September 20, 2010

Nicole Kidman Updates 09/20/10

TIFF's Day 10: Trends & Faves

It’s all over but the pontificating.

Saturday was the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival to feature no press & industry screenings; after nine days of about 50 a day, the P&I lineup eased to a halt on Friday with fewer than half that many, while the next night the public portion of the festival came to a close with Massy Tadjedin’s “Last Night” (below), which stars Kiera Knightley and has as close to a perfect title for a final-night film title as you’ll ever find.

Last NightSurveying the landscape, indieWIRE’s Peter Knegt spoke to Cameron Bailey about what the festival co-director felt was “a turnaround in the sales climate,” with 18 films selling as opposed to only 12 last year.

David Poland, of course, takes a contrary position and says that the media is getting it wrong about this year’s market being so much better than last year’s. He only counts 12 genuine sales, and says only two are significant: Lionsgate’s pickup of “Rabbit Hole,” which will probably lead to a Best Actress campaign for Nicole Kidman, and the Weinstein Company proclaiming that its still in business by submitting a preemptive bid for “Dirty Girl.” Otherwise, he’s not so impressed.


It's a wrap: Constance Droganes picks her top TIFF moments

Hollywood heavyweights like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey may have been missing in action from the 35th Toronto International Film Festival. (Remember the paparazzi insanity that trio inspired in 2009?)

But TIFF 2010 revved this city up with Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford, mega-mogul Bill Gates and "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen.

Movie titans from Robert De Niro ("Stone") to Catherine Deneuve ("Potiche") showed a thing or two to Hollywood's new kids on the block.

Long-time faves like Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"), Ryan Reynolds ("Buried") and Nicole Kidman ("Rabbit Hole") hit new career highs.

Final stop…

Another darkened Scotiabank theatre, where I see the Nicole Kidman-Aaron Eckhart drama, "Rabbit Hole."

I've heard many people praise this film this week.

They were right.

"Rabbit Hole" is gut-wrenching, absorbing. It's Kidman's best film in a decade.

Kidman, 43, is raw. She's messed up. She's exploding with subtle, brewing anger after her young son is killed in a tragic accident.

It was inspiring.

So, three actresses. Three very different films. And this trio gets me thinking…

Forty years ago actresses like Deneuve, Julie Christie, Sophia Loren and others weren't just beautiful superhuman mannequins toting big-gun ammo on screen. They were mysterious. They were daring chameleons.

And yes, these women could act.

There are actresses who fit that bill today -- Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Rachel Weisz, Kate Winslet...

But then you've got a whole generation of new, aspiring "serious" actresses who seem to be spinning their wheels: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Hudgens, and yes, even Miley Cyrus.

The bridge between the Deneuves and Kidmans of this world is littered with some pretty awesome eye candy all right. But Hollywood wasn't built on looks alone.

Some young starlets will transition from today's action babes and romcom darlings to "serious" actresses.

Many will not.

What will happen to them when they finally have to 'grow up' -- and they can no longer pull off the lycra bodysuit?


'The King,' the Boss and the crowds ruled Toronto International Film Festival

TORONTO -- Talk about high praise.

"This place smells like a new car. There are five of them in the building," a man informed his companions as they waited for "Rabbit Hole" with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart to start.

The theater in TIFF Bell Lightbox, the week-old headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, had a velvety crimson curtain in front of the screen in a throwback to movie palaces of old, rows of red seats, soothing dark gray walls, and the sort of sound and picture quality that patrons stuck in 1970s multiplexes can only dream about.


Best performances: Mr. Firth and Geoffrey Rush in "King's Speech," Mr. Franco in "127 Hours," Ms. Portman in "Black Swan," Ms. Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" and Ms. Manville in "Another Year."


Toronto Film Festival: A repeat for Danny Boyle and Darren Aronofsky?

Toronto tends to clarify the race in other ways. This year, a lead actress field that had been seen as shaky got stronger as the festival went on, first with Portman's well-regarded performance in "Swan" and then when Lionsgate acquired "Rabbit Hole." The John Cameron Mitchell adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's grieving-mother story earned raves for lead Nicole Kidman, and Lionsgate said it would release the movie this awards season to make a push for the Aussie actress.

"This is an extraordinary film that falls into that classic word-of- mouth model where you walk out of the theater and encourage people to go see it," said Jason Constantine, Lionsgate's president of acquisitions and co-productions. "And the fact that we had an opportunity on our release schedule in December and January made it a galvanizing opportunity from a timing perspective."

Lionsgate has a knack for buying movies out of Toronto and turning their actresses into Oscar contenders. It did the same four years ago for Julie Christie and her Alzheimer's drama "Away From Her." The company also had a strong Oscar actress run in both the lead and supporting categories last year with "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," which the company bought at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.


'King's Speech' wins TIFF audience award

TORONTO -- The odds on Colin Firth grabbing the best actor Oscar improved Sunday as Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" picked up the top audience award, the Cadillac People's Choice Award, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Toronto festival director Piers Handling branded "Speech," which the Weinstein Co. will release stateside Nov. 26, as one of his "personal favorites" in this year's lineup and praised the performances of Firth and co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.

"It is a very, very moving story," he said of Hooper's portrait of the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

"Speech" will look to follow a host of festival titles including "Precious," "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men," "Crash," and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" that rode goodwill from Toronto's top audience award to Oscar success.

This year's class of Oscar contenders coming out of Toronto includes Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," with Natalie Portman's portrait of a driven ballerina, and Danny Boyle's survival film "127 Hours," which stars James Franco, both from Fox Searchlight; John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole," with its star turn from Nicole Kidman, which was acquired by Lionsgate; Sony Pictures Classics acquisition "Barney's Version," for its lead performance by Paul Giamatti; the Weinstein Co.'s "Blue Valentine," starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams; and possibly Ben Affleck's "The Town," which Warner Bros. opened during the weekend.


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