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Thursday, Sep 13, 2012
Day four of our TIFF coverage features the collaboration between the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer that is Cloud Atlas, David O. Russell's superb Silver Linings Playbook, and Neil Jordan's latest, Byzantium.


Cloud Atlas
Germany/Hong Kong/Singapore/USA—Dir. Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer


The award for the most audacious film to play at the Festival this year would surely be handed to Cloud Atlas (if such a thing were to exist, which it totally shouldn’t). A vastly complicated, massive production spanning several hundred years, quoting liberally from genre films (Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Master and Commander, And Now For Something Completely Different, Parallax View) and featuring a small village worth of lead actors in multiple roles, this is not the kind of movie that typically gets green lit. Indeed, it likely occurred to many readers of David Mitchell’s visionary 2004 novel on which the film was based that an adaptation would be pretty much impossible. The complexity of the novel’s construction alone—six thematically linked stories, each set in a different time period ranging from the Victorian age up to the distant future, and each written in a time-specific vernacular, all interwoven into a grand braided narrative—should have been enough of a disclaimer against the idea. And yet, here it is.


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Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012
Day three of our TIFF coverage features the latest from auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, Mikael Marcimain's Call Girl, a biopic of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, and a disappointing serial killer flick in The Iceman.

The Master
USA—Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson


The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s unsettling study of the origins of a junk-science religion that looks suspiciously like Scientology, is among the two or three most anticipated titles at this year’s festival.


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Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012
Day two of our TIFF coverage features a take on the Salman Rushdie novel Midnight's Children, Ken Burns' doc about the Central Park Five, and the sex-positive The Sessions.

Midnight’s Children
Canada/UK—Dir. Deepa Mehta


I read Salman Rushdie’s much-admired, multi-award-winning masterpiece Midnight’s Children about 12 years ago while on a trip through Laos. I recall being stunned into a kind of page-turning reverie. This was a book that managed to overlay elements of political satire, magical realism, cultural history, religious parable, and human drama into a hugely entertaining (if enormous and complicated) mosaic. It is an experience you remember, reading that book. Such a shame that one cannot say the same for the film adaptation.


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Monday, Sep 10, 2012
PopMatters begins daily coverage of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, this last major festival before awards season.

Amour
France—Michael Haneke


A cheery octogenarian couple (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant) return home from a night at the symphony. They chat, they laugh, they bicker. It’s adorable. And then, despite making what should have been the mood-shattering discovery that someone has tried (and failed) to break in while they were out, the husband gently tells his wife not to let it “spoil your good mood”. These are not the kind of people who let obstacles prevent them from moving forward.


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Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012
The biggest pop culture gathering in North America kicks off Wednesday night. How has Comic-Con responded to last year's problems, and what are the most interesting events taking place at this year's show?

Hollywood invaded Comic-Con International (the official name of the San Diego Comic-Con) back around the turn of the 21st century, bringing in movie stars to promote upcoming genre films. But it wasn’t until the opening of the 6,500-seat Hall H in 2004 that the show truly arrived as the center of the pop culture universe. The convention was already in the middle of an attendance explosion, but Hall H and the major movie studios helped drive it to its current overstuffed situation, where 130,000-plus squeeze into the San Diego Convention Center every July.


Comic-Con’s status as the biggest pop culture gathering in North America brought with it a host of problems that it didn’t face when it was merely the biggest comic book show in North America. They’ve had to address things like how to deal with thousands of people trying to get hotel rooms at the same time, how to move tens of thousands of people through the registration process quickly, and where to situate the lines for the various panel rooms without blocking hallways or running into other lines. To the convention’s credit, they’ve worked hard to deal with these issues as they’ve arisen. Usually, they aren’t the sort of things that can be fixed on the fly, so longtime attendees eagerly look forward to the release of the Comic-Con schedule (around two weeks before the show) to see what’s changed for the upcoming convention. And yes, also to plan what awesome stuff we’re going to see at the show.


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