1. We have been receiving WONDERFUL responses to our earlier post:  Where were you when you heard _______ ‘s Fresh Air interview? (and on Facebook here. Scroll down a bit to see the post.)

    Several of our producers were reading your responses and Ann Marie Baldonado, one of our producers, told us a story that we just had to post: 

    "I remember listening to one particular episode of Fresh Air when I was in graduate school.  I was driving in my car, going to a bookstore to try and find a book I needed for a research paper.  I was not a very happy graduate student.  I remember hearing Terry interview radio producer David Isay, and two teenagers he worked with on a radio series about life in inner city Chicago.  Then Ken Tucker reviewed a new album by Sleater-Kinney.  My thought was, "Why the heck am I in grad school?  I should be working for a show like that!  A year later, I got my first job working for Fresh Air.  That was 16 years ago."

    — Ann Marie Baldonado

    Talk about a full circle moment.

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    Interviews

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  1. Our producer Ann Marie Baldonado on the new film The To Do List:
You might be heading to the movie theater to catch up on your Wolverines, Despicable Me 2s, or even your Blue Jasmines, but let me a case for The To-Do-List, a modestly made, yet brazen sex comedy which probably stars a lot of people you already love.  


Set in 1993, the film stars Aubrey Plaza (Funny People, Safety not Guaranteed, but you know her as April from Parks and Recreation, or maybe as live action Daria) as Brandy Klark, an over achieving Georgetown-bound valedictorian who things she will spend her final summer before college working at the pool and crossing things off her to do list— things like buy flip flops and a caddy for dorm shower, dry erase board for the door, twin sheets, etc.  But that changes when she eyes Rusty Waters, played by Jason Street Scott Porter, an older, flowy-haired life guard that she realizes she wants to bed.  She knows she is currently too inexperienced to actually do this (someone yells out “virgin” while she is reading her graduation speech), so she starts another kind of to-do list, filled with sexual acts, some of which you haven’t heard mentioned since high school (or the last time you saw a high school sex comedy).  With her pragmatism and type A skills readied, she begins crossing items off the list, with advice from her popular, experienced, and pretty mean older sister (Rachel Bilson) her best friends (including Alia Shawkat), and with, um, “assists” from classmates (Donald Glover, Christopher Mintz Plasse), and random musicians passing through town (Andy Samberg).  Also starring in the film are Bill Hader, Connie Britton, and Clark Gregg (Told you that you love some of these people).

 
 


The film was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Maggie Carey, who is part of the Upright Citizens Brigade family, has written for Funny Or Die Presents, and created the comedy web series The Jeannie Tate Show (She is also married to Bill Hader). Carey has said that she based overachieving, Hillary Clinton-loving Brandy on herself as a teen in the 1990s— she was also motivated, successful, and confident about some things, but scared and inexperienced when it came to sex.  In Brandy, she created a teenage heroine that knows sex can be an important, serious thing, but it doesn’t have to be; it can be enjoyable and doesn’t have to lead to heartache.  Brandy would maybe say it is about choice.  There aren’t many teenage girls in film who come to these realizations.



To be sure, there is a lot of edgy, raunchy sex stuff here — think American Pie and Superbad— but the scenes are more shocking and/or refreshing because the instigator is female.  Sure, the film could have been funnier, and I could have maybe done without a scatological scene that rivals the bridal store scene in Bridesmaids.  But The To Do List has the right idea.  It isn’t really a love story so Brandy doesn’t need a boy at the end to make things right.  Instead she ends up wiser, well-adjusted, and not shamed about her experiences. She seems, dare I say empowered.  This film is smart and feminist, and I keep wondering how my life would have been different— if my ideas about gender and sexuality would have been at all transformed— had I seen The To Do List instead of Porky’s when I was a kid.  
 
image via Glamour  View in High-Res

    Our producer Ann Marie Baldonado on the new film The To Do List:

    You might be heading to the movie theater to catch up on your Wolverines, Despicable Me 2s, or even your Blue Jasmines, but let me a case for The To-Do-List, a modestly made, yet brazen sex comedy which probably stars a lot of people you already love.  

    Set in 1993, the film stars Aubrey Plaza (Funny People, Safety not Guaranteed, but you know her as April from Parks and Recreation, or maybe as live action Daria) as Brandy Klark, an over achieving Georgetown-bound valedictorian who things she will spend her final summer before college working at the pool and crossing things off her to do list— things like buy flip flops and a caddy for dorm shower, dry erase board for the door, twin sheets, etc.  But that changes when she eyes Rusty Waters, played by Jason Street Scott Porter, an older, flowy-haired life guard that she realizes she wants to bed.  She knows she is currently too inexperienced to actually do this (someone yells out “virgin” while she is reading her graduation speech), so she starts another kind of to-do list, filled with sexual acts, some of which you haven’t heard mentioned since high school (or the last time you saw a high school sex comedy).  With her pragmatism and type A skills readied, she begins crossing items off the list, with advice from her popular, experienced, and pretty mean older sister (Rachel Bilson) her best friends (including Alia Shawkat), and with, um, “assists” from classmates (Donald Glover, Christopher Mintz Plasse), and random musicians passing through town (Andy Samberg).  Also starring in the film are Bill Hader, Connie Britton, and Clark Gregg (Told you that you love some of these people).

     

     

    The film was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Maggie Carey, who is part of the Upright Citizens Brigade family, has written for Funny Or Die Presents, and created the comedy web series The Jeannie Tate Show (She is also married to Bill Hader). Carey has said that she based overachieving, Hillary Clinton-loving Brandy on herself as a teen in the 1990s— she was also motivated, successful, and confident about some things, but scared and inexperienced when it came to sex.  In Brandy, she created a teenage heroine that knows sex can be an important, serious thing, but it doesn’t have to be; it can be enjoyable and doesn’t have to lead to heartache.  Brandy would maybe say it is about choice.  There aren’t many teenage girls in film who come to these realizations.

    To be sure, there is a lot of edgy, raunchy sex stuff here — think American Pie and Superbad— but the scenes are more shocking and/or refreshing because the instigator is female.  Sure, the film could have been funnier, and I could have maybe done without a scatological scene that rivals the bridal store scene in Bridesmaids.  But The To Do List has the right idea.  It isn’t really a love story so Brandy doesn’t need a boy at the end to make things right.  Instead she ends up wiser, well-adjusted, and not shamed about her experiences. She seems, dare I say empowered.  This film is smart and feminist, and I keep wondering how my life would have been different— if my ideas about gender and sexuality would have been at all transformed— had I seen The To Do List instead of Porky’s when I was a kid. 

     

    image via Glamour 

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado’s Review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master

    ** Another great review from Fresh Air producer, Ann Marie Baldonado:

    When I go to a film festival (which isn’t that often), and I am seeing sometimes 5 or 6 movies in a day, I wonder if the patterns I see, or the common themes I notice from movie to movie, are real, or if my taxed brain is just making the connections when they aren’t there.  But some of the patterns are true. For example, on my second day at the festival, in almost every film I saw, an adult child was searching for his (or her) real father (On the Road, Stories We Tell, Imogene, A Place Beyond the Pines).  And throughout the festival, so many of the films I saw seemed to be about men unable to control their impulses, be they violent or sexual or both. The film that I found to be most mesmerizing about how this topic and one tries to live with one’s inner demons (and where these demons come from to begin with), is Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

    The Master follows the story of Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix), a naval officer returning from World War II, with little idea of what to do with himself.  You get the feeling that he was volatile and twitchy to begin with, but the war has certainly taken its toll; it’s written across his face full of crevices, and his constantly hunched back.  He floats from job to job, taking photographs in one of the country’s emerging department stores, picking cabbage alongside Filipino immigrants, generally wandering around the country, getting into fights, making odd alcoholic concoctions for himself, laced with gasoline and paint thinner, that seem to burn away at his insides, so that something is literally, not just figuratively eating at him. 

    Things change for Freddie when he happens upon Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), an intellectual and religious leader who is the head of an emerging spiritual organization.  The Cause, as the movement is called, tries to help followers master their emotions, leaving their regrets, failures and all mental barriers behind.  Dodd is searching for how humans can overcome their darker instincts and animal behaviors, and he has certainly met his match when he meets Freddie, who seems to be all instinct and animal.

    Dodd’s wife, Peggy (Amy Adams) at first is happy that Freddie has inspired her husband to write, to find new techniques to help this lost drifter.  But Freddie’s violent, erratic tendencies get to be too much for Peggy; Freddie doesn’t seem to be responding to any of The Cause’s teachings or exercises, and she thinks they should just let Freddie go.  But Lancaster still wants to help Freddie because if he can’t save Freddie, who can he save?

    Freddie’s journeys and struggles are beautiful to behold onscreen— whether we are on a naval ship, in a cabbage field, or in a living room where followers of The Cause are meeting; much of this is due to Anderson’s decision to film in 65mm.  This technique was most widely used in the 1950s, when The Master is set, so the look of the film is bright, fuzzily precise, and historically fitting.  As Anderson said, using these cameras and film just “felt right” and it translates on the screen, and will hopefully somehow translate well when shown in 35 mm or digital when it hits regular theaters around the country.

    Anderson has consistently said that while there are similarities between his character, Lancaster Dodd and L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, the film is not about Scientology, and now after seeing the film, I see that he is right.  The Master doesn’t explain how the religion was started, it isn’t an exposé about how followers were conned or misled.  It’s true that at one point in the film Lancaster Dodd’s son (Landry from Friday Night Lights Jesse Plemons), says “he is making it up as he goes along,” but that is not the point of the story— showing Dodd to be a fraud.  In fact, The Master is almost a sympathetic portrait of a man who is struggling, trying to find a way for himself and for his “followers” to make sense of their pasts and move forward, unencumbered.

    Freddie is such a flawed, flawed man, and one gets the feeling that no amount of “work” can really get to the root cause of his demons and frailties— was it a lost love?  Lack of parental love?  The savagery of war?  We never know, and although there are hints, we are kept at an emotional distance.  I left The Master feeling unresolved and still searching, but okay with that, because the exploration was still so beautiful and thoughtful.

    I noticed in the official press materials about The Master, Anderson says “My father came out of World War II and was restless his whole life.”  I guess I can add another movie to the list of films about a child’s search for his father.

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    The Master

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  1. Silver Linings Playbook at Toronto Int’l Film Festival

    "I like a short schedule because it serves a rhythm that I put in the writing.  We would find that rhythm to the scene that would gather momentum as we would go faster - because what you don’t want is this person speaks and then this person speaks which is how you sort of tend to start the day. But if you get broken in like a baseball mitt, by the time we have warmed it up, people are just going, like it is in real life.” - David O.Russell

    "I think David puts actors in an adrenaline rush constantly, you are onset and you have no alternative but to be brilliant." - Anupam Kher

    — Director David O. Russell and actor Anupam Kher of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, September 8th, 2012. 

    They talked about Russell’s style of directing which involves a short, quick shooting schedule and lots of takes.  

    THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK will be released in theaters in November of this year.

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    Silver Linings Playbook

    Fresh Air at TIFF2012

  1. To the Wonder at the Toronto International Film Festival

    "That is just Terry’s style.  There is enough footage for 5 other movies in there.”

     ”10 other movies!”

     ”There are many stories he could have told with all the footage he has but this is the one story that he made into the film.”

    — Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams, speaking at the Q & A after the North American premiere of To The Wonder (directed by Terrence Malick), referring to Malick’s unique shooting style. 

    They were the only two on stage to talk about the film, an impressionistic musing of love found and lost.  Neither Malick, who routinely stays out of the public eye, nor Ben Affleck, who was here earlier in the festival with his own film, Argo, were at the premiere.

    To The Wonder premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week to boos from the audience.  Tonight there weren’t boos, but there was certainly a lukewarm response. 

    The film has very little dialogue, and Kurylenko says Malick told her to not say anything during a scene, even if the scene had a few written lines in the script.  The actors were also expected to be ready to be filmed at any point during the shoot.  Kurylenko says Malick threatened to wake her up at 6 am, so she would have to essentially wake up in character. 

    Also missing from the premiere was the only other major cast member, Javier Bardem.  A handful of other actors— Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, Barry Pepper, and Amanda Peet— were cut from the film entirely.  Yup, there are at least 10 other movies in there.  Yet I am sure all of them would still have lots of shots of undulating, sun-lit cornfields.

    Fresh Air producer Ann Marie Baldonado is writing from the Toronto International Film Festival.

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    To the Wonder

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado: An Update on Distribution at the Toronto Film Festival


    The Toronto Film Festival ended this weekend with the top award,The People’s Choice Award, going to The King’s Speech, the film about King George VI (father of Queen Elisabeth) and the speech therapist who helped him get rid of his stutter.

    The awards at Toronto don’t mean as much as say the awards at Cannes or Sundance, but the winners of the audience award usually end up doing well at Oscar time.  

    Two years ago, Slumdog Millionaire was a clear crowd pleaser and audience award winner, and last year it was Precious.  Coming out of the festival, The King’s Speech is a talked about favorite for a best film nomination, as well as acting awards for Colin Firth as the King and Geoffrey Rush as his trusted friend and advisor.

    In other updates, a number of films I wrote about here have gotten distribution deals.  In fact, industry insiders are calling this the most-active Toronto market in years.  This weekend, Beginners, Mike Mills' second feature film, was picked up by Focus Films.  No official word yet on when they will release the film in the US, but some speculate it will come out the middle of 2011.  

    Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions purchased the Will Ferrell film, Everything Must Go, as well as the Robert Redford directed historical drama, The Conspirator, and Lionsgate alone will be distributing Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole
    Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.  

    Other films that were purchased include the new Kelly Reichart film, Meek’s Cutoff, starring Michelle Williams, Passion Play starring Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox, the films Peepworld, Beautiful Boy, and Dirty Girl, as well as 3 films that have gotten positive reviews that I unfortunately didn’t catch at the festival — Werner Herzog's new 3D documentary Caves of Forgotten Dreams, Submarine, and Incendies, which won The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature, and got a distribution deal from Sony Picture Classics.

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado on Mike Mills: Beginners


    With the Toronto International Film Festival drawing to a close, I wanted to catch up and fill you in on a few films that I caught during the festival that as of yet, don’t have a US distributor:

    What would you do if your father came out of the closet at the age of 75?

    Well, director/artist Mike Mills decided to use this question as the starting off point for his lovely 2nd feature film, Beginners, which premiered here in Toronto earlier this week.  It’s the follow up to his debut Thumbsucker, which premiered in Toronto in 2005.

    What makes the film so lovely, what makes it feel so authentic and dear, is the fact that it’s based on Mills’ own experience.  His father came out in his 70s after the death of his wife, Mills’ mother. His dad ran an art museum; his mother worked on houses.  Mills is an artist whose whimsical artwork have graced album covers and art gallery walls, just like the main character, Oliver, played beautifully by Ewan McGregor.  And just like Mills, Oliver is dealing with the semi-recent death of both his parents, and how to grieve for them and continue on.

    Although the splashier element of the plot is the bit about the old man (and his son) coming to terms with his sexuality, the film is really about the grieving process after a father’s death.  We see Oliver cleaning out his family house and going through his parents books and clothes. And we see flashbacks of Oliver’s youth, where we see his parents interact (with the sense of a growing distance between them.)

    While we mostly see Christopher Plummer's character after he has come out — happily learning the ropes of his new gay life — our encounters with Oliver’s mother are seen through the eyes of little boy Oliver; we see mother and son poking fun at high-faluting museum goers, or taking long car rides to nowhere.  

    It is clear that the whimsy and the sadness found in Oliver’s art and Mill’s art, by extension, can be traced back to his artistic, funny and odd mother (In a Q&A after a screening of Beginners, Mills revealed that the drawings from the film were done by both him and McGregor but anyone familiar with Mills’ work will notice his particular style.)

    So the film ends up being a love story, about a departed father, a departed mother, and a new love, Anna, played by French actress, Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds).  As a viewer you will fall in love with Anna, just as Oliver has.  

    But will these crazy kids, both of them unsure of what a real, true love and marriage are supposed to look like, be able to work it out?  Hopefully, someone will pick up this film and you can see for yourself.

    [Update: Focus Features purchased Beginners.]

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  1. Fresh Air Producer Ann Marie Baldonado on Rabbit Hole

    Will people want to go see a film about a couple dealing with the accidental death of their 4-year-old son?  That question is probably on the minds of film distributors, deciding if Rabbit Hole is worth purchasing.  The film premiered last Monday with stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, and director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus) in attendance.

    This may be Kidman’s best performance in years.  Her pale, almost motionless face serves her well as a mom, so rattled by her grief that the only outward manifestations she can muster are perfect posture and the constant baking of pies and cakes.  She waits around in her perfect house, but she doesn’t know what she is waiting for.  

    Meanwhile her husband, played by Eckhart, goes to work and plays squash — while still coming home every evening to watch a 20-second video of his son that is still on his iPhone.  

    It’s a tragedy no one wants to think about and one that seems unlikely that a parent can ever recover. But by never making us really see or experience the exact moment of tragedy, the film shows a bit of self restraint that I appreciated, especially in these ‘show everything in movies’ times (I did just see a guy cut off his own arm, after all.)

    The film, based on a play that won Cynthia Nixon a Tony Award, was not as exploitatively heart wrenching as I thought it might be (another film about the death of a son at Toronto, Beautiful Boy starring Maria Bello and Michael Sheen,  was more so.)

    There were even surprising moment of laughter, some of them provided by supporting cast members Diane Wiest, who plays Kidman’s mom, and Sandra Oh, who plays a mom Kidman and Eckhart meet through a grieving parents support group.

    A few critics have talked about this being a role that could get Kidman another Oscar nomination, but a distributor would have to buy the film and put it on a fast track to premiere in theaters before year’s end, in order for it to qualify for the next Oscar round.  

    Which brings me back to my first question: Would people want to see this movie?  I am not sure I would want to go through the experience of watching a film like this, if I wasn’t doing it for you, dear listeners.  And remember I kind of liked the film. We will see what answer those distributors come up with.

    [Update: Rabbit Hole found a distributor. Lionsgate will release the film by year’s end, making it eligible for Oscar nominations.]

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado: Oscar Shoo-Ins at the Toronto Film Festival

    Oscar shoo-ins are continually mentioned at the Toronto Film Festival.  Who are the shoo-ins for Oscar nominations from the films this year?

    Some names that people are talking about?  Natalie Portman in Black Swan.  Javier Bardem in Biutiful.  And Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.

    The King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper (of the HBO series John Adams) is based on the real story of King George VI, the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II, who became King after his brother abdicated the throne.  

    The King lived with a stutter that prevented him from giving public addresses, and this inability to speak made him a very reluctant ruler.  Enter speech therapist Lionel Logue, who begins to get results with the would-be king and manages to befriend him, despite the difference in their standing.  Sounds exactly like the kind of film that would do well at the Oscars, huh?  Well the audiences are loving this film here.  

    And they are not wrong.  Colin Firth really does give an excellent, nuanced performance. And Firth is certainly on a roll, since he was nominated last year for his work in A Single Man, which was purchased here in Toronto last year by the Weinstein Company.  Geoffrey Rush may also get a nod, for his turn as the therapist.  

    Speaking in a Q & A after one of the screenings, Firth, Rush, and director Tom Hooper, attribute the on-screen chemistry between the two actors to the three week preparation period they had before filming began.  Apparently, such prep time is rare.  

    That prep will probably pay off the beginning of 2011, when those Oscar nominations are announced.

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado: Day 3 at the Toronto Film Festival

    From left to right: author and adventurer Aron Ralston, actor Clemence Poesy, Actor Kate Mara, Actor James Franco, Actor Amber Tamblyn, Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, Director Danny Boyle

    Yesterday, hundreds of press and industry folks waited hours to see a guy cut off his own arm.  Sure, the real life story of Aron Ralston — a young man whose gets stranded in a Utah canyon for 5 days when his hand gets stuck underneath a boulder — is certainly compelling. But I think it is safe to say that the reason people waited was because 127 Hours is the work of director Danny Boyle, a Toronto favorite who showed Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire here two years ago. Also at the screening — perhaps the busiest man in film or anywhere — actor/director/writer/artist James Franco (I mean, the guy is about to start two graduate programs after just finishing two.  Come on now.)  Thankfully for those of us who waited, Boyle and Franco didn’t disappoint.

    It’s not suprising that Boyle managed to not turn this into a TV movie, although this tale could certainly be TV movie fodder.  Both Boyle and Franco used the actual tapes that Ralston made during those 5 days to prepare for the film.  And their attention to little details (the way Rolston placed the few items of his backpack neatly out onto the boulder, portioned out the little water he had in his Nalgene, and carefully contemplated his attempts at escape…) created a sort of authenticity that the film needed in order to be successful.  Franco’s great one-man performance, along with the use of flashbacks that get dreamier as the hours pass on, give a lot of movement to a story that is essentially about a guy standing still, talking to himself, trying to keep himself alive.

    The real life Aron Ralston is here in support of the film, and is just as compelling in real life as his fictitious counterpart.  127 Hours is scheduled to hit theaters later this year — and James Franco will be on Fresh Air later this month to discuss his role in the film.

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  1. Toronto Film Festival (from left to right) Katy Mara, James Franco, Amber Tamblyn. (photo by Ann Marie Baldonado) View in High-Res

    Toronto Film Festival (from left to right) Katy Mara, James Franco, Amber Tamblyn. (photo by Ann Marie Baldonado)

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  1. The mob scene in front of the press and industry screening of 127 Hours,  directed by Danny Boyle, starring the always-busy James Franco.  A  problem with subtitles at another theater made a bad situation worse.   The screening is already running an hour late. View in High-Res

    The mob scene in front of the press and industry screening of 127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle, starring the always-busy James Franco.  A problem with subtitles at another theater made a bad situation worse.  The screening is already running an hour late.

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  1. Ann Marie Baldonado: Day 2 at the Toronto Film Festival



    At the Q and A after the world premiere of Everything Must Go (from left to right) Rebecca Hall (I swear I am not following her around on purpose), Writer/director Dan Rush, and Will Ferrell

    Although most of the big films come to Toronto with distribution, there are a handful of films with prominent directors or actors still looking for a way to get to a theater near you (or at least a theater in New York and LA.)  There are documentaries by Fresh Air favorite Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D), and Errol Morris (Tabloid) — as well as new films from Robert Redford (The Conspirator), John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole), and artist/director Mike Mills (Beginners.) There’s also the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and Passion Play, starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray.  Rourke and Fox fall in love at the circus; is it a quirky odd film that works or a car crash?  I guess distributors contemplated this during the premiere Friday tonight.

    Another film premiering Friday night was Everything Must Go.  Based on a Raymond Carver short story, this first film by writer/director Dan Rush follows alcoholic Nicolas Halsey (Will Ferrell) on possibly the worst day of his life.  After being fired from the sales job he has had for over a decade, he comes home to find his wife had not only left him — but she locked the house doors and littered all of his belonging on the front lawn.  He spends the next few days sitting and sleeping in front of his house on his La-Z-Boy, drinking beers, and going through his stuff and consequently going over his life.  He looks through yearbooks, plays his records, and watches old home movies projected on his garage door.  Rebecca Hall plays a sympathetic pregnant neighbor, and Christopher C.J. Wallace, the son of Notorious BIG and Faith Evans (!), plays a neighborhood boy who helps Nick sell all of his stuff.

    We all know that Ferrell doesn’t do many films that aren’t comedies (there was Stranger Than Fiction which premiered here four years ago).  During the Q & A tonight he shared that it’s not because of lack of interest; he just doesn’t get offered those scripts.  Although Everything Must Go was at times very funny, it was also quite quietly moving.

    At festival’s end, a lot of these unattached films will probably still be up for grabs.  I am wondering though if Everything Must Go might not be one of them.  In the back of the theater, I spied Adam Yauch, Beastie Boy and founder of Oscilloscope, distributor of films such as The Messenger, Wendy and Lucy, and the upcoming Howl.  Is he in a buying mood?  Maybe we will find out in the next day or two.

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  1. Fresh Air Producer Ann Marie Baldonado on Black Swan

    It’s been about an hour since the press screening of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan ended, and my heartbeat is just getting back to normal.  (See a preview here on YouTube.) Black Swan tells the story of Nina (Natalie Portman), a tightly wound ballerina who has finally gotten her big break — the role of Queen in Swan Lake.  

    The ballet company’s director (Vincent Cassell) thinks she needs to let go, focus more on emotion and less on technique, if she really wants to embody both the pristine white swan part of the role — as well as the more seductive black swan part.

    With his close ups of knarled ballerina feet and a soundtrack filled with cracking knuckles and labored breath, Aronofsky shows us again that he is obsessed with how people mutilate their own bodies for their ‘craft.’  Is the pressure causing Nina to lose her mind?  Or is she going crazy because of her overprotective mom? (Barbara Hershey) Or is it because the new ballerina (Mila Kunis) is messing with her?  

    Is the bleeding and the violence in her head or for real?  And is Black Swan about what artists put themselves through to find perfection in their projects?  You can decide when this film hits theaters this December.

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    tiff

    toronto film festival

  1. From Ann Marie, a photo from a press conference for the movie The Town. (Jon Hamm will be on an upcoming show to discuss his role in this film.)
From left to right, screenwriter Chuck Rogan, actors Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner, Ben Affleck (also the director), Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, producer Basil Iwankl. View in High-Res

    From Ann Marie, a photo from a press conference for the movie The Town. (Jon Hamm will be on an upcoming show to discuss his role in this film.)

    From left to right, screenwriter Chuck Rogan, actors Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner, Ben Affleck (also the director), Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, producer Basil Iwankl.

  2. ann marie baldonado

    fresh air

    toronto film festival