Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Help (Book Review)

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Book: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Reason to read: July selection for the Book to Film Club

I'm trying to remember how I first heard about The Help and my memory is failing me. It's been a lock with the film club from early on as it's been very positively received and one of the few titles that had a summer release date (I really thought there would be more but I guess smishing robots and aliens kind of take over the screens). Because of it's huge popularity it took ages to get from my local library, but as luck would have it arrived just in time to start reading in July and captured my attention very quickly. I was worried about dropping the ball with my reading during July due to my recent move, but that turned out to be no worry at all as once I became quickly enraptured by the characters and their stories.

Set in 1960's Mississippi and told from the perspective of several different narrators, the film has a very unique tone & feel to it. The focus is on the lives of African American women and their experiences and challenges working as maids in white households, from caring for the children to cooking amazing-sounding food to dealing with racial tension at almost every step. That was one of my hesitations in reading the book, as prejudice of any kind gets me angry and sad about the whole world. But, one of my goals for the Book to Film Club was to encourage people to stretch their literary comfort zones, so it was only fair if I stretched mine as well. I'm glad I did as The Help deals with complicated, tense, life-altering and dangerous situations with tact, dignity and truthfulness at every step. The stories and characters felt earnest and rich, and I felt for them in their troubles and their triumphs. The book drew me in pretty quickly, but did take a bit to win me over, but when it did I was complete hooked and looked forward to any moment I could get back to reading it - and I finished it two whole weeks before schedule!

I'm really looking forward to the film and seeing the characters brought to life as they are what makes the book so special. I especially loved character interaction moments like seeing little Mae Mobley and seeing her through the eyes of Aibileen, or the awkward relationship between Minny and Celia. Because the film will certainly be condensed, I wonder what they will trim away. Considering the impressive casting of Aibileen (Viola Davis), Minny (Octavia Spencer), Skeeter (Emma Stone of Paper Man), Celia (Jessica Chastain from The Tree of Life) and Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard from Hereafter and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), I'm stumped at what they will let go of but I'm thrilled to see a strong female ensemble cast and to see a book and film filled with womens stories. The film adaptation is Adapted & directed by Tate Taylor (Pretty Ugly People) and will be released August 10, 2011. I'm really looking forward to seeing the adaptation.

If you haven't yet joined the Book to Film Club, you can join us at any time. Sign up for updates here. Our August 2011 book is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Book to Film Club July 2011: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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With the end of the month brings the time to reflect back on our book selection for the Book to Film Club!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Set in Mississippi during the early 1960s the centred on unlikely friendships and courageous women. That was the description I found when researching, but it's clearly to say it follows the lives of African American maids and the their experiences and challenges working in white households. The book has a unique narrative style of multiple narrators, which I quite enjoyed. The Help was easily one of the most popular & current selections in this years Book to Film Club as it took me quite a bit to get it from the library but thankfully it arrived right in time and I just flew through reading it even during the upheaval of my recent move. That's saying something!

Things to ponder on the book:

  • Did you enjoy reading it?
  • Was it what you were expecting?
  • What did you know about the book before reading it?
  • Did you enjoy the format?
  • What did you think about the writing style?
  • What did you take away from reading the book?
  • Is there anything you would change about the book?
  • Who would you recommend the book to?
About the upcoming film adaptation:
  • How do you feel about the casting of the film?
  • What do you hope to be the focus of the film?
  • What do you think is essential to keep from the book in the film?
  • What do you think they can trim away from the book to the film?
  • What do you think the challenges of the adaptation may be?
  • Do you have any hesitations on the adaptation?
  • What are you most looking forward to about the film adaptation?
If this was a re-read:
  • How did reading it this time compare with your previous time reading it?
  • Did you notice anything different this time round?
  • Did your interest and focus stay on the same characters and moments, or shift?
If you choose to shelf this out one:
  • Was there a barrier (genre, focus, time period, reception) ?
  • Would you consider trying it later?
  • Have you already read it?
  • Will you join us again in August for The Three Musketeers? (I hope you will!)
Book reviews from Book to Film Clubbers:
Shannon

Film Adaptation
The film Stars Emma Stone (Paper Man) as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen, Octavia Spencer as Minny, Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life) as Celia and Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly. Adapted & directed by Tate Taylor (Pretty Ugly People).
Film Release Date: August 10, 2011 (shifted to a Wednesday release date). See the trailer here

If you haven't yet joined the Book to Film Club, you can hop on the fun train at any time! Sign up for updates here. Our next book selection for August 2011 is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Story

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The Book I Am Number Four will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first book & film selection for the 2011 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club, and I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the film. I broke a few rules including it, like it being part of a series but some rules are meant to be broken and right now feels like the perfect time to enjoy the breaking of that rule because this week something new popped up for the series: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy was released earlier this week, exclusively in eBook format. The novella is from the character of Six's perspective and takes place before the event of I Am Number Four, and I am a huge fan of the character of Six (especially in the film), so I'm very curious to see what the novella will bring to the story.

You can also sign up for weekly updates with journal entries from the character of Sarah over at I Am Number Four Fans leading up until the anticipated release of The Power of Six on August 23, 2011. Lots of reading to dive into, which is always good news!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Dinocroc vs Supergator (DVD Review)

DVD review of the SyFy original film Dinocroc vs Supergator starring David Carradine
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Photo - Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Dir: Jim Wynorski (a.k.a. Jay Andrews) (Piranhaconda, Monster Cruise, Chopping Mall)
Cast: David Carradine, James C. Burns, Amy Rasimas, John Callahan, Lisa Clapperton
USA, 2010 (TV)

Reason to see: Monster versus films have become quite a favourite of mine.

I think I'm becoming addicted to monster vs monster movies, they are so much fun. Lots of chomping, bad lines and easy to understand set ups. Although, even after 3 watches of Dinocroc vs Supergator I have no clue which is the Dinocroc and which is the Supergator. Mind you, consider I've enjoyed the movie each and ever time, I'm not sure how much it matters (although my logical brain says the one with the little arms must be the dinocroc). If it helps, I can't tell a real croc from a real gator although I think it has something to do with the squareness of their mouth. Don't quote me on that.

Dinocroc vs Supergator has all the awesome marks you need for a great monster movie. You have a beautiful island setting, conflict between many of the characters from the evil money over morals folks and morals over money folk, scientists, and of course various form of law enforcement. One of the things I loved about the film was the ridiculously huge cast, which is often need when you have monsters that chomping people, and there is no short supply to choose from. I was particularly fond of the inclusion of such characters as a conservation officer Cassidy Swanson (Amy Rasimas), the big game hunter called simply "The Cajun" and of course David Carradine who plays the evil money man Drake with an awesome kick-ass right hand woman Victoria (Lisa Clapperton) who is ruthless and takes care of business.

There was a lot that feels familiar here from other film, particularly from The Lost World: Jurassic Park (#2 in that series), and they did film Dinocroc vs Supergator on some of the same gorgeous locations. Often that can pull me out of a film, but in here it's all good fun and recognizing the character types and conflicts just made it all the more enjoyable. There is lots of monster action, running away and general terror in the film that makes it a great popcorn movie. The film also has an awesome western-themed score that made me smile every time it played. If you like monster movies, especially monster versus movies, Dinocroc vs Supergator is definitely one to add to your collection.

DVD Extras:
  • Audio Commentary with executive producer Roger Corman and director Jim Wynorski (a.k.a. Jay Andrews) moderated by independent producer Perry Martin discussing how the film came together, locations for the film, relaying the story to the audience, strategies for independent filmmaking, the action/stunts done by the actual actors as well as locations and actions that couldn't be used for various reasons, casting actresses for the pretty girl roles, other films that shot on the same locations, including the reasoning behind which roles Roger Corman would pick to play himself, discuss casting & actors (including David Carradine) and discussing which effects should be real/practical vs CGI.
  • Trailer
Dinocroc vs Supergator is available on DVD as of July 12, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll happily watch it again (and already have)
I'd highly recommend it to monster and versus movie fans

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Film Fan Fridays for Friday July 29, 2011

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday July 29, 2011! It's another hot & sticky week here in Toronto and I know I'm tempted to cool off by swinging out to the theatre to check out the some films, especially as we have several summer science fiction options!

In limited release this week we have 2 acclaimed science fiction films hitting theatres including Sundance winner Another Earth and the UK block vs aliens film Attack the Block - which so many people I knew attended advance screenings and chatted about it on Twitter I thought it actually was released weeks ago! We also have the South Korean film Sunny / Sseo-ni and Canadian film Familiar Ground / En Terrains Connus from director Stéphane Lafleur is one that I have my eye on as I loved his film Continental, un film sans fusil / Continental, a Film Without Guns. We also have 2 documentaries this week with Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest and Life in a Day which is a unique social experiment to capture the day of day July 24, 2010 around the world. I'm quite curious about that one.

In wide release this week we have even more science fiction with the a western/sci-fi possible alien invasion mash up Cowboys & Aliens starring Daniel Craig (Casino Royale), Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy), Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano and Keith Carradine; directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf) and popping on and off of screens is The Smurfs in 3D with the Smurfs hitting the city in the combo live action/animation comedy. Rounding out the wide releases is Crazy, Stupid, Love a romantic comedy/ensemble cast film which I only started to hear about this week (!) which the stellar cast of Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and many more.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Friday July 29, 2011 Releases


Another Earth
Dir: Mike Cahill (Boxers and Ballerinas)
Cast: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, Flint Beverage
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Attack the Block
Writer/Dir: Joe Cornish - feature film directorial debut
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Luke Treadaway
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
Dir: Michael Rappaport - feature film directorial debut
Documentary on the band A Tribe Called Quest
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Cowboys & Aliens
Dir: Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Keith Carradine
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Crazy, Stupid, Love
Dir: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris)
Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Familiar Ground / En Terrains Connus
Writer/Dir: Stéphane Lafleur (Continental, un film sans fusil / Continental, a Film Without Guns) Cast: Francis La Haye, Fanny Mallette, Michel Daigle
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Life in a Day
Dir: Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play, The Eagle)
Documentary
USA
Limited Release
Film YouTube Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Smurfs
Dir: Raja Gosnell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Scooby-Doo (2002), Never Been Kissed)
Cast: Hank Azaria, Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, Paul Reubens, Kenan Thompson
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Sunny / Sseo-ni
Writer/Dir: Hyeong-Cheol Kang (Speed Scandal)
Cast: Ho-jeong Yu, Sim Eun-Kyeong, Hee-kyung Jin
South Korea
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page,

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of July 29, 2011**

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Source Code (DVD Review)

DVD review of the wonderful science fiction film Source Code from Moon director Duncan Jones, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga & Jeffrey Wright
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Image: Courtesy of eOne Films

Dir: Duncan Jones (Moon)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters
USA/France, 2011

Reason to see: After Moon, I will see anything and everything by Duncan Jones - especially if it's science fiction!

It was so exciting to finally see Source Code! I can't believe I missed it in the theatre, I'm trying to remember what was going on because it must have been rough for me to miss a Duncan Jones directing, Jake Gyllenhaal starring science fiction thriller which also has the amazing Jeffrey Wright and brillant Vera Farmiga in the cast. I mean, that's a recipe for delight for this science fiction fan.

One of the great things about Source Code is that it bridges the gap of science fiction, as I think it's totally accessible for the non-hardcore science fiction fans as well. It's got a great story & interesting ideas along with accessible characters who are on a interesing path. The great thing about the combination is that although we see the film play out with the choices of the characters within, it gives the audience the opportunity to step back and ask "What would I do?", "Would I go that far?", "Would I make that choice?" or even butt up against the options and think "No, I wouldn't go there". I'm not going to go into the details of the plot, because I think it's best to go in blind (as I did) and leave it that if you are interested in films based that will make you think about concepts, ideas and moral decisions - than Source Code is a film that you should see. If you are a science fiction fan that likes films based that will make you think about concepts, ideas and moral decisions - than Source Code is a must-see film. And stay away from trailers & spoiler-filled reviews if you can!

I also really enjoyed the performances here, Jake Gyllenhaal was great in the lead providing a depth of character with variety and believeability at every step. I always cherish getting to see Jeffrey Wright on screen and was fantastic as well, as was Vera Farmiga in a nicely understated and more subtle role. The film has a lot of heart in it, and with that you need people to connect to and it truly provides that. It's also clear from the DVD extras that the connection between the cast & crew members were very close and that brings and something a little extra special to the film as well.

It's very exciting to see science fiction of this ilk out there to be enjoyed by smart audiences who have a heart. I'm adding Source Code along to the ranks of The Adjustment Bureau & TRON: Legacy in a new wave of science fiction films that not only make you think but also make you feel. I loved Source Code and I'm completely ready for more films like this at any time. Or interval. Or pattern. Or...well, you get the idea.

DVD Extras:

  • Feature Commentary * with director Duncan Jones, writer Ben Ripley and actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Even though I'm really curious to listen to the audio commentary I decided not to listen to it right away as with this type of science fiction film that really makes you think, I really want to sit with my thoughts for a while before having it (possibly) definitively explained.
  • Cast and Crew Insights (11 Insight Segments, 35 minutes) film clips, interviews with director Duncan Jones, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michelle Monaghan and Russell Peters with discussions and explanations of different ideas & concepts in the film as well as characters, identity and journeys they go on in the film, working on the train, the actors describing what is Source Code and what they hope the audience will get from the film; plus heartfelt praise as they discuss working with director Duncan Jones and each other from the appeal to the process to the actuality, plus glowing recollections working with each other.
  • Focal Points (5 sections, 6 minutes) This is awesome! It's educational-style explanations of with the films relevant historical events and scientific concepts that are within the film, with simlified explanations. They all have a sweet, almost kitchsy factor to it. Brilliant idea and beautiful execution!
  • Access: Source Code Trivia Track * an optional way to watch the film with trivia that pops up intermittently on the screen throughout the film.
* you can play the film with both the audio commentary and the trivia track on.

Source Code is available on DVD as of July 26, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I can't wait to watch it again
I highly & widely recommend it

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Jake Gyllenhaal in SOURCE CODE. Courtesy of eOne Films


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Michelle Monaghan and Jake Gyllenhaal in SOURCE CODE. Photo credit Jonathan Wenk Courtesy of eOne Films

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VERA FARMIGA and JEFFREY WRIGHT star in SOURCE CODE. Photo Jonathan Wenk Courtesy of eOne Films

[REC] 2 (DVD Review)

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Courtesy of eOne Films.

Dir: Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza ([REC])
Cast: Oscar Sanchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso
Spain, 2009

Reason to see: I'm a huge fan of the original [REC]

I've been anxiously awaiting the release of [REC] 2 as missed it at TIFF Midnight Madness in 2009 - it was one of those evil festival scheduling moments of double-conflicts and you have to pick something. I didn't choose [REC] 2 at the time, which makes me sad as it would have been awesome to see it with a huge crowd. Luckily, it's still awesome at home on DVD with popcorn (although you might accidently knock it out of your hands in the scary moments).

I was wondering how the filmmakers would handle a follow up to a first-person found footage breakaway hit that [REC] was, but believe you-me, they found a way. I love it when that happens. It's so inspiring when people find a way to make it work. Like the first film, [REC] 2 is quite original, has great ideas, keeps you guessing and most of all has the ability to freak you right out! It sneaks in a survivalist sensibility and a conspiracy flavour as well as lots of blood to boot. The film has lots of great scares in this one that totally got me, and I was thinking to myself "Why am I watching this alone??". It will also be known as the first film I watched in my new apartment (again, what was I thinking!), and that hit the horror home as it's set in apartment building which just adds to the fun of the experience of watching.

If you like horror, that this definitely needs to be on your radar - but make sure you see the original [REC] first. In a time where sequels can be sorely dissapointing, [REC] 2 tips the scales back to bring us a film that is toe-to-toe in quality with the original. In fact, the two films together would be a spectacular double bill. How often can you say that? Not often enough, but they did it. A great acheivement.

DVD Extras:
  • Extended Scenes (2 scenes, 3 minutes) like many extended scenes in films I find these interesting to see but you can see why they were cut, in general they were more establishing characters and time, place and tone but no big scares here.
  • Deleted Scenes (3 scenes, 4 minutes) Some pretty cool deleted scenes, especially if you've also seen Quarantine, and also has some more scares and good tension which would have been fun to have in the film as opposed to just an extra. Well worth checking out.
[REC] 2 is available on DVD as of July 12, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it again
I recommend it to horror fans - but see [REC] first to enjoy it the most

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Andrea Ros, Alex Batllori and Juli Fabregas in [REC]2, Courtesy of eOne Films

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Oscar Sanchez Zafra in [REC]2, Courtesy of eOne Films

Life During Wartime (DVD Review)

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Image: Courtesy of eOne Films

Writer/Dir: Todd Solondz (Happiness, Storytelling, Welcome to the Dollhouse)
Cast: Shirley Henderson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Allison Janney, Ally Sheedy, Charlotte Rampling, Chris Marquette, Dylan Riley Snyder
USA, 2010

Reason to see: The trailer sucked me in every time & the cast is phenomenal.

Life During Wartime is the second film I've seen from Todd Solondz, the first being Storytelling, and I didn't put the two and two together until after viewing. In fact, I was intrigued by the film purely on the power of the trailer so I didn't dive into to research mode and therefore had no idea it was a part-sequel to Happiness, with different actors playing the same characters 10 years later. Retrospectively, I'm not sure would have wanted to see Happiness first and then this sequel-esque film as following the characters on the journey was a rough road, and I'm not sure I could do it for 2 films in a row. I will give that the formidable ensemble cast of Life During Wartime gave us strong and often vulnerable performances throughout the film, and I have to commend them for giving the audience their all.

In terms of theme, tone & story, the film is very dark, which which I had not anticipated. I was expecting quirky and keenly insightful, and although I think those are elements are present, they aren't are the forefront. The theme of forgiveness, especially the need, desire or request for forgiveness are very prominent and I honestly found that very challenging as it kept us with people that had done some pretty awful things. There was also a fair amount of questioning, confusion and vaguenss that felt like seeing the seeds of later dysfuction being sown right before our eyes, all due to the inability or unwillingness to have open conversations. That was tough to watch, especially because it felt so real.

Dark & questioning dramas often don't appeal to me, often because I have optimistic perspective and find it a challenge to stay somewhere so dismal for so long. But with Life During Wartime, I really feel like I was missing something, like I just wasn't 'getting' it. I did feel like it was making a statement, but I'm not sure what statement. Definitely something around forgiveness, and associated with the people who are the creators, recievers and surrounders of 'bad things', but I could feel it was something more. Any time I got a clearer idea of what it could be, I felt like I was misinterpreting. I'm usually quite a fan of seeing dysfunction families in film, but on this one I couldn't quite connect.

DVD Extras:
  • Cast & Crew Interviews (20 minutes) Split into 2 sections: The Cast of Life During Wartime (15 minutes) film clips and interview discussing their characters and their trials & tribulations and at time connection to the film Happiness; and The Cast and
  • Crew talk about Life During Wartime (5 minutes) film clips an interviews with cast & crew on the characters, their worlds, what the film is about and the possible interpretation or relationship to the characters in Happiness
  • B-Roll Footage (3 sections, 33 minutes) Quite lengthy amount of B-roll here, with different selections of from The Crew on Set of Life During Wartime (8 minutes), Actors & Crew on Location (22 minutes) and Puerto Rico (3 minutes).
Life During Wartime is available on DVD as of July 26, 2011.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I might give it another try
I'd recommend it as dark drama

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Paul Rubens as Andy and Shirley Henderson as Joy in Todd Solondz’s LIFE DURING WARTIME. Photo credit Francisco Román. Courtesy of eOne Films

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Ciaran Hinds as Bill in Todd Solondz’s LIFE DURING WARTIME. Photo courtesy of Francisco Román. Courtesy of eOne Films

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Movie Moxie Podcast 43: TIFF 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 plus One Month of DVD

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On this weeks episode of the Movie Moxie Podcast Shannon shares in the excitement of the press conference & first set of titles for the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, reviews Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2, celebrates her 1 year pod-o-versary and catches up with an entire months worth of DVD releases.






You can also subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here.

Time Coding
0:00 - 2:30 Intro
2:30 - 13:00 Selections from the TIFF 2011 Opening Press Conference
13:00 - 21:00 Looking at the TIFF 2011 Titles so far
21:00 - 29:00 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
29:00 - 33:00 Podoversary, Birthday-ness & Kung Fu Panda 2
33:00 - 49:00 One Month of DVD Release for all of July 2011
49:00 - 52:12 Outro

Show Notes:

TIFF 2011: Opening Night Film & First Set of Titles

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TIFF Director & CEO Piers Handling, TIFF Co-Director Cameron Bailey

Yesterday morning at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Opening Press Conference the first set of titles for this years festival were announced by TIFF Director & CEO Piers Handling and TIFF Co-Director Cameron Bailey (hear selections from the press conference here). The 36th TIFF will open with a new first, by opening with a documentary film for it's Opening Gala of From the Sky Down, a documentary on U2 from filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). Music documentary fans can continue to rejoice as with the announcement of Cameron Crowe's film Pearl Jam Twenty, for which they showed the trailer during the press conference and it instantly won me over.

I had no idea that they would show trailers at the press conference, and it was wild to be in the room and feel the reactions to not only Pearl Jam Twenty (see trailer), but also David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method (see trailer) starring Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Keira Knightly and it has that distinctly Cronenberg edge which is an interesting juxtaposition to it's historical setting. We also saw the trailer for Moneyball (see trailer) a based on a true story baseball film with Brad Pitt, The Descendents (see trailer) with George Clooney and Ronald Emmerich's Anonymous (see trailer) which follows the question of who really wrote the works of William Shakespheare. I'm quite excited to see Anonymous in the line up having talked about it over at Before the Dawn back in April I wasn't sure when it would pop up on the festival circuit or otherwise.

Literary fans will be happy with more titles on this years line up, and I jumped up a little bit in my chair when I heard the titles of a few contenders for the 2011 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club including The Hunter (from the Tasmanian gothic novel by Julia Leigh) starring Willem Dafoe and The Eye of the Storm (from the novel by Patrick White) directed by Fred Schepisi, a family in torment drama starring Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling. Both of these films are Australian, and I'm thrilled to see them as selections as I was secretly hoping they would grace Toronto screens this year.

I've got the full list of titles below, but the ones I'm particularly looking forward to at this years festival include Nicholas Winding-Refn's Drive starring Ryan Gosling, Luc Besson's The Lady starring Michelle Yeoh, Sarah Polley's Take this Waltz, Paddy Considine Tyrannosaur starring Starring Peter Mullan & Eddie Marsan, Lars von Trier's Melancholia, Steve McQueen's Shame, Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In, Madonna's W.E., Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, Martha Marcy May Marlene and especially the already mentioned Pearl Jam Twenty, The Hunter and Anonymous. It feels way to early to be nailing down which are must-see films, but I'm going to live in my dream world for now and say those are the ones I really, really, really want to see. The titles announced so far are from the Galas and Special Presentations programs.

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List of 2011 TIFF Titles Announced
See more information on films in the Opening Night Film and Line-Up of Galas and Special Presentations press releases

Galas


From the Sky Down
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about Irish band U2.

Twenty years after the release of U2’s Achtung Baby (1991), Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) charts this groundbreaking album with new interviews, stories and unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin. Now a key chapter in their career, Achtung Baby was in Bono’s words “the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree.”

Albert Nobbs
Rodrigo Garcia, Ireland

A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin’s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple’s impossible love, and Albert…a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone – by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years – ‘he’ is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she’s found a companion – but Helen’s eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.

Butter
Jim Field Smith, USA (World Premiere)

Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family’s reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race – one, her husband’s hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.

A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg, France/Ireland/United Kingdom/Germany/Canada (North American Premiere)

On the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross, a debauched patient who is determined to push the boundaries. In this exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.

A Happy Event
Rémi Bezancon, France (World Premiere)

She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms." "Why didn’t my mother ever tell me? Why doesn't anyone ever mention this?" A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.

The Ides of March
George Clooney, USA (North American Premiere)

The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate's shot at the presidency. Also starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Lady
Luc Besson, France/United Kingdom (World Premiere)

The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma’s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It’s a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi’s entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma’s national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.

Moneyball
Bennett Miller, USA (World Premiere)
Based on a true story, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.

Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
Bruce Beresford, USA (World Premiere)

Directed by two-time Academy Award nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award-winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award-nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance's breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. The film is a comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother's farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.

Take this Waltz
Sarah Polley, Canada (World Premiere)
Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.

W.E.
Madonna, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)

W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D’Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess’ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.

Special Presentations

11 Flowers
Wang Xiaoshuai, China/France (World Premiere)
Wang Han, an 11-year-old boy in the province of Ghizhou, is confronted by a runaway murderer hiding in the woods. The wounded man persuades Wang Han to help him out. Both frightened and fascinated, Wang Han and his friends promise to keep the man’s whereabouts secret from the police even when strange things begin happening at school. Stars Liu Wenqing, Wang Jinchun and Yen Ni.

50/50
Jonathan Levine, USA (World Premiere)

Inspired by personal experiences, 50/50 is a funny, touching and original story of friendship, love, and survival starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston. Written by Will Riser and directed by Jonathan Levine.

360
Fernando Meirelles UK/Austria/France/Brazil (World Premiere)

Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler's classic La Ronde, in 360, director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Peter Morgan combine a modern and dynamic roundelay of original stories into one, linking characters: from different cities and countries in a vivid, suspenseful and deeply moving tale of love in the 21st century. Starting in Vienna, the film beautifully weaves through Paris, London, Bratislava, Rio, Denver and Phoenix into a single, mesmerizing narrative. Stars Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Ben Foster.

The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius, France (Toronto Premiere)

Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star. The arrival of talking pictures will mark the end of his career. Peppy Miller, a young woman extra, becomes a major movie star. Starring Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell and John Goodman.

Americano
Mathieu Demy, France (World Premiere)

When Mathieu was little, his name was Martin and he lived in Los Angeles. Martin grew up and lives in Paris. When he loses his mother back in California, Martin must return to the city of his childhood to deal with the formalities surrounding his inheritance. Unable to face up to his mom’s death, Martin takes off to Tijuana on the trail of Lola, a Mexican woman he used to know, and who held a special place in his mother’s life. To make his own peace, Martin must delve into his past. Stars Salma Hayek and Géraldine Chaplin.

Anonymous
Roland Emmerich, Germany (World Premiere)

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage. Starring David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave.

A Better Life
Cédric Kahn, France (World Premiere)

Yann, a cook, and Nadia, a waitress and mother of nine-year-old child, decide to risk everything on the purchase of a restaurant. With plenty of talent, energy, love and dreams, but no finances of their own, they find themselves forced into a jungle of financing and bank loans that quickly overwhelms them. To bail them out, Nadia has to take a job in Canada, while Yann is forced to stay behind to save the restaurant. Together, he and the child confront a relentless avalanche of creditors, an uncaring system and the daily grind from which there is no respite. Yann finally understands that his only chance of salvation lies in joining his lover – as well as reuniting mother and child – by following Nadia to Canada and a better life. Stars Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti and Slimane Ketthabi.

Burning Man
Jonathan Teplitzky, Australia (World Premiere)

Why is Tom behaving so badly? Six women and an eight-year-old boy are fighting, in very different ways, to help. But for Tom, it seems, there are no rules. Burning Man is the reckless, provocative and moving story of a father and son’s journey back to happiness. Stars Matthew Goode and Rachel Griffiths.

Chicken with Plums
Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud, France/Germany/Belgium (North American Premiere)

Tehran, 1958: Nasser Ali Khan, the most celebrated violin player, has his beloved instrument broken. Unable to find another to replace it, life without music seems intolerable. He stays in bed and slips further and further into his reveries from his youth to his own children’s futures. Over the course of the week that follows, and as the pieces of this captivating story fall into place, we understand his poignant secret and the profundity of his decision to give up life for music and love.

Coriolanus
Ralph Fiennes, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)

Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), a hero of Rome, is a great soldier but despises the people. His extreme views ignite a mass riot and he is banished from Rome. Coriolanus allies with a sworn enemy (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.

Countdown
Huh Jong-ho, Korea (World Premiere)

Jeon Do-youn plays a beautiful ex-con who, after being released from prison, tries to make some quick cash by manipulating a heartless debt collector.

Dark Horse
Todd Solondz, USA (North American Premiere)
A thirtysomething guy with arrested development (Justin Bartha) falls for a thirtysomething girl with arrested development (Selma Blair), but moving out of his junior high school bedroom proves too much and tragedy ensues.

The Deep Blue Sea
Terence Davies, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

Hester Collyer (Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz) leads a privileged life in 1950s London as the beautiful wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale). To the shock of those around her, she walks out on her marriage to move in with young ex-RAF pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), with whom she has fallen passionately in love.

The Descendants
Alexander Payne, USA (World Premiere)

From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendantsis a sometimes humourous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.

Drive
Nicolas Winding Refn, USA (Canadian Premiere)

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defence for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman).

Elles
Malgoska Szumowska, France/Poland/Germany (World Premiere)

Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-off Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about university student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anaïs Demoustier), are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.

The Eye of the Storm
Fred Schepisi, Australia (International Premiere)

In the Sydney suburb of Centennial Park, two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter as her expatriate son and daughter convene at her deathbed. But in dying, as in living, Mrs. Hunter remains a powerful force on those who surround her. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Patrick White, The Eye of the Storm is a savage exploration of family relationships – and the sharp undercurrents of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, which define them. Stars Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling.

Friends With Kids
Jennifer Westfeldt, USA (World Premiere)

Friends With Kidsis a poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as the last two singles in the group, out of step with their married pals, resolve to have a kid together... and date other people. Stars Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Edward Burns.

Habemus Papam
Nanni Moretti, Italy/France (North American Premiere)

The newly elected Pope suffers a panic attack just as he is due to appear on St Peter’s balcony to greet the faithful, who have been patiently awaiting the conclave’s decision. His advisors, unable to convince him he is the right man for the job, seek help from a renowned psychoanalyst (and atheist). But his fear of the responsibility suddenly thrust upon him is one that he must face on his own.

Headhunters
Morten Tyldum, Norway (North American Premiere)

Roger (Aksel Hennie) is a successful Headhunter. But he lives above his means and steals art on the side. When introduced to Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Roger starts planning his biggest theft ever. But Roger runs into trouble and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time...

Hick
Derick Martini, USA (World Premiere)

Tired of fending for herself and her mother’s penchant for hard-drinking men and barroom drama, 13-year-old Luli hits the road on her own, heading west to realize her dream of becoming a superstar. Among her travels she meets Eddie, a drifter with a chip on his shoulder, and Glenda, a troubled but spirited woman who takes Luli under her wing. Luli’s quick wit, some help from Glenda, the mercurial Eddie, and her colourful daydreams help protect her from the incredibly unpredictable band of characters she encounters on her journey. Hick is a road picture about a young girl who comes face-to-face with the realities of just how complicated adulthood can be. Stars Blake Lively, Chloe Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Eddie Redmayne and Rory Culkin.

The Hunter
Daniel Nettheim, Australia (World Premiere)

Based on the acclaimed novel by Julia Leigh, The Hunter is a powerful psychological drama that tells the story of Martin (Willem Dafoe), a mercenary sent from Europe by an anonymous biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a dramatic hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger. Against his wishes, Martin’s only option is to stay at a base camp house with the despondent wife and spirited children of a missing zoologist. Drawn deeper into the wild landscape in his search for the mysterious Tiger, Martin’s unexpected connection to the family and the majestic wilderness around him, forces him to confront the reality of his work and personal morality, with dramatic consequences. Stars Academy Award-nominee Willem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor and Sam Neill.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, USA (World Premiere)

Jeff, Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. Penned by the writer/director team of brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus), this is the story of one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue. Using the universe as his guide, Jeff looks for signs to help determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life... and if he's lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.

Killer Joe
William Friedkin, USA (North American Premiere)

When 22-year-old drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash stolen by his mother, he has to come up with six thousand dollars quick or he’s dead. Desperate, he turns to “Killer Joe” (Matthew McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000. Although Joe usually demands cash up front, he finds himself willing to bend the rules in exchange for Chris’ attractive younger sister, Dottie, who will serve as sexual collateral until the money comes in… if it ever does.

Like Crazy
Drake Doremus, USA (International Premiere)

Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance – they’re each other’s first significant attachment. When Anna returns to London, the couple is forced into a long-distance relationship. Their perfect love is tested, and youth, trust, and geography become their biggest enemies. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones star as the young couple. An original, contemplative look at first love, Like Crazy strikes a universal chord as it explores the bittersweet beauty and impermanence of relationships.

Machine Gun Preacher
Marc Forster, USA (World Premiere)

This inspirational true story, Machine Gun Preacher is about Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance as Childers in Golden Globe®-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Sean Durkin, USA (Canadian Premiere)

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unravelling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur.

Melancholia
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany (North American Premiere)

In this beautiful movie about the end of the world, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire’s best efforts the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth… Melancholia is a psychological disaster film from director Lars von Trier.

The Oranges
Julian Farino, USA (World Premiere)

The Ostroff and Walling families are best friends and neighbours, living across the street from each other on Orange Drive. Prodigal daughter Nina Ostroff (Leighton Meester) returns home for Thanksgiving dinner after a five-year absence, newly broken up with her fiancé Ethan (Sam Rosen). Rather than developing an interest in the successful son of her neighbours, Toby Walling (Adam Brody), which would please both families, it’s her parents’ best friend David Walling (Hugh Laurie) that captures Nina’s attention. When the romantic attraction between Nina and David Walling becomes too great to ignore, the lives of the two families are thrown into upheaval. It is not long, however, before the ramifications of the affair begin to work on the other family members in unexpected, hilarious and even positive ways, leading everyone to reassess what it means to be happy, and how to find happiness with, and perhaps in spite of, your own family and friends.

Pearl Jam Twenty
Cameron Crowe, USA (World Premiere)

Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon after their rise to megastardom, their step back from centre stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them – giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Told in big themes and bold colours with blistering sound, the film is carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely seen and never-before seen footage spanning the band’s career. Pearl Jam Twenty is the definitive portrait of Pearl Jam: part concert film, part intimate insider-hang, and part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists.

Rampart
Oren Moverman, USA (World Premiere)

A genre-bending, 1990s Los Angeles police family drama, Rampart explores the dark soul and romantic misadventures of a never-changing LAPD cop (Woody Harrelson) whose past is finally catching up with him in the wake of a department-wide corruption scandal. Along the way, he is forced to confront his disgruntled daughters (Brie Larson, Sammy Boyarsky), his two ex-wives (Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon), a tenacious Deputy DA (Sigourney Weaver), an investigator on his trail (Ice Cube), a homeless witness to his crimes (Ben Foster), his aging mentor (Ned Beatty) and a mysterious new lover who may or may not be on his side (Robin Wright), as he fights for his own sanity and survival.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Lasse Hallstrom, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

Stuffy government fisheries scientist Fred is asked by a fishing-obsessed Arab Sheik to do the seemingly impossible – introduce British salmon to the wadis of the Yemen. Despite considerable trepidation, Fred is finally won over by the charismatic Sheik, who reveals that fishing brings him closer to God, and he hopes it will have the same effect on his countrymen. Fred also begins to fall for the Sheik's beautiful legal representative Harriet; and so he rises to the Sheik's eccentric challenge, casting off his English reserve on a transformative journey of self discovery and late blooming love. Stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.

Shame
Steve McQueen, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)

Brandon is a thirty-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. From director Steve McQueen (Hunger), Shame is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. Stars Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale and Nicole Beharie.

A Simple Life
Ann Hui, Hong Kong, China (North American Premiere)

Based on real people and events. Ah Tao was born in Taishan, China. She works as a servant for 60 years and has been serving four generations of the Leung family. For the past decade, Ah Tao lived with Roger, the only family member left in Hong Kong. Stars Andy Lau, Deanie Ip, Wang Fuli and Qin Hailu.

The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodóvar, Spain (North American Premiere)

Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig… Stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Blanca Suárez and Jan Cornet.

Take Shelter
Jeff Nichols, USA (Canadian Premiere)

Curtis lives in Ohio with his wife Samantha and daughter Hannah. When he begins having dreams about an encroaching apocalyptic storm, he channels his anxiety into building a shelter in their backyard. Though his obsessive behaviour provokes intolerance in his community, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing their bond against the highest possible stakes. Stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.

Ten Year
Jamie Linden, USA (World Premiere)

Ten Year focuses on a group of friends – married and unmarried, successful and unsuccessful, happy and unhappy – as they return home on the night of their high school reunion. It stars a large ensemble cast that includes Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie and Chris Pratt.

Trishna
Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

Starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Riz Ahmed (Centurion) and based on Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the film is set in contemporary India and tells the tragic love story between the son of a wealthy property developer and the daughter of a rickshaw driver.

Twixt
Francis Ford Coppola, USA (World Premiere)

A writer with a career in decline arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. Stars Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning and Ben Chaplin.

Tyrannosaur
Paddy Considine, United Kingdom (Canadian Premiere)

Joseph is a man plagued by violence and rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As Joseph's life spirals into turmoil, a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret of her own which has devastating results on both of their lives. Starring Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Lynne Ramsay, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)

A suspenseful and psychologically gripping exploration into a parent dealing with her child doing the unthinkable, We Need to Talk About Kevin is the highly-anticipated third feature from director Lynne Ramsay and features a tour-de-force performance by Tilda Swinton.

Where Do We Go Now?
Nadine Labaki, France/Lebanon/Italy/Egypt (International Premiere)

Set against the backdrop of a war-torn country, Where Do We Go Now? tells the heart-warming tale of a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. Stars Kevin Abboud and Julian Farhat.

Woman in the Fifth
Pawel Pawlikowski, France/Poland/United Kingdom (World Premiere)

American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter. When things don't go according to plan, he ends up in a shady hotel in the suburbs, having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. Then Margit, a beautiful, mysterious stranger walks into his life and things start looking up. Their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events... as if an obscure power is taking control of his life. Stars Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.

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At the press conference with the masses, anxiously listening to all the titles and announcements

See more announcements & press releases from July 26, 2011:

The Toronto International Film Festival 2011 runs from September 8 - 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

DVD Releases for Tuesday July 26, 2011

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday July 26, 2011!

  • Trigger (DVD Review) Brilliant film from director Bruce McDonald's following women of rock who connect years after the band is not longer together, stars Tracy Wright & Molly Parker.
  • Source Code Beautiful science fiction actioner/thriller that will not only keep you thinking but also has a lot of heart to keep you feeling. Brilliant follow up to Moon from director Duncan Jones.
  • Ghost from the Machine aka Phasma Ex Machina this supernatural tech film is definitely on my to see list but may have got led astray in my recent move. Fingers crossed it still shows up!
  • Life During Wartime Todd Solondz's latest drama centred on forgivmess comes out (Regular & Criterion Release)
  • Turbulent Skies disaster/comedy film centred on the idea of a 'safer' unmanned auto-piloted machine for planes (note 'disaster' category as it's not all that 'safe').
  • Clone Returns Home / Kurôn wa kokyô wo mezasu with a title like that, I know this is a film I want to catch up with!
  • Supernatural: The Anime Series I'm a big fan of the TV series Supernatural so I'm curious to see this animated version following the main characters of brothers Sam & Dean Winchester.
  • Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe I only recently started catching Burn Notice but I'm sure this is a must see, especially for guest-star Bruce Campbell fans!
  • Scream of the Banshee Banshee's don't get enough play in supernatural horror in my book, so happy to see a new banshee story being told here!
  • Dylan Dog Dead of Night I've actually only heard not the best of things about this film, but to be honest it's usually reactionary to the idea or the trailer as I don't know anyone who has actually seen this one yet.
  • Bloodrayne: The Third Reich third film in the Bloodrayne series from director Uwe Boll and I can't help but grin at the tagline of 'only the dead survive' for this vampire film.
  • Machete Maidens Unleashed documentary on Filipino made genre films and the women in them!
  • Goblin Halloween set horror flick centred on a horrific goblin causing havoc!

Titles on Amazon.ca(Canada):


Titles on Amazon.com (US):


Trigger and Machete Maidens Unleshed are not currently available on Amazon.com
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012