By macleans.ca - Friday, January 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
Brian D. Johnson on what to see — and what to rent
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:01 AM - 0 Comments
He’s back. Now that his marriage and political fortunes have gone up in smoke, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a game attempt to re-ignite his career as a Hollywood action hero with his first lead role in a decade. In The Last Stand, The Governator re-enters the fray as a kind of unplugged Terminator, an old-school sheriff in a sleepy Arizona border town who ends up battling a fugitive Mexican drug lord in an armed stand-off that unleashes more firepower than the Alamo. Landing in the thick of the current debate on gun control, the timing couldn’t be worse, especially with Arnie using a school bus as a lethal weapon, along with a vintage arsenal of big, bad-ass guns that turn the sheriff’s one-horse town into an NRA fantasy camp.
The Last Stand‘s formulaic scenario, of a crusty lawman hauling himself out of semi-retirement, could be seen as Arnie’s Unforgiven, but with way more cheese and no gravitas. At best, it’s a guilty pleasure. Continue…
By Kara Dillon - Friday, September 7, 2012 at 11:25 AM - 0 Comments
A couple of red carpets studded with stars like Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Kristen Stewart
By Sonya Bell - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM - 0 Comments
Anna Karenina, On the Road and Great Expectations are all premiering at this year’s festival
This year’s TIFF line-up has several movies going bravely where many have gone – and failed – before: bringing celebrated literature to the big screen. Adaptations of Great Expectations, Anna Karenina, On the Road and Midnight’s Children are all screening at the festival.
So how do you escape a quick dismissal of “not as good as the book”? Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes are adding star power to Great Expectations. Anna Karenina is the third collaboration between director Joe Wright and Keira Knightley, following up on Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. On the Road’s screenplay is by Jose Rivera, who adapted The Motorcycle Diaries. Midnight’s Children is based on Salman Rushdie’s controversial story of India’s independence, which has never before been made into a movie.
Contrary to high-brow wisdom, some movies are superior to the book. Here are five examples.
5) The Devil Wears Prada: Start with a very average piece of chick lit (sorry, Lauren Weisberger) and cast Meryl Streep as the ice queen magazine editor who terrorizes assistant Anne Hathaway. Who even remembers this movie was a book first?
4) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Yes, the original book was a best-seller – but parts were long, meandering and overly dramatic. By contrast, the movie won an Oscar for best achievement in film editing, and cast a captivating newcomer, Rooney Mara, in the lead role.
3) Requiem for a Dream: This movie took an already dark and shattering book, gave it top-notch performers and a terrifying stringed instrument arrangement. The result? A film about addiction that is far, far more effective than any school’s DARE program.
2) Stand by Me: That oncoming train scene! Those leeches! Rarely can four young actors carry a movie the way this cast carries the adaptation of Stephen King’s coming-of-age novel The Body. Even the author himself gave it two thumbs up.
1) Fight Club: Brad Pitt. Edward Norton. The book is critically acclaimed, but the movie is a cult classic, with the first-person narrative working even better on the big screen, and the twist ending packing twice as much – excuse the pun – punch.
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM - 0 Comments
Much of the international press corps in Cannes was mystified this morning when a grinning Viggo Mortensen unveiled a large Montreal Canadiens banner, something he tends to do at every photo opportunity—the star who wants to be a fan. It was one of the few cavalier moments at an ultra serious press conference, where Brazilian director Walter Salles held court with a phalanx of seven actors and three producers from On the Road, his adaptation of the Jack Kerouac classic, which premieres here tonight. Studiously researched for eight years, and faithfully rendered onscreen, this loving ode to On the Road must be one of the most mature, responsible films ever made about drugs, drink and debauchery. The press conference was infused by a similar reverence as moderator Henri Behar dutifully asked everyone on the dais how their research into Kerouac’s real-life characters had affected their work.
Many of the journalists just wanted to hear Kristen Stewart talk about braving her first nude scene, and sharing the Cannes spotlight with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis). But by the time everyone had reported on their homework, and both Salles and Mortensen had given long, earnest discourses on the fidelity of the film, there was time for just a few quick questions from the media horde. Fortunately, someone did ask Stewart how it felt to to bare her body for the camera as a sexually liberated woman after being restrained by the abstinence of Twilight—although the moderator cut off the questioner as he dared to mention Pattinson. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM - 0 Comments
CANNES — It’s quiet today in this town on the French Riviera. But on Wednesday, in a country where cinema is a virtual religion, thousands of fans will line barricades along the Croisette for the gala opening of the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival. The event kicks off with Moonrise Kingdom, the latest picture from the idiosyncratic Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums). It stars Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Ed Norton and Tilda Swinton, but the movie’s romantic leads are a couple of kids, playing 12-year-olds in 1965 New England who fall in love and run off together into the wilderness.
Cannes, world cinema’s high altar for auteurs, worships age almost as much as beauty. And this year’s program honours old masters ranging from Bernardo Bertolucci, 72, to Alain Resnais, who turns 90 next month. But many of the most buzzed about films awaiting festival-goers feature considerably younger talent. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Hollywood’s de facto royal couple, will grace the red carpet, but so will twentysomething sweethearts Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.
The Twilight kids are both coming of age in Cannes, starring in movies that look more risqué than the vampire romance that made them famous. Stewart plays a nude scene in Walter Salles’ On the Road, adapted from the Jack Kerouac novel, and Pattinson takes a sex-and-death limo odyssey through Manhattan in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, adapted from the Don DeLillo novel. Meanwhile Cronenberg’s 32-year-old son, Brandon, makes his feature directing debut in the festival’s sidebar program Un Certain Regard with Antiviral, a sci-fi story about a clinic that sells live pathogens from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. (Clearly the worm-riddled apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)
Also screening in Un Certain Regard, is 23-year-old Quebec wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s third feature, Laurence Anyways. The nearly three hour opus is about a romance that is complicated when a man reveals to his fiancée that he wants to become a woman. Dolan has expressed disappointment that, on his third Cannes outing, he hasn’t made it into the main competition. But he’s still very young; there’s lots of time to play with the big boys. This, by the way, is an unusually strong year in Cannes for Canadian directors; there are six of them with films spread across every official program—the Competition, Un Certain Regard, the Palme D’or shorts competition, the Critics’ Week, and the Directors’ Fortnight.
ITQ BerryCam – In which our heroine is confronted by abstractly angry farmers, and surprisingly cheery Liberals
By kadyomalley - Monday, September 8, 2008 at 12:25 AM - 10 Comments
After spending the morning outside Rideau Hall, ITQ headed off to the Billings Estate in Ottawa South to liveblog Stephane Dion at the launch of the local Liberal campaign – which we did right here. But first, we had to run a small- to medium-sized gauntlet, as gauntlets go, of protesters: