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Toronto Winners and Losers

So far, the big winner on the fall fest circuit, based on critical, audience and exhib reaction, is Slumdog Millionaire, the pic that Warners let get away.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2008 8:11 AM
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Toronto Wrap 2008: Best to Worst

With Toronto over and a slew of post-fest deals still rolling out, here's a wrap-up of what I saw and learned:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2008 6:39 AM
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Toronto Watch: Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow is one of those directors--not unlike Steven Soderbergh, Spike Lee and Darren Aronofsky, who also have films in the Toronto Fest-- who has more talent and style and smarts than she does strong commercial sense. But perhaps because she was ready to prove her mettle, she went against the grain and did her own thing with The Hurt Locker, financed independently, and delivered her best and most accessible movie, an Iraq War thriller which could break out tough guy Jeremy Renner as a leading man.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2008 8:07 AM
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Toronto Watch: Burn After Reading Press Conference

The Coens amuse me. So do their press conferences. They perform a little tap dance with journalists, who after all are trying to write something about their movie. Saturday's Burn After Reading press conference wasn’t as jammed and enthusiastic as you might expect with Brad Pitt there.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2008 8:04 AM
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Toronto Watch: Wrestler Screens Well

Buyers packed into Toronto's Elgin Theatre Sunday night for the North American premiere of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which arrived at the Fest with a Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival. Aronofsky tried to cool the crowd down, saying, "There's no way we're going to live up to that hype. It's a gentle, small film." French sales company Wild Bunch believed in the film, he said, and if any North American buyer "is interested, I have a phone number for you afterward."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2008 7:36 AM
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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.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2008 7:28 AM
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Toronto Watch: Actresses Weisz, Hawkins, Williams Will Pop

Given the hundreds of movies unspooling in Toronto, key press in LA and NY are getting a head start on some of the screenings that will get piled up there. It's impossible to see everything.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 27, 2008 5:38 AM
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Terror's Advocate: Barbet Schroeder Talks

Barbet Schroeder is one of those brainiac filmmakers, like Werner Herzog, who moves effortlessly between docs (General Idi Amin Dada), features (Reversal of Fortune), studios (Murder by Numbers) and indies (Barfly), in whatever country (Maitresse) or language (Our Lady of the Assassins) that suits him. He's a global opportunist. And like Herzog he's not a bad actor; he does a memorable cameo in Darjeeling Limited as a bemused auto mechanic.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 7, 2007 7:39 AM
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TIFF: Audience vs. Critics

Three tracks of movies screen in Toronto: high-brow innovative cinema to intrigue critics and cinephiles, movies with news content for the hungry media, and pics that wow the film fans in theaters. The most fortunate--breakouts like Jason Reitman's Juno, Joe Wright's Atonement, Craig Gillespie's Lars and the Real Girl, and Sean Penn's Into the Wild--do it all.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 12, 2007 8:20 AM
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TIFF: Atonement, Elizabeth: The Golden Age

It was a Working Title double-header today. First, the Oscar contender: Atonement is breathtakingly assured. During Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice, I smiled at the screen with pleasure. He took you through these people's rooms, their lives, their conversations, hopes, dreams. He made you care about them. The emotions were believably large within an intimate space. He didn't let the moviemaking overwhelm the story, he kept the cuts coming, moving fast, the dancing was spectacular. It felt modern, up-to-date, not stuck in some deadly stuffy period past. And Keira Knightley gave a winning, Oscar-nominated performance. (Here's her interview in the London Times.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2007 8:24 AM
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