It may only be December, but the Best Actress race is already shaping up to be the most competitive in years, with everyone from back-from-obscurity Nicole Kidman to indie darling Tilda Swinton to newcomer Jennifer Lawrence causing a stir. It's a pity that the race has already boiled down to a smackdown between just two of the divas: Annette Bening, for her role as an uptight lesbian in Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right," and Natalie Portman, the star of Darren Aronofsky's nightmarish ballet drama, "Black Swan," which opens this weekend.
"Some things you see once and remember forever." According to the series of sponsors' messages that preceded each and every screening at North America's biggest annual movie showcase, the Toronto International Film Festival, these unforgettable moments include Janet Leigh in the shower, the robotic skeleton lurking beneath Arnold Schwarzenegger's skin and Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs ... selections that strip cinema right down to its roots in the peep show.
Looking back, I find I've written more than 350 film reviews over the past 12 months. That's a lot of time sitting in the dark, especially when you're challenged to whittle them all down to the best 20 hours or so for the annual top 10 list.
From an animated documentary detailing one man's efforts to regain his memories of being a young soldier in "Waltz with Bashir" to Christopher Nolan's box office behemoth "The Dark Knight," movies in 2008 have been notable for their creativity, diversity and international flavor.
After a slow start, the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival kicked into life about 6:20 p.m. Sunday when a little Indian boy took a deep breath and plunged into an outdoor cesspit to secure the autograph of his favorite movie star.
Some time ago my wife and I made a jungle safari at the Mayan site Tikal, in Guatemala. Unfortunately, any hopes of seeing wildlife were dashed by an early morning rainfall, despite the guide's repeated injunction to "transcend the trees" -- behind which, presumably, all manner of fauna lurked.