1. At a screening of “The Lunchbox,” which stars Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi), AnnMarie managed to record a few minutes with director Ritesh Batra.

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  1. AnnMarie interviews Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, about the Toronto premier of her film “Palo Alto,” based on a book of short stories by James Franco, and starring Franco, Emma Roberts and Zoe Levin.

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  1. Scenes from The Toronto Film Festival: Press lines, theaters, rush lines… and a lot of waiting.

    photos courtesy of Lauren Krenzel

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  1. Fresh Air at the Toronto Film Festival:

    Producer AnnMarie Baldonado just got out of a screening and is interviewing Jason Bateman about the film he is directing tomorrow! She’s also going to a Jason Reitman “live read” of Boogie Nights. Stay tuned.

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  1. Some of the greatest blues music is some of the darkest music you’ve ever heard. And I had maps. Obviously, Dylan had come when I was 15, and obviously I listened to his music first, and his music contained a lot — I used to say when I heard ‘Highway 61,’ I was hearing the first true picture of how I felt and how my country felt. And that was exhilarating. Because I think 1960s small-town America was very Lynchian. Everything was there, but underneath, everything was rumbling. … I think what Dylan did, was he took all that dark stuff that was rumbling underneath, and I think he pushed it to the surface with irony and humor, but also tremendous courage to go places where people hadn’t gone previously. So when I heard that, I knew I liked that, and I was very ambitious, also.

    — Bruce Springsteen, on dark elements in music, in a conversation with Ed Norton at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010.

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  1. erikayes:

    Bruce Springsteen - Dancing In The Dark

    Monday’s guest: The Boss (You can still listen to his new album The Promise on NPR Music until next week!)

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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.

  2. oscars

    toronto film festival

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    ann marie baldonado

    fresh air

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    colin firth

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    javier bardem

    natalie portman

  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. 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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