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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    REVIEW | Uneven But Charming, "Informant!" Works On Basic Level

    With "The Informant!", Steven Soderbergh enforces a happy-go-lucky sensibility not unlike the hyperbolic punctuation in its title. Transporting the agreeable flow of his "Ocean's" series to a company espionage setting, the director turns a rather dry true life story of company conspiracies, embezzle...

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    REVIEW | Succeeding On Her Own Terms: Samantha Morton's "The Unloved"

    Actors directing features at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival tackled wildly different material, but each displayed an attempt to try something ambitious. Maybe hanging around in front of the camera engenders a desire to figure out its boundaries, or perhaps veterans of the set simp...

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    Werner Explains It All: 10 Herzogian Insights

    Werner Herzog has been the subject of much curiosity at the Toronto Film Festival. He has two films - both centered around policeman - screening at the festival in "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" and "My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done." The former received considerable media attention...

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    REVIEW | The Horrors of Bearing Witness: Lu Chuan's "City of Life and Death"

    War movies produced by commercial film industries have a tendency to show any given conflict not as it is or was, but as the side footing the bill for the film would like for it have been. The essential moral irony of war — that acts that would be considered revoltingly inhumane if committed in the...

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    Harmony Korine: "I'm not going to lie and say that I don't like provoking an audience"

    "I was inspired by the idea of finding an artifact found in an attic or a videotape buried in a ditch," "Trash Humpers" director Harmony Korine said in Toronto, about his latest film. "I wanted to create something that was more like a feeling. I had to close my eyes and allow myself to get to a plac...

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    cinemadaily | Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Diablo Cody and Tom Ford at TIFF

    From the many films at the Toronto International Film Festival, some have more buzz and eyeballs purely because of who is involved with them. This cinemadaily focuses on three buzzed-about films from this year's festival. Former Gucci fashion designer, Tom Ford, was at the festival with his first ...

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    REVIEW | Depth in Beauty: Tom Ford's "A Single Man"

    Directed by former Gucci creative director Tom Ford, "A Single Man" has a few of the qualities you’d expect from a fashion designer’s first film. On a superficial level, nearly every frame is highly styled to the point where it would not seem out of place printed in Italia...

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    Chaos & Claustrophobia: Toronto '09 titles from "Lebanon" to "Collapse"

    Stuck in basements, tanks and various landscapes of inescapable desolation, I will fondly remember this year's Toronto International Film Festival as a procession of utter despair. From the first press screening last Thursday night of Lu Chuan's "The City of Life and Death," an unsparing black-and-white epic about the 1937 Nanking massacre, which largely forgoes character development for lots of carnage, to Jean-Luc Godard's 1-minute fittingly titled "Un Catastrophe" - a meditation on love and war tucked away in the experimental Wavelengths program (available for viewing here, what began as a curious trend slowly became a kind of obsessive se...

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    Tom Ford: "This is the thing I've done in my life that I'm the most proud of."

    "No matter how much you love something, there are those moments where you think, 'shit, maybe I'm just way out on a limb and other people aren't going to feel this way'," Tom Ford said yesterday regarding his film "A Single Man." "But then after the screening in Venice, we had a standing ovation for...

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    REVIEW | Norton's Dual Role Salvages Nelson's "Leaves of Grass"

    2009 is starting to look like The Year of the Dual Role, with the stars of three major festival films acting opposite themselves as Patty Duke-esque physical copies with polar opposite personalities. In "Leaves of Grass," Edward Norton plays classically dissimilar twin brothers –– Brady is id, Bill is superego –– who come together after a long stretch of estrangement. Norton’s dual characterization and Tim Blake Nelson’s slight-of-hand staging is more seamless and convincing than the similar tricks employed by actor Michael Cera and director Miguel Arteta in Toronto premiere "Youth in Revolt," but even with scads of overwritten philosophicall...

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