Why label the bathrooms "Men" and "Women" when you can just have tiled mosaics of movie stars to give it away?I attended two screenings in the evening, one of which received the first standing ovation I’ve ever seen at TIFF. It was called Film: The Artist The Gist: The Artist is a black and white silent film set during the era when Hollywood made the transition to talkies. Chronicling the declining fortunes of silent film star George Valentin and the rise of the beautiful Peppy Miller as Hollywood’s new “it” girl, The Artist lovingly honors and recreates cinema’s first golden era. Director: Michel Hazanavicius, a veteran of French TV (and he also wrote the screenplay) Notable Cast and Crew: The two leads are both French actors, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. Great supporting work is provided by John Goodman, James Cromwell, and Malcolm McDowell. The Goods: A lot of people will have a hard time convincing themselves that they want to see a modern day silent film, and I was certainly in that group. But the film was beloved at Cannes and Dujardin took home that festival’s Best Actor prize, so I felt like I had to give it a shot. And I can now tell you, firsthand, The Artist was a profound cinematic experience that I’ll likely never forget. This film exudes such a contagious joy that it’s almost indescribable. The full crowd at TIFF hung on the film’s every moment, and there was a palpable feeling in the room that none of us will ever see another movie quite like it. I confess I have no idea whether this film will find an audience when it gets a theatrical release. Reviews and word of mouth will be behind it (and several critics think it will receive some Oscar nominations—Picture, Director, and Actor all seem feasible), but how many ticket buyers will give it a chance? I hope you do, because The Artist is not to be missed. The Grade: A Film: The Hunter The Gist: The story of a scientist hired by a biological research corporation to go to Tasmania and find the alleged last remaining Tasmanian Tiger. Director: Daniel Nettheim, making his first feature film after a prolific decade in Australian TV. Notable Cast and Crew: Willem Dafoe stars as the title character, with Sam Neil in a supporting role. The film was adapted from a novel by Julia Leigh.
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