David Cronenberg

TIFF 2014

3 Comments

TIFF 2014 cheers and jeers: the best and worst of this year’s festival

Because everything related to film culture, even tangentially, can and should be evaluated using a Siskel-and-Ebertian binary system, here are our thumbs up and thumbs down for TIFF 2014.

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

Thumbs up

Bill Murray. Because he made a confusing joke about bankrolling Ivan Reitman’s restaurant, Montecito. Because he showed up to Bill Murray Day in full pageant regalia. Because he’s Bill Murray.

Midnight Madness. This year’s batch of late-night screenings—including Canadian 70s exploitation send-up The Editor, ‘80s and ‘90s action throwbacks The Guest and Big Game, the incredible It Follows (which manages to make the premise of a sexually transmitted demonic possession not stupid) and People’s Choice winner What We Do In The Shadows—all wowed crowds and critics alike. Some people even liked the new Kevin Smith movie, somehow.

Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2014

TIFF Red Carpet

Comments

At the premiere of Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg wears sunglasses at night

GCiampini_M2tS-3729-top

Robert Pattinson. (Image: Giordano Ciampini)

With the camera flashes so plentiful, it’s no wonder hometown auteur David Cronenberg showed up to Tuesday’s Roy Thomson Hall red carpet for his new film, Maps to the Stars, wearing heavy-duty Julbo mountaineering sunglasses. Julianne Moore, who won Best Actress at Cannes for her role in stylized Hollywood satire, praised the script by Bruce Wagner. John Cusack shuffled by, while Cronenberg’s latest muse, Twilight star Robert Pattinson—who, unsurprisingly, elicited the loudest cheers from teenagers in the crowd—praised the director for being brave enough to be weird. We’re not so sure “bravery” is the whole story, though.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Press Conferences

Comments

John Cusak talks about the time he met Andre the Giant

David Cronenberg, Julianne Moore, John Cusak, Olivia Williams and Robert Pattinson. (Image: George Pimentel/WireImage)

David Cronenberg, Julianne Moore, John Cusak, Olivia Williams and Robert Pattinson. (Image: George Pimentel/WireImage)

Try though he might, Robert Pattinson can’t shake the Twi-hards. The alley adjacent to the Lightbox was teeming with adolescents (and not-so adolescents) hoping to catch a glimpse of the sparkling vampire, who has of late found new life as a muse for David Cronenberg. Cronenbeg and Pattinson were on hand Tuesday morning alongside Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, screenwriter Bruce Wagner and producer Martin Katz to talk about Cronenberg’s latest, the L.A.-set Maps To The Stars. (Mia Wasikowska, arguably the film’s lead, was noticeably absent.)

Given that Maps is a searing, frequently surreal, sometimes totally silly satire of Hollywood celebrity, it feels like something of an anti-film-festival movie: a movie that hates movies. But for Cronenberg, the setting is pretty incidental. “The movie isn’t about celebrity, really,” he said. “There are no papparazzi. There are no red carpets. It’s a family drama…It could have been a story about Silicon Valley or Wall Street or any other intense business that encourages ambition and deception and all of that stuff.”

Cusack chimed in with a story about his own experience as a young actor in the 1980s, when he was flown out to Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont to rerecord dialogue on an early film. There, he spotted wrestling legend Andre The Giant wearing a satin jacket with the word “hell” written on the back. “I thought, ‘Alright, this is what this is going to be,’” said Cusack, “You have no fucking idea what you’re getting into…But it can be a really toxic place. It’s so predatory and people are so afraid. It’s comical, but it can be quite vicious.”

Julianne Moore was asked about her Best Actress win at Cannes for her role in the film, and about her recent commemoration on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to which Cronenberg offered a dark joke that felt like a missing scene from Maps To The Stars. “They’re going to start burying people under the stars!” he suggested. “And there’ll be a lucite screen so you can see them.”

“Like Stalin!” laughed Cusack.

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Here are five trailers for films we now know are coming to TIFF

This morning, the Toronto International Film Festival made its first in what will certainly be a long series of programming announcements leading up to the September 4 commencement of this year’s event. Today’s unveiling consisted of 13 “gala” films (meaning, big-deal premieres) and 46 “special presentations” (meaning, almost-as-big-deal premieres).

Despite having lost some major debuts to rival festivals in places like New York and Venice, TIFF’s initial offering comprises some legitimately exciting titles, including David Cronenberg’s latest, as well as a comedy with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, and the world premiere of a new Jake Gyllenhaal movie. Here are trailers for those, and a few other movies included in today’s reveal.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

David Cronenberg name-checks Dilbert at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards

David Cronenberg. (Image: Courtesy of the Canadian Screen Awards)

David Cronenberg. (Image: Courtesy of the Canadian Screen Awards)

The Canadian Screen Awards are a mystifying thing. Formed in 2012 out of a merger of the Gemini Awards and the Genie Awards, the new ceremony is still relatively unknown, even among Canadians. Last night’s glitzy CBC broadcast from the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts seemed designed to help change that, and perhaps it did.

Among the winners were some well-known Cancon treasures like Sook-Yin Lee, for her portrayal of Olivia Chow in Jack, and Tatiana Maslany, who took home a well-deserved statuette for playing half a dozen identical clones on BBC America’s Orphan Black. There was an award for Jason Priestley, for his work on Call Me Fitz, and there was even a little recognition for Toronto-shot The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a fantasy movie appreciated by its tweenaged target audience but not nominated for any major awards in the U.S. Also, Michael Bublé won an award for hosting an awards show (the 2013 Junos), presumably because no Canadian award ceremony would be complete without him.

Host Martin Short kept the ceremony moving, and his self-deprecating humour was a nice antidote to the typical award-show self-importance. The highlight of the night, though, was when David Cronenberg took the stage to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award and, as a way of illustrating his ambivalence over accepting a prize for a career that isn’t finished, spent a chunk of his speech summarizing this Dilbert comic from 2001. (Even “The Dark Knight” likes to kick back with some cartoons from time to time, we guess.)

Read on for a list of the night’s winners, plus a gallery of photos of them holding their freshly minted statuettes.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

For David Cronenberg, turning 70 is like waking up as the Brundlefly

There's a little bit of Brundlefly in every one of us, apparently. (Image: Cronenberg: Canadian Film Centre)

There’s a little bit of Brundlefly in every one of us, apparently. (Image: Cronenberg: Canadian Film Centre)

Somebody needs to send David Cronenberg a candygram or something, because it seems like the 70-year-old Torontonian director is a little bummed about his advancing age. In an essay for the Paris Review, he draws an elaborate analogy between becoming a septuagenarian and turning into a horrifying beetle in the manner of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Things get especially interesting when Cronenberg makes the obvious connection with his own 1986 body-horror film, The Fly, in which a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum inadvertently transforms himself into a man-sized insect.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

Comments

The Dark Knight: David Cronenberg’s creepy obsessions say as much about us as they do about him

The Dark Night: David Cronenberg’s obsessions say as much about us as they do about him

In a way, David Cronenberg put me in the hospital. Last January, I attended a screening of a documentary by the filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock about the black market buying and selling of human organs, called Tales From the Organ Trade. Bienstock had asked Cronenberg to narrate because his own films traffic in what she called “intelligent discomfort.” His enlistment was a wink, a good match for the director known as the Baron of Blood. Cronenberg, with his nasally, Vincent Price pitch, guides the audience through gruesome images of organ-emptied torsos and desperately ill patients who rinse their blood in whirring machines while awaiting new kidneys. His looming presence, associated with films about the sexual penetration of open wounds (Crash) and talking half-alien typewriters (Naked Lunch) and TV screens pulsating like O’Keeffe vagina flowers (Videodrome), doesn’t exactly lighten the mood. I fainted, then vomited, then went to the hospital in an ambulance.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Cronenberg Filmography: how one Toronto director changed filmmaking and turned actors into megastars

The Cronenberg Filmography: How one Toronto director turns actors into megastars

Cronenberg on the set of A Dangerous Method with Viggo Mortensen (Image: Sony Pictures Classics and Entertainment One)

Over a 40-year obsession with mutants, fetishists and freaks, David Cronenberg has transformed from avant-garde boy wonder into one of Canada’s most famous director (you can read our feature profile of him here). Below, a film-by-film guide that reveals how Cronenberg influenced filmmaking the world over—by turning actors into megastars, challenging ratings boards and earning Oscar nominations.

See our guide to the Cronenberg effect »

The Informer

People

Comments

QUOTED: Jeremy Irons, Oscar-winning actor, says he can identify with Rob Ford

 

“The great thing about being an actor is that you play all these strange characters and it allows you to relate to almost anybody. I’ve played over 60 different people and seen life through their eyes. So when I see something like your mayor, I think, yeah, it’s a tough call, but you’ve got to deal with it.”

Jeremy Irons, while being interviewed on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. The Oscar-winning actor was in town to discuss Cronenberg Evolution—the David Cronenberg retrospective at the TIFF Lightbox—but instead, he got Strombo to talk about the same thing everyone is talking about in Toronto right now: mayor Rob Ford. “The characters I played in Dead Ringers had many similar problems to the mayor,” Irons said of his dual role in the creepy 1988 flick, although “they were gynaecologists, not mayors.” It’s terrifying to think that one of Cronenberg’s most unsettling movies—about twin gynaecologists pulling bait-and-switch seductions on unsuspecting patients—may contain insight into the mayor’s current predicament.

To see the full interview, tune into George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on CBC Television on Monday, November 18 at 7 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.

The Informer

Events

Comments

Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of November 1–3

things-to-do-in-toronto

(Image: Geoff Gunn/Courtesy of TIFF)

In this edition of The Weekender, the annual Royal Agricultural fair opens, the TIFF Bell Lightbox mounts an eerie David Cronenberg exhibition and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

EXHIBITION

David Cronenberg: Evolution
Fans of the Toronto-raised pioneer of body horror flicks get a chance to see props and costumes commemorating his extensive thriller film roster, from early short Stereo to his big break, Videodrome. See here for our sneak preview of ambitious, thrillingly terrifying exhibition. Nov. 1–Jan. 19. $9. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

SLIDESHOW: A preview tour of the new David Cronenberg Exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

SLIDESHOW: A tour of the new David Cronenberg Exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

For over three decades, Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg has disturbed and delighted audiences with his uncanny knack for exploring (and exploiting) our most unsettling fears. Starting November 1, Torontonians can take a terrifying peek inside the mind that gave us The Fly, Dead Ringers and Videodrome. Cronenberg: Evolution, the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s first large-scale touring exhibit, tracks Cronenberg’s development from his initial big-budget flick, 1981 science-fiction film Scanners, to last year’s Don DeLillo adaptation, Cosmopolis. Divided chronologically into three sections, the exhibition includes over 60 props, costumes and artifacts (many of them salvaged from Cronenberg’s house and garage), including the hive-like telepod from The Fly and the six-foot-tall humanoid Mugwump from Naked Lunch. The exhibit is one of TIFF’s biggest, most ambitious and certainly most grotesque. Here, 15 photos from the delightfully chilling retrospective.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

1 Comment

Best of Fall 2013: the six best art exhibitions in Toronto this autumn

Best of Fall 2013: the fall’s can’t-miss-it exhibitions
Best of Fall 2013 Art: David Bowie Is
1 | David Bowie Is
David Bowie released the song “Golden Years” in 1975, but only now, at 66, has he officially reached retirement age. The Thin White Duke doesn’t like to spend much time looking back, and so this exhibition—which was assembled with his blessing—does it for him. Curated by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and making its North American debut here, David Bowie Is presents a stunning multimedia exhibition of more than 300 objets from his incandescent career. It’s an absolute glamgasm, with Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, sketches, self-portraits, the elaborate props and set designs from the 1974 Diamond Dogstour and entries from Bowie’s personal diaries. Relentless reinvention has always been Bowie’s obsession; this is the first time his cultural mutability has been captured in one place. Sept. 25 to Nov. 27, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Goods

Best Dressed

1 Comment

Sarah Gadon is ready to heat up Hollywood

Some Like It Hot: Sarah Gadon

Dress, Tanya Taylor; earrings, Jean-Louis Blin, and ring, Robyn Rhodes, both available at Elle Hardware; shoes, Manolo Blahnik, available at Holt Renfrew. Photographed at Allan Gardens Conservatory

Sarah Gadon lies motionless in a bed, luminous as a light bulb against a backdrop of crisp white linen. Her lips are painted a rusty red, her blonde hair frozen in perfect ringlets. Even with her eyes closed she radiates intensity. It’s a scene from Antiviral, the post-apocalyptic morality tale from Brandon Cronenberg (son of David), and Gadon is playing the biggest movie star in the world. The film is about a futuristic society in which obsessed fans buy diseases from ailing celebrities in a desperate attempt to connect with them. Gadon’s character, Hannah Geist, is the object of their obsession. The idea’s not that far-fetched—over the past couple years, Gadon has leapfrogged from minor Canadian TV guest actor (recurring roles on Murdoch Mysteries, Being Erica and The Border) to auteur’s muse and Cannes regular.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Events

1 Comment

The Weekender: The Penelopiad, Canada’s Top Ten and five more events on our to-do list

Megan Follows stars in Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (Image: Robert Popkin)

1. THE PENELOPIAD
Following last year’s acclaimed run, Nightwood Theatre’s production of The Penelopiad is back at Buddies in Bad Times. Written by Margaret Atwood as a response to Homer’s The Odyssey, this play’s all-female cast is led by Megan Follows (yes, of Anne of Green Gables fame), who stars as Odysseus’s wife Penelope as she waits for her husband to return home (an absence that stretches decades). Joining Follows is her Anne co-star, Patricia Hamilton, as well as a flock of actresses who form a dazzling Greek chorus. January 8–February 10. $37–$45. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, buddiesinbadtimes.com

Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF

Comments

QUOTED: Brandon Cronenberg on what’s really behind all that TIFF red carpet gawking

I think celebrity obsession in our culture is a manifestation of a broader human impulse. If you look at, say, the saints, they were essentially elevated almost to the status of gods….I think that deification process and that fetishism is something that exists beyond our culture, this is just one manifestation of it.

–Filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg, director of Antiviral and son of David Cronenberg, talks celebrity obsession. [Grolsch Film Works]

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement