TORONTO 2009: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SPECTACLE
FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS
The TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ended on the weekend after unspooling more than 300 films during a 10 day cinematic marathon.
The CANADIAN PRESS writers who covered the fest pick some memorable moments from this year’s spectacle.
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY – Two decades of kicking at the establishment culminates in MICHAEL MOORE’S most focused work in years. It’s nothing short of a rallying cry to dismantle U.S. style capitalism and replace rampant greed with the democracy that Americans profess to love so dearly.
DAYBREAKERS – This unusual vampire film turns the genre on its head by presenting night dwellers as the majority of society and humans as the outsiders. ETHAN HAWKE applies a preternaturally furrowed brow to his turn as vamp with a conscience, but things thankfully never get too serious and the ensuing mayhem builds toward a riveting, marvelously fun payoff.
AN EDUCATION – Newcomer CAREY MULLIGAN sparkles in this stylish tale of a clever LONDON schoolgirl caught under the spell of a mysterious older man (PETER SARSGAARD). With a knockout script from novelist Nick Hornby.
UP IN THE AIR – JUNO director JASON REITMAN has come of age in this exquisitely crafted black comedy about corporate America. Bolstered by an excellent soundtrack and a startling show of vulnerability by GEORGE CLOONEY.
ABBIE CORNISH – This AUSTRALIAN beauty takes full command in JANE CAMPION’S BRIGHT STAR, imbuing FANNY BRAWNE – outspoken fashion designer and girlfriend of poet JOHN KEATS – with a subtle spark that is shattered at the film’s conclusion.
GEORGE CLOONEY – The actor known for an excess of suave shows a softer side in UP IN THE AIR that will, no doubt, only make women love him all the more.
MONIQUE – And the OSCAR goes to…MONIQUE? Sure, her previous film credits include dubious titles, but the comedian/talk show host is electrifying in PRECIOUS as the abusive mother of a teenage girl.
NICOLAS CAGE – The actor unleashes one of his most ludicrously unhinged performances yet in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
MICHAEL SHEEN – His portrayal of soccer manager BRIAN CLOUGH in THE DAMNED UNITED is another winner, following triumphant turns as TONY BLAIR in THE QUEEN and DAVID FROST in FROST/NIXON.
ROBIN WRIGHT – She’s nuanced and restrained as the title character in THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE, based on the book by REBECCA MILLER.
AN UNFORTUNATE GAFFE:
Two reels were inadvertently shown out of sequence at a critics’ screening of TERRY GILLIAM’S THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, but the film is so cryptic that some in attendance didn’t realize that a mistake had been made.
Publicists hastily scheduled another screening, offering reporters a free breakfast to make up for the error. The director, meanwhile, later said the slip up made him “want to kill.”
KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS held a light for a photographer and MICHAEL MOORE refused to heed a publicist’s demands to end a roundtable discussion until each journalist in attendance had a question asked and answered.
Other affable celebs included JASON REITMAN, AIDAN QUINN, RICKY GERVAIS and MICHAEL DOUGLAS.