Toronto International Film Festival: the buzz this year
George Clooney film captures attention, along with a new Neil Young documentary.
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David Cronenberg is a Canadian favorite son, but his new movie, A Dangerous Method, starring Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, is a disappointingly stodgy talkfest. That casting is certainly offbeat, though. If I were promoting the film, I'd go with something like: "Who knew psychoanalysis could be so hunky?"Skip to next paragraph
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I caught up with Geoffrey Rush, one of my favorite actors, promoting his new film, The Eye of the Storm, where he plays a hammy Australian performer who decamped years before to London's West End to escape his harridan mother, played by Charlotte Rampling. It's an uneven but intermittently powerful movie directed by the undervalued, world-class Fred Schepisi ("The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith," "Roxanne") and it has the added bonus of costarring the great and fearless Judy Davis.
I mentioned to Rush that he played a bad actor in "The King's Speech," where we see him auditioning for "Richard III," and in "The Eye of the Storm" he is shown emoting in the outback as a brass-lunged King Lear. How does a great actor so convincingly play a dreadful one? "You just tear into it," he replies. "It's all self-exhibition."
Also on the Shakespeare front was the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus, where he plays the banished Roman general in a revamp set in war-torn Europe. Call me old-school, but I'm not crazy about Shakespeare modernizations that serve up the bard's language via CNN bulletins.
On the other hand, I'm not old school enough to go ga-ga over festival favorite The Artist, an Oscar-buzzy weepie set in 1920s Hollywood and almost entirely silent and in black and white. It's about a matinee idol, played by the French actor Jean Dujardin, whose fans forget about him when talking pictures come in.
This pleasant-enough novelty is, as they say, a "hard sell," except that The Weinstein Company is selling it. This is the company that, if you are a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy, will track you down to the remotest jungles of New Guinea in order to screen their film for Oscar consideration.