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Toronto Watch: Learning from Cannes, Venice and Telluride

Toronto Watch: Learning from Cannes, Venice and Telluride

Heading to Toronto, movies are seeking a fall media platform, or Oscar credibility, or a distributor, or both. The Toronto Star polled attending media on their best picks. There’s plenty of info out there to help make choices among the hundreds of pics on display, especially from the key fests Cannes, Venice and Telluride. Here’s a Guide.

Cannes Must-Sees:

Steve McQueen’s The Hunger (IFC) is simultaneously horrifying and beautiful.

Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir (SPC) is the first animated feature doc.

Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad and the Weird (IFC) is a kimchi western homage to Sergio Leone.

Steven Soderbergh’s Che is shorter by 17 minutes (about four hours) and will soon land a distrib.

Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, starring Michelle Williams as a vulnerable woman on the road who loses her best pal, her dog Lucy, is being released by Oscilloscope.

Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, is an ingenious ensemble puzzle starring the always riveting Philip Seymour Kaufman.

Venice Info:

Two films heading from Venice to Toronto are a tad tarnished by mixed reviews. Former Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu writing partner Guillermo Arriaga’s The Burning Plain was financed by 2929 Entertainment and is seeking a distrib. Variety’s review reveals that Babel writer Arriaga is very much a rookie director. Here are different takes from the UK’s Guardian and Telegraph. UPDATE: And Time’s Richard Corliss drops the Oscar word.

The Coens’ much-anticipated follow-up to No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, is also so far not getting raves. But it’s still at the top of my must-see list, and could well be commercial. Here’s Variety’s review. And the NYT profiles the Coens.

Telluride Must-Sees:

Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments, which Sony Pictures Classics will acquire, if I know Tom Bernard and Michael Barker, before it gets to Toronto is being chased by several art-house distribs. There’s an international version that is 21 minutes shorter, but I would vote for every second of the movie I saw, which is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time. It’s a masterpiece.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire will be a huge hit across all audiences (Searchlight).

Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky stars the winning Sally Hawkins, who does irritate some people. (Miramax)

Philippe Claudel’s I’ve Loved You So Long stars Kristin Scott Thomas in a makeup-free, tour-de-force performance, in French. (SPC)

Paul Schrader’s Adam Resurrected, starring Jeff Goldblum in the role of a lifetime, is seeking a buyer. UPDATE: Here’s Todd McCarthy’s review.

Lots of other pics are getting screened beforehand. Toronto critic Peter Howell got a gander at an early screening of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. UPDATE: Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married is a return to form for some, an annoying version of Margot at the Wedding for others. (As someone who liked Margot at the Wedding, I’m somewhere in the middle; the acting is superb.) I’ve spoken to two people I trust who have seen Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler; it appears that my hunch that Mickey Rourke will be in the running for award season kudos was correct.

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