TIFF11 REVIEW: Melancholia [2011]

“Two million and six beans” Director Lars von Trier has never been easily accessible. Part of his genius is the ability to go places others might not dare, shoot imagery no one else could even fathom, and push his actors into authentic performances that risk sending them into the same psychological tailspin as their characters. So you can just imagine how unique his vision of the apocalypse would be. It would portray emotionally unstable people as they near their end. It would expose the underbelly of familial strife. Portray the…

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Picking Winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Some Oscar nomination thoughts, the morning after: William Altreuter: Best Picture: The Hurt Locker. James Cameron backlash, plus Hollywood self-seriousness = victory! Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Everybody loved Clooney, but he’s in something good every year. Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci. Just a hunch. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Did you realize she’s forty-five years old? Not exactly the best argument against the proposition that there are no roles for women over twenty-four, since she plays at least ten years younger, but still. Plus the Streep movie wasn’t that good (even though she…

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REVIEW: Зеркало [The Mirror] [1975]

“Like a madman brandishing a razor” After watching a screening of Antichrist, actor Willem Dafoe talked about the film and director Lars von Trier’s motivations. During the course of this brief Q&A, some light was shed on the inclusion of a dedication to Andrei Tarkovsky, the legendary Russian filmmaker. The film itself was a very personal tale for von Trier, written and created to exorcise his demons and, according to Dafoe, was influenced in part by the Russian’s Зеркало [The Mirror]. Von Trier only had one request before filming Antichrist…

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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Antichrist [2009]

“Can’t I just be afraid, without a definite object?” How can Lars von Trier have a film at the Toronto International Film Festival without me making sure my butt is in a seat? The Danish maestro may not fly, so an in-person Q&A is impossible, (he did hold one via Skype the day after our screening), but talent seems to not care, flocking to work with the man. Willem Dafoe, getting to know the director during Manderlay, just happened to ask his agent what von Trier was up to, and…

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TIFF09 PREVIEW: For the Love of Film indeed …

September 10th is the day that friend/co-worker Chris Schobert and I head back up north for our third year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We’ve done the middle three days (2007) and the last three days (2008), so we thought, “What the hell?”, let’s try our luck with the opening four. Rolling out of bed, speeding down the QEW, and landing at the box office hours before our first film wouldn’t quite be effective for this year’s journey, however. Being in TO for FaneXpo last weekend meant we…

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