Greg’s 2010 TIFF Report: Day 3

I high-fived the Energizer Bunny today.

Day three at TIFF and I have big plans! Take a guess on what usually happens when I have big plans. If you guessed “Everything works out perfectly!” then you’re a moron. If you guessed, “A hell of a lot went wrong” then you get the prize of a side of breakfast sausages. I told you it was the year of pork.

The first movie I planned on catching today was called Never Let Me Go and starred Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley. I needed to be down at the theatre by 9:30am. I woke up at 9:41am. Gold. So, that didn’t work out. However, since I enjoyed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so much on Sunday night, I decided to catch part 2 of the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire. This was even better than the first one. I liked it quite a bit. It was directed by Daniel Alfredson. How that guy manages to captain the Ottawa Senators and make a movie at the same time is beyond me. That’s some good multi-tasking. In part two our Girl takes on more wife-beaters, rapists and sex traffickers. She uses an axe at one point. I love this girl. Obviously, there’s much more to it, but if you haven’t read the books or seen the first movie then I do not want to spoil it for you. Go watch the movies.

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Greg’s 2010 TIFF Report: Day 2

Question: What do a Hobbit, a girl named Annie, and a TV show that no one knows anything about have in common?
Answer: They all played a part in the 2nd full day at TIFF this year.

My day started the same way everyday at TIFF starts. Snoring myself awake. That’s a talent. Believe me. After an hour of lying there, partially dreading my upcoming day, I pulled myself together and hit the road.

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Greg’s 2010 TIFF Report: Day 1

Listen. You smell that? Smells like TIFF. Get your party hat on and play your kazoo cause it’s time for a celebration. A celebration of film, food, idiots, crazies, celebrities, fuckhead volunteers (not you Jill) and daily offerings. It’s the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and this year is my anniversary. Year 15! I’m fairly certain that the gift for a 15 year anniversary is pork, so yes, I will have that extra side of bacon.

For those of you new to this, I spend a week and a bit in Toronto for the film fest and write a daily blog of what I see on the screen and on the street. For those of you who aren’t…well, welcome back. Hope you enjoy your stay.

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Best of the Decade #9: The Departed (2006)

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As Sean alluded to in another post, I seem to have had a big impact on this list. After I suggested that this film belonged on the list to the other members of Film Junk, it was thrown into the mix. We voted and presto-change-o it’s our number 9 on our Best of the Decade list. Yes, The Departed.

Based on the Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs, The Departed has a killer concept. Matt Damon plays Colin, a police officer in the state of Massachusetts who is actually a mole for Boston crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). As Colin rises through the ranks of the police force, he tips Frank off along the way and keeps his real boss out of the hands of the law. Colin, however, isn’t the only rat. The police have their own mole in Frank’s crew: Billy, played by director Martin Scorsese’s favourite son, Leonardo DiCaprio. Before long, the proverbial shit hits the fan and everyone figures out that there is a mole on each side and Billy and Colin begin dissecting the information to try and figure out who the other mole is.

For me, The Departed is an incredible achievement in filmmaking. A fast-paced thriller, a character-driven drama, a police procedural (I love those) and much more. With an epic cast of DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson and Martin Sheen, Scorsese adds to his career making style of crime dramas. With Academy Awards for Best Picture, Writing, Editing and Adapted Screenplay, this critically acclaimed film has earned its place as one of the best of the decade.

Check out previous entries from our Top 20 Films of the ’00s.

Best of the Decade #14: Zodiac (2007)

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David Fincher’s true crime masterpiece about a serial killer that terrorized Northern California throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s may very well be one of the best police procedural dramas of all time. Film Junk’s Best of the Decade #14: Zodiac.

Starring an incredible ensemble cast of Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Jake Gyllenhaal and Chloe Sevigny, Fincher puts forth a film of immaculate detail and an endless investigation that became an obsession of many of San Francisco’s media and law enforcement members.

At a running time of almost three hours, Zodiac follows the steps of the reporters and beat cops through the investigative process. They try to figure out the randomness of the murders and why the killer sent confessions and cryptic clues to the newspapers.

As the killer collects more victims, James Vanderbilt’s screenplay becomes that much more riveting. Fincher films some death scenes that are gut-wrenching to watch and it all builds up to an ending that is both satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time.

After a career of Se7en, Fight Club, The Game and Panic Room, David Fincher knows suspense and if you’re a fan of any of these then Zodiac belongs on your must-see list.

Check out previous entries from our Top 20 Films of the ’00s.

Best of the Decade #17: Let The Right One In (2008)

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From the outside, it’d be easy to judge this as just another vampire/horror movie, or worse, a foreign one. To do that though, would be to dismiss one the best finds of the decade and to overlook a remarkable film. For its originality and elegance, Let the Right One In makes it into our Best of the Decade.

This film takes the vampire genre to places that The Twilight Saga could only dream of. For starters: having the main characters be a 12-year old boy and a very old vampire stuck in the body of a 12-year old girl.

Director Tomas Alfredson shoots this film like a quiet drama; the music is low, the colour scheme is mostly white and blue with a touch of red, and the child actors are remarkably subdued. When the scenes of violence occur, it is quite terrifying and almost unexpected.

Let the Right One In is more than just a Swedish horror movie and it deserves all of the recognition that it gets.

Check out previous entries from our Top 20 Films of the ’00s.

Best of the Decade #19: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009)

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Metal On Metal
It’s the Only Way
To Hell With Tomorrow
Let’s Live For Today

That in a nutshell describes Anvil. The 35 years that Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner have been living that mantra is what gives Anvil! The Story of Anvil an unmistakable charm and a spot on our Best of the Decade list.

Sacha Gervasi’s inspired and impressive direction re-introduces the world to two 50-year-old Canadian rock almost-legends. It’s a documentary that is full of surprising heart. You can’t help but root for these two. They’re just that nice.

One can’t imagine seeing all of their peers move forward and make huge successes of themselves, while they still struggle to fill a local sports bar. Why did the Scorpions, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake become worldwide successes? Why didn’t Anvil? No one seems to know. Not Anvil. Not Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Not Lars Ulrich from Metallica. Not Lemmy from Motorhead. All of them say Anvil was an influence and deserved much better than they got. Yet, Lips and Robb push on and continue to rock and live the dream no matter how bad the tour is, how undersold the venue is, how their style of music just gets passed by.

Early on in Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the band plays a show in a venue that can hold thousands for just under 200 people. The movie closes with Anvil playing a similar show as part of a rock festival at 11:30 in the morning. Is it a different outcome? Watch the movie. What you get out of it from Gervasi and the band is that it doesn’t really matter, as long as they live life to the mantra of “Metal on Metal”.

Check out previous entries from our Top 20 Films of the ’00s.

Vin Diesel Quits ‘XXX’. The World Remains Silent

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After returning to the Fast & the Furious franchise it had looked like Vin Diesel was going back to the XXX franchise as well, but that has all changed. 

An article on Cinefools.com says that Vinny has pulled out of XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.  I would think this will be very bad as it follows on the heels of original director Rob Cohen (The Fast & the Furious, XXX) pulling out as well and little known filmmaker Ericson Cole stepping in. 

Details for Diesel’s departure have not been released.  What does this mean for the XXX franchise?  I, personally, have seen XXX nor it’s Ice Cube sequel.  I suppose they could go ahead with another actor.  What do you think?  Should they bother and would it make any money anyway?

Update: Breathe easy folks, it looks like this rumour has been debunked.

Robert Redford has his ‘Conspirator’

Good news for history buffs as Robert Redford’s next directing gig will start shooting this week and he has rounded out an impressive cast.

According to Variety, the Conspirator, which is about the aftermath of the Abraham Lincoln assassination, will star James McAvoy, Robin Wright Penn, Tom Wilkenson, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, and Kevin Kline.

Wright Penn plays Mary Surratt, the only female charged in the conspiracy to kill the president, and McAvoy plays Frederick Aiken, the war hero assigned to defend her. Wilkinson will play Reverdy Johnson, the former attorney general who as a U.S. senator is the mentor to the young lawyer and sympathetic to Surratt. Wood plays Surratt’s daughter, Anna, and Kline plays Lincoln’s War Secretary Edwin Stanton. Bledel plays Aiken’s wife, Sarah Weston.

No word if there will be any flashback scenes with Lincoln and his killer John Wilkes Booth or if they will mention that Abe Lincoln  ranked number one in U.S. Presidents with awesome facial hair and facial warts.  The Conspirator will hit theatres in 2010.

Chris Pine To Become Jack Ryan?

Apparently, I’m all about the Chris Pine news this week.

It’s been 7 years since we’ve seen CIA analyst Jack Ryan on the big screen, but our wait may finally be over.  Variety is reporting that Paramount is in talks with Mr. James T. Kirk to reboot the franchise based on Tom Clancy’s novels.

Although talks have just started, it is expected that Pine will sign up.  The studio and producers are working with a new, original script by Hossein Amini (Four Feathers, Killshot).

It’s still pretty early and it’s unsure if the franchise will get going before or after Pine stars in the next Star Trek film.  Pine would be the fourth actor to play Jack Ryan behind Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford and my personal favourite Alec Baldwin.

Are you pining (hardy har har) for a new Jack Ryan film?

‘Captain’ Lou Albano – 1933-2009

It’s a sad day in the entertainment world as one of it’s most colourful characters has passed away.  ‘Captain’ Lou Albano was 76.  

While some know him from his starring role opposite John Ritter in the 1992 hit film Stay Tuned and his many appearances as Mario in the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, others may know him from his portrayal of Cyndi Lauper’s Dad in the videos for ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’, ‘She Bop’ and ‘The Goonies R Good Enough’.  I, for one, will always remember him as one of the greatest wrestling personalities of all time.

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Chris Pine and D.J. Caruso To Counterfeit Money.

After working with Shia LaBeouf for a couple of films, D.J. Caruso could be set to helm a new film starring another young Hollywood hot shot, Chris Pine.

Variety reports that Paramount Pictures is trying to round the two of them up to begin production early next year on The Art of Making Money.  It’s the story of a fellow named Art Williams who was a small time thief who became an expert counterfeiter.

The film is based on a true story and can be found in the pages of the book titled The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten.

Pine, who is currently starring with Denzel Washington in Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, would play Art Williams. 

Caruso most recently directed Eagle Eye and Disturbia.