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Incendies (#110 of 5)

Toronto International Film Festival 2013 The Double and Enemy

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Toronto International Film Festival 2013: The Double and Enemy
Toronto International Film Festival 2013: The Double and Enemy

There were plenty of Jesse Eisenbergs and Jake Gyllenhaals and doppelganger-centered film adaptations to go around at Toronto. Richard Ayoade’s The Double, loosely based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, pits Eisenberg against Eisenberg, his Mark Zuckerberg smartass squaring off against his Michael Cera nebbish. Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, adapted from José Saramago’s The Double, features a double dose of Gyllenhaal as a disheveled history professor and a cocky actor, exact replicas of each other, right down to birthmarks and scars. Both films are unsurprisingly about male anxiety, a subject that can now be firmly deemed a preoccupation for Ayoade, whose Submarine explored similar territory.

Box Office Rap One Direction: This Is Us and the Box-Office Horizon

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Box Office Rap: One Direction: This Is Us and the Box-Office Horizon
Box Office Rap: One Direction: This Is Us and the Box-Office Horizon

The end of summer is officially upon us. Okay, technically that isn’t until September 21st, but as far as Hollywood is concerned, the summer box-office receipts have been tallied, with the winners and losers already determined. What have we learned? For starters, that Brian De Palma wanted to see The Lone Ranger, but it was gone from theaters before he had a chance to; that lower-budget horror films can stand their own against big-budget blockbusters, though audiences prefer their horror either slovenly supernatural (The Conjuring) or strictly high-concept (The Purge), as proved by the weak opening this past weekend of the excellent, reflexive You’re Next; and that Hollywood is still capable of producing mega-bombs, as demonstrated by the alarming disappearing acts performed by films such as White House Down, R.I.P.D., and Paranoia. Finally, we’ve learned that, all in all, not much has truly changed in the box-office landscape over the past 30 years, as summers continue to be ruled by sequels and commercially driven pap, with the occasional indie (like Fruitvale Station, The Way, Way Back, and Blue Jasmine) lucky enough to make a drop in the bucket.

Too Crass for Its Own Good Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies

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Too Crass for Its Own Good: Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies
Too Crass for Its Own Good: Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies

The apolitical nature of Incendies, a novelistic melodrama about the way terrorism effects people on a personal level, is strangely more irksome than the film’s tempestuous and highly controversial final twist. That last revelation initially seems gratuitous, but it’s at least essential to one of the film’s major themes: Nobody can understand the role they play in their loved one’s lives, especially not the people that are most affected by violence. But still Incendies’s drama revolves around a daughter’s quest to learn more about her mother, a condemned political prisoner and terrorist. The fact that we don’t know what her mom stood for beyond a basic need to protect her family makes the film’s lack of historical context troubling.

Oscar 2011 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2011 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2011 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Picture: The King’s Speech
Directing: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Foreign Language Film: Incendies
Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Documentary Short: Poster Girl
Animated Short: The Gruffalo
Live Action Short: Wish 143
Film Editing: The Social Network
Art Direction: The King’s Speech
Cinematography: True Grit
Costume Design: The King’s Speech
Makeup: The Wolfman
Score: The King’s Speech
Song: “I See the Light,” Tangled
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: Inception
Visual Effects: Inception

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions Foreign Language

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Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language
Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language

Do we even need to talk about Dogtooth’s chances? We know it’s here by the grace of that secret cabal that saves critical favorites from the oblivion into which the category’s larger voting body hurls them, thus allowing AMPAS to save a little face when nominations are announced. We also know that most voters probably sliced off little pieces of their skin while watching the film. Yes, I’m with Eric on this: Dogtooth will probably come in fifth place like no other nominee in history has ever come in fifth place. And speaking of slicing off skin: Isn’t that the only thing that doesn’t happen to Javier Bardem’s Job-like character in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful? If not the worst film nominated for an Oscar this year, Biutiful is certainly the most depressing. It’s also the most recognizable film here, but it takes more than being popular to win an award in a category where AMPAS members are required to see all the nominees before casting their votes.