By Mr. Will Wong
He’s already won two Academy Awards, and a Golden Globe! Composer Justin Hurwitz for the first time ever will play Toronto live as WHIPLASH IN CONCERT touches down at Danforth Music Hall later this month! This event gives fans of this acclaimed 2014 film directed and written by Hurwitz‘s longtime friend and collaborator Damien Chazelle, a chance not only to see the Movie, but also hear the Score performed in-person by a Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Hurwitz. Above this, the production will play one night only in Kitchener, giving fans a rare chance to experience something magical.
We had the joy of chatting with the brilliant Hurwitz, who walked us through his process scoring a film, what fans can expect when they attend WHIPLASH IN CONCERT, the challenges of presenting this live, his Halloween favourites, plus some teasers about his upcoming fifth collaboration with Chazelle, BABYLON. Trust us, we’ve been waiting.
We ask Hurwitz about his memories and impressions of Toronto.
Hurwitz: “I’ve never done a concert in Canada. I’ve been to the Toronto International Film Festival, but never performed there or worked the Musicians there, so I’m really very excited to come.”.
What can fans expect of WHIPLASH IN CONCERT?
Hurwitz: “We get to see the Movie and all the Music will be performed live with the Movie. It’s a Movie, and kinda like a Concert. You can watch the Movie, you can look at the Musicians. You can look either place and both are very exciting. The Music is very exciting for us to play for the audience to see because we have to keep it perfectly in-sync with the Movie, which is really hard to do. It’s kinda like a high-wire act. The Drummer has to stay in-sync. The Movie has these incredible Drum Solos. He’s gotta watch and we have these special tools that go in our ears, and our video screens help us stay in-sync. It’s really kinda a magic trick.”.
Hurwitz is accustomed to making Music in a large school, including working with 90-piece Orchestras in-studio. He will be working with a much smaller Jazz Ensemble on WHIPLASH IN CONCERT. We ask about some of the toughest challenges of doing this live.
Hurwitz: “When you do these live shows, you have to adapt the Music. Something like LA LA LAND took a lot of work to create Music. When you record in the studio, you record everything separately. A lot of times you just record just the sections of the Cue separately. When you do it live, you have to adapt it so all the Music flows together to be performed all the way straight through. WHIPLASH actually had new challenges – there’s the underscore of WHIPLASH. The tense mood music, the Movie’s almost a Thriller and Horror, so these’s a lot of Tension Music, and a lot of Score Cues doing that. Eight or nine years ago when I did that Movie, I did a lot of manipulation of instruments – slowing down, detuning and pitch-shifting – a lot of electronic things with Production. But how do you create a live version of that with 18 Musicians on a stage? And how do you stay faithful to what the original intention was, but also make it work and concert pieces that work in and amongst the Jazz?”.
We ask Hurwitz to walk us through his process of scoring a Film.
Hurwitz: “It depends on the Movie. For a Movie like WHIPLASH, we have bands on-screen who are performing, so we had to ‘pre-record’. But then later there’s a process where I have to watch the scenes of the Movie to add the Score or the Underscore. You watch the Movie and respond to it. What is the Movie telling us? Do we want music in this scene? Is it tense? Joyous?”.
We wonder what sounds we can expect with upcoming release BABYLON, marking Hurwitz‘s fifth film together with Chazelle. We learned he in fact was off to go work on the Film following our interview.
Hurwitz: “There’s so much Music. There’s over two hours of original music in the Movie. I’ve never done this much Music in a Movie. I think LA LA LAND had an hour of Music, WHIPLASH maybe less than that. It’s gonna srurprise people because they’re thinking 1920s Jazz – it’s not 1920s Jazz. We made a real point of being more contemporary and modern. Not so modern that it’s an Anachronism that takes people out of the Movie. I was more inspired by Rock ‘n’ Roll, modern Dance Music, modern EDM – stuff that gets people moving and dancing. The Movie’s full of drugs, people partying hard. There’s this fun, aggressive, four-on-the-floor Music throughout most of the Movie.”.
Since Hurwitz actually will be in-town for Halloween, we ask him about his favourite Horrors, Scores, and Halloween Candy.
Hurwitz: “That’s a good question. For Halloween Score, John Carpenter‘s Theme is pretty iconic and so are those Movies. It’s hard not to say that’s not my favourite. For Halloween Candy, Butterfinger. That’s what got me most excited as a kid going door-to-door. You’d get boring stuff. And then you get a Butterfinger. Hopefully a big Butterfinger, and those are the houses you didn’t want to miss next year.”.
We learned that Hurwitz originally aspired to be a Pianist through high school, which led him eventually on his path to becoming a Composer after some realizations. On a parting note, we ask Hurwitz to give one piece of advice to aspiring Musicians.
Hurwitz: “Keep learning, keep trying to get better, never think that you’re good enough. I spend so much time learning new things. That doesn’t mean school. That could mean YouTube. There’s just so much to learn and get better at in anything in life. Just always try to keep growing and expanding.”.
WHIPLASH IN CONCERT takes place at Danforth Music Hall October 30, 2022, and will be at Centre in the Square in Kitchener November 1, 2022.
More on tickets to WHIPLASH IN CONCERT here.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong)
Live Nation Canada and Mr. Will want to give our Toronto Readers a chance to witness the World Premiere of WHIPLASH IN CONCERT, conducted by none other than Academy Award-winning Composer Justin Hurwitz (La La Land, Babylon). An 18-piece jazz band ensemble will accompany the simultaneous screening of the acclaimed 2014 film and this takes place October 30, 2022 at The Danforth Music Hall!
Tickets are on sale now here.
Whiplash centers on a promising young drummer (Miles Teller) who enrolls at a music conservatory where he encounters a cut-throat instructor (Simmons), with their intense relationship punctuated by Hurwitz’s diverse score and soundtrack. Whiplash is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who won the Oscar® for Best Director for La La Land, his second collaboration with Hurwitz.
“It’s going to be a thrill and a high-wire act to perform all of the jazz big band and incredible drum solos in sync with the movie,” said Hurwitz. “Also, I just love this movie, have been very affected by the movie, and am excited for people to revisit Damien’s brilliant writing and directing on a big screen.”
To enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets, please click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK. Re-Tweet this Contest Tweet below for an extra chance!
We're partnering with @LiveNationON WHIPLASH IN CONCERT to give Readers a chance to see WHIPLASH LIVE IN CONCERT, conducted by Oscar winner @JustinHurwitz!— MR. WILL WONG 📸 (@mrwillw) October 16, 2022
Details: https://t.co/5WkuwZ7Iis pic.twitter.com/AK046oyLd4
Rules and regulations here.
(Photo/video credit: Mongrel Media)
Although it was a competitive year, there would be no stopping Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s BIRDMAN from winning coveted BEST PICTURE at the 87th Academy Awards tonight! This latest victory caps-off a Campaign for the Dramedy beginning with a release last October. Since then, among others, it has nabbed several important Best Picture Awards including yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and several more. Mexican Filmmaker Iñárritu was awarded Best Director for BIRDMAN, his second nomination after getting a nod for 2007’s Babel.
Winning Best Actor, first-time Nominee at the age of 33 was English Star Eddie Redmayne, recognized for his phenomenal work as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He took a moment to dedicate his win to ALS awareness.
After four previous nominations, a tearful Julianne Moore at long last gets a Best Actress trophy for her turn in STILL ALICE, in which she plays a Professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The Actress stunned in a unique Chanel number, never before seen on a runway. She thanked her Family and took a moment to direct attention to finding a cure for Alzheimers, and also Richard Glatzer, Director/Writer of Still Alice, whom is suffering from ALS.
As expected, J.K. Simmons as expected took Best Supporting Actor for a stirring performance as a psychotic Conductor in WHIPLASH. Patricia Arquette likewise would go on to take Best Supporting Actress for her performance in BOYHOOD, getting cheers from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez after making a call to the Industry for equal rights and equal pay for Women.
See it again here:
Why Meryl Streep and J.Lo. freaked out over Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech. http://t.co/v9IxK6xt8r pic.twitter.com/QbmGr1LSeY
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) February 23, 2015
Stars shined bright on the rainy Red Carpet tonight and turning many heads were Rising Star Margot Robbie in Van Cleef and Arpels in a sheer long-sleeve black gown with a deep plunging ‘V’. Seen widely prior as an Oscar Contender for her fantastic performance in CAKE, Jennifer Aniston donned her signature hair, stunning in a shiny Versace number, fitting her perfect. Reese Witherspoon seen for the first time in Tom Ford this Awards Season, looked stunning with an off-the-shoulder dress just days after being spotted at the Designer’s Show. As for the Gentlemen, Performer Adam Levine and Presenter Josh Hutcherson displayed bespoke tailoring and impeccable grooming, both in Armani!
Star of Stage and Screen Neil Patrick Harris, hosted delivering the laughs with a spirited opening number where he was joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, referring to Motion Pictures as “moving pictures”. He even stripped down to his skivvies for the sake of entertainment!
See his Intro here:
Megastar Lady Gaga warmed the heart of Julie Andrews with a flawless Medley Tribute to the Sound of Music, easily one of the evening’s biggest Highlights!
And for a Canadian connection, Craig Mann, whom I am proud to say I went to High School with at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering – we both took Musical Keyboarding – won Best Sound Mixing for WHIPLASH!
For a complete list of Winners, click here.
(Photo/video credit: Getty Images)
With the 87th annual ACADEMY AWARDS set to take place tonight, we asked our resident Experts their opinions on which Film will win coveted BEST PICTURE. Though the Award is widely seen as a two-horse Race between BIRDMAN and BOYHOOD, each has their opinion on that potential Dark Horse that could pull the wool right over our eyes and surprise us tonight!
Come, let’s take a peek…
George Kozera (Twitter: @PartyG)
“My personal pick for Best Picture is BOYHOOD. My Dark Horse is Bradley Cooper for Best Actor. There’s a lotta love there for Sniper.”.
Justin Waldman (Twitter: @JDubs12)
“BIRDMAN! Because the Movie is absolutely astonishing in its ability to be a one take Film with no cuts or breaks.
AMERICAN SNIPER is my Dark Horse pick as there is a bit of a Republican slant in the Academy, I feel…”.
“Richard Linklater is a distinct and continuously impressive Auteur in Cinema, and if accolades are available let them wander his way.
BOYHOOD is worthy of another award on its mantle place. It drives the Audience to feel something, to connect with something transcendent. It’s charming to know it will continue to be celebrated on the World Stage.
I definitely don’t have a Dark Horse.”.
David Baldwin (Twitter: @DonFishies)
“Its going to be BIRDMAN or BOYHOOD. Both terrific Films, wide scopes and amazing performances. Leaning on the former more because I love Michael Keaton, and hope he wins too. Dark Horse is AMERICAN SNIPER — it just may steal the Show!”.
Mr. Will (Twitter: @Mrwillw)
“If this were the Mr. Will Awards, it certainly would be WHIPLASH‘s year, however in all probability we will be seeing the Team behind BOYHOOD at the podium. What a remarkable feat in Cinema, a real tour-de-force!
Therefore, my Dark Horse pick, WHIPLASH. Most likely Winner, BOYHOOD. No shock if the also genius BIRDMAN won, but BOYHOOD gets the slight edge.”.
The 87th annual ACADEMY AWARDS, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, air on ABC at 7 PM EST.
E!’s Live From the Red Carpet starts 5:30 PM EST.
(Photo credit: Mongrel Media/Warner Bros.)
After significant wins at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards this past weekend, BIRDMAN and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL lead the way at the upcoming 87th annual Academy Awards, as announced earlier this morning in Los Angeles by Chris Pine, J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón. The two Films received nine nominations each and will be going head-to-head for top honours in Best Picture, Cinematography, Writing (Original Screenplay) and Directing. The latter received no nominations in the Acting categories.
Following closely with eight nominations is Winner of the People’s Choice Award (on numerous occasions a Pre-cursor to Oscar success) at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, THE IMITATION GAME. Meanwhile, BOYHOOD which won Best Motion Picture, Drama at the Golden Globes would go-on to garner six nominations today tying with AMERICAN SNIPER, which has had the quietest Awards Campaign thus far as it proceeds in a gradual roll-out to theatres. All three of these Films are up for Best Picture.
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, WHIPLASH and INTERSTELLAR received five nominations apiece also, with the former two up for Best Picture and the latter receiving recognition almost exclusively in technical categories.
The Best Actor category is perhaps the most competitive with Golden Globe Winners Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) up against Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game). Many are seeing the omissions of David Oyelowo (Selma) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) as major snubs, after being present much of this Awards Season for their riveting performances respectively. Bradley Cooper now has the distinction of being the first Actor in a decade to receive three consecutive (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and now American Sniper) Oscar nominations; the last to do so was his former Partner, Renee Zellweger.
Julianne Moore leads a strong group in the Best Actress category after a win at the Golden Globes for Still Alice. Her other strong Best Actress performance in Maps to the Stars did not get recognition this morning, but this could well be a blessing in eliminating split votes against herself. Reese Witherspoon (Wild) also is seen as a strong Contender, alongside Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) – the latter whose Campaign has varied between Supporting Actress and Lead Actress. A surprise was Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard‘s appearance on the list for her work in French Drama Two Days, One Night. Amy Adams, who was awarded Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy for Big Eyes on Sunday unfortunately will not be a Contender.
J.K. Simmons is seen as a definitive choice for Best Supporting Actor with his performance as a sadistic Conductor in Whiplash. Two-time Nominee Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), three-time Nominee Edward Norton (Birdman), four-time Nominee Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) and Oscar Winner Robert Duvall (The Judge) round-out the Group.
After being quiet this Awards Season, many are thrilled that Lauren Dern gets recognized for her work in Wild for Best Supporting Actress. She is now a two-time Nominee after getting her first nod in 1992’s Rambling Rose. Dern will be up against Golden Globe Winner Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman) and three-time Oscar Winner Meryl Streep (Into the Woods). Some are seeing Jessica Chastain‘s omission in A Most Violent Year also a snub.
For a complete list of Nominees, visit the official Oscars Website.
The 87th annual Academy Awards air on ABC Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 7:00 PM EST.
(Photo credit: ABC)
Cinema Lovers were inundated with fantastic Selections at the Movies in 2014. Although there isn’t quite a definitive Standout, there were many, many outstanding Films released. Dare we say, one of the strongest years in recent memory? This certainly makes the race for dominance this Awards Season a rather curious one.
We rely regularly on the opinions of our resident Contributors: Jonathan Godfrey (now with us a third year!), David Baldwin, Justin Waldman and our newest Team addition George Kozera, to keep us informed on what to watch and asked them what their Favourites of 2014 were. We’re not professional Film Critics by any measure, but we love Film passionately and if you ever want a Friend’s opinion, we are happy to share! The voice of the Fan always should matter most and we are Fans just like YOU!
As you will see, the choices are eclectic, a reflection of the offerings this year…
3. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
5. John Wick
6. Maps to the Stars
8. Mood Indigo
9. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1
10. Bjork: Biophilia Live
Every year of my life has been cinematically-splendid, and 2014 was no different. Numerous Films from diverse Genres excited my eyes and elevated my mind-state. None more so than Nolan’s Interstellar. Having seen it four times in the theatre it still doesn’t feel like enough. That said, it wasn’t the only slice of Sci-Fi I gobbled up. Lucy also satiated my appetite for Techno-Fantasy. Then there was the outright Fantasy of Studio Ghibli’s breathtaking tale about a Bamboo Princess, Lars Von Triers four-hour dive into sexual addiction, Keanu’s kick-ass Escapade, Cronenberg’s Olympian Tragedy, Witherspoon’s awe-inspiring performance, Michel Gondry’s take on a cult novel that finally made its way to Canadian screens, and Katniss Everdeen… the Icon who continues to inspire me. Last, but most definitely not least, Björk released her incredible Concert Film which combined technological advances with her love for nature. Maybe 2014 was a little different after all, it was grippingly- cinematic, but with a touch of the divine.
Looking back, I think 2014 was one hell of a year for Film. There were some truly awful and sub-par Films released this year too. But there were just as many good, and even a few truly-great Films released as well. It was a mixed bag, but the quality and ambition of some of this year’s crop of Films was truly extraordinary. While Franchise/Comic Book Film fatigue is starting to become quite evident, some pretty huge and experimental gambles paid off brilliantly (did anyone ever expect The LEGO Movie to be as wildly enjoyable as it was?). The Box Office stats in North America may not suggest it, but it was a truly memorable year. And if this is what we have to expect in 2015, I am immediately excited for some of its prospects — and for some time to re-watch some of this year’s best Films again!
5. Life Itself
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
7. The Imitation Game
8. Gone Girl
9. How To Train Your Dragon 2
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
(Potential top Films not seen before end of 2014: Big Eyes, American Sniper, A Most Violent Year)
It is New Year’s Eve and that means that we are supposed to look back at the year and discuss the best things we have seen and witnessed this year. This year brought a ton of great Films that were released throughout the entire year, most of which came out in the second half of the year but some came out earlier on. With so many great Films that came out this past year and one Title that comes out in February, here are the best Films of 2014 with a few extra Titles. In absolutely no particular order:
2. Big Hero 6
6. The F Word
8. Dear White People
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
Now that the best 10 Movies of the year I saw are out there, here is a few of the other Titles that did not make the Top 10 but deserve recognition, at least in my mind. Into the Woods, Big Eyes, Theory of Everything, Interstellar, Birdman, Gone Girl, Locke and Life Itself. 2014 was an excellent year of Film, 2015 has a tough year to compete against but BRING IT ON!
For the first time in years, I struggled with whittling down the Movies I saw that were eligible for my Top 10 Movies of 2014. That in itself is a strong indication how many great movies were released this year! So it is with great apologies to the following Movies that WOULD have made the list in a weaker movie year (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wild, Gone Girl, The Lego Movie, The F Word, Locke & The Babadook), I submit my Top 10 that made the biggest impact on me in 2014.
3. The Theory of Everything
6. The Immigrant
7. The Imitation Game
My 2014 in review, including my Best-Of? Click here for that.
Stick with us once again in 2015 for the most exciting Canadian Advance Screening Giveaways, Prizes, Star-Spottings and Reviews!
(Photo credit: Paramount Pictures/Mongrel Media/Elevation Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
Let’s be real. We can never have enough Celeb Selfies! 2014 was a year I’ll never forget and will forever go down as one of our most star-studded yet! Our travels brought us to L.A. and New York, but our most exciting adventures took place here in our Hometown of Toronto! Let’s take a walk down our star-studded memory lane to some of our fave Celeb moments of 2014!
Who were you most excited to see? The red-hot Benedict Cumberbatch? The private Usher? The iconic Tom Cruise? The adorable Anna Kendrick? “It Boy” Ansel Elgort? How about “It Girl” Shailene Woodley? The incredibly-tough Reese Witherspoon? The irresistible Tom Hardy?!
Also, we want to share with you some of our fave of the several thousand Celeb Snaps we took in 2014! Chances are if there was a major Star in-town this year, we at some point snapped them!
2014 will go down as one of the strongest years for Cinema in recent memory, but which Movies rocked our World? And which Singles ruled our iPod? You’re about to find out!
Re-live some of our Fave Celeb Selfies of 2014 (click HD for better quality):
Tinashe, Tattoo Rock Parlour
Rachel McAdams at Canada’s Walk of Fame
Ryan Reynolds + Peter Fonda at Canada’s Walk of Fame
Tove Lo, The Phoenix
Robert Pattinson at the NKPR IT Lounge, TIFF ’14
Channing Tatum, TIFF ’14
Steve Carell, TIFF ’14
Denzel Washington, TIFF ’14
Felicity Jones, TIFF ’14
Kevin Costner, TIFF ’14
Adam Sandler, TIFF ’14
Robert Downey Jr., TIFF ’14
Tom Hardy, TIFF ’14
Ian Somerhalder, Fan Expo 2014
Elijah Wood, Fan Expo 2014
Norman Reedus, Fan Expo 2014
Shawn Mendes, Universal Music Canada
One Direction, Where We Are Tour
5 Seconds of Summer, Summer 2014
Daniel Radcliffe + Zoe Kazan, The F Word Toronto Premiere
Katy Perry, Prismatic World Tour
Lady Gaga, Artrave Tour
Charlie Sheen, Joe Carter Classic Afterparty
Gordon Lightfoot, SOCAN Awards
Missy Peregrym + Charlotte Sullivan, Shaw Media Upfronts
Charlie Barnett + Jesse Lee Soffer, Shaw Media Upfronts
Stephen Amell, Bell Media Upfronts
Kirsten Vangsness, Bell Media Upfronts
Elizabeth Henstridge, Bell Media Upfronts
Katie Holmes, Met Gala, NYC
Blake + Ryan, Met Gala, NYC
Hugh Jackman, Met Gala, NYC
Lily Aldridge + Kate Upton, Met Gala, NYC
Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey), Met Gala, NYC
Marion Cotillard, Met Gala, NYC
Joshua Jackson + Diane Kruger, Met Gala, NYC
Zac Efron, NYC
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic Tour
Cher, D2K Tour
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz Tour
Katheryn Winnick, Canadian Screen Awards
Martin Short, Canadian Screen Awards
Shay Mitchell, Canadian Screen Awards
Maria Bello, David Cronenberg + Viggo Mortensen, Canadian Screen Awards
Laura Vandervoort + Olivier Trevena, Canada’s Stars of the Awards Season Gala, L.A.
Ellen Wong, Canada’s Stars of the Awards Season Gala, L.A.
2. GONE GIRL
6. THE IMITATION GAME
8. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
9. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
10. THE LEGO MOVIE
Perhaps under-seen, WHIPLASH is the one Film you absolutely must see this year. J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller will shatter your World with their performances! You’ll leave shaken and sobered.
1. ALL ABOUT THAT BASS – Meghan Trainor
2. BLANK SPACE – Taylor Swift
3. WEST COAST – Lana Del Rey
4. BOOM CLAP – Charli XCX
5. POMPEII – Bastille
6. STAY WITH ME – Sam Smith
7. SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT – 5 Seconds of Summer
8. COUNTING STARS – OneRepublic
9. SHAKE IT OFF – Taylor Swift
10. SAY SOMETHING – A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera
2014 was all about that bass for us. Meghan Trainor blew our mind with her positive message about body image. We’re sold and extremely excited for her 2015 full-length Debut.
Won’t you join us as we embark on more exciting adventures in Entertainment 2015? Also stay tuned for an upcoming Post where our Contributors Jonathan Godfrey, Justin Waldman, David Baldwin and George Kozera share their fave Films of 2014 too!
Happy Holidays, Willionaire$!
Photos Post-TIFF ’14 taken on Nikon D3300. Photos pre-TIFF ’14 taken on Olympus E-PL5/Samsung S4.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong)
It was a great TIFF ’14. I admit things were looking a bit scary with a smaller-than-expected Celebrity Guest List initially and lack of confirmations, but the Festival truly brought its A-Game and this indeed was one for the books! I distinctly remember feeling a bit of panic on the first Friday of the Festival trailing far off the pace I’m normally at, nabbing only a handful of Celeb Snaps. Once the Festival picked-up by the weekend, I found myself barely able to hang-on! What a wild ride!
Many will attribute the shift in pace of the Festival due to the well-publicized guideline changes set this year, making it impossible for any Studios/Filmmakers to premiere at TIFF within its first four days had it premiered elsewhere on the North American Festival Circuit. This in turn created room for several star-studded In-Conversation-Withs as part of the Festival’s Mavericks Programme with the likes of Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua, Richard Gere, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Juliette Binoche. We felt the pinch, believe me. This however is a Statement the Festival must make to secure its exclusivity and maintain its place as an important Fixture for Films on the Award Trail.
We loved seeing the Publicity Machine at work before our eyes. Stars in previous years who were on the inaccessible side, suddenly became warm to Fans. On the contrary though, we noticed a few Stars who normally are friendly and accessible become tough to access this TIFF. We’re looking at you, Channing. It always is a true testament to how much the Stars believe in their product when they are willing to bring it!
We also are not surprised that THE IMITATION GAME (review here) was awared the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. Upon seeing it in advance of the Festival, we knew the Film had that something special and this will be the Film that makes Benedict Cumberbatch a household name in North America. How it shall fare this Awards Season remains to be seen, but given its Oscar-bagging connections – The Weinstein Co. – it should do just fine!
Our Contributors Jonathan Godfrey, David Baldwin, Justin Waldman and myself also might also have a thing or two to say about other deserving Contenders which premiered here at TIFF, which might not have gotten recognition. Baldwin has the highest praise for Eddie Redmayne‘s performance in The Theory of Everything (review here), while Godfrey still is singing the patriotic praises of the “cosmic” Maps to the Stars (review here). Waldman has a place in his heart for the overlooked Mommy (review here) and Pride (review here) – both which he feels will be Awards Season Candidates. I myself was spellbound by the meditative slow-burn of Foxcatcher (review here) and the devastatingly-good Whiplash (review here). Never discount Jake Gyllenhaal too as his self-starring and produced Nightcrawler was a bit of a Hit among Fans (review here)! And although we didn’t see it, Chris Rock‘s triumphant return Top Five had multiple Studios in a bidding war for distribution rights.
… and now for some Lists!
MR. WILL‘S TOP TIFF ’14 MOMENTS
1. Meeting Tom Hardy
2. Meeting Bill Murray
3. Meeting Benedict Cumberbatch x 2
4. Epic Reese Witherspoon Photo Op (after six tries prior)
5. Meeting Steve Carell
6. Meeting Melissa McCarthy
7. Ansel Elgort saying he had to get a Selfie with Mr. Will, followed by comment from him on Instagram.
8. Mr. Will‘s Epic Hat Fail, blocking Jennifer Garner‘s beautiful face
9. Meeting Miles Teller/J.K, Simmons WHIPLASH Combo
10. John Travolta‘s Fan Buffet outside The Forger Press Junket
MOST FAN-FRIENDLY CELEBS AT TIFF ’14
1. John Travolta
2. Tom Hardy
3. Reese Witherspoon (we are shocked!)
4. Benedict Cumberbatch
5. Chris Evans
CELEBS WHO OWNED TIFF ’14
1. Bill Murray
2. Al Pacino
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
4. Anna Kendrick
5. Steve Carell
1. Melissa McCarthy
2. Kristen Bell
3. Chris Pine
4. Elizabeth Banks
5. Cara Delevingne
1. Robert Downey Jr.
2. Tina Fey
3. Keira Knightley
4. Denzel Washington
5. Kate Winslet
CELEBS WHO MADE THE MOST OF TIFF ’14
1. Chris Evans
2. Steve Carell
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
4. Jon Stewart
5. Bill Murray
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Eddie Redmayne
3. Miles Teller
4. Felicity Jones
5. Ansel Elgort
FILMS TO LOOK-OUT FOR AWARDS SEASON FROM TIFF ’14
1, The Imitation Game
2. St. Vincent
3. The Theory of Everything
And last but not least, we must thank our wonderful Supporters throughout TIFF who make it all possible.
CP24 & Bell Media: Thank you for continuing to provide and support me with an Outlet to share my greatest passion with Ontarians at my favourite time of year. I look forward to working together again TIFF ’15!
H&M Canada: Everything I wear is H&M. Your Cardigans and Jackets were perfect for the indecisive hot-cold of TIFF ’14. Your clothing gives me confidence and comfort. Thank you.
Nikon Canada: Although I am still mastering my Nikon D3300 admittedly, many of my Photos were another level of fantastic. Capturing Photos in 24MP has given my Pictures a depth, clarity and level of detail which I’ve never before achieved. In the words of Joel McHale (at the Festival with Adult Beginners), “Are you sure this is the best Camera to take a Selfie with?” *SNAP* “I guess it is!”.
Novotel Centre Toronto: I am happy to have called you my home once again TIFF ’14. Billy and I miss our amazingly cozy bed and we appreciate the Puppy Welcome Package. This shows the level of attentiveness you have for your Clients. To be only minutes away from the thick of it all: the Movies, Parties and Celebrities and be able to crash in my Hotel Room for a quick recharge when I was in dire need of it was an absolute luxury I will not take for granted. The in-and-our privileges of your Parking Lot were a blessing as was the reliable Wi-Fi. The Staff always are accommodating, understanding and friendly. Without a doubt, I can recommend Novotel Centre Toronto as the place to stay during TIFF.
Samsung Canada: Communication is key to my Brand during TIFF and having access to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Tab S this year ensured I always was able to stay in touch and charged. When there was the ever rare lull in my day, I could whip-out my Devices and prep my Photos and Blog Posts, ensuring that I could actually spend precious time in my Hotel Room sleeping versus working. This meant so much to me and I basically cannot imagine my life without a Galaxy Tab S. Really!
Ford Canada: I have never experienced luxury like a LINCOLN MKZ. The Panoramic Roof was a dream. The 6-Speed SelectShift® was absolute state-of-the-art. The massaging chairs were decadent. The THX® II Certified Audio System was symphonic. The customizable interior lighting let me changing colours according to my mood. The Lincoln MKZ‘s concern for my safety with frequent alerts kept me focused on the road. Did I mention it’s awful easy on the eyes? I will never forget the TIFF in which Billy and I rolled in that silky, smooth Lincoln!
Out There with Melissa DiMarco: We always have a blast at Melissa’s Out There VIP Interview Studio and Hospitality Suite! Thank you for keeping Team Mr. Will fed and hydrated with your delectable goodies and thank you for embracing my Willionaire$!
NKPR IT LOUNGE: We are thrilled to have experienced the goodness enjoyed by the likes of Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cuasack, Justin Long, Jena Malone, Felicity Jones and several more! Thank you also for giving my Willionaire$ a taste of that Celeb Life with your generosity!
Touchwood PR: We love you and appreciate the Golden Tickets my Readers and I have been given thanks to your kindness. We value your friendship and are excited about what’s next to come!
Rock-It Promotions: We are honoured by some of the plum opportunities we were given this TIFF and we look forward to building our relationship with you in the future!
Shinan Govani: We are so proud to call you a Friend. You are one of TIFF‘s most omnipresent Stars. We continue to look-up to you and your profound influence on our thriving Celebrity Culture.
We hope you had a blast on our Digital Journey this TIFF ’14 and we can’t wait to do it all over.
Stick around, we’re at this year-round.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
I’d like to introduce you all the my favourite Film all of TIFF ’14! The psychological Musical Drama is unafraid to get mean, gritty and nasty and although it might not have received that coveted People’s Choice Award, it certainly cannot be ignored this upcoming Awards Season. Think Black Swan. But drumming. And Jazz. I cannot describe. You must see for yourself.
Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability—and his sanity.
See the Trailer:
Mark my words, this is the Film that will make Miles Teller a Star. Both him and J.K. Simmons are phenomenal.
Mongrel Media release WHIPLASH Friday, October 24, 2014 in Toronto and Vancouver. Additional cities to follow.
(Photo/video credit: Mongrel Media)
While we’re still waiting on a final list of Films and Celebrities to grace our City for TIFF ’14, Mr. Will‘s Dream Team had the chance to catch-up over Dinner tonight to share our excitement about our favourite Festival! Running Wednesday, September 4 – Sunday, September 14, 2014, you can expect us to be front-row and center with unparalleled access to the Films and Stars which make TIFF basically, the greatest Festival on Earth!
We must take a moment to thank our Friends Jonathan Godfrey, Justin Waldman and David Baldwin who have played an instrumental role this past year delivering Fan-friendly Reviews of the latest Movies to hit theatres. Without them, how else would we know what to take a chance on at the Box Office? Together, we give you a snapshot of what’s worth your time, whether it be Indie Films to 3-D Blockbusters.
For the past five years, Mr. Will Wong has developed from a humble Blogspot Page to a real online experience for our Readers. We love engaging you Willionaire$, taking you to the hottest Advance Screenings throughout the Country and taking you along for a ride through our journeys spotting Stars around the City. Earlier this year we even took you to Los Angeles and New York City! This TIFF, we want to be your #1 Go-To in helping you pick-out the Award-worthy Films and give you unparalleled intimate access to the Stars with our Snaps! These past five years have been an amazing ride and we look forward to another amazing ride this TIFF!
Whether it be Jon’s obsession with Kristen Stewart, Dave‘s quest to be Miles Teller‘s BFF or Justin‘s Michael Shannon meltdown, we’re all truly Fans of Cinema and the Stars underneath it all and we hope you’re just as thrilled as we are!
Without further a do, here are our Picks for TIFF ’14:
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