Toronto After Dark 2011: The Woman Review

 

 

After watching a movie that takes place in such a strange headspace such as Lucky McKee’s The Woman, it is probably best to let the thing percolate a bit before even attempting to articulate a reaction. The prime example of this visceral reaction is a youtube video that went around Sundance after the films premiere featuring a guy who wanted the film destroyed from existence. *Deep Breath* Here goes. The Woman boldly defies any attempts to slot it into any sort of easy niche. It is simultaneously a blunt gender provocation, a deadpan satire and a gory torture movie. I suppose if a filmmaker elicits a visceral reaction in your audience, you have made a successful horror picture, but I am not sure that the film has anything new or interesting to say, and I am not exactly enamoured with how it goes about saying it. There are a fair number of of leaps and contortions to be made to get into the the film. You not only have to swallow that there is a super-psychotic family that is well integrated into the polite rural society of back-yard BBQs and supermarket chit-chat, but also that there is a feral woman who has lived her life out in the back forty thus far unnoticed. But let us proceed with an open mind, nevertheless.

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67th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

I know that the thumbs snubbed at the Golden Globes each year is just something I have to deal with, but honestly, there are things to really like about this award ceremony. One, it splits up the acting awards into two groups: drama and musical or comedy. The ceremony itself is rather short and to the point which I rather like and maybe most importantly to us bloggers/readers, it’s the award show that most clearly gives us an indication of what to expect from The Academy.

So with all that in mind and still expecting the vitriol in the comments below, here are the nominees for the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. Not too surprisingly, Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air takes the cake with 6 nominations and NINE comes to the table with 5 nods.

Who do you think got snubbed and who shouldbn’t be here? I might make the case that the great Meryl Streep competing against herself is at least discussion worthy, if not kind of cheap. Presentation of the awards will be telecast live on NBC at 8pm EST on Sunday, January 17th.

MOVIES

BEST MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air

BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
Julie and Julia
Nine

BEST DIRECTOR
Katherine Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

BEST DRAMATIC ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

BEST DRAMATIC ACTRESS
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

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Review: Where The Wild Things Are

where-the-wild-things-are-movie-still

In Maurice Sendak’s much-beloved childhood tale it is in the wake of a childhood hissy-fit that young Max is transported to a woodland wonderland, where nature is a limitless playground and monsters roam in place of mankind. Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are perfects the simple tale with moving visuals that seem to have leaped from the page, staying true to color, shape and texture, but his attempt to flesh out the monster’s identities and their personal relationships with Max ultimately detached me from the fantasy world created from one boy’s raw imagination basking in the peak of innocence.

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Bookmarks for October 15th

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What we’ve been reading – October 15th:

  • Top 10 movie shoots from hell
    From "Cleopatra" to "Apocalypse Now," these infamous productions have all been struck by extreme weather, tragedy, illness and sometimes death.
  • Fillion’s Super hopes
    "There are so many superheroes out there, I feel like there's none left. But there is one I think I could handle, and that's a redo of The Greatest American Hero."
  • Twitch: Park Chan-wook confirmed for Le Couperet/The Ax remake
    Costa-Gavras confirmed the news at the Pusan Film Festival in South Korea, which runs until Friday.
  • The Story Behind Toy Story 3
    How did this new adventure for Woody, Buzz and co come about? For that, we have to travel back in time. Back to the making of Toy Story 2, when Disney and Pixar’s relationship was a little different. Please keep your hands, arms, and accessories in the car, and no flash photography…
  • ‘The Hangover’ as a best picture nominee?
    With several of the big-ticket “Oscar movies” destined to disappoint, perhaps a bona fide summer blockbuster will occupy a slot (or two) of the top 10.
  • Kids’ books face a rough path to the big screen.
    Turning a children’s book into a feature film is akin to making a parachute out of a handkerchief, with the adapters having to adopt various strategies for fleshing out the material.

Best Trailers of 2009

GreenBandTrailerImageSure we have about three months to go and there is bound to be a few quality cinema advertisements for the end of season Oscar derby and various Christmas blockbusters, but let us jump the gun shall we? After surveying the last year of trailers here are the best and most intriguing of the litter; released online, in the cinema (Coming Attractions) or other places (TV, VOD, etc). This is not a reflection of the quality of the final released films (although many of these did in fact live up to the promise of their own creative marketing). So that’s that. The list is tucked under the seat.
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Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack – Streaming!

Where The Wild Things Are OMPS

We’re getting ever closer to the much-anticipated release of Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book. I didn’t grow up with the book, but I find myself getting more and more excited about the film as the release date nears, and a big part of that, I’ve got to admit, is due to the fact that the soundtrack is being written and performed by Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ frontwoman Karen O, along with members of the YYYs and the Raconteurs, among others. That soundtrack is out for sale today, and imeem has the whole thing available for free streaming.

I’m listening to it right now, and so far it certainly seems a perfect meld of the open-spaced freedom of the story with just a touch of the YYYs’ edginess around the corners. Give me a little while with this and a few more times through the trailers, and I’ll be right up at the front of the lines when the film releases on October 16th.

Full soundtrack stream embedded after the jump!

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Spike Jonze, Where The Wild Things Are, The NYT Feature

Where the Wild Things Are Movie Still

It is sitting in the “Bookmarks Sidebar” at the moment, but is worthy of a full entry on the mainpage. Saki Knafo’s substantial feature on Spike Jonze and the long road to get Where The Wild Things Are to the screen in a daring and original (for a children’s novel) fashion.

Some Choice Snippets are below

On the famous Sabotage Music Video:
” One day Jonze showed up at the apartment wearing a white tank-top and a gold chain with a freshly grown mustache and his hair slicked back. According to Jonze, it was the combination of that 1970s outfit and those 1970s television reruns that inspired him and the band to create their very own three-minute 1970s-style police drama. They decided to shoot everything illegally, without permits. The band members dressed as plainclothes detectives in fake mustaches, polyester suits and aviator shades. Adam Yauch (another Beastie Boy) and Jonze did all the stunt driving. By the end of the two-day shoot, they had destroyed two cameras — the first, an $84,000 Arriflex, while speeding around a bend with the camera bolted to the hood, the second while trying to get an underwater shot with the camera protected only by a Ziploc bag. “We did it the way we did everything,” Jonze said. “Not necessarily the right way, but our way.” In 1999, MTV named “Sabotage” the seventh-best music video of all time.”

On Where The Wild Things Are philosophy:
“Although there were plenty of factors that contributed to the movie’s endless delays, what caused Jonze the most grief with the studio seems to have been his insistence on shunning a more traditional narrative in favor of directly conveying, through moments and images, those raw, untamed feelings. The blogs that reported on Jonze’s disagreement with Robinov and other Warner executives tended to frame the dispute in familiar terms, as a conflict between Hollywood’s love of all things light and an auteur’s “dark” vision. Really, though, the quarrel was about something more unusual in Hollywood than darkness versus light, something more central to Jonze’s identity: the question of plot versus attitude.”

On Where The Wild Things Are reception:
“Where the Wild Things Are” seems sure to appeal to the sensibilities of a certain cohort of urban young adults — the type who read comic-book novels and wear skateboard sneakers; who might concur with a note I saw one day scrawled on a legal pad in Jonze’s office: “There is no difference between childhood and adulthood.”

Full NYT Article is here.

Bookmarks for September 2nd through September 3rd

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What we’ve been reading – September 2nd through September 3rd:

  • Where the Wild NY Times Feature Is.
    "Really, though, the quarrel was about something more unusual in Hollywood than darkness versus light, something more central to Jonze’s identity: the question of plot versus attitude." The NYT Magazine has a seven page feature on Where the Wild Things are and a Spike Jones Career retrospective (The visual version of this is at the Museum of Modern Art in the near future)
  • Online Steaming: Movies From Youtube and Google
    "Google Inc.'s YouTube is in discussions with major movie studios about streaming movies on a rental basis, a test of whether the online video giant can persuade its millions of users to pay for premium content."
  • So today is a very good day for dolphins!
    The Cove appears to be a successful piece of activism: "Today is September 1st, the first day of the dolphin slaughter season in Japan. But when I arrived today by bus from Kansai Airport with media representatives from all over the world, the notorious Cove from the movie was empty. There were no dolphin killers in sight."
  • Best ‘Movie Summer’ Ever?
    While the entire Cinematical.com staff go to town on their favourite movie summers, I have to side with Scott Weinberg. 1984. Temple of Doom, Star Trek III, Gremlins and Ghostbusters all within 15 days. O My.

Karen O. is Where the Wild Things Are

For anyone who followed our “coverage” of Lollapalooza ’09 over at MorePop, you’ll see we’re quite the fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their front woman, Karen O. Karen O. and the Kids perform “All is Love” for the first track from the forth coming Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack. Just to make things easy for you, we’ve stuck a streaming version of the song for your listening pleasure below; but you should really head over to the movie’s MySpace page and listen there while browsing through images and other content.

Karen O. and Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It’s a great, catchy tune that sounds like it will fit in nicely with the vibe of the film from what we’ve seen so far. The full OST will be available in stores on September 29th. Besides this track from Karen O. (who composed and co-produced the music), some other popular artists you’ll see on the album include Deerhunter/Atlas Sound mastermind Bradford Cox, YYYs Nick Zinner and Brian Chase, Dead Weather/Raconteurs members Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence, Liars’ Aaron Hemphill, and more. Enjoy the track below but please support the artist and the film by picking up the full album on September 29th.

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WTWTA Trailer #2

A little more footage of the Wild Things and thought it doens’t have quite the same amount of energy that the first trailer, it put a smile on my face from ear to ear. Even for someone who never read the story, I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. What a fabulous way to start a Friday!

Kudos to AHT for spotting this and shariing the joy!