A couple of little news stories came out recently. Earlier this year Jessica Yu won Best Documentary for her film PROTAGONIST, which was also nominated in the Best Movie category, but she already has another film in the can, this one a narrative comedy called PING PONG PLAYA. Some of us caught this one in Toronto last year, while still more of us hopefully got a peek at the IFFB this spring. Now the rest of you can enjoy this because IFC has bought the U.S. rights and plan to give the film a limited release this fall.
Outfest 2008 announced its award winners last night, and XXY, their international winner is a must see according to Bruce. The best documentary award goes to SEX POSITIVE, which Jason gave a good review to when it played the IFFB. The oustanding U.S. dramatic feature went to Tom Gustafson's WERE THE WORLD MINE, recounting an all-boys production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Scot enjoyed WERE THE WORLD MINE, but I found it to be pretty disappointing, with a pretty bland and uninteresting protagonist. Just goes to show, your mileage may vary!
Beth, you picked the right movie, but not the right night! Paul Gross' PASSCHENDAELE will open this year's Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 4. Gross, well-known to American audiences for his roles on television's "Slings & Arrows" and "Due South," and to Chlotrudis members for his roles in the films WILBY WONDERFUL and MEN WITH BROOMS, directed, produced, and stars in this historical romantic drama set during World War I. Gross plays Michael Dunne -- a man injured in France who comes home to Calgary. However, a romance with a nurse inspires him to go back to France to protect her younger brother, who is embroiled in the third battle of Ypres, otherwise known as Passchendaele.
TIFF traditionally opens with a high-profile Canadian film. Last year Jeremy Podeswa took the coveted spot with his FUGITIVE PIECES. Gross' PASSCHENDAELE will make it two historical drama in a row. Beth had pegged this film as the festival closer, with Egoyan's ADORATION as a possible opener. This is the first announcement for this year's festival which runs September 4 - 13. The official website for this year's festival will go live on June 27th. Thanks to Cinematical for the tip!
So a lot has already been said here and here about BLINDNESS, the new film due out this year by Fernando Meirelles, adapted from a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Jose Saramago. Lots of people are looking forward to Meirelles' follow-up to CITY OF GOD. Others are excited about Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, or Gael Garcia Bernal, three of the more well-known cast members. Of course, Chlotrudis is all over BLINDNESS because it was adapted for the screen by our pal, and Chlotrudis Advisory Board member, Don McKellar, who also appears in the film, as does our other Canadian pal, Tracy Wright!(And to sweeten the Chlotrudis punch just that much more, it also features appearances by Sandra Oh, Maury Chaykin, Martha Burns (form "Slings & Arrows"), AFTER LIFE's Yusuke Iseya, Susan Coyne (also from "Slings & Arrows"), and Chlotrudis Award winner Nadia Litz! What more could you possibly ask for?
How about a creepy trailer? While you're vibrating with anticipation about everything I just told you, take a peek at the trailer for this film which is due to open this fall in the U.S. Originally we had thought the film would premiere at Cannes (and it still might) but it sure looks like they're setting it up for Toronto as well. Whooee! Wouldn't that be fun?
This Top 10 is from one of our newest members, Toni Pennacchia of Spoiler Alert Radio/MergingArts Productions.
Top Picks (there are still many great films that I have not seen):
- The Orphanage
- Just Like The Son
- At Night (this is lower on the list only because it is a 40 minute short – it was nominated for the Oscar Live Action shorts and is in the vein of Lars Von Trier’s minimalist melodramatic films…)
- Man From Earth
- The Lives of Others
Scot, Bruce and I are fortunate enough to be in Miami for the Miami International Film Festival. The weather is gorgeous, the movies have been pretty interesting; some hite, some misses, and the company has been delightful. The Festival itself is well-attended, which is great, but unfortunately it's pretty disorganized. I'm not sure if that's the norm, or unique for this year. It's rather surprising considering the festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You'd think by now they'd have it down.
At any rate, between the beach, the restaurants and the movies, there has been surprisingly little time to do much blogging, but I am going to try and at least review my films here over the next few days. I'd also like to mention seeing Patricia Clarkson and Chris Cooper at a Q&A for their film MARRIED LIFE. Believe me, if I could have chatted with Ms. Clarkson personally, I would have extended that Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony invitation! No such luck.
More soon. That's a picture of Scot on South Beach taken last Friday, by the way.
Chlotrudis members TC Kirkham and Kim Brown make up the internet broadcasting duo Popcorn 'n Roses. They recently sent out a press release announcing their individual Top 10's of the year that I have included here.
With most critics' lists praising such films as "No Country For Old Men", "Juno", and "There Will Be Blood", the two year-end top films lists coming from film website Popcorn N Roses may prove to be a refreshing change of pace. Popcorn N Roses has always marched to their own beat.
The husband and wife team of Popcorn N Roses webmaster TC Kirkham (the "Popcorn") and regular site contributor Kim Brown (The "Roses"), who are also the hosts of the website's popular weekly movie podcast, Subject:CINEMA, have compiled their own lists as a precursor to their annual year-end awards, The Poppies and Rosies, now in their third year.
Kirkham and Brown pride themselves in trying to represent the average film fan, rather than the usual critic's point of view. Their previous awards have been considered refreshingly different by many film fans in view of the similarity of other critics' lists year in and year out.
The lists are in alphabetical order.
TC's Baker's Dozen - The Best Movies of 2007
Across The Universe
Air Guitar Nation
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
The King Of Kong - A Fistful Of Quarters
Man In The Chair
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Wristcutters: A Love Story
The Best Movies of 2007
Kim Brown, Popcorn N Roses/Subject:CINEMA
This marks the first year that Popcorn N Roses has released their year-end lists before the announcement of the annual awards.
Launched in 2005, Popcorn N Roses is an entertainment news and views website and blog, focusing on the coverage of both mainstream and independent films. The site also produces the weekly podcast Subject:CINEMA, rated as one of the top 20 film and tv podcasts on Podcast Alley, which will celebrate it's 100th show in late February 2008. Subject:CINEMA is heard by an average of 10,000 fans per month on the Podshow and Blubrry podcasting networks, and can also be accessed from the Popcorn N Roses website and the PNR MySpace page (http://myspace.com/popcornnroses). Popcorn N Roses also maintains the internet radio station Marquee Mix, which celebrates it's second anniversary on January 15 2008.
Our New York Board Member, and movie reviewer extraordinnaire, Bruce Kingsley, has a Top 10 that represents film from all over the world. Many of the films that are truly in his Top 10 for the year were films that he saw at film festivals and have not yet received theatrical distribution. He has removed these films from the list and only included films that have had theatrical runs.
- The Lives of Others, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany
- Away from Her, directed by Sarah Polley, Canada
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, directed by Julian Schnabel, France
- Lars and the Real Girl, directed by Craig Gillespie, USA
- Protagonist, directed by Jessica Yu, USA
- I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, directed by Ming-liang Tsai, Malaysia
- Charlie Wilson's War, directed by Mike Nichols, USA
- The Wayward Cloud, directed by Ming-liang Tsai, Taiwan
- The Case of the Grinning Cat, directed by Chris Marker, France
- Killer of Sheep, directed by Charles Burnett, USA
Board member Hilary Nieukirk submits her Top 10 for 2007 and discovers that it was a year of "Pauls" for her.
Margot at the Wedding
For me, this year was All About the Pauls. Longtime indie crush Paul (ALL THE REAL GIRLS) Schneider gave two great Supporting Actor turns: LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD.
Paul Dano, my One to Watch for the past couple years, showed that he's the real deal in THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Dano held his own against manic, scenery-devouring Daniel Day-Lewis, even briefly gaining the upper hand, until his milkshake fell victim to draiiiiiiiin-age in the much-discussed/much-debated ending of BLOOD. (Did that sound straight out of an Oz episode or what? Yikes.)
Today the Boston Society of Film Critics announced their awards for 2007. Awards season has begun with a vengeance, with announcements for the Independent Spirit Awards, National Board of Review Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association already released, and the Golden Globe nominees coming next Thursday. Here in Boston, our critics followed the lead of the NBR by selecting the Coen Brothers' NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as their top film of the year. I guess the most surprising thing for me here is the hometown allegiance to GONE BABY GONE, and more particularly, Ben Affleck. I haven't seen the film, so I probably shouldn't comment, but I find it hard to believe (from what I've heard) that he's deserving of the Best New Filmmaker Award. Here's the complete list:
Frank Langella for STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
Marion Cotillard for LA VIE EN ROSE
Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan for GONE BABY GONE
Julian Schnabel for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
Brad Bird for RATATOUILLE
Janusz Kaminski for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
Best Foreign-Language Film
Best New Filmmaker
Ben Affleck for GONE BABY GONE
Best Ensemble Cast
The Boston Society of Film Critics is a group of 18 film writers who publish in the Boston area, including several friends of Chlotrudis including Ty Burr, Peter Keough, Loren King, Wesley Morris, and Gerry Peary. I wonder if their meeting today was as fun and/or contentious as our upcoming Chlotrudis Awards Nominating Committee Meeting which will take place on Saturday, January 19.