Just Got Home from TIFF! So Many Movies, So Little Time! But Here's My Best of the Fest! 


The Toronto International Film Festival is regarded as one of the premier stops for the film industry on their road to Oscar glory. Hollywood and independent cinema converge to showcase their movies.

Luckily, I was invited to partake in this year’s festivities. From one-on-one interviews with film directors and movie stars to late night screenings of their respective work, I was there to witness it all. Here are the movies that are creating major buzz in the film festival we know as TIFF.

“Anna Karenina” (Release Date: Nov. 16 -- limited)

Keira Knightley shines in the title role based on the beloved Leo Tolstoy novel. The actress reteams with her “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement” director, Joe Wright, for this visually dazzling spectacle. Jude Law co-stars as Anna’s husband, Karenin, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”), adapts the book. Watch out for this movie that features the many facets of love. (Video interviews to follow soon)



“Cloud Atlas” (Release Date: Oct. 26)

Tom Twyker (“Run Lola Run”) and the Wachowskis (“The Matrix Trilogy,” “V for Vendetta”) attempt the nearly impossible by turning the unadaptable novel of David Mitchell into a fully realized cinematic work. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant help to realize the filmmakers’ dream.



“End of Watch” (Release Date: Sept. 21)

David Ayer, the screenwriter behind the Oscar-winning “Training Day,” returns to write and direct one of the best films of 2012. “End of Watch” ditches the corrupt cops theme featured in “Training Day” and focuses instead on the trials and tribulations many police officers face in their line of duty. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena mesmerize as young LAPD officers patrolling the dangerous streets of South Central. I’ve never felt this intense in watching a movie since “Silence of the Lambs.” (Video interviews to follow soon)



“Hyde Park on Hudson” (Release Date: Dec. 7)

Bill Murray triumphs as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this political dramedy about how hotdogs bridge the gap between the U.S. and the U.K. The King of England (King George VI from “The King’s Speech”) visit the President of the U.S. to ask for help in his country’s war against Germany. It’s a weekend full of politics, sex, and laughter that culminates in a picnic featuring hotdogs, green salad, and strawberry shortcake. Laura Linney stars as Roosevelt’s 5th cousin and paramour. Watch for the scene-stealing Olivia Williams as the feisty Eleanor Roosevelt. (Video interviews to follow soon)



“Looper” (Release Date: Sept. 28)

In 2005, writer/director Rian Johnson helmed a smoldering film called “Brick” featuring a then-untested movie star named Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Seven years later, the director and the actor reteam for this brilliant sci-fi flick about time travel co-starring Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Paul Dano.



“Seven Psychopaths” (Release Date: Oct. 12)

Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken star in writer/director Martin McDonagh’s clever crime comedy. This one is an homage to writing embodied by Farrell as a writer trying to finish his screenplay called “Seven Psychopaths.”



“The Impossible” (Release Date: Dec. 21)

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star in this gripping true-to-life tale about a family caught in the mayhem of the deadly 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. The lead stars make this Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Orphanage”) film a truly indelible, incredible experience.



“The Master” (Release Date: Sept. 21)

Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer/director who gave us one of the best films of the last decade, “There Will Be Blood,” returns to capture humanity’s blind acceptance of idolatry masquerading as hope. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix marvel as the master and servant, respectively, in this challenging but thought-provoking movie that may or may not be about Scientology. There are many tenets of the controversial religion in the film but Anderson’s work will not spoon-feed the answers to your nagging questions.



“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Release Date: Sept. 21 – limited))

By now, it’s cliché to say the best coming-of-age movie but when it comes to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I honestly mean it. Author Stephen Chbosky adapts his own work and steps behind the camera to direct Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman in this fantastic film about the grueling 1,305 days of high school. The ensemble is in top form, the narrative is intriguing, and the film’s goal is commendable. (Video interviews to follow soon)



“The Sessions” (Release Date: Oct. 26 – limited)

Ben Lewin’s film, which won the Special Jury Prize and Audience awards at this year’s Sundance, makes a splash at the Toronto International Film Festival. This is based on the autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet, Mark O’Brien (played in the movie by John Hawkes). He’s 38, confined to an iron lung, and gosh darn it, he wants to lose his virginity. A priest (William H. Macy) and a sex therapist (Helen hunt) offer to help O’Brien achieve his vision.



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Winners of the 69th Venice Film Festival 


GOLDEN LION for Best Film to PIETA by Kim Ki-duk (Republic of Korea)

SILVER LION for Best Director to THE MASTER by Paul Thomas Anderson (USA)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE to Paradies: Glaube by Ulrich Seidl (Austria, Germany, France)

COPPA VOLPI for Best Actor to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix
in the film THE MASTER by Paul Thomas Anderson (USA)

COPPA VOLPI for Best Actress Hadas Yaron
in the film LEMALE ET HA’CHALAL by Rama Bursthein (Israel)

MARCELLO MASTROIANNI AWARD for Best New Young Actor or Actress to Fabrizio Falco
in the films BELLA ADDORMENTATA by Marco Bellocchio (Italy) and È STATO IL FIGLIO by Daniele Ciprí (Italy)

AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY to Olivier Assayas
for the film APRES MAI by Olivier Assayas (France)

AWARD FOR THE BEST TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTION (CINEMATOGRAPHY) to Daniele Ciprì
for the film È STATO IL FIGLIO by Daniele Ciprì (Italy)

• LION OF THE FUTURE – “LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS” VENICE AWARD FOR A DEBUT FILM to KÜF (MOLD) by Ali Aydin (Turkey, Germany) VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM CRITICS’ WEEK
as well as a prize of 100,000 USD, donated by Filmauro di Aurelio e Luigi De Laurentiis to be divided equally between director and producer

• ORIZZONTI

ORIZZONTI AWARD FOR BEST FILM (full-length films) to
SAN ZIMEI by Wang Bing (France, Hong Kong)

SPECIAL ORIZZONTI JURY PRIZE (full-length films) to
TANGO LIBRE by Frédéric Fonteyne (France, Belgium, Luxembourg)

ORIZZONTI YOUTUBE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM to
CHO-DE by Yoo Min-young (South Korea)

EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS 2012-EFA to
TITLOI TELOUS by Yorgos Zois (Greece)

GOLDEN LION FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT 2012
to Francesco Rosi

JAEGER-LECOULTRE GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER AWARD
to Spike Lee

PERSOL AWARD
to Michael Cimino

L’ORÉAL PARIS PER IL CINEMA AWARD
to Giulia Bevilacqua

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Fall 2012 Movie Preview -- Which Films Am I Dying to See This Awards Season?  


Summer blockbusters are gone and now it's time for our fall movies otherwise known as the awards season. Which films am I dying to see? Save the dates, here we go.

SEPTEMBER 14

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER -- One of my favorite movies this year arrives in limited release. This one stars Emma Watson aka Hermione from the “Harry Potter” series.

FINDING NEMO 3D – Yes, one of the best Pixar films will swim again, this time in glorious 3D.

THE MASTER – Joaquin Phoenix returns with help from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Thomas Anderson, the director who gave us the memorable, seminal movie, “There Will Be Blood.”

SEPTEMBER 21

END OF WATCH – Jake Gyllenhaal marvels in this film from “Training Day” director David Ayer.

DREDD 3D – This is not your Sylvester Stallone version.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE – Clint Eastwood dumps the chair and goes back to acting.

SEPTEMBER 28

HOTEL TRANSYLVANNIA – Check in at this wonderful animated tale.

LOOPER – Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars with Bruce Willis in this sci-fi action tale involving that most precious time.

OCTOBER 5

FRANKENWEENIE – Tim Burton and animation? I’m there!

TAKEN 2 – Liam Neeson returns to kick major booty in this sequel.

OCTOBER 12

ARGO – Ben Affleck stars and directs this movie. I see Oscars!

OCTOBER 19

ALEX CROSS – Tyler Perry ditches Madea for this action flick. Can he make it as an action star?

KILLING THEM SOFTLY – The Weinstein machine is already lauding this as a contender! Oh yeah, Brad Pitt is in ther too!

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 – Yes, I’m a fan of this franchise.

OCTOBER 26

CLOUD ATLAS – The Wachowskis return for this intriguing film starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

NOVEMBER 2

WRECK-IT RALPH – John C. Reilly provides the voice of the bad guy in a classic game who really just wants to be a hero. The trailer looks good!

FLIGHT – Denzel Washington stars as an airline pilot who saves a plane from crashing. But did he really help? Robert Zemeckis returns to directing a live-action film after experimenting with those animated films that looked creepy.

NOVEMBER 9

SKYFALL – Get your martinis ready, James Bond aka Daniel Craig returns for his third adventure. I’m curious to see how Sam Mendes will do as an action director.

LINCOLN – I love Daniel Day Lewis and I can’t wait to see him as our beloved 16th president. Steven Spielberg is directing so you know, this will all be emotional with lots of pathos.

NOVEMBER 16

ANNA KARENINA – The buzz is this is a great film! Keira Knightley returns to the loving arms of her “Atonement” director, Joe Wright, for this umpteenth adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel. Jude Law is in there too!

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 – As if I have to remind you that the final film of the franchise is finally arriving! The big question – will Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson do the promotions together? What is Taylor Lautner thinking about all this drama? Do you even care or you just want to end this series now?

NOVEMBER 21

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

This film is not even shown but it's already set to receive the Hollywood Animation Award at the 16th Annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards. Based on the novel by William Joyce, who also co-wrote the screenplay with David Lindsay-Abaire ("Rabbit Hole"), this DreamWorks Animation spectacle features the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, and Dakota Goyo.

DECEMBER 7

HYDE PARK ON HUDSON – Okay, I can’t wait to see Bill Murray as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt! Bring it on!

DECEMBER 14

LES MISERABLES – Get ready musical fans! Cameron Mackintosh brings his super-successful stage musical to the big screen with help from the Oscar-winning director of “The King’s Speech.” I love this musical, and I’m thrilled to see Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cossette), Russell Crowe (Javert), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier), and Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier).

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – The prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” will rule the world!

DECEMBER 25

“Django Unchained” – Get ready for a bloody Christmas with help from Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio. Oh yeah, Jonah Hill, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson are in the film too!

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"Twilight: Eclipse" Director to Do Disney's "Matched" 


I still believe that "Twilight: Eclipse" is the best of the franchise, and that's thanks largely to director David Slade who also gave us "30 Days of Night." Now, according to Heat Vision, Slade is jumping from one novel to another novel, albeit Young Adult novel this time. The director has been tapped by Disney to helm the studio's big screen version of "Matched." Yes, this one is dystopian love story.

Ally Condie wrote the book and her idea for "Matched" came in 2008 when her husband asked her, "What if someone wrote the perfect algorithm for lining people up, and the government used it to decide who you married, when you married, etc.?". Condie was also inspired by a time when she chaperoned a high school prom and other experiences such as falling in love and becoming a parent." (Source: Wiki)

Michelle and Kieran Mulroney of "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" wrote the script, and Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot are producing.

I think Slade can do teen angst AND action, so he should be just fine helming "Matched."

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Wachowskis Talk "Cloud Atlas" and Lana's Gender Reassignment  


The Wachowskis are back in the limelight promoting their intriguing new movie "Cloud Atlas." This is the first time the siblings appear in front of the cameras together after Lana (previously Larry) decided to go on with her gender transition. More power to her!

The New Yorker paints a humanizing portrait of the siblings, and tells the story of Lana's gender reassignment. "For years, I couldn’t even say the words ‘transgendered’ or ‘transsexual," Lana said. "When I began to admit it to myself, I knew I would eventually have to tell my parents and my brother and my sisters. This fact would inject such terror into me that I would not sleep for days." Read the whole article here where you'll learn about the making of "Cloud Atlas" and much, much more!

And thanks to our friends at The Hollywood Reporter, here's the video of the Wachowskis (Lana and Andy) and director Tom Tykwer (their co-director for "Cloud Atlas").



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