In 2015, we were blown away by Ex Machina from Screenwriter and first-time Director AlexGarland. The Film was nominated for BestOriginal Screenplay at the Academy Awards and won Best Visual Effects. Zip-forward three years, and Garland has delivered another mind-blowing piece of Science Fiction in Annihiliation. Garland was present for the first Canadian screening of the highly-anticipated Film at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight, followed by a Q&A with TIFF’s Artistic Director CameronBailey.
The Film centers around Lena (Natalie Portman), a Biologist who joins a team of scientists and researchers who venture into a classified area known as “The Shimmer” to uncover its secrets. The less you know about the plot of Annihilation, the better. But suffice it to say, Garland’s Film will leave you breathless and begging to discuss each and every twist.
On the subject of casting, Garland said each actor was cast traditionally and “kind of pushed against each other in a good way. They had very different energies.” He praised the Ensemble, along with those behind-the-scenes he referred to as the “Collective”. After Garland writes his Screenplays, he hands them off to his Production Designers and other members of his crew – some of which he has been working with for 20 years! – and they help shape the Film from the ground up through “conversations”.
“It’s an abstract Novel,” Garland said when asked about adapting the first chapter in JeffVanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. He “tried to do an adaptation of what it’s like to read the Book”, and explained that the Screenplay was written more as a “memory of the Book” as opposed to a direct adaptation. Without spoiling too much, Garland suggests “The Film is about self-destruction,” and that by playing within the realm of Genre Filmmaking, he was given a “free gift in what you can subvert,” allowing the Film to take on multiple tones, styles and genres.
Garland spoke at length about his take on Auteurism (he prefers working as a team), how he writes female versus male characters (he writes them the same way), and his feelings on adapting the rest of VanderMeer’s Trilogy (sequels are “not my scene”), but received the biggest audience response when he asked if his friend Rob was in the audience. He had never met the Toronto native, but the two have been playing PS4 games online for a number of years. Garland invited his gaming buddy out for a drink after the Q&A, much to the delight of the audience.
While it was a fun and enlightening event, the last question of the night finally addressed the elephant in the room – Netflix. Annihiliation’s distributor ParamountPictues recently sold international streaming rights to the Company, and will only give the Film a traditional theatrical release in the US, Canada and China. All other foreign territories will see the Film released exclusively on Netflix (much like the surprise post Super Bowl release of Paramount’s The Cloverfield Paradox). “I don’t have a problem with the small screen at all,” Garland said, noting his next project was an 8-part Series for FX. But he added, “This Film was designed for theatres. The immersive experience that we collectively hope happens at the end is not going to happen on a laptop.”
We’ll have more on Annihilation in our review next week, but for our Toronto and Montreal fans, be sure to enter our contest now to win passes to an Advanced Scteening of the Film here.
Paramount Pictures Canada release ANNIHILIATION on Friday, February 23, 2018.
Premiering at TIFF’s NEXT WAVE Film Festival next month, LOVE, SIMON is setting Twitter on-fire we are told. Check out the Trailer for the Coming-of-Age story starring up-and-comer Nick Robinson. We’re getting total The Edge of Seventeen vibes.
Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.
Hot off its four Oscar nominations today including Best Picture, Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name continues to be a fan favourite for many including ours, and we were fortunate to have it Premiere here at TIFF ’17. Right in time for that important announcement Author and Professor André Aciman who wrote the Novel on which the Film is based, is in Toronto.
Appearing last night at a Book signing preceded by an In-Conversation-With at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Aciman did the rounds earlier today.including The Morning Show (National Edition).
Aciman had several interesting things about his acclaimed Novel and revealed he didn’t have enough courage to submit the “dirty story with a peach” to his agent. What makes Call Me By Your Name unlike other Films centering on same-sex love is that the two central characters are not oppressed. He tells the Audience, “I’m usually ahistorical. I hate realism. I wanted the love of two men to exist as it should: outside of disease, outside of prejudice, outside of bullying, outside of danger.”.
We were lucky to get a Snap with Aciman on his way out:
Elevation Pictures x Mr. Will want to give Readers want to give Readers a chance to win Run-of-Engagement Passes to see THE FLORIDA PROJECT. The Film premiered at TIFF ’17 to rousing reception and has a tremendous amount of Awards Season buzz!
Warm, winning, and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood. Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates—including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee’s best friend—fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they’ve been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite, Mela Murder and Christopher Rivera
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate for us your City! Re-Tweet this on Twitter: @mrwillw for an extra chance!
Elevation Pictures release THE FLORIDA PROJECT Friday, October 13, 2017 in Toronto, Friday, October 20, 2017 in Vancouver, Friday, October 27, 2017 nationwide.
This TIFF we were so blessed to be able to test drive the 2017 HONDA CIVIC 5D SPORT TOURING. Compact, fuel-efficient with breathtaking style, this vehicle is an exceptional value which in Rallye Red, gave us that lift of confidence to absolutely ‘own it’ this Festival. Check-out our coverage TIFF ’17 here. You won’t wanna miss this!
We’ve driven many cars from the HONDA family over the years but the 2017 HONDA CIVIC 5D SPORT TOURING stands out as being among the best. It straddles the line perfectly between luxury and utility, being exactly the car we need at this point in our lives. Its leather seats are sizey with a heated option (front and back) and driving through the City with majestic skyscrapers peering down at us from its moonroof is something of awe.
Its spacious hatchback trunk was more than enough to transport luggage and various gifts we were given at lounges this Festival, plus also our own luggage travelling downtown to our hotel, the Novotel Toronto Centre. Above this, we could fit even Billy‘s cushy jumbo bed into that trunk space, which popped-open with the easy click of our remote.
Performance wise, it comes with a 180-hp, 1.5-litre, 16-valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
It also has a dual centre exhaust with a sharp, distinctive look that helps you stand out on the road. Truly this car is something remarkable outside and in.
The ECON fuel option helps us get the most for our dollar in a conscious manner. In fact we survived TIFF on a half-tank of gas!
The 2017 HONDA CIVIC 5D SPORT TOURING‘s rear-view camera and parking assist made navigating those tight parking spots in Entertainment District a real breeze. Above this, highway driving also is made simple even in our zombie-like state with lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and road departure mitigation.
It is incredibly intuitive with collision mitigation braking and forward collision warnings, so you can drive with that piece of mind that this car has your back. Visibility is not an issue in our unpredictable weather, climate controls is ultra-powered to defog those windows and there also are rear-window wipers which is a must for us.
We are all about the sound and the car’s 542-watt AM/FM Premium Audio System with 12 speakers is nothing short of glorious. We adore Sirius XM Hits the way it was meant to be enjoyed in a sound system this wonderful. We also loved how easily the car connected with our Android device and that wireless charging plate that kept us connected always to you with updates throughout TIFF ’17!
We are racing to the finish line of TIFF ’17 but still have some exciting stuff to show you! Premiering tonight at Roy Thomson Hall was THREE CHRISTS starring Richard Gere and Walton Goggins. While stars Peter Dinklage and Bradley Whitford too were confirmed to come originally, unfortunately they couldn’t make it to town – a common occurrence late in the Festival.
Gere was spotted with none other than his father Homer whom he helped out of their SUV upon arrival of their celebration at Weslodge. While he wasn’t keen on photos with fans, Gere was giving with autographs. Goggins, whom you known from Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained, was a class act to fans. We were surprised to see Jason Isaacs out celebrating with Gere. The star of upcoming Star Trek: Discovery is filming currently in Toronto.
After gaining tons of buzz at TIFF ’17 with raves abound, Guillermo del Toro‘s Toronto-filmed THE SHAPE OF WATER has a new Red-Band Trailer which just surfaced today.
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones.
See the new Red-Band Trailer:
Fox Searchlight release THE SHAPE OF WATERFriday, December 8, 2017.
TIFF ’17 very much continues to be alive and kicking at its halfway point. We admit it, we’re drained but we look forward to the pace calming down tomorrow.
The Birks Diamond Tribute honouring the accomplishments of Canadian Women in Film. Held on the scenic rooftop of the Spoke Club, the gathering brought to us by Maison Birks and Telefilm Canada was a who’s-who and who’s next in the industry. Diverse honourees this year include Ellen Wong, Amanda Brugel, Mina Shum, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon and Sherry White. We are so honoured to have been one of 27 selected jurors across Canada! Hover left and right to navigate the slideshow.
Annette Bening and Jamie Bell are getting praise for their performances in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. We spotted the pair who play lovers in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. We spotted them out earlier doing the rounds and both were gracious to stop for fans! Huge fan of Bening!
Luke Evans‘ star continues to rise especially with his fantastic work in Beauty and the Beast. He is at TIFF ’17 with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tonight, a timely Film which comes off the recent Box Office record-setting success of the superhero on which it centers. Australian Actress Bella Heathcote also is here for the Film and looked lovely for her Premiere!
Lean on Pete is the one Horse Racing Film of TIFF ’17. Buzz came out of Telluride Film Festival for its star Charlie Plummer who finds himself in a quarter horse. Chloë Sevigny plays a jockey in the Drama. Both stars were kind to stop despite Sevigny joking that nobody knew who she was!
We love the international component of TIFF in that we get to see stars who normally aren’t based stateside here. Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour) and Matthias Schoenaerts graced the Red Carpet at Ryerson Theatre tonight for Racer and the Jailbird and despite being late, they introduced their Film and came back out to greet fans one-by-one. Amaze!
It has been well over 12 hours since I watched Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, and I am still processing everything that happens within its 115-minute running time. Aronofsky has never been one to make films with easy interpretations, but mother! is far and away his densest movie to date.
The less you know about mother!, the better. But the plot revolves around a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who lives with a famous poet (Javier Bardem). His house was destroyed, and she is helping to remodel and put it back together. But when unexpected guests arrive, things begin to get strange.
mother! is wrapped in layers of subtext and varying ideologies. It is at times frustrating to watch because Aronofsky is throwing so much at the screen at once, creating a nightmarish fever dream of a movie that goes to some shocking and bizarre places. But what it lacks in coherency, it more than makes up in astounding visuals and exquisite sound design. And at the heart of all the chaos is Lawrence, putting in an incredible performance that needs to be seen to be believed.
Paramount Pictures Canada will screen mother! at TIFF ’17 at the following times:
Sunday, September 10 9:15 p.m.Princess of Wales Monday, September 11 11:30 a.m.Elgin Theatre Wednesday, September 13 9:30 a.m.Princess of Wales
Following in the tradition of other Oscar hopefuls, motion-capture pioneer Andy Serkis brings his directorial debut to TIFF. Written by Oscar-nominated Screenwriter William Nicholson, Breathe, tells the true story of a man stricken with Polio and a woman who refuses to lose hope.
While in Kenya, Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) became paralyzed from the neck down after contracting Polio. When he and his pregnant wife Diana return to England they are faced with a lifetime spent in cold, restrictive hospitals. Unwilling to accept the doctors’ dire prognosis, Robin and Diana decide to move home so he can be with his family. With the help of his friend Teddy (Hugh Bonneville), Robin is able to escape the prison of his bed through a wheelchair with a built-in respirator.
Although Breathe is about Robin, the Movie truly belongs to the remarkable Claire Foy who portrays Diana as more than a naïve girl in love but rather a woman with strong beliefs who is not prepared to give-up. Strong performances overcome Nitin Sawhney’s dreadful Score are sure to help drive the Festival popularity of this by-the-numbers Biography.
Elevation Pictures will screen Breathe at TIFF ’17 at the following times:
Monday, September 116:00 p.m.Roy Thomson Hall Tuesday, September 1210:00 a.m. Winter Garden Theatre