Toronto Aftermath: Did Too Many Awards Movies Peak Too Early?
Will Nonomiya in particular become a better father with this second chance? Does he love his son only because his son is his blood or because they’ve shared a life together for six years? Will they raise both boys? Or will the other family? I might have mapped out these changes myself, but Koreeda keeps it fresh by staying observant and quiet, letting the drama of what’s going on unfold naturally. The cast is suitably restrained despite the high melodrama taking place. You wrestle with nature versus nurture and what it means to be a parent while watching this movie — familiar stuff all. But it’s to the film’s credit that I was genuinely unsure of what would happen. And the familiar aspects (such as Nonomiya loosening up) weren’t overdone. Not his best but another solid film for Koreeda. A TOUCH OF SIN ** 1/2 out of **** Zhangke Jia is another major talent, one of the most important and bold figures in Chinese cinema. His masterpiece is Platform, but he’s also delivered unconventional films like The World and a distinctive documentary about Shanghai called I Wish I Knew that I loved but which has never really made it the US. After years as an underground filmmaker, Jia has made films through official channels though HOW they get approved and made must remain a mystery, one that deepens with his new and critical look at the effect of corruption, the sex trade and indifferent factories on the Chinese people. The film covers four separate storylines though blessedly they don’t artificially converge a la Babel. The first and strongest story revolves around Dahai (Wu Jiang).
By contrast, Sony chose to hold its awards contender Captain Phillips for the New York Film Festival, where it will have a round of free attention all to itself. Several films managed to rise above the fray, none more so than Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave from Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Following its Telluride debut, the film further wowed critics and, despite its unflinching look at slavery, won over Toronto moviegoers, who voted it the fest’s People’s Choice Award. “We know it’s a serious, artistic movie,” says Fox Searchlight president Nancy Utley. “But the audience award was particularly meaningful. It showed it can reach a wider audience and break out of the art house box.” STORY: Toronto: Five Lessons From the 2013 Festival In addition to staking a claim on awards consideration, the studios that benefited most from Toronto were those whose movies are set for release in the coming weeks. Universal revved up Ron Howard’s Rush, opening Sept. 27, while Warner Bros. spread the word about Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, coming Sept. 20, and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, which blasts off Oct. 4.
‘Dads’: Does the Seth MacFarlane backlash touch his movies?
Well now it’s official: Lucasfilm will alternate new trilogy Star Wars movies with what Walt Disney Co. CFOJay Rasulo called “origin story” films each year, starting with 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams. our editor recommends ‘Star Wars’ TV Series Reveals Concept Art, Logo (Photos) Rasulo confirmed the long-standing rumor during an investor conference call Thursday, prompting speculation that earlier rumors of a Yoda movie would also turn out to be true. (Other characters mentioned when the prequel rumor first appeared earlier this year were Han Solo and Boba Fett. Apparently no one has the foresight to demand the Young Lando Calrissian cinema so desperately needed.) RELATED: Source: J. J. Abrams Building ‘Star Wars’ Postproduction Facility in L.A. (Exclusive) There are two immediate reactions to this particular confirmation: Obviously, Disney is very intent on making sure that the Lucasfilm purchase turns out to be as lucrative a business decision as possible, even if it ultimately harms the long-term value of the Star Wars franchise. (Seriously, can the franchise support an annual movie? Guess we’ll find out somewhere around 2017, when we’re three movies in.) Obviously, Disney didn’t realize that the math of Star Wars + Prequel tends to result in fear from the fanbase, thanks to Episodes I through III. Over the next few years, Star Wars is going to go through a fascinating shift from fondly remembered mass-market movie series with smaller, more dedicated fandom to well, something else that’s not entirely clear yet. Will it turn into a second Marvel (Surely Disney’s hope), a second Star Trekor somewhere in between?
And this week hes been getting dragged through it all over again with the premiere Tuesday night of his live-action Fox sitcom Dads, which, in an unfortunate parallel to the Oscars , has been called racist and unfunny. Thats of considerable interest to moviedom. MacFarlane has two big films coming out over the next 20 months: the comedic western A Million Ways to Die In the West, out in May, and Ted 2, the sequel to the Mark Wahlberg blockbuster that shoots next year and will hit theaters in April 2015. West starring an ensemble cast of MacFarlane, Neil Patrick Harris , Sarah Silverman and Dads Giovanni Ribisi is about a sheep farmer, a duel, a criminal and other genre absurdities. Its a big test for MacFarlane, since it takes him deeper into a new territory and much further from the Family Guy-esque comedy hes known for on TV and was able to smuggle into Ted. Having a strike against you leading up to that film won’t help the cause. FALL TV 2013: Watch the trailers Indeed, the biggest problem for MacFarlane on Dads isnt the offensiveness its that, so far, its not bringing the laughs. Regardless of what you think of the so-called edginess the Hitler video-game jokes, the cancer jokes, the Asian-school-girl jokes that will matter a lot more than whether the show sets off taste alarm bells. As Mother Jones said , The real problem does not lie with any ethnic or racial stereotypes, but with the fact that it is unoriginal and often a painfully unfunny, lazy waste of production space.” Or as the Associated Press put it , “The truth is, viewers who celebrate MacFarlane as well as those who revile him should be equally dismayed by ‘Dads.’ It’s just a mediocre multicamera sitcom, complete with formula humor and unearned laughtrack. FULL COVERAGE: Fall TV preview 2013 The fact is, MacFarlanes yet to prove he can pull off true live-action without quippy computer-generated people or animals. As my colleague Scott Collins asked, “Is Seth MacFarlanes Dads the worst-reviewed show of the season?” But heres why the movies probably won’t take a hit. While TV types like to tout the open-ended advantages of the form compared to the constraints of film, in this case MacFarlane will have a lot more freedom working in cinema. Hes one of the rare commercial directors with heavy sway over the final cut. And the 22-minute multicamera sitcom is about as restrictive as it gets; compared to it, a 100-minute feature offers the malleability and creative freedom of a Tolstoy novel. Hes also directing the films, which usually means a more hands-on involvement than executive-producing a TV show. So West may yet be a more interesting effort than Dads. And even if its not, hes heard it before, and yet…. The 2013 Oscars were the highest-rated telecast in several years.