It's baaack! For the second straight year, in the spirit of the season, the weekly compilation of first-run indie offerings has been replaced with seven movies guaranteed to titillate, nauseate and leave you maddeningly unsettled. Once again, rather than rounding up the usual suspects – cyberspace is already littered with zealous endorsements of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby – I've made a conscientious effort to name less obvious shockers, all available at your local video store (if it still exists) or via the now-maligned Netflix.
Although most know Thor from the pages of Marvel comics, as a superhero distinguished by his thunderous hammer and his formidable golden mane – imagine a younger, leaner and more politically correct Dog the Bounty Hunter – the character became legend centuries ago, a central figure in Norse mythology.
Sir Anthony Hopkins didn’t want to star in a “spinning heads” movie, much less slip into another creepy villain role so soon after last year’s The Wolfman. It was only after director Mikael Håfström, best known for the haunted-hotel thriller 1408, convinced Hopkins that he wasn’t trying to remake The Exorcist that Sir Anthony agreed to play Father Lucas, a mercurial man of the cloth, in The Rite, which opens Friday.
Woody Allen Struggles with the Agony of Creation and the Perils of Wish Fulfillment with 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger'
Perhaps old dogs can’t be taught new tricks, but many veteran directors are learning to adapt in a Hollywood where sequels, remakes and treatments of popular comics are very much in season.
This fall, Stephen Frears, 69, will unveil his first take on a graphic novel, the romantic comedy Tamara Drewe, before tentatively laying the groundwork for a remake of his 1984 thriller The Hit. Oliver Stone, 64, has returned to Wall Street. And, at 67, Martin Scorsese is busy directing his first 3-D fantasy – next winter’s Hugo Cabret – and planning a Taxi Driver sequel.
The 34th Toronto International Film Festival, billed by organizers as "the most important festival after Cannes," concluded Sunday, Sept. 19, with the announcement of this year's Audience Award winner: The King's Speech, Tom Hooper's account of Bertie (A Single Man's Colin Firth), the man who overcame a humiliating stutter to become King George VI. (Bay Area moviegoers will get a sneak peek of Speech when it opens the 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival on Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.) Here's an account of the 10-day Toronto festival's highlights, lowlights and (almost) everything in between.
Neither Christopher Plummer, 80, nor Helen Mirren, 64, the stars of Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station, took home Oscars from last Sunday’s awards ceremony. But as far as Hoffman is concerned, their work remains indispensable, the key to breathing the intensity of life into his screenplay, adapted from Jay Parini’s 1990 novel, about the last days of Leo Tolstoy.