Middleburg Film Festival Announces Line-up

There are still a couple of film festivals left this year. The New York Film festival opened Thursday and The Middleburg festival opens October 19th. Both are great places to catch up on the Oscar contenders that came out of Venice, Telluride and Toronto.

The Middleburg Film festival is in its 5th year. It takes place in Middleburg, Virginia and continues to showcase the biggest movies coming out this Fall. They are definitely out doing NYFF this year.

Full Middleburg Lineup:

Opening Night

DARKEST HOUR

Centerpiece Films

LADY BIRD

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Spotlight Films

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

MUDBOUND

I, TONYA

Main Slate

BREATHE

THE DIVINE ORDER

FACES PLACES (aka VILLAGES VISAGES)

A FANTASTIC WOMAN

FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

HAPPY END

IN THE FADE

JANE

JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD

LAST FLAG FLYING

THE LEISURE SEEKER

LOVELESS

MUSIC GOT ME HERE

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE

THE SQUARE

UNDER THE TREE

WONDERSTRUCK

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Chappaquiddick to Get Awards Friendly Release Date

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Chappaquiddick, about the car accident that ended the presidential run of Senator Ted Kennedy, is officially joining the Oscar race.

Starring Jason Clarke as Kennedy, the film will be released on December 8th. Entertainment Studios bought Chappaquiddick after its strong showing at the Toronto Film Festival. They plan to start a best actor campaign for Clarke as well as other categories.

The story is based on on Kennedy’s car accident in 1969 when he drove off off a bridge where he drove off a bridge, leaving 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne to drown. Kopechne is played by Kate Mara. Kennedy left the scene of the accident and didn’t report the accident for nine hours.

The films also stars Ed Helms, Bruce Dern and Jim Gaffigan. It is directed by John Curran .

 

I, Tonya Competes in Oscar Race


I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding the Olympic figure skater, will be released in December to qualify for this year’s awards season.

It will be released in New York and Los Angeles on Dececember 8th qualify for an awards season run and then open wide in January. Neon bought the film three days after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Word of mouth out of TIFF was strong. It currently has a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score and there is buzz around a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Allison Janey.

The film surrounds the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, when Harding’s competitor, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked with a police baton after a practice session. An investigation into the incident discovered that Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly set up the attack. The plan was to break one of Kerrigan’s legs so she couldn’t compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Spielberg Documentary Gets a Trailer

He may not always hit a home run, but you can’t argue that Steven Spielberg is one of the most successful directors of all time. Im not a fan of everything that he has done. His films are a little on the nose and are going for the Box Office win more than being artful.

Susan Lacy put together Spielberg with footage from over 30 hours of interviews with Spielberg as well as his family, friends and other filmmakers. The movie highlights the director’s childhood and how his obsession with moviemaking led to a huge career.

The film features interviews with J.J. Abrams, Christian Bale, Drew Barrymore, Cate Blanchett, Francis Ford Coppola, Daniel Craig, Daniel Day-Lewis, Brian de Palma, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Dreyfuss, Ralph Fiennes, Harrison Ford, David Geffen, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Holly Hunter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ben Kingsley, Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, Liam Neeson, Martin Scorsese, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Zemeckis.

Spielberg begin airing on HBO on October 7th.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Wins Top Prize at TIFF

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Martin McDonagh’s, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took home the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday. It beat out other favorites like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and Stronger. I, Tonya was first runner-up and Call Me by Your Name was second runner-up.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri stars Frances McDormand as a mother who becomes frustrated by the police’s progress in her daughter’s murder that she rents out three billboards with a message for the town’s police. Also starring Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, the film has already received significant Oscar buzz since its premiere at TIFF.

Fourteen of TIFF’s Audience Award winners have gone on to become Best Picture nominees since 1978, including last year’s La La Land. Five of the prize winners ended up winning Best Picture, Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and 12 Years a Slave.

The last time a movie won the TIFF Audience Award but failed to earn a Best Picture nomination was Where Do We Go Now in 2010.  Three Billboards now gets a major publicity boost and joins the Oscar buzz conversation.

List of TIFF winners:

People’s Choice: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh (Runner-up: I, Tonya, Craig Gillespie. Second runner-up: Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino)

Midnight Madness: Bodied, Joseph Kahn (Runner-up: The Disaster Artist, James Franco)

Documentary: Faces Places, Agnès Varda, JR (Runner-up: Long Time Running, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier)

Best Canadian Short Film: Pre-Drink, Marc-Antoine Lemire

Best Short Film: Min börda, Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Best Canadian First Feature: Luk’Luk’I, Wayne Wapeemukwa

Best Canadian Feature Film: Les Affamés, Robin Aubert

Toronto Platform Prize: Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton

Oscar Bloggers Disagree About Battle of the Sexes

Sasha Stone at Awards Daily recently wrote about her thoughts on the Oscar race coming out of the Telluride Film Festival. She wrote,

The films that seem very likely to fill up the Best Picture slate, of those that have been seen, I would rank this way:

1 Battle of the Sexes
2 Dunkirk
3 Darkest Hour
4 The Shape of Water
5 Call Me by Your Name
6 Get Out
7 Lady Bird
8 Hostiles
9 Downsizing
10 First They Killed My Father

Battle of the Sexes at number 1? I took this to mean that Stone was currently predicting it as the Oscar front runner. Knowing that Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere was not a huge fan of the film, I asked him his thoughts?

You can see by the WHAT???? response that he was perplexed. He proceeded to write the following post on Hollywood Elsewhere:

So I either completely misunderstood Stone’s list with Battle of the Sexes as number one or she backpedaled. She posted this on her website the following day:

Someone texted me this morning about a movie I’d written about yesterday, Battle of the Sexes, and how I’d said it COULD win Best Picture, not that it WOULD win Best Picture. The blowback was odd. I think right now from those films we’ve seen already, there are a handful that COULD win: Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, Battle of the Sexes. At this time last year, I left Telluride saying Moonlight COULD win Best Picture, along with La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. COULD win is different from WILL win. The same person who texted me this morning about Battle of the Sexes said the exact same thing about Moonlight last year. Almost word for word.

Now if you were me, what were your reaction to that be? Mean: “don’t you tell me my business again.” Or politely brusque: “Thanks but… no thanks.” Or: “you were wrong last year and have been wrong every year except one so why should I listen to you?” Any of those would probably do. I simply told him that after last year I will no longer listen to people who tell me no. After all, many said Arrival would not be an Oscar thing. How could they possibly know that so early?

Either way Battle of the Sexes is not likely to be a BP nominee. Emma Stone may get another Best Actress nomination, but the competition in the Actress category is full of much stronger performances.

Downsizing Gets a Trailer

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

Doesn’t look to be an Oscar contender at this point. Review out of TIFF were mixed to say the least. Currently has a 70% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Downsizing opens December 22nd.