Tag Archives: SARAH POLLEY

Beck bows out, Tony loves Adele, and Gosling thriller & Churchill doc top FFF 12 honours

 AND THE WINNERS ARE:  Participants on the 12th annual Floating Film Festival voted the hugely-overlooked Ryan Gosling-Kirsten Dunst thriller All Good Things the Dusty Cohl Best Feature Award at a ceremony at sea last night on the sleek sophisticated Seabourn Sojourn cruise ship. Coming in a strong second was Winnie,  a sweeping biopic of South African iron lady Winnie Mandela, with stellar support from Elias Koteas and Wendy Crewson, a finely honed portrayal of Nelson Mandela by Terrence Howard, and a remarkably disciplined, outstanding performance of Jennifer Hudson as Winnie. Winner of the Brian Linehan Award for Best Documentary was An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill And The Jews, an unexpected coup for producer and Floating filmfest commander Barry Avrich, who had confided earlier in the week that he was sure  another FFF  contender, Jealous Of The Birds, which ended up in second place, would take the prize. Other major favourites with FFF 12 viewers included the Oscar-nominated father vs. son drama Footnote, from Israel. which gave us a new and somewhat squirmy inside look at academia; and Where Do We Go Now, from France, which won the TIFF Audience Award last September. Unexpected highlights of the week-long filmfest included Rex Reed’s master claass  tribute to actor-director Richard Benjamin and his wife Paula Prentiss, which included screenings of Benjamin’s 1969 screen debut with Ali MacGraw in Goodbye, Columbus, as well as a closing night showing of My Favourite Year, the 1982 Peter O’Toole classic that Benjamin directed with such style and panache. Most controversial entry at the festival was Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, which left the cinephile audience arguing about its merits for several hours after the lights came on again. But more on Ms Polley’s film and other Floating Film Festival events in future columns.

BENJAMIN & MACGRAW: in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Rocker Jeff Beck will not be attending this year’s Slacker Canadian Music Week after all. Originally scheduled to perform at The Phoenix on March 22, followed by a one-on-one interview on March 23 at the Fairmont Royal York, Beck had to cancel his appearances due to delays in his recording schedule … supersongstress Norah Jones is getting her Irish on. She’s set to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by serenading fans at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Jones’ new album Little Broken Hearts drops May 1, and Jones will tour extensively this year, with other North American dates to be revealed shortly. Hard to believe that it was 10 years ago this month (February 2002) when she released her first album, Come Away With Me, now the #10 best-selling album of the Soundscan era after selling 25 million copies worldwide … good news for Alice Cooper fans – your hero will open for Iron Maiden when the vet rockers bring their splashy new Maiden England World Tour to Montreal, Toronto, Sarnia and Quebec City in July … and you can add Tony Bennett to the growing legions of fans for Grammy sweeper Adele, who he compares with U.S. music legend Kate Smith. “Adele is magnificent,” he told Rolling Stone. “She’s the best British singer I ever heard.”

AKERMAN: piloting with Portia

CASTING ABOUT: Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan are the leads in Joss Whedon‘s upcoming supernatural indie romance,  In Your Eyes Michael Marc Friedman has been cast in the Fox comedy pilot Living Loaded from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia castmember and producer Rob McElhenney Shawn Ashmore and Valorie Curry are joining Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy on Fox’s new Kevin Williamson drama about a serial killer who creates a cult of serial killers …  Malin Akerman is set to star opposite Portia de Rossi in the ABC comedy pilot The Smart One … British actor Jamie Blackley has been cast as the lead in the upcoming 300 sequel … and Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are set as the stars of Michael Bay’s black comedy action thriller Pain and Gain.

BRYAN: Spring breker

GOLDSINGER: Country warbler Luke Bryan’s album Tailgates and Tanlines is now officially certified gold in Canada. Plus, his first single from the album, Country Girl (Shake it for Mes, is now platinum here, and his second single I Don’t Want This Night To End is already gold.  All this after his I Don’t Want This Night To End spent four weeks at #1 on country music radio charts. So expect some hootin’ and hollerin’ when Luke’s fourth Spring Break EP — Spring Break 4: Suntan City  — drops tomorrow.

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Jian gets Matt, Rama gets Tony, Much gets David, TIFF gets Sarah (AND Julie!) & Anne walks the Walk

OUR TOWN: Still the biggest draw in the history of CBC Radio, Jian Ghomeshi and Q return for a new season this morning with special guest

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

Matt Damon. Damon, in town for the TIFF screening of his new flick The Informant, has now been named the recipient of the American Cinemateque Award next March, following in the footsteps of previous honourees Julia Roberts and Samuel A. Jackson … French DJ David Guetta, who rocked the Guvernment on Sunday night, is scheduled to greet fans at MuchMusic today. His new CD One Love debuted here at #2 … don’t look for Tony Bennett at the opening of TIFF on Thursday. He’ll be serenading fans at Casino Rama …  sidewalk star owner Anne Murray returns to King Street this weekend to host Blue Rodeo, Kim Cattrall, Tom Cochrane, Howie Mandel and Robert Munsch, among

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

others, at the 12th annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Tribute … speaking of veteran music-makers, Loggins & Messina are set to play Fallsview Casino this coming Friday and Saturday nights. Slightly closer to home, The Smothers Brothers play Casino Rama on Friday followed by Black Crowes on Saturday … terminally gorgeous Cheryl Tiegs brightened Breakfast Television this morning in City TV’s new digs at Yonge-Dundas Square … keep wishing you could go on one of those sensational tours of Ontario wine country? Me too. Especially when I learned that more than 90 (!!) Ontario wines will be available for sampling next week at Taste Ontario, a one-night-only event at the Art Gallery Of Ontario: “Tour the best of wine country for only $45!” Hey, I’d love to! … but alas, it’s all sold out.

MS. SOMEBODY: We loved her work as a writer and director on Away From Her, but we must admit we’re really looking forward to seeing her on

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

screen again. Sarah Polley, who seems to get better and better each time we see her, co-stars with Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Linh-Dan Pham in Mr. Nobody, a new TIFF entry by much-admired Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael. Insiders whisper you should add it to your Must List right now … meanwhile Polley’s Oscar-nominated Away From Her leading lady, iconic British beauty Julie Christie, also co-stars in a new Special Presentation film: Glorious 39, from director Stephen Poliakoff … and TIFF-bound filmmaker Joe Dante, currently on jury duty at the Venice Film Festival, will wing his way

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

here in time to introduce his new film The Hole as well as a special TIFF screening of the W.C. Fields classic It’s A Gift.

WILL ‘CATCH ME’ CATCH ON?: In the Good Ol’ Bad Ol’ Days, gentle reader, Hollywood took big Broadway musicals and turned them into lavish movie musicals. Now Broadway takes movies like Hairspray and Billy Elliott and turns them into lavish stage musicals. Latest casualty is Dolly Parton’s tuneful 9 to 5, which closed Saturday night. Newest pretender about to open on the Great White Way? The musical version of Catch Me If You Can, the hit Steven Spielberg drama with Leonardo DiCaprio as a compulsive but irresistible

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

impostor. Leo is not, I repeat, not repeating his role on Broadway. But with a book by Terrence McNally (The Full Monty) and music and lyrics by Hairspray duo Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman, the show is already creating some boxoffice sizzle.

Still to come in the new year: Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in The Addams Family, and the $40 million musical extravaganza Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, directed by Julie Taymor.

TOMORROW:

new films for Leo,  Zach and Charlize — and 13 Essential directors

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Lena’s rage, Sofia’s roses, and Maria’s mission

STORMY WEATHER: Advance word on Lena Horne’s autobiography, A Rage To Live, is decidedly steamy. Apparently her memoirs, at better

LENA: all the rage

LENA: all the rage

bookstores everywhere next month, are more than aptly titled, as Lena’s life has been full of rage. Younger readers are astonished to learn some of the hard facts of her so-called lush life, such as MGM’s policy of staging all her big musical numbers as stand-alone sequences, so that she could be cut out of screenings in the U.S. south without interfering with the movie’s story line. And one of Lena’s older fans reports that she read the singer’s riveting 500-page highly-personal confessions in one hypnotic sitting.

Can’t wait.

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SOFIA: Swiss miss

SOFIA: Swiss miss

EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES: Head-turning beauty Sofia Milos is back in her home country this week. The Zurich-born star of CBC-TV’s hit drama The Border is in Lucerne tonight to hand out some hardware at the 49th annual Rose d’Or television festival … Camilla Scott, who still commands a stage the moment she sets foot on it, is currently rocking Toronto audiences nightly in, you guessed it, We Will Rock You … and yes, it’s official — dynamic Double Exposure duo Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen are back, bringing you their irreverent brand of political satire and humour every Saturday in a brand new podcast produced for the internet. For more info, click here.

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AWAY FROM HERE: California’s first lady Maria Shriver is a champion of Alzheimer’s research for all the right reasons – and the hard ones, too. Her father, Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver, has Alzheimer’s. “This was someone with a sharp, beautiful, in-tune mind,’ Maria told New York Times Q&A queen Deborah Solomon. “Now he doesn’t know my name, but I always introduce myself to him, and he flashes a smile.”

MARIA: on a mission

MARIA: on a mission

Shriver is the co-producer of the current four-part HBO series, The Alzheimer’s Project. Has she seen Julie Christie’s Oscar-calibre performance as an Alzheimer’s patient in Sarah Polley’s brilliant film Away From Her?

“I watched half of it. I sobbed, and then I turned it off. I couldn’t handle it.” In that case, asks Solomon, why should anyone watch The Alzheimer’s Project? “This is not going to make you laugh. But it will move you. When this is over, you can always go out and rent Wedding Crashers.”

To see more of Solomon’s excellent Q&A with Shriver, click here.

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MAIDEN FLIGHT: The award winning film Iron Maiden: Flight 666 returns tonight for one night only. The doc is a revealing portrait of one of the world’s most successful rock bands on tour from Mumbai to Sydney, Tokyo to L.A., Mexico City to Costa Rica, Bogota to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago to New York and Toronto and places in-between. For screening times and locations click here

Gimme a break!

Oh wait, I just had one.

I know, I know, I promised you (and me) a daily column, uhhh, blog, Monday thru Friday and then some.

Never did figure out when spring break was supposed to end.

Okay. My bad.

I sorta promise to never do it again.

And meanwhile, back on the ranch:

 

OUR TOWN: What a way to start the New Year! Theatre Passe Muraille will host the world premiere of Judith Thompson’s new play, Such Creatures, in

POLLEY: presenting

POLLEY: presenting

January 2010 … presenters set to assist 22 Minutes scene-stealer Geri Hall when she hosts the 2009 WGC Screenwriting Awards next week include Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries), Sarah Polley (Away from Her,) Tara Spencer-Nairn (Corner Gas), and Jennifer Podemski (Moccasin Flats.) Host Hall and 22 Minutes scribe Kyle Tingley will script the annual Writers Guild of Canada awards giveaway … and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Tickets are already selling briskly for the Toronto filmfest’s phenomenally popular annual children’s filmfest, Sprockets, which opens this Saturday April 18.

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PEOPLE: Veteran camera-huggers Kathleen Turner and Peter Gallagher are set to join the cast of David Duchovnys hit Showtime series, CalifornicationWill Arnett has signed on to star  in a comic book -inspired Wild West saga, Jonah Hex, with Hollywood heartthrob-du-jour Josh Brolin 

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

… director Kari Scogland was reportedly delighted by the reception for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking in Belfast last week. The controversial drama, which premiered here last September at the Toronto film festival, has just opened across the UK … ’70s gay porn icon and cabaret producer Jack Wrangler died last week of emphysema. Wrangler, 62, is survived by his 84-year-old wife, esteemed pop music legend Margaret Whiting, in what was one of Hollywood’s most fascinating romances … and Giancarlo Esposito will jet in this week for the Wednesday night premiere of his directorial debut, Gospel Hill, at Tonya Lee Williams’ 9th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival at the Scotiabank Theatre. Esposito’s film, the fest’s opening night Gala, stars Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Julia Stiles, Samuel L. Jackson and Taylor Kitsch.

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BILLY BOB BLUES: By now most of the free world has viewed Jian Ghomeshis quixotic interview with reluctant movie star Billy Bob Thornton on CBC Radio’s Q.  Can’t say I feel sorry for Jian, because he stick-handled Billy Bob brilliantly. Can’t say I feel sorry for Billy Bob, because his arrogance clearly

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

exceeds his talent. But I do feel sorry for his Boxmaster band-mates. Talk about being hung out to dry! … and although Thornton is in no imminent danger of receiving honourary Canadian citizenship, Texas-born Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith used to joke that if you even visited Texas, that was good enough for the Texas Film Hall of Fame to adopt you. Which is how Arkansas native Billy Bob became an official Texan recently, receiving the Tom Mix Honorary Texan Award from the Film Society. When Dennis Quaid introduced him a native “of Northeast Texas – that is, Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Billy Bob quickly reminded him that he once lived in Austin, Texas.  Which apparently was good enough for the Film Society. (Other ‘Texans’ honoured this year along with Billy Bob were Larry Hagman, born in Fort Worth, Texas, and Powers Boothe, a Texas State University graduate and native of Snyder, Texas.)

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LITERATI:  Giller Prize winner Wayson Choy is out promoting his new heart-stopping (literally!) bestseller, Not Yet … ditto Mark Breslin and his

LEACHMAN: telling tales

LEACHMAN: telling tales

Confessions of a Porn Addict, not to mention his new audio book on Canadian stand-up comedy….  gee, she’s going to Parliament after all! Green Party leader Elizabeth May launches her new book, perhaps too aptly titled Losing Confidence, on April 26 in Ottawa at, wait for it, the Parliament Pub … also out there telling tales: Fabled Oscar, Emmy & Golden Globe legend Cloris Leachman, who collaborated with her favourite ex-husband, producer George Englund (she married and divorced him twice) on Cloris: My Autobiography … and Deepak Chopra is set to wing into our town this month to promote his new tome Why Is God Laughing? on April 27 at Roy Thomson Hall. (Gee, I dunno, Deepak – maybe He’s a fan of Billy Bob Thornton??)

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SEE/HEAR:  His episode with mayor Hazel McCallion was a big hit with Canadians this season, but Rick Mercer’s Mississauga mischief is now a bonafide viral sensation in the U.S., with almost a million hits (at last count) on YouTube alone. To see what all the fuss is about, or just to finish reading this column with a smile, just click here.

See you tomorrow.

More Stars In Our Eyes Tonight In T.O., N.Y. and L.A.

ENTER THE ACTRESS: Tony & Emmy collector Andrea Martin, fresh from her stage triumph in Mel Brooks’ musical version of Young Frankenstein, returns to Broadway tonight with Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon in a rare revival of Eugene Ionesco’s Exit The King. Rush is making his debut on the Great White Way in the absurdist comedy, playing a monarch who has only 90 minutes to live. Sarandon and Ambrose play two of his queens, and the indefatigable Ms. Martin plays the maid. Any bets as to who’s gonna get the most laughs?

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NORMAN CONQUESTS: The Canadian Film Centre and Film Independent are co-hosting a tribute to CFC founder Norman Jewison next month at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. Veteran film critic Leonard Maltin will

JEWISON: L.A. honours
JEWISON: L.A. honours

host the on-stage tribute, which will be followed by one of Jewison’s several classics, In The Heat Of The Night. The saga of a black detective trying to survive in a racist southern town, Jewison’s1967 drama with Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Lee Grant won five Oscars, including Best Picture. It also won a much-coveted Best Actor award for Steiger, who had been nominated for The Pawnbroker but lost to Cat Ballou’s Lee MarvinPoitier, who already owned an Oscar for Lilies Of The Field, followed up with Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and three years later his great success as Detective Virgil Tibbs in Jewison’s hit film inspired a so-so sequel, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs, directed by Rat Pack favourite Gordon Douglas.

Sadly Rod Steiger won’t be there to toast his buddy Norman. But lots of Jewison’s admirers will be.

Stay tuned.

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TONIGHT, TONIGHT: I predict T.O. taxis will do boffo business tonight. Ron James is opening his Mental As Anything tour at the Winter Garden; TIFF is presenting a free screening of Hollis Frampton’s magnum opus Hapax Legomena, which will be Introduced by York cinema prof Michael Zryd at Cinemateque Ontario; and artistic director Ken Gass is hosting the Factory Theatre spring gala –“great food, great atmosphere, and a great show.”  The show? The world premiere of Florence Gibson’s Missing, directed by David Ferry. Call Michelle at 416-504-4473 for last-minute tickets.

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STARS IN OUR EYES: Add stage & screen charmer Cara Pifko, award-winning actor/director Sarah Polley, freshman MP Peter Kent, newspaper columnist and novelist Linwood Barclay and broadcaster Jane Hawtin to

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

the Scrabble With The Stars celebrity roster this year. Previously announced luminaries set to participate in the April 6 event at The King Suites include Graham Abbey, Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Marilyn Lightstone, Sheila McCarthy, Deb McGrath, Colin Mochrie, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Zaib Shaikh, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson and hosts Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman. Call 416-777-9674 for tickets, but don’t delay – the popular fundraising Gala is almost sold out … director Larry Weinstein’s much anticipated opus, Inside Hana’s Suitcase, will premiere here April 30 at Hot Docs … and B.C. soul rocker Alex Cuba has launched a new artist-branded web-browser. Based on the Firefox platform and developed by Canadian software companies Adevia Software and Brand Thunder, the browser can be downloaded from http://www.alexcuba.com and www.brandthunder.com/alexcuba.