I saw 2 final films today…which took my final count to 29 full screenings (there were 3 partial screenings, too).
First off, I saw a lovely new adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Mike Newell (director of ENCHANTED APRIL, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, and a whole lot more). This adaptation, though clearly condensed in order to be told in 2 hours, is an old-school, literal adaptation with lovely photography, great costumes and a wonderful score. The cast is wonderful – Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham and Jeremy Irvine as “older” Pip (he was the star of WAR HORSE). Interestingly, Young Pip is played by Jeremy Irvine’s younger brother Toby, and he’ll have quite a career should he decide to continue acting. Sally Hawkins (who is always delightful to see) plays Mrs. Joe. This adaptation will be well received by NEON regulars…though it has been picked up by a brand new distributor – so we hope we can establish a good relationship with them.
For my last film of the festival, I saw Lee Daniels’ (director of PRECIOUS) latest film – THE PAPERBOY. Though Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron give “nice” performances, the material is all over the map. The film is seriously fractured with tone and themes shifting from scene to scene. Some of the cutting seems strange and forced – leading me to believe that coverage wasn’t good or performances weren’t always up to par. Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote, “Lee Daniels’ THE PAPERBOY is a rare case of serious commitment to outright silliness…It’s possible to enjoy aspects of THE PAPERBOY if you assume a certain self-awareness behind the campier bits, but even then, the movie drowns in an overwhelming barrage of excess.” Though Efron was present at the screening, Kidman was not. Is she distancing herself from the picture? We’ll never know.
In the coming days, I’ll write one last Toronto wrap-up…and I’ll include some personal photographs from the trip. So check back again on Tuesday or Wednesday – once I’ve had a bit of time to catch up on sleep, wash my clothes, get back to work and process all 29 films I screened.
Thanks for reading!