Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

“Ides of March” stars play politics, or not, at TIFF

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George Clooney and Ryan Gosling at TIFF

Politics may make for good films, but don’t expect the stars of “The Ides of March” to run for office any time soon.

George Clooney, who directs and stars as governor Mike Morris in the political drama, has already said he isn’t interested in a real-life political career.

As for Ryan Gosling, who plays the central role of press attache Stephen Myers in the film about the U.S. Democratic primary race, when asked at the TIFF press conference on Friday if he would ever consider throwing his hat in the political ring, his answer was a blunt “No”.

Not even a little joke.

This from the man who earlier compared Clooney’s directing style to watching the birth of a unicorn. Perhaps working on a film about the dirty side of politics has made a cynic of the Canadian actor.

Mai tais? This isn’t an Eastwood film shoot

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Some films are made on a $6 million budget, others with $60 million. It’s the difference between long hours on set and sipping mai tais on the patio. Just ask “The Bang Bang Club” director, Steven Silver.

“The Bang Bang Club,” was 10 years in the making, shot last year over the course of 30 days and produced on a budget of 5 million euros. It’s still waiting to be picked up by a U.S. distributor.

Toronto festival stays grounded with pancakes and bacon

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Forget about best actor awards or controversies about favoritism, the Toronto Film Festival closing ceremony has a refreshingly ego-free feel to it. Unlike the glitzy, red carpet theater affairs of the Cannes or Venice film festivals, TIFF is non-competitive, so the stars usually just go home after their film as screened, as opposed to waiting around for awards to be handed out. Rather than declare a festival “winner”, Toronto organizers hand awards voted on by audience members critic, as well as a clutch of smaller prices to Much of the last day is all about supporting the Canadian up-and-comers over a brunch of scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes at the conclusion of the 11-day film extravaganza. There are no egos here, where the winners are ecstatic by the honor and joke about how the cash awards can finally help pay off some overdue back taxes (Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies” for best Canadian feature film) and keep them from having to work at Starbucks (Deborah Chow for directorial debut “The High Cost of Living”). Here is where the public gets to shine and Toronto audiences have been apparently have good taste, having often picked films that have gone on to much success during the awards season. The public voted “The King’s Speech”, directed by Tom Hooper, to the People’s Choice Award, a story of the man who would rather not be king. It stole Oscar buzz at the festival, with Colin Firth as the monarch who overcame a debilitating stammer to do the job and Geoffrey Rush as the the speech therapist who helps him do it. Has Toronto extended its win streak ofOscar winners?

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Forget about best actor awards or controversies about favoritism.

The Toronto International Film Festival closing ceremony has a refreshingly ego-free feel to it.

For Michael Moore and Ken Loach revolution begins at film festival

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By Jeffrey Hodgson

No one can accuse left-wing filmmakers Michael Moore and Ken Loach of abandoning their ideals as they joined the glitz and glamour of the Toronto International Film Festival, where Loach was promoting his Iraq war drama “Route Irish”.

Moore was briefly in town to interview Loach before an audience of fans. But even before the interview started,  the “Fahrenheit 9/11″ director  lamented the amount of corporate sponsorship at the festival. His event, sponsored by BlackBerry, took place in the festival’s snazzy new headquarters, which is sponsored by Canadian phone company Bell.

It’s Midnight Madness at Toronto film festival when the fat lady raps

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Forget the weighty films about serious subjects in gorgeous settings by award-winning directors that incorporate a healthy dash of subtitles. The Toronto International Film Festival is near-bursting with those.

What some festival goers live for every year are over-the-top films that celebrate the ridiculous, the shocking and the thrilling. Films like “The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman”.

Zombie porn movie finds limited life at Toronto film festival

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Let’s get this out of the way: If you find yourself aroused by this particular porn film, you should probably check your pulse. “L.A. Zombie”, which last month made headlines when an Australian film board banned the Canadian movie featuring “gay zombie porn” from screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, provides a look into the world of zombie-on-zombie action, perhaps a world’s first. After hitting the festival circuit in Germany and Switzerland earlier in the year, the film has landed on home soil of the Canadian director Bruce La Bruce at the Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto film organizers described it like so in the program book: “L.A. Zombie is a hardcore gay porn film. There are numerous scenes of men having graphic sex shot in the manner of pornography, not art film erotica… But L.A. Zombie is very much an art film, too.” It’s definitely no “Dawn of the Dead”, “Shaun of the Dead”, or “Zombieland.” At first, the zombie, played by French porn star Francois Sagat who will appear in “Saw 6″, is met with laughter and several gasps of “Oh My God”. What else do you do when a zombie that has just emerged from the Pacific ocean is having graphic sex with an open chest cavity of a dead man and the heart suddenly starts beating again? Yes, the zombie gives back life in a sexual ressurection. Progressively, there is less chuckling as five sex scenes unfold. But the film, with very little dialogue, speaks about homelessness, schizophrenia, and rotting. At a press and industry screening, at least 10 people left within the first 20 minutes of the 63-minute film. By the end, some 30 people had left before the credits started rolling. NNotablye that the exits seemed to coincide as the intensity of some of the scenes ramped up — with lots of blood spraying, and let’s just say “money shots”.)

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Let’s get this out of the way: if a film that combines full-on horror with necrophilia and gay porn  is not your thing, then avoid “L.A. Zombie.”

Rainn Wilson reigns in Ebert’s Toronto twitter showdown

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Who knew Dwight Kurt Schrute III could sell paper and tweet with Internet wit and humor, too?

At the Toronto International Film Festival’s Filmmaker’s Lounge on Saturday, Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute of “The Office”) out-tweeted four other film industry panelists — hard-core tweeters all — in a “Twitter Showdown” hosted by MTV’s Dan Levy.

“Griff the Invisible”: unconventional superhero

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RyanKwantenAussie native Ryan Kwanten is a long way away from his “True Blood” character, Jason Stackhouse, in the new Australian film, “Griff the Invisible”, which had its world premiere on Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Griff”, directed by Leon Ford (most recently seen in the miniseries, “The Pacific”, as 1st Lt. Edward ‘Hillbilly’ Jones), is not exactly your typical caped-crusader movie. Set in Australia, Griff (played by Kwanten) is a socially awkward and bullied office worker — a la Clark Kent. At night, he assumes his alter-ego to protect his neighborhood in Melbourne.

Waiting 127 hours for “127 hours” in Toronto

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So it wasn’t exactly 127 hours of waiting, but Saturday was not the smoothest day for the 35th Annual Toronto International Film Festival, if the screening delays and theater changes were anything to go by.

Hard-core festival goers are used to planning their days with military precision from 9am until the wee hours of the morning.

Truth or fiction?

Tiff-truthorfictionSometimes that line between truth and fiction is so blurry it’s hard to tell it’s there. First there was the JetBlue flight attendant, Steven Slater, who stormed off his job (and left down the emergency chute) after an altercation with a grumpy passenger — a true story so odd that it almost had to be fiction.

And now there’s movie flight attendant who storms off her job (and leaves down the emergency stairs) after an altercation with the demons in her own mind — a fictional movie story so odd that it almost had to be based on Steven Slater’s true story.

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