Planète Cinéphile

Cette semaine

T.I.F.F. 08

Le 33ème festival international du film de Toronto 2008, qui reste le plus important du continent Nord-Américain, propose cette année encore de nombreuses avant-premières, exclusivités et chefs-d'oeuvre du septième Art.

Faute d'y être sur place, "Leset" a tenu à vous dévoiler quelques avis, en la personne d'Edward Douglas, sur de futurs succès cinématographiques tels que : "Slumdog Milionaire", "The Wrestler", "Burn After Reading", "Synecdoche, New-York" & "Miracle at St. Anna". L'article repris est rédigé en anglais; je vous laisse le découvrir dans sa version d'origine.

"Basically, we're going from best to worst of the movies we've seen so far, but the standout highlight of the festival for us so far has been Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight / Warner Bros. - Nov. 28), the story of a young street thief named Jamal, his older brother Salim and a pretty girl named Latika that comes between them. Based on the novel "Q 'n' A," it seems like a fairly simple story, but it's the way it's told that really makes it something that has made people take note. Essentially, Jamal has gotten himself onto India's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and he's done exceedingly well, so everyone assumes he's cheating. His story is framed by him being tortured and interrogated by a tough policeman trying to find out how he knew the answers, and then the film flashes back to Jamal's life on the street with his opportunistic and abusive older brother who tries to keep Jamal from the young girl he falls in love with as a boy. It's a really amazing film in terms of the script and editing and the way Boyle captures the evolution of Bombay into Mumbai, but the acting across the board is incredible, particularly Dev Patel as the older Jamal. (It's interesting in that three young actors play the three main characters across the ten to twelve years in which the story takes place.) There's a lot of buzz circulating around the festival about this being a potential Best Picture nomination, and while I'm not convinced it can go that far--it seems too much like last year's "The Kite Runner," an excellent film that won't interest anyone besides critics due to the lack of stars and the fact it takes place in a foreign part of the world--I do think it stands the chance of getting a lot of technical awards attention, and it would be nice to see Boyle finally get some of the recognition that's well overdue, since it's easily one of the best movies we've seen so far and possibly one of Boyle's best films ever. We're looking forward to speaking with Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy about the movie later in the week."


If you don't read the credits, you probably won't believe that The Wrestler, just picked up by Fox Searchlight after winning the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, is the new movie from Darren (The Fountain) Aronofsky, since it's so different in look and feel from his three previous films, taking a simpler low-fi approach with none of the cinematic stylishness of The Fountain. It stars Mickey Rourke as professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson who is advised to give up his career after experiencing a near-fatal heart attack, and it shows how he tries to start a new life, reconnect with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and find love with a stripper who likes him but sees him more as a customer. The latter is played by Marisa Tomei whose tattoo-covered body and nipple piercings adds to her eerily credible performance, and it adds to the amazing realism Aranofsky went for with his fourth movie, and it's almost as impressive as what Rourke did for the role: growing his hair long, bulking up his muscles and learning enough moves to really be believable. You seriously forget that this is Mickey Rourke, longtime film actor, more than once. Overall, the movie is good with a loose plot that's more of a day-to-day look at the lives of these broken characters, but it's really Rourke's movie through and through."


"Speaking of which, we'll hopefully have our full review of the Coen Brothers' latest Burn After Reading (Focus – Sept. 12) up soon. It features an amazing ensemble cast including George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but I think people will be surprised that it's not nearly as much of a wacky comedy as it's being sold. It's more of the Coens doing a political piece that acts as an indictment of the red tape put up by the government and CIA, which prevents anything from ever getting done. John Malkovich and Frances McDormand are really great in the movie, and it's really more about their character arcs than that of Clooney or Pitt, both whom are hamming it up and playing against type in the movie, which is so dark that it certainly will not be everyone's cup of joe."


"One of the bigger disappointments for me so far is Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York (Sony Classics – Oct. 24), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, which seems too weird for the sake of being weird, which isn't bad in itself, but it's also thoroughly depressing and fairly unrepentant about its downer tone. It's a grueling two hours of watching a theater director's life fall apart around him as his wife (Catherine Keener) leaves him with his daughter and he finds solace in various women as he prepares to stage the world's biggest production inside a warehouse. It's such a weird concept, even for Kaufman, and though he's able to pull off the scope of the idea, it really boggles the mind for two hours and then leaves you wondering what you just watched. There's just none of the joy of life that made Kaufman's scripts for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation so special."


"As far as the outright duds, Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna (Touchstone – Sept. 26) is just way too long and rambling; there's just no nicer way to put it. It starts out interesting enough with a present -day shooting in a post office, jumps around a bit before flashing back to WWII where the all-black 92nd Division Buffalo Soldiers are traveling through Italy. The first half hour of the movie is really strong, giving a glimpse of the African-American soldiers who fought in WWII who haven't received their due, but the movie goes off the beaten track, spending too much time with the Italian villagers, including a needless love triangle between two soldiers with a local woman. By the time the movie crosses the two-hour mark and eventually gets back to the original framing storyline, you just don't care anymore. The performance by Laz Alonso is the clear standout among the four main actors, but sadly, Spike Lee's WWII movie is just not that much better than Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers."

Courtesy of & Edward Douglas

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