Relativity Media’s Machine Gun Preacher just sent out a first look pic – which by now has hit every website known to man. But the web is so hungry for any real news of movies that don’t involve super hero costumes that they’re soak it all up like a dry sponge. Machine Gun Preacher is a true story about Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes a transformation and becomes the founder of Angels of East Africa rescue organization. The film is directed by Marc Forster. What think we? Mr. Butler on the road to a nom?
Riding high off of last year’s The King’s Speech, which became the first movie in a while to do Toronto before Oscar and still win (although it followed the similar pattern of Slumdog Millionaire which snowballed from Telluride, to Toronto, to Oscar, to …). A weepy that makes them stand on their feet works anywhere you show it first but Toronto was kind of hit and miss. Suddenly, after last year, it feels like how the Oscar race used to run.
This morning, a few titles have been announced — Venice announces Thursday and there is some crossover. For Toronto, according to Steve Pond over at The Wrap, George Clooney’s The Ides of March, Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, and Madonna’s W.E., which will be ushered in by the Weinstein Co. and tells the flipside story of The King’s Speech — now that the Tom Hooper movie made a villain of Wallis Simpson Madonna is back to give the notorious woman a makeover. Pond also notes that the fest will open Davis Guggenheim’s U2 doc, From the Sky Down after the success of the Bruce Springsteen doc last year. Fist pumping bloggers, here they come.
Moneyball (Brad Pitt, directed by Bennett Miller), and Alexander Payne’s The Descendents will be joined by Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz (named after a Leonard Cohen song…)
Here is the list–
“From the Sky Down,” Davis Guggenheim
Peter Knegt over at Indiewire tips Variety’s article about what might show up. Knegt widdles it down to a list for us. Here is part of it:
Below is the full list of films the article notes (not listed is Soderbergh’s film, which isn’t explicitly noted in the Variety story though one can probably assume it’s “Contagion” and not “Haywire”). Read Variety‘s story here, and check back with indieWIRE Thursday when we’ll have the officially announced lineup.
“Alps,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
“A Burning Hot Summer,” directed by Philippe Garrel
“Carnage,” directed by Roman Polanski
“A Dangerous Method,” directed by David Cronenberg
“Dark Horse,” directed by Todd Solondz
“The Exchange,” directed by Eran Kolirin
“Faust,” directed by Alexander Sokurov
“Himizu,” directed by Sion Sono
“Killer Joe,” directed by William Friedkin
“The Ides of March,” directed by George Clooney (Opening Night)
“Last Day on Earth,” directed by Abel Ferrara
“The Moth Diaries,” directed by Mary Harron
“Poulet aux prunes,” directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
“Quando la notte,” directed by Cristina Comencini
“Seediq Bale,” directed by Wei Te-sheng
“Shame,” directed by Steve McQueen
“Terraferma,” directed by Emanuele Crialese
“Texas Killing Fields” directed by Ami Canaan Mann
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” directed by Tomas Alfredson
“L’ultimo terrestre,” directed by Gipi
“W.E.,” directed by Madonna
“Wuthering Heights,” directed by Andrea Arnold
(MORE at Indiewire)
The official list drops on Thursday. But a couple of thoughts – Clooney and the Lido go together like bow ties and tuxedos. But Mary Harron, Andrea Arnold, William Friedkin, Abel Ferrara, Steve McQueen — and of course, ROMAN POLANSKI and DAVID CRONENBERG! This looks to be the festival not to miss. Too bad I shot my wad on Cannes. No regrets!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is looking pretty damned good.
Leave it to George Clooney to tell it like it is – they all know it’s dirty business, Oscar campaigning. They all probably hate doing it. But they know they have to do it. It’s all about the business of Hollywood. You can maybe be Katharine Hepburn, Terrence Malick or Woody Allen and not show up to promote your film but most every decent actor who wants to keep working knows that you have to play the game — they are worked hard and put away wet. There’s no business like show business. I don’t think anyone believes that awards-givers, be they the AMPAS or the BFCA, or especially the Golden Globes — even the NYFCC and the LAFCA have their moments — give out their awards based solely on merit. Of all of them, the LAFCA seems most invested in rewarding the actual performances. The rest of them get swept up in the moment, the popularity of the stars or filmmakers, the likability — the fuckability. And so it goes. Here is an excerpt from the Clooney story:
“I had just come out of Oscar season and you really do campaign, like kissing babies,” he said.
“By the time it’s over, you sort of feel unclean.
“You want to do something that makes you feel better.”
Following his first trip to the war-torn country with his father, George donated money to build a well and huts, but soon learned to use other ways than his wealth to help the African territory because of what happened to his gifts.
“A year later, the next-door villagers — who wanted water and needed shelter — killed some people to get to that well and shelter,” he said.
“It’s devastating. We have to be very careful –- sometimes helping is not throwing money at a problem.”
George believes other celebrities should follow his lead and use their positions to help the world.
“There is ever more attention on celebrity than ever – and there is a use for that besides selling products,” he added.
“We can’t make policy but we can ‘encourage’ politicians more than ever before.”
Those with a conscience pay it forward. Those without? Well, there’s always Oscar season to put things back into perspective. Mr. Clooney will be greasing up the wheels for this year with The Descendants and The Ides of March.