Sunday, September 14, 2014

'The Imitation Game' Wins TIFF's People's Choice Award

The 2014 Toronto Film Festival has come to a close and with it their top prize-- the People's Choice Award.  Toronto is somewhat different than other major film festivals (Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Berlin) in that their top prize is chosen by festival filmgoers rather than a designated jury.  They do hand out a few smaller jury prizes, but the biggie is the People's Choice Award.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
The Imitation Game- directed by Morten Tyldum


1st runner-up: Learning to Drive- directed by Isable Coixet
2nd runner-up: St. Vincent- directed by Theodore Melfi

The Imitation Game from Headhunters director Tyldum stars Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing, who cracked the German enigma code during WWII.  Branded a hero until his homosexuality was discovered.  Keira Knightley and Mark Strong co-star in the awards hopeful coming to cinemas this November courtesy of The Weinstein Company.  Last year, eventual Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave won the same prize in Toronto.  Other eventual Best Picture winners that have won the People's Choice in Toronto include Slumdog Millionaire, American Beauty and The King's Speech, a comparable title to The Imitation Game, or at least its distributor hopes so.  Curiously, The Imitation Game had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival before playing Toronto, the same year Toronto organizers made a big fuss about Telluride premieres being sidelined to the back end of the Toronto slate.  The win for The Imitation Game sort of renders that decision even sillier, perhaps.


PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD (Documentary)
Beats of the Anotonov- directed by Hajooj Kuka
1st runner-up: Do I Sound Gay?- directed by David Thorpe
2nd runner-up: Seymour: An Introduction- directed by Ethan Hawke

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD (Midnight Madness)
What We Do in the Shadows- directed by Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement
1st runner-up: Tusk- directed by Kevin Smith
2nd runner-up: Big Game- directed by Jalmari Helander

BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM: Felix & Maria- directed by Maxime Giroux
BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM: Bang Bang Baby- directed by Jeffrey St. Jules

FIPRESCI PRIZE (PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRITICS):
Special Presentation Section: Time Out of Mind- directed by Oren Moverman
Discovery Section: May Allah Bless France!- directed by Abd Al Malik

NETPAC AWARD FOR BEST ASIAN FILM: Margarita, With a Straw- directed by Shonali Bose

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM: A Single Body- directed by Sotiris Dounoukos
BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM: The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer- directed by Randall Okita

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lucy

The first ten minutes of Lucy, Luc Besson's absolutely berserk new film, will likely reveal your patience for this insane, fever dream mash-up of metaphysical blather and grand spectacle.  We meet American party girl Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a blonde tart studying abroad in Taipei, and she's being courted (and then some) to courier a briefcase of unknown contents by her sketchy beau-of-the-week.  She does so, delivering this package to the unrepentantly evil Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi, the original Oldboy.)  For an action movie it seems like a fairly standard set-up, like a generic variant of Taken (another Besson property.)  To no surprise, the briefcase contains drugs and Lucy, against her will, becomes a mule carrying the mysterious CPH4, which has been sewn into her abdomen.  The drug leaks and Lucy turns into a god-like creature with the ability to use more than 10% of her brain capacity.  She literary becomes the girl with kaleidoscope eyes.  With me so far?

But there's stranger things afoot.  For starters, Besson's cuts the first sequence with nature footage of wildlife animals luring and attacking their prey.  What is this movie?  When Lucy is offered cash, we cut to a shot of mouse nearing its trap.  Lucy never had a chance from the start, but Lucy is something else entirely-- a nutty exercise in style, one that abandons its generic action film traits nearly as quickly as it establishes them, unleashing a beast of movie, one that if isn't exactly smart, is certainly alluring in its confidence.  Maddening and mined with pseudo-science that might make Neil deGrasse Tyson's head explode, Lucy is strangely exhilarating and nearly unfathomably weird.  Besson throws imagery and madcap violence with such reckless abandon; he's genre bursting to such a heightened degree that Lucy plays like The Tree of Life meets Looney Tunes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Television Critics Association Awards

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: Breaking Bad
BEST NEW PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: Orange is the New Black
BEST COMEDY SERIES: (tie) Louie; Veep
BEST DRAMA SERIES: The Good Wife
BEST MINISERIES: True Detective
BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
BEST NEWS AND INFORMATION PROGRAM: Cosmos
BEST REALITY SERIES: RuPaul's Drag Race
BEST YOUTH PROGRAM: The Fosters
HERITAGE AWARD: Saturday Night Live
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: James Burrows

Friday, June 20, 2014

Los Angeles Film Festival

The Los Angeles Film Festival closed yesterday-- Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys was the closing night film.  Here are the winners of the fest, this year celebrating their 20th Anniversary.

Stray Dog, the new documentary from Winter's Bone director Debra Granik

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Man From Reno, directed by Dave Boyle
 
Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)
Stray Dog, directed by Debra Granik

LA Muse Award
Los Ángeles, directed by Damian John Harper

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
The Ensemble Cast of Recommended by Enrique, directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel García

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
The Young Kieslowski, directed by Kerem Sanga

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Meet the Patels, directed by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel

Audience Award for Best International Feature
Someone You Love, directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen
Country: Denmark

Award for Best Narrative Short Film
The Runaway, directed by Jean-Bernard Marlin. France

Award for Best Documentary Short Film
The Queen, directed by Manuel Abramovich. Argentina

Award for Best Animated/Experimental Short Film
Butter Lamp, directed by Hu Wei. China/France

Audience Award for Best Short Film
The Gunfighter, directed by Eric Kissack

Audience Award for Best Music Video
“Turn Down For What”, Lil Jon and DJ Snake; directed by Daniels
Music: Lil Jon & DJ Snake

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Critics Choice Television Awards

COMEDY
BEST SERIES: Orange is the New Black
BEST ACTOR: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
BEST ACTRESS: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: (tie) Allison Janney, Mom; Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black
BEST GUEST PERFORMER: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black

DRAMA
BEST SERIES: Breaking Bad
BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
BEST ACTRESS: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Bellamy Young, Scandal
BEST GUEST PERFORMER: Allison Janney, Masters of Sex

MOVIE/MINISERIES
BEST MOVIE: The Normal Heart
BEST MINISERIES: Fargo
BEST ACTOR: Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
BEST ACTRESS: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Tollman, Fargo

OTHER
BEST REALITY SERIES: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
BEST REALITY (COMPETITION SERIES): Shark Tank
BEST REALITY HOST: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
BEST TALK SHOW: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
BEST ANIMATED SERIES: Archer  
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