With a list of 29 contenders, Scott Feinberg is figuring 2010 is the best year ever for documentaries. The list of serious award contenders is much shorter, of course. The Tillman Story, Restrepo, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Countdown to Zero, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Smash His Camera, Waking Sleeping Beauty, Tabloid, Inside Job, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Freakonomics and two Feinberg didn’t mention — Werner Herzog‘s 3D cave-painting doc, and Thom Zimny‘s Bruce Springsteen doc, The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town‘?
What’s up with Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter slated for only one public screening at the Toronto Film Festival (Visa Elgin, Sunday, 9.12 at 9 pm) and, according to Hitfix’s Gregory Ellwood, no scheduled press screenings at all? What’s the point of bringing a serious film by a respected, brand-name director to a big festival like Toronto and then taking steps to limit access?
I have some nagging Toronto Film Festival questions about wifi. In my estimation TIFF has always been the least press-friendly festival in terms of wifi press lounges that are close to screening rooms, certainly compared to Cannes which has two wifi rooms inside the Palais. And from what I can gather so far things haven’t changed much.
No one will tell me, for example, if the TIFF Bell Lightbox will have any kind of wifi press room with desks and chairs and free cappucino, like the Palais does. Or, failing that, if the Lightbox will at least have accessible wifi for journalists wanting to file from somewhere within.
There will be a media lounge at the TIFF headquarters at the Hyatt Regency (370 King Street West), but this will only be open from 9 am to 6 pm. The two Cannes press rooms are open until 10 pm. Festival press rooms should ideally be open until midnight. Might as well make it 24 hours.
The bottom line is that people like me, as usual, will be scrounging around filing from Starbucks and wifi cafes. What a slog. As if covering 25 or 30 films within a nine-day period isn’t hard enough.
And what about a Toronto Film Festival iPhone app? Sundance 2010 had a great one. I searched around today and found nothing. There is, however, a Blackberry TIFF app. I’m told this is because BlackBerry is a major TIFF sponsor. So sweetheart kickback deals are what matter and iPhone owners can go suck on a lollipop. The fix is in.
Update: As the son of an alcoholic and one who had alcohol issues in the early to mid ’90s, I have an abhorrence for people who flirt with, invite and/or embrace destruction with alcohol. This was the basis of yesterday’s reaction to the ridiculous demise of Nicole John, the 17 year-old daughter of daughter of U.S. ambassador to Thailand Eric John.
Yes, it’s extremely “sad” when a 17 year-old girl kills herself through drug and alcohol abuse. I understand, rather, that saying “how sad” is the socially acceptable way of responding to such a thing. I for one find such stories (which do appear with some irregularity) infuriating. And I feel it would be far healthier all around if people were to agree that it’s a stupid and appalling waste to end your life at so young an age, however accidental, and to say so without reservation. Because it wasn’t “accidental” at all. She bought it.
I read Christina Boyle and Rich Schapiro‘s N.Y. Daily News account (dated 8.28) of Nicole’s blog statements, and I’m confident that it wasn’t made up. (The authors are staffers — they wouldn’t jeopardize their livelihoods by fabricating a blog of a deceased person.) She clearly had issues or at least serious concerns; she was clearly already on the road to drug-and-alcohol ruin. She had an ugly disease, and the disease ate her. So in this light her death shouldn’t be lamented, I feel, as much as condemned. It’s a cautionary tale.
It’s a sensitive issue for many, however, and I realized after an hour or so that I’d put too much of an edge on my initial statements. I could see from the responses that the thread was going downhill pretty quickly and not for the better. So even though I don’t think I felt or said “the wrong thing,” it seemed wiser to just drop it and move on.
Previous post: I could only roll my eyes as I read about the ridiculous demise of Nicole John, the 17 year-old daughter of daughter of U.S. ambassador to Thailand Eric John.
90 minutes before she fell 22 stories to her death, she posted a Facebook message saying she was totally bombed — “Losing track of the rounds…all a blur now.” 90 minutes later she took her shoes off and “stepped onto the ledge of a tony 25th-floor apartment on W. 34th Street,” a N.Y. Daily News story reports, and lost her balance and fell.
There’s a self-preservation instinct that even the dumbest alcoholics have when faced with obvious risks and threats. Even drunks with exceptionally low IQs know their motor skills are impaired, and that things like driving and tightrope-walking and using bows-and-arrows to shoot apples off the top of friends’ heads are stunningly stupid things to do when they’re wasted. What can you say about a party girl who couldn’t quite figure this out?
Stephen Frears‘ Tamara Drewe (Sony Classics, 10.8) was easily my most unpleasant viewing of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. So the trailer has done prospective viewers a favor, I feel, by explaining where the film is coming from. The narrator’s insinuating cornball tone should suffice. If not, the pissing cow will.
I described the film last May as “one of those satires of a form (i.e., romantic fiction) that doubles back and has it both ways by satirizing and playing it ‘straight,’ or straight enough so that romantic fiction fans can themselves double-track by enjoying the cliches at face-value while having a good laugh or snicker. Everybody wins…except people like me.
“Boiled down, Tamara Drewe is (a) a comedy by a hip director that’s aimed (whether its backers admit it or not) at older chump-level couples and intellectually-challenged women of whatever age who read fashion and gossip magazines, and (b) a glossy calling-card movie by a director who’s getting on and would like the producers of crap movies to know that he can do ‘obvious’ and ‘unsubtle” as well as the next guy.
“It’s important to absorb Tamara Drewe in the right ‘insincere’ context. It’s first and foremost an adaptation of Posy Simmonds‘ weekly comic-strip serial of the same name, which itself is a modernized, ‘insincere’ adaptation of Thomas Hardy‘s “Far From The Madding Crowd.” (Simmonds’ complete work appeared in hardcover in 2007.)
“Hardy’s novel was about three fellows vying for the affections of the beautiful Bathsheba Everdene (played by Julie Christie in John Schlesinger‘s 1967 film) — a brawny, whiskered man-of-the-soil type (Alan Bates), an older gentleman of property (Peter Finch), and a dashing mustachioed heartbreaker (Terence Stamp). A lot of horseshit happens, but she winds up with Farmer John at the end.
“Frears has the astonishingly empty and generally worthless Gemma Arterton playing Tamara Drewe, an updated Everdene who stirs the hearts and loins of three fellows when she arrives at a writers’ retreat in an English country village. (The film was shot in, around or near Dorset.) Tamara is a newspaper columnist who comes from the area, when she was mildly homely due to an enormous honker. Then she got a nose job, making herself into quite the beauty and yaddah yaddah.
“The Bates role is played by Luke Evans, the Finch role by Roger Allam, and the Stamp role by Dominic Cooper.
“All I could think as I watched was ‘what a piece of empty unfunny synthetic crap this is.’ The fact that it’s satirizing other works that are genuinely, sincerely and wholeheartedly crappy as opposed to being ironically crappy is of no interest to me. I only know that I was in pain.
“Frears is generally regarded as a first-rate director who lacks a particular visual or stylistic signature, and who goes where the material takes him. But I found it appalling nonetheless that the director of Bloody Kids, The Hit, High Fidelity, The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things, The Grifters, My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liasons and Prick Up Your Ears could make a film as icky and over-scored and postcard-vapid as Tamara Drewe, even with such values being rendered ‘in quotes.'”
The Last Exorcism (which I may see today, having heard it was worth it) is the weekend honcho, and yet down 22% from Friday and looking at a mere $22 million for the weekend — not much of a win. Second-place Takers went up 2% from Friday, looking at $20.5 million by this evening, or perhaps even $21 million. And the third-place Expendables is looking at a $9.5 weekend tally and an $82 million cume.
Fourth-place Eat Pray Love expects 6.8 to $7 million by tonight, and a cume of $60 million, but will probably hang in there with Machete and Resident Evil 4 being the only new films with any expected heat over the next 2 weeks. And The Other Guyss is fifth with an expected $6.5 million for the weekend and an overall $99.2 million haul.
Avatar: Special Edition only did $1.5 million yesterday (up 28% from Friday) for a likely $3.8 cume. (I decided to shine it after learning of the 16- or 17-minute longer version coming out in November on DVD/Bluray.)