Tuesday, September 8, 2009

That buzz "In the Air" emanates from Toronto

With the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival just two nights away, early reports from Canadian sources say "Up in the Air," the George Clooney starrer about the ultimate frequent flyer, is already generating big time discussion. "It's easily the most likely film to attract standing-room-only crowds at both its (opening weekend) public and press screenings," one wag told me.
That certainly makes sense, especially with the first two films ("Thank You for Smoking" and "Juno") from director Jason Reitman (yes, from that Canadian clan of Reitmans) becoming TIFF smashes in recent years.
Clooney, also showing off a military satire called "The Men Who Stare at Goats," will join upwards of 500 celebrities up north, including Chris Rock ("Good Hair"), Michael Caine ("Harry Brown"), Nicolas Cage ("Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"), Penelope Cruz (Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces"), Ellen Page ("Whip It"), Megan Fox ("Jennifer's Body"), Matt Damon ("The Informant!"), Julianne Moore (Atom Egoyan's "Chloe") and husband/wife Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly (opening night's "Creation").
Producer Oprah Winfrey, whose "Precious, Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" comes just as devastatingly and powerfully advertised by way of its Sundance awards, is an expected guest. So are many of the film's stars, most notably Mariah Carey, barely recognizable as a social worker who helps the title character (played remarkably by newcomer Garbourey Sidibe, with "nurse" Lenny Kravitz at right) escape the nasty clutches of her big and abusive mom. Interestingly, Mo'Nique, a surefire Oscar nominee for her hateful performance in the latter role, will not attend.
Check back here for more in a few days, but if you might be reading this from Toronto -- or are on your way -- please seek out another bleak but terrifically moving little Australian film called "Blessed," featuring Frances O'Connor, Miranda Otto and Deborra-Lee Furness (aka Mrs. Hugh Jackman). You can thank me later with a Canadian brew, eh?

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