Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Impact of TIFF Part 1

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) once again proved its status as the launching point for some of the year’s biggest Oscar contenders. Here is a rundown of the major films shown, their reception, and their Oscar potential.

Agora – The word on this film is very mixed. Some claim it’s breathtaking, while others say its story fails it from the beginning. I don’t expect this one to make a big splash at the Oscars, unless the rest of American critics suddenly fall in love with it, but it does have some potential in the technical categories.

Antichrist – Horror is a tough sell no matter what (I mean Hitchcock never won an Oscar!), and apparently this film is so gruesome, so sick, and so controversial, that I really can’t see the Academy going for this (Or audiences for that matter). Charlotte Gainsbourg is getting some positive attention, and apparently it is really well shot. Other than that, I think this one will be missed by all.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Okay, I really, really want to see this movie. Apparently the acting is good (Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, and Fairuza Balk), the directing by Werner Herzog is fantastic (did you expect less) and early reviews pen it as a fun, offbeat, disarming, action-packed, and one hell of a good ride. If the Academy is feeling hip, Nicholas Cage and the rest of the cast may get some attention, as well as Herzog, but my guess is that they will miss the boat for more Oscar-esque movies.

Broken Embraces – We had already heard good things about Pedro Almodovar’s new Penelope Cruz vehicle, Broken Embraces. So it is no surprise that reception was pretty good at Toronto. While it’s seen as a lesser entry than say Talk to Her or Volver, apparently Cruz is fantastic, and could see two Oscar nominations coming her way (here and Nine).

Capitalism: A Love Story – Reviews so far are pretty good, and of course the Right Wingers are gearing up for the controversy that will surround this film, but apparently if you like Michael Moore (or at least respect him, not many people like him), you will love this over-the-top, funny, yet convincing documentary that’s relevance and timeliness could not have played out better. If they want to use one slot of Best Picture for a documentary, I think we have our nominee.

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