the nostalgia like Bisto kids. And arguably we’d never have met Harry and Sally, walked the Sidewalks of New York or dined alongside Friends with Money without his influence.
The Longest Week is peppered with Woody base notes. Over the course of seven days, Conrad (Jason Bateman) has been stripped of the safety net of his wealth and the cushion of his ego, moved in with his cynical best friend (Billy Crudup) and accidentally fallen in love with his girl (Olivia Wilde). His eventual dilemma – to be or not to be a better man – is as timeless as Annie Hall.
Now, to coincide with its DVD release, »
- Emily Breen
Jane Fonda: From ‘Vietnam Traitor’ to AFI Award and Screen Legend status (photo: Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda in ‘This Is Where I Leave You’) (See previous post: “Jane Fonda Movies: Anti-Establishment Heroine.”) Turner Classic Movies will also be showing the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony honoring Jane Fonda, the former “Vietnam Traitor” and Barbarella-style sex kitten who has become a living American screen legend (and healthy-living guru). Believe it or not, Fonda, who still looks disarmingly great, will be turning 77 years old next December 21; she’s actually older than her father Henry Fonda was while playing Katharine Hepburn’s ailing husband in Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond. (Henry Fonda died at age 77 in August 1982.) Jane Fonda movies in 2014 and 2015 Following a 15-year absence (mostly during the time she was married to media mogul Ted Turner), Jane Fonda resumed her film acting career in 2005, playing Jennifer Lopez »
- Andre Soares
Kelly Frye has signed on to play DC Comics character Plastique in the upcoming "The Flash" TV series on The CW. In the series she'll play a more heroic incarnation of the character, at least initially. Plastique (aka Sgt. Bette Sans Souci) was a bomb disposal expert in Iraq.
Following the accident that gave Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) his super speed powers, Bette finds herself with the ability to turn everything she touches into a bomb. She seeks Barry's help as nefarious U.S. government forces chase her down. [Source: E! Online]
War And Peace
James would play heroine Natasha Rostova, lover to Pierre Bezukhov (Paul Dano) an illegitimate son who rises in society. Andrew Davies ("Little Dorrit," "Pride and Prejudice") is writing the series. [Source: Yahoo ]
- Garth Franklin
In one of its most ambitious undertakings to date, the BBC is teaming with The Weinstein Company and Look Out Point to bring viewers a sprawling, six-part miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome War and Peace. Now, the pieces are falling into place for the series, with word that Lily James and Paul Dano are circling lead roles in the project.
Offers have been sent out to James, a rising star known best for her role as Lady Rose MacClare on the PBS period drama Downton Abbey, and Dano, who has been quietly building a reputation as a skilled character actor with parts in Little Miss Sunshine, Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave, among others. Though neither actor has been confirmed yet, James would take on the lead role of Natasha Rostova, who falls in love with Pierre Bezukhov, an awkward and illegitimate son of a wealthy Russian nobleman »
- Isaac Feldberg
It's probably not a total shock that a miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s doorstop "War And Peace" is being described as "the most ambitious event series ever made for the BBC." But it is interesting to see some of the actors being sought. Paul Dano and Lily James have been offered roles in the production, with the former eyed for "Pierre Bezukhov, the awkward illegitimate son who rises in society but leads a tumultuous life as he seeks to overcome his emotions" and the latter as Natasha Rostova, who falls in love with him. The plan is for this one to air in 2015 in the UK, so expect things to start coming together soon. [Deadline] Emile Hirsch has joined "Just Jim," the directorial debut of "Submarine" star Craig Roberts, who will also lead the film. The story follows "a teenage loser who life is turned around by the appearance of an enigmatic, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
She falls in love with Pierre Bezukhov, who Prisoners star Dano is in talks to play - an illegitimate son who rises in society.
Davies previously said of the project: "[It is] not just a great novel, it's a wonderful read and it'll make a wonderful serial.
"A thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life. The characters are so natural and human and easy to identify with, and Natasha Rostova just beats Lizzy Bennet as the most lovable heroine in literature. »
Though it has been adapted several times before, Leo Tolstoy’s huge tale of drama between aristocratic Russian families is once more the target of a TV project, this time a collaboration between the BBC and The Weinstein Company. Paul Dano and Lily James are mulling offers to star in the miniseries.Developed by the company behind Ripper Street and scripted by veteran novel adapter Andrew Davies, it will retell the sprawling story that's set in 1805 Russia and weaves between five rich families around the reign of Alexander I. James is being targeted to play Natasha Rostova, who falls for the wrong man – namely Dano’s Pierre Bezukhov, an awkward illegitimate son who spots a chance to climb society’s ranks but struggles with his hot temper. The actors would be playing roles originally tackled by Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda in the 1956 film version, so no pressure there, then. »
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