Setting aside the more controversial aspects of him fame/infamy – and his headline-baiting personal life - there’s no denying Polish director Roman Polanski is a maverick and a visionary. Even if his dossier included only Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, Polanski would be a force.
That it also includes Knife in the Water, Cul-de-sac, Repulsion, The Tenant and the weirdly underrated Ghost Writer is proof positive that Polanski’s oeuvre is pretty well cemented as legendary.
Quick - name three bankable female films directors.
Stumped? OK, remove the notion of bankable and just name three. Kathryn Bigelow probably springs to mind because she won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker, the first female director to do so. Maybe you can offer Jodie Foster, who is comparatively high-profile and prolific among chick directors, as is Canada’s Deepa Mehta.
This won’t exactly reinforce Canada’s legitimacy as a hot cinematic player on the world stage.
But Telefilm Canada’s decision to apply a new “success index” to films financed by the feds – looking beyond box office to include such ephemeral cultural criteria such as trophies won at film festivals and award season competitions – will doubtless be welcome news to homegrown movie makers seeking new ways of defining filmic triumph.
It’s almost a Hollywood truism – any novel that is successful or beloved is destined to be adapted into a movie. And plenty of movies based on beloved, successful books suck.
Not always of course – see The Godfather or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. But the taint from a hack-job film is especially painful when the source material was solid. Witness Running with Scissors or How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Question: Which new movie features a marquee cast including, but not limited to, Halle Berry, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank and Alyssa Milano and still looks terrible?
Answer: New Year’s Eve, the forthcoming (December 9) ensemble rom-com centered, 200 Cigarettes-like, on the shenanigans of crazy people in love on the last day of the year.
You wouldn’t think a film festival thematically focused on cancer would have a ton of laughs. But Breast Fest - the world’s first and only breast cancer film festival feting its fourth annual run this weekend (November 18 to 20) in Toronto - arguably has as much humour as it does heartbreak.
With 24 films from 24 countries, many award winning, acclaimed and Oscar-bound and screening absolutely free from today through November 30, it’s hard to cast a stone at Toronto’s tiny, perfect European Union Film Festival.
Let’s face it: the European economy may be teetering but its cinema absolutely rocks, and it offers a welcome respite from formulaic, blow-‘em-up-good Hollywood fare.
Last week we got a sneak peek of the dark, special effects-loaded new trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman with Twilight star Kristen Stewart as the namesake maiden and Charlize Theron as the vain and jealous Evil Queen who wants to bring her down.
This week, the trailer for the competing Snow White film, Mirror, Mirror - with Julia Roberts in the Evil Queen role and relative newcomer Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as the maiden – is out and it couldn’t be more different.
This will be the best news the sci-fi geek in your life will receive all week: British director David Yates – who helmed a cinematic series you may have heard of called Harry Potter – is set to develop a movie version of TV cult fave Doctor Who.
Earlier this year, Lars von Trier became the first filmmaker in the history of the Cannes film festival to both win the Palm d'Or and get banned from the premises (his jokes about Hitler at the press conference for his film Melancholia didn't go over quite as well as he'd hoped). TIFF Cinematheque’s Lars von Trier retrospective — designed to coincide with the North American release of Melancholia — presents a refreshing reminder that Von Trier is just as good at making films as he is at sabotaging his own press conferences.