CELEBS AT TIFF
And we're off! The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival got underway last night with U2's Bono and The Edge walking the red carpet for the gala premiere of From the Sky Down, a documentary by Davis Guggenheim about the making of the band's 1991 album "Achtung Baby."
A very pregnant Bryce Dallas Howard also appeared last night, in support of Restless, a romantic drama directed by Gus Van Sant. Howard served as one of the film's producers.
Earlier today, Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jonah Hill showed up for a press conference for their new film Moneyball.
Jet-setting George Clooney, who has traveled from the Venice Film Festival to Telluride to Toronto over the past few days, joked and smiled his way through a press conference in connection with The Ides of March, his latest directorial project. The star of his film, Ryan Gosling, also arrived in town.
Toronto Life has a "Star Spotting Map," which sounds a bit creepy, but it makes it easy to point out other celebrity sightings: Adrian Grenier, Juliette Lewis, Hayden Christensen, Ivan Reitman, Elisabeth Shue, Geoffrey Rush, Sarah Polley, and Roger Ebert.
Above: Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, at press conference this morning for Moneyball. (Photo credit: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press).
Erik Davis presented the trailer for The Raid, an action movie from Indonesia that has generated a considerable amount of buzz since it premiered as the kick-off title of the fest's Midnight Madness section. Warning: You might break a bone just by watching the trailer. As it happens, The Raid topped Mike Bracken's list of his five most-anticipated Midnight Madness movies.
Monika Bartyzel reviewed David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, which she called "remarkably hands-off" for "a film about famous psychoanalysts who made it their life's work to get to the root of inner turmoil." Viggo Mortensen stars as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender plays Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley gets spanked in a role, based on a real-life character, that is reduced to a "desperate, carnal seducer."
In advance of the festival:
Alonso Duralde picked out The Most Anticipated Festival Films and evaluated the possible awards buzz for each one.
David Ehrlich, boldly selected 10 Must See TIFF Films That Probably Won't Escape The Festival, concentrating on unknown titles from the far reaches of world cinema.
Monika Bartyzel assembled Canada's Diverse and Juicy Roster of Films, a list of 24 films that hail from the Great White North.
Monika also culled ten (out of at least 50) female feature filmmakers whose latest efforts are courting buzz at TIFF, and then listed every female filmmaker she could find.
When the first round of titles was announced six weeks ago, Erik Davis waded in and pulled out 25 titles that sounded the most promising.
You can follow along with all of our coverage by bookmarking this link.
Shame, director Steve McQueen's controversial drama about an out-of-control sex addict (Michael Fassbender), and guaranteed to be rated NC-17 if submitted to the ratings board, has been acquired by Fox Searchlight. A late-year release is planned. (Deadline) Before the deal went down, Anne Thompson noted that Fox Searchlight previously released the NC-17 rated The Dreamers "and would be willing to do so again."
Elana, a noir thriller from Russia, secured a deal with Zeitgeist Films for U.S. distribution. The company plans a release in May 2012. (indieWIRE)
Diane Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, a documentary by Immordino Vreeland, got picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films, which plans a 2012 release. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Free Men, a French-language thriller, will be released in the second quarter of 2012 via Film Movement. (indieWIRE)
Thompson on Hollywood rounded up the acquisition titles that distributors are most anticipating this weekend.
@bruce_kirkland: "Playful George Clooney paid Ryan Gosling to talk nice. 'Watching him work was like watching a unicorn being born,' Gosling said."
@LaineyGossip: "Now at Ides of March dinner. Ryan G is wearing the cutest shoes. Tiny little dots. so sheepish&sweet when approached by a cougar."
@ZeitchchikLA: "Billy Beane and David Justice join Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill on-stage. Jocks & Us Weekly readers can get along after all."
@peterfacinelli: "Screening [of his film Loosies] went well... Thanks Toronto."
@TrendsToronto: "#theresnoexcusefor and 'jolie' are now trending in #Toronto."
BLOGS and NEWS PIECES
Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy: Zhang Yimou previews his new film, The Flowers of War, for buyers in Toronto at a private screening.
LA Weekly's Karina Longworth: Jafar Panahi's This is Not a Film, made under house arrest in Iran, is "breathtakingly cinematic."
Reuters: Dirty politics are nothing new, according to George Clooney.
LA Times' 24 Frames a Second: Sarah Palin gets a Bronx cheer.