Gyllenhaal, Vallée tackle grief in ‘Demolition’

12 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bidding war rages over Where To Invade Next as Demolition fails to fell all critics.

And actress Naomi Watts delivered yet again on Friday while in attendance at the press conference for the upcoming R-rated flick at the Toronto International Film Festival.TORONTO: Jake Gyllenhaal takes a bulldozer to his own life as a man unhinged by grief in “Demolition,” which opened North America’s largest film festival in Toronto on Thursday.When Fox Searchlight announced the company’s fall 2015 release slate in July, it included a bump to April 2016 for Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Demolition.” Many assumed it was a sign of weakness where awards potential was concerned (failing, of course, to note the reigning best picture king’s success with March release “The Grand Budapest Hotel” last year).

Why would a movie with awards hopes have its world premiere at a film festival that takes place a season before its theatrical release makes it eligible for Oscar consideration?Those staying up late for this energy-charged series got a taste of the bizarre in the short film “The Chickening,” a parody of “The Shining” that appropriates footage from that film for a funny, yet unnerving beak-heavy companion piece.

The Toronto film festival has opened with a fierce bidding war that began as the credits rolled on one of the first films to screen and stretched into the small hours of Friday morning.If you’re among those who thought Jake Gyllenhaal would never find a role weirder than Louis Bloom, the sociopathic news videographer of “Nightcrawler,” think again. She appeared to be in good spirits while being greeted by Director Jean-Marc Vallee, Judah Lewis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, and writer Bryan Sipe on the carpet. But the movie that had studios and distributors vying for rights wasn’t the official opener, Demolition – a glossy drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a widower who grieves by smashing up kitchens, taking apart white goods and taking frequent, crowd-pleasing showers.

Each member of the crew showed off their own fashion sense, dapper in tailored suits and button downs while proudly standing in to promote their highly-anticipated comedy/drama. Pressed by his father-in-law to pull it together, Mitchell instead launches into an obsessive campaign against a vending machine company, penning letters of complaint that take on an increasingly confessional tone. The main event was Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room,” a nasty thriller about a punk band that takes a gig it wishes it hadn’t and must face down a group of neo-Nazis headed by Patrick Stewart. It’s unique to grab that slot and then beg off for the next year on release, but the Canadian Vallée really wanted to play to his people north of the border, as he has with “C.R.A.Z.Y.,” “The Young Victoria,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Wild.” After the film premiered Thursday night, you could already tell it had landed a sour note with a number of critics who tossed out a quick Twitter thought before ducking into Michael Moore’s latest.

For one thing, Vallee is Canadian, Last year, he was forced to choose between Telluride and Toronto for the premiere of his previous Fox Searchlight film, Wild, and he choose Telluride. Where To Invade Next is Michael Moore’s first film in six years and its distribution rights are now being fought over by major studios, indie outfits and new players such as Netflix.

Her son, played by the young CSI: Cyber star Judah, deals with his own emotional and financial burdens with his mother as they too build up from the shambles. Gyllenhaal himself has also become a fixture in Toronto, appearing in last year’s well-received “Nightcrawler,” as well as “Prisoners,” “Rendition” and previously in Ang Lee’s acclaimed “Brokeback Mountain.” “Jake is fully engaged in this performance,” said Bailey. “And Jean-Marc was able to build a world around this character where you feel you’re with that person.” I wasn’t shocked, really. “Demolition” is a delicate film — some might slam it with a pejorative “precious” — and an easy one to be cynical about at that. Additionally, Demolition’s star, Jake Gyllenhaal — who gives a mesmerizing performance as a whacked-out widower who needs to smash property in order to feel something — has awards hopes this year for two other 2015 films: Southpaw, for which he totally transformed his body in order to give an unforgettable performance, and also perhaps even for Everest, an upcoming genre movie in which he does strong supporting work.

Moore’s 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 remains the highest grossing in history, taking $223m (£145m) globally and winning the Cannes film festival, but his efforts since haven’t been so well received, either by critics or the public. All of that being said, one can’t help but wonder: might it make sense to reconsider the game-plan and actually slip Demolition, which is clearly ready to go, into this year’s race? The director largely retired from view after 2009’s Capitalism: A Love Story, which ended with an entreaty to the audience to up their levels of activism. Vallee took the stage at the Princess of Wales theater on Thursday night, it became entirely clear why “Demolition” is showing here, a full seven months before its planned release on April 8 by Fox Searchlight Pictures. It’s probably the most rock ‘n’ roll film I’ve made.’ A fully bearded Jake also seemed very enthused as he discussed his motifs for the role alongside an intently listening Naomi, the duo even shared a few laughs despite the touchy subject matter.

Not to mention: “Youth,” “Brooklyn,” “Far From the Madding Crowd,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” — Searchlight has plenty to work with this year, having also bumped Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” to clear up some space. Speaking after the first screening of his new film, an emotional Moore said he’d decided to return to the field after believing the Occupy movement had gone some way to answer his call-to-arms. In the trailer, it shows Jake being unable to extract a pack of Peanut M&Ms and subsequently explaining this was a problem because his wife had 10 minutes to live. Minutes before attending the press junket, Naomi took to her 10.3k Instagram followers, writing: ‘Big day back to back press junkets calls for black hat and jazz hands @Burberry #TIFF15 #Demolitionmovie #foxsearchlight #AboutRay #theweinsteincompany.’ In the flick, Ray (Elle) decides to transition from female to male, while Ray’s mother, Maggie portrayed by Naomi, must come to terms while tracking down Ray’s biological father to gain his legal consent.

We need to get off our asses and do something.” In the film, Moore tours Europe – with a brief stop in north Africa – and goggles at what he perceives as enlightened attitudes towards prisons (Norway), holiday pay (Italy), school meals (France) and free sexual healthcare for women (Tunisia). Then again, I suppose you could say the same thing about another movie about an insensitive widower, About Schmidt, which wasn’t nominated for best picture, but for which Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates received lead and supporting acting noms, respectively. But asked whether such precedent encouraged him about Hillary Clinton’s chances in the forthcoming presidential election, Moore was uncharacteristically non-committal, instead hat-tipping to the work of stars such as Patricia Arquette and Meryl Streep in lobbying for gender pay equality. I feel like you could have written a version of this piece last year (and I probably did), but ever since the disappointing 2010 video game adaptation “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” and particularly since an agency switch in 2012, the 34-year-old star has been on a quest to push himself, explore new territory with bold filmmakers (Duncan Jones, David Ayer, Denis Villeneueve, Dan Gilroy) and just keep growing.

It’s called apartheid.” But he also cautioned against tokenism, saying: “I don’t think that just be electing an African-American president or a female president is going to fix that.” The film won a standing ovation following its first showing, itself frequently punctuated by applause. Moore pre-empted criticism over cherry-picking positive European stories by saying his work has a duty to act as an antidote. “The mainstream media does a really good job of telling you night after night how bad all the rest of the world is,” he said. “Just so horrible and sucks and they pay so much tax and it’s just awful. Here are five reasons Toronto matters so much: TIFF is considered the major launchpad for the awards season and starts on the first Thursday after Labor Day.

And next he’s working with Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”), another compelling artist who will no doubt add a whole other shade to the actor’s palette. I haven’t met a single person in the industry who understands how Gyllenhaal missed a lead actor nomination for “Nightcrawler.” He bobbed and weaved against critical blows aimed at this summer’s “Southpaw,” emerging unscathed. When the role comes, he’s going to seize it and be smart about it and the timing will be right, because he just seems to be doing it for all the right reasons lately. In 2014, the festival doled out some 1,200 media credentials, and studios take advantage of having stars and journalists in one place by banging out junket after junket. “It’s like a worldwide gathering point,” one studio publicist said. “With all the international press and the casts there at once, a lot can be banked for the remainder of the season.” For East Coasters and Europeans alike, this Canadian city is an ideal destination.

It helps that everyone speaks English, and the festival’s thousands of volunteers are friendly and as helpful as can be, happily ushering film lovers through the city’s squeaky clean streets. Gyllenhaal said he approved of such luddite communication and felt a return to that, too, might help interpersonal connection. “The hand-written becomes less and less important to certain generations. Among the 2014 deals was Sony Pictures Classics’ acquisition of “Still Alice.” Its star, Julianne Moore, went on to win an Oscar for her performance in it. Among the famous people who graced TIFF last year: Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack and, delightfully, Bill Murray, who was feted with his very own Bill Murray Day.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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