Review: GET LOW

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You are pretty much guaranteed quality in a Robert Duvall performance, any Robert Duvall performance, whether it is small cameo support (From The Conversation to The Road) or the lead in an intimate drama or even a Civil War epic. He is, simply put, one of the great actors of all time – one who can do both larger-than-life screen demolishing performances and quiet, subtle acting with his eyes alone. Yet about once every decade he really brings something special to the table; a particularly memorable character, a very intense performance. In the 1960s, his feature film debut, he plays the haunted and pale Boo Radley in To Kill A Mocking Bird; in the 1970s he immortalized his love for the smell of napalm in the morning as a general who like to surf and plays Wagner when going into battle; in the 1980s he plays a quiet, down-on-his-luck country singer who does odd jobs for room and board while trying to put his life back together; and in the 1990s his turn as the bombastic Apostle E.F. might just be the best single performance of that decade. Get Low is with little doubt his performance of this decade, something that embodies all of those characters mentioned above, yet is its own multi-layered beast. The film itself maybe be accessible and easily digestible stuff, I am not sure that the world actually needs a warm and fuzzy inversion of Billy Wilder’s Ace in The Hole, but the Duvall performance is the thing. And it certainly does not hurt that his supporting thespians are Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.

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GET LOW gets a Trailer (finally!)

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One of the pleasant surprises of TIFF last year was Aaron Schneider’s debut film, the western/comedy/character-drama Get Low (Review here). Kind of a kinder, gentler, but still rather surprising take on Billy Wilder’s classic Ace In The Hole, with its media circus and mysterious trickster, but focusing on character rather than ‘portrait of america.’ It offers delightful performances from all of the leads. A classic straight-up sarcastic-comic performance from Bill Murray and a warm, gentle performance from Sissy Spacek are icing on the cake. But the knock-out central performance of Robert Duvall is one of his best.

Not to be missed!

Trailer is tucked under the seat.
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TIFF 09 Review: Get Low

getlow_01

You are pretty much guaranteed quality in a Robert Duvall performance, any Robert Duvall performance, whether it is small cameo support (From The Conversation to The Road) or the lead in an intimate drama or even a Civil War epic. He is, simply put, one of the great actors of all time – one who can do both larger-than-life screen demolishing performances and quiet, subtle acting with his eyes alone. Yet about once every decade he really brings something special to the table; a particularly memorable character, a very intense performance. In the 1960s, his feature film debut, he plays the haunted and pale Boo Radley in To Kill A Mocking Bird; in the 1970s he immortalized his love for the smell of napalm in the morning as a general who like to surf and plays Wagner when going into battle; in the 1980s he plays a quiet, down-on-his-luck country singer who does odd jobs for room and board while trying to put his life back together; and in the 1990s his turn as the bombastic Apostle E.F. might just be the best single performance of that decade. Get Low is with little doubt his performance of this decade, something that embodies all of those characters mentioned above, yet is its own multi-layered beast. The film itself maybe be accessible and easily digestible stuff, I am not sure that the world actually needs a warm and fuzzy inversion of Billy Wilder’s Ace in The Hole, but the Duvall performance is the thing. And it certainly does not hurt that his supporting thespians are Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.

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More TIFF Titles: Galas, Opener and Special Presentations

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While I was out of town, The Toronto International Film Festival dropped a lot of high profile festival titles into the wild. In the interest of general discussion and anticipation of the locals (and those travelling in), here are some of the films and where they lie in this years TIFF programme: Getting the red carpet Gala treatment is the Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek starring dramedy Get Low about a man who fakes his own death to organize his own funeral, it is directed by cinematographer Aaron Schneider. Also, Precious will be getting the spotlight after its success elsewhere on the festival circuit. Opening the festival is the maybe-controversial-in-a-Kinsey-sort-of-way biopic on Charles Darwin called Creation. This is directed by the director Jon Amiel who has not done much lately, but was the director of one of the best TV minis of all time, The Singing Detective. Creation has a great collection of actors involved including Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly and Jeremy Northam (and the other Capote, Toby Jones).

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In the Special Presentations category, there is Steven Soderberg‘s The Informant!, Niki “Whale Rider” Caro‘s The Vintner’s Luck, Johnnie To‘s Vengeance, Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Viking epic, Valhalla Rising, Neil Jordan‘s dark fairy tale, Ondine, Bong “The Host” Joon-ho‘s (much anticipated by me, Mother, Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying, the latest from provocateur director Bruno Dumont Hadewijch, Kiwi Jane Campion finally returns with romantic take on John Keats with Bright Star and of course, very many more.

The full press release, which includes plot descriptions of all the films, is tucked under the seat.

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