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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Back from Toronto: last thoughts on TIFF

Well, I never did work up enough courage to try the poutine. Got back from the Toronto International Film Festival late Monday (took yesterday off, to collapse and not watch movies), and my last few moments of the festival were a) a delightful interview with Daniel Radcliffe, who talks a mile a minute and is clearly very excited (not to mention humbled and grateful) about his busy career, and b) a very nice cab driver who told me some rather personal things about George Clooney, which I’m not repeating as I suspect said nice cab driver had no first-hand knowledge of the situation. Meanwhile, “August: Osage County” screened, approximately five minutes after I had to leave for the airport, and got respectable reviews, particularly for Meryl Streep and Julia Robert’s scene-chewing. (Less respectable were the reviews for Roberts’ weird orange red-carpet dress.)

Meanwhile, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers” became the latest film to score a big distribution deal, going to The Weinstein Company for a reported $3 million. (The movie, which I missed, sounds interesting: two movies in one, about a married couple’s struggles told from two different perspectives, starring Jessica Chastain, William Hurt, Viola Davis and James McAvoy and directed by Ned Benson.) No word yet on a “Lucky Them” deal, but the festival’s far from over (it continues through Saturday).

Based on what I saw in Toronto, I’d say the Oscar race just got complicated. Sandra Bullock’s performance in “Gravity,” in which she makes a big, special-effects-heavy film feel small and intimate just through her voice, became an immediate front-runner; as does Judi Dench’s warmhearted star turn in “Philomena.” Hugh Jackman shows a frightening intensity we’ve never seen from him before in “Prisoners”; Matthew McConaughey silenced all who thought of him as just a pretty chest with his transformational performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” and pretty much everyone in “12 Years a Slave” (which I missed — it’ll screen here in Seattle soon — but which was perhaps the most talked-about film at the festival) seems likely to be honored on Oscar night. It was a great festival and I saw some wonderful movies and happily ate way too much popcorn, but it’s nice to be home.

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