Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Toronto Day One: Creation, The Informant!, Jennifer's Body

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 11, 2009 at 1:38AM

The reason why film festivals pick movies like Creation for opening night is that they have all the right credentials: respected producer (Jeremy Thomas) and director (Jon Amiel) and two major stars (Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly) willing to show up for the gala TIFF screenings and party. But Creation was DOA tonight.
8
Thompson on Hollywood

The reason why film festivals pick movies like Creation for opening night is that they have all the right credentials: respected producer (Jeremy Thomas) and director (Jon Amiel) and two major stars (Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly) willing to show up for the gala TIFF screenings and party. But Creation was DOA tonight.

Flat, dull, and painful to sit through, Creation brings none of the excitement, energy and radical thought that went into Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. I'm sure that book was difficult to write, but that's not what we want to see in a movie about Darwin. Put some exotic exploration, science and ideas up there! Let him debate his theories with his friends, religious wife and minister, not mope around looking for a water cure and imagining his dead daughter. This movie bears all the earmarks of a group of people trying not to churn out yet another biopic, desperately searching for drama and conjuring up nothing but flapping boredom. The actors do their best. This is a question of how writer John Collee (Master and Commander, which featured Bettany) conceived and structured the material. Bill Condon's Kinsey tackled a similarly tricky subject with far more inventive flair.

Thompson on Hollywood

Set in the early 90s, Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! is a slightly sour comedy that launched in Venice and screens in Toronto September 11 in advance of WB's release September 18. Imagine that Matt Damon's character in the Oceans series--the slightly dim, hard-working guy everyone likes to kid--is the star of a comic version of The Insider, only instead of being smart and tortured about doing the right thing, like Russell Crowe's Jeffrey Wigand, this guy is a doofus, a buffoon, a bumbling idiot.

Based on the true story of Archer Daniels Midland exec Mark Whitacre, a whistleblower for the FBI who saw himself as a secret agent hero but at the same time liberally skimmed millions of corporate funds for himself, The Informant! is a smart, witty comedy that makes fun of dim-witted bipolar midwesterners. This is not one of those movies where the clever young hero outwits the corporate villains. While Soderbergh paints a nasty picture of ADM, The Informant! left a bad taste in my mouth. Warners says the movie is tracking well for a strong opening, but I can't imagine that moviegoers between the coasts are going to warm up to it. I hope I'm wrong: Soderbergh needs a commercial hit.

Thompson on Hollywood

Jennifer's Body is great fun. It's exactly what it sets out to be: an unpretentious send-up of coming-of-age horror movies with a delicious lesbian edge. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried strike just the right tone as two best buds, one hot and popular, the other nerdy and cute. (In real life, Fox is more uptight about screen nudity than Seyfried, who bares all in Chloe.) When Fox absorbs a nasty demon with a thirst for human blood, Seyfried has to deal. Like most studios, Fox is wary of marketing a smart horror comedy (after all, look at what happened to Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell). Producer Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody delivered a red band trailer (below) that captures the tone of the movie, but Fox went ahead with a straight-ahead horror take. I have to think that audiences will sniff this out.

UPDATE:The movie might have been better served by Fox Searchlight (whose now defunct sister-division Atomic developed this property.) Tracking is not good for Jennifer's Body to open big. It may be too late by the time Fox hosts the season opener of Saturday Night Live September 26, with an appearance by U2.

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Studios, Stuck In Love, Reviews, Marketing, Steven Soderbergh, Toronto, Period, Horror , comedy, Biopics, Warner Bros./New Line, Twentieth Century Fox, Diablo Cody


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH