Now that Blue Jasmine has opened with the best premiere numbers of Woody Allen’s career, the film will be seriously considered for several Oscar nominations – Best Actress for sure, if not Best Picture. But there have been some rumblings in reviews and out of the mouths of well-placed New York film critics that it’s a modern-day update of A Streetcar Named Desire. If Woody Allen had wanted to do a spin on that movie, he could have done so; after all, he made A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. But to draw a closer parallel and one that better suits the brilliance of this film we need only look at Stardust Memories to see how it corresponds so beautifully to Fellini’s 8 1/2. At the time, Woody was accused of being a Fellini (or Bergman) imitator. It was well known that Woody admired both directors so when Stardust Memories came out, in black and white, the same rumblings were heard: it’s Woody riffing on Fellini. But after all of these years, Stardust Memories shines as one of the director’s best and most accomplished films; the framework may resemble 8 1/2, to be sure, but the themes, the characters, the ruminations bear Woody Allen’s own unique imprint.
Written by Ben Conrad, directed by Ben Stiller
TIFF programmer Colin Geddes: “Since its 1988 launch, the Midnight Madness programme emerged as a touchstone of cinematic shock, satiating the adventurous palate of bloodthirsty cinephiles from all over the world. When the witching hour strikes and the human brain starts slipping into dream mode, the Ryerson Theatre will once again serve up a feast of phantasmagorical characters and jaw-dropping scenes, playing host to bizarre biological monstrosities, ruthless dominatrix gangs, paranormal mirrors, and the hijinks of supernatural cheerleaders.”
Afflicted Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, Canada/USA, World Premiere
Best friends Derek and Clif set out on a trip of a lifetime. Their plan: travel to the ends of the earth, see the world, and live life to the fullest. But the trip soon takes a dark and bloody turn. Just days in, one of the men shows signs of a mysterious affliction which gradually takes over his entire body and being. Now, thousands of miles from home, in a foreign land, they must race to uncover the source of his illness before it consumes him completely. Footage of their travels meant to document pleasant memories may now become evidence of one of the most shocking discoveries ever captured on film…and may be their only postcard home.
The Directors Guild has decided to add “internet programming” to its annual awards:
In recognition of the increasing level of original programming being created by our directors and their teams specifically for Internet distribution, the National Board has determined that programs made for Internet distribution in the following eight categories are now eligible for nomination: Dramatic Series; Comedy Series; Movies for Television and Mini-Series;Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming; Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials; Documentary; Reality; and Children’s Programming. The Commercials Award category has included commercials specifically made for the Internet since 2007 and will continue to do so.
The full schedule after the jump.
Rumors abound about The Canyons, Paul Schrader’s pic funded by Kickstarter and notoriously starring the notorious Lindsay Lohan. Thing is, if you’re troubled long enough, if you can just hold out past the bad patches, you will eventually be respected just for being someone who can’t hold it together. By the time society is done throwing stones, redemption can’t be much farther behind. And there isn’t anything the hungry beast likes more than a redemption story following a fall from a high place.
Nonetheless, writing for Variety, Scott Foundas says about Lohan:
The first in the new wave of Kickstarter-funded features instigated by established old-media types, Schrader’s ultra-low-budget (reportedly $250,000) but handsomely made study of low-level Hollywood hangers-on has earned much prerelease attention for the casting of real-life porn star James Deen and the troubled Lindsay Lohan (also one of the pic’s co-producers). But the end result is hardly a joke, not least for Lohan’s fascinating presence, far closer to self-revelation than self-parody. Between VOD curiosity seekers and adventurous arthouse-goers, “The Canyons” is sure to see solid returns on its modest investment, while pushing Schrader back into the zeitgeist after a long fallow period.
“The Canyons” doesn’t engender much sympathy for its characters — even nice-guy Ryan (convincingly played by Funk as just another pretty, none-too-bright face in the crowd) ultimately comes across as a cipher, to say nothing of Gina, who seems less concerned about her boyfriend’s infidelities than about the possibility of losing her credit on Christian’s movie. The major exception is Lohan, who gives one of those performances, like Marlon Brando’s in “Last Tango in Paris,” that comes across as some uncanny conflagration of drama and autobiography. Lohan may not go as deep or as far as Brando, but with her puffy skin, gaudy hoop earrings and thick eye makeup, there’s a little-girl-lost quality to the onetime Disney teen princess that’s very affecting. Whenever she’s onscreen, she projects a sense of just barely holding on to that precarious slide area in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.
Lohan, in and out of rehab, is happy and relieved that her narrative might become a redemption story that gives her a place in Hollywood as someone who can still act. As part of her redemptive rise Lohan will be interviewed and perhaps mentored by Oprah.
That, and more treatments at a New Jersey alcohol addiction rehab or wherever it is that Lohan has her next major relapse.
The State of the Race