It’s almost September and that means the Toronto Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest gatherings of film stars, producers, and agents is almost upon us. The festival attracts an astounding 480, 000 attendees with over 5,000 in the film business.
This year is a particularly great year for films and with over 400 films from 83 countries, we had a tough time picking the top 5 we want to watch here at Jeridoo Productions but we managed to narrow it down.
The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan
English film fans have been awaiting the English-language debut of French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan for some time. Dolan has attracted incredible A-list talent that includes Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, Thandie Netwon and Kit Harington who plays a washed up heartthrob movie star.
Dolan’s film started production late in 2016, and after some delay, principle photography wrapped up in 2017. The movie was then beset by post-production delays, including an announcement that Dolan would be cutting Jessica Chastain’s character, a scheming journalist, from the movie. This development created a media buzz because Chastain is a close friend of Dolan.
The Hummingbird Project
After the critically acclaimed films Two Lovers And A Bear and Eye On Juliet, director Kim Nguyen delivers a character piece with his newest movie. The Hummingbird Project stares Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård as cousins determined to land a contract to build a fiber-optic network between Kansas and New Jersey, and Salma Hayek as their former employer and current competitor.
A tragicomedy, Eisenberg plays a character determined to escape his working-class roots and follow his dreams that he doesn't realize who he might take down with him. Skarsgård, who is hardly recognizable in his performance, is a revelation. Skarsgård’s character is a genius who can't function away from his keyboard and has no social skills.
With an all-star cast and with strong performances, this film is hailed as Nguyen’s greatest work since Rebelle.
Yet another film with a stellar cast, Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche star as criminals sent into deep space in French auteur Claire Denis’ English-language debut. It’s the latest challenging role in Pattinson’s post-“Twilight” career in which he continues to surprise audiences with daring and interesting roles, constantly shunning mainstream Hollywood.
Halloween and its many sequels have been filmed to death but with this franchise reboot, it goes deeper than your typical horror film. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to fight against her tormentor Michael Myers in what was her breakout role. Produced by Blumhouse Productions, the company behind the horror break-outs “Get Out”, “Sinister”, “Paranormal Activity”, the movie will play off paranoia and Curtis’ quest for revenge as Laurie Strode.
At just young 37 years of age, Toronto documentary filmmaker Rob Stewart tragedy died scuba diving of the coast of Florida while making this compelling sequel to Sharkwater, his award-winning documentary of the illegal multi-billion-dollar shark fin industry. Stewart devoted his life to the cause of saving the world’s most feared and most beautiful sea creatures. Unfortunately up to 150 million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup, pet food, and even beauty products which are distributed around the world. The film was compiled posthumously by award-winning editor Nick Hector from footage and notes made by Stewart before his untimely death.
To honour the Canadian diver and ensure his legacy, TIFF is staging a special world premiere screening and tribute event dedicated to the local conservationist. Sharkwater Extinction will be a bittersweet TIFF premiere without the filmmaker and environmental activist who was the driving force behind the film and its powerful message to save sharks from distinction. The follow-up hopes to instill the same love and respect of sharks that Stewart had in the audience.
Film is arguably the most accessible art form, disseminating across the world, even to places where American entertainment is supposed to be banned. These films help spread American ideas, values, and culture.
Therefore, it’s no secret the world is obsessed with Hollywood and with Hollywood stars. But does Hollywood also have the power to make lasting change in society, especially on a government policy level?
While governments are frequently the subject of many feature films, we only have a limited understanding on how government’s portrayal on films affects audience’s perceptions of political ideology.
A study was done which looked at the impact of two recent films, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, on how viewers’ perceive government. The researchers found many of the study participants’ views changed after viewing the two films, by having a more positive view of how governments are run
The study shows what has been known by politicians and law makers for a long time: film has the power to shape perceptions of moviegoers on a range of subjects from war, society, romance, and the government.
For this study, sixty-nine students watched one of the two films, and completed a questionnaire before and after the screening. First, viewers were asked about their impressions of their government. About half of the viewers, prior to watching one of the films, thought the government was going in the wrong direction whereas after watching, there were a shift in their thinking.
This dramatic change as a result of watching a fictional film is extremely interesting. Given the current political divide and climate, attitudes about American policy, it is not. The study showed 22 percent of viewers changed their opinion after the movie about the United States, whereas 76 percent of the viewership did not change.
Donald Trump knew the power of film to influence viewers. He rented out an Iowa theater to screen the Benghazi film 13 Hours for his supporters for free. Although the director, Michael Bay, has insisted his film wasn’t political or wasn’t meant specifically to criticize the Democratic government, especially Hilary Clinton who was then Secretary of State, the film did hit on some contentious issues. Trump obviously hoped that the film would influence voters to turn against the Democratic party and vote for him. How influential the screening of the film was is hard to say, however the numbers don’t lie as Trump beat out Clinton by a vote of 51% to 41.7%.
While films have been used for political purposes ever since they first were invented – Birth of a Nation comes instantly to mind which was properganda about the Ku Klux Klan – it’s never before been measured how much influence a couple of viewing hours can have on a person until now. Perhaps with so much money being spent on politics and how divided we have become, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see more political charged movies being green lighted.
One would assume a children’s movie about Winnie the Pooh is fairly harmless. However, one person who seems to think otherwise is Chinese Leader Xi Jinping. The new Christopher Robin movie is being banned from Chine because bloggers and social media enthusiasts have likened Jinping’s image to that of Pooh.
Last June, China started censoring content related to Winnie the Pooh after comedian John Oliver mentioned Xi Jinping’s sensitivity to the comparison. For example, Chinese social media users started passing around a popular meme of Xi walking alongside President Barack Obama juxtaposed with an image of Pooh walking next to Tigger. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Chinese leader, the next year, a picture of Xi Jinping shaking hands with Japanese Prime Minister drew comparisons with a picture Pooh with another of his friends, the likeable Eeyore, holding hands.
All thought no official reason has been given, the justification for the ban could be that China imposed a quota on the number of foreign films released annually and there have already been a number of Hollywood films released in China right now.
Christopher Robin is not the first Disney movie to be banned by Chinese authorities this year. The first was a A Wrinkle in Time.
The sensitivity to a cartoon character might remind one of another world leader who is sensitive about something equally ridiculous – his hands.
This censorship may seem trivial but it can be alarming since it does raise the concern of a larger issue – the lack of freedom of expression the Chinese people have.
When China’s national legislative body voted to abolish presidential term limits earlier this year — essentially opening the door for Xi to be president for life — censors became more vigilant about suppressing dissent and what they deemed subversive content.
The end of term limits in China was met with worry from human right activists and watchdog groups across the globe.
US President Donald Trump at the time joked about Xi becoming president for life, saying that the United States might also try to elect a president for life one day.
China has an unfortunate long history of censoring information on social media, the web and free speech. Chinese residents can’t access sites such as Facebook, the New York Times, and Google. For years Google has tried to launch a sensor-friendly version of its search engine there, repeated backlash has prevented it from entering into the Chinese market.
The Christopher Robin film is still expected to earn between $20 million and $30 million in the opening weekend and in all likelihood reach the $100 million mark.
The movie is a 2018 children’s fairy tale based upon the hugely successful classic story about a bear called Winnie the Pooh, written by English author Alan Alexander Milne.
Five visual effect technicians and animators unsuccessfully sued Iron Sky in Finnish court, claiming the producers infringed on their copyright and used some of their work for the upcoming sequel, Iron Sky 2: The Coming Race without obtaining proper rights or giving compensation.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is set to be released in 2019. The producers of the film have signed a partnership deal with Jeridoo Universe, who were not part of the lawsuit, for upcoming releases including an Iron Sky video game. The outcome of the law suit would have no effect on the deal between Iron Sky and Jeridoo Universe.
The Finnish court dismissed claims by animators and visual effects technicians who worked on the first 'Iron Sky' film including various spaceships and background elements. The Finnish court ordered the plaintiffs to repay legal fees accumulated by Iron Sky Universe and Blind Spot, the group that handles rights to the Iron Sky brand. The plaintiffs claimed that their work was instrumental in the film and that they should have partial copyright ownership over the franchise.
The five claimants accused Finnish producers Blind Spot and the Iron Sky Universe of improperly and illegally using these elements on planned sequels to the original film. The plaintiffs claimed their creative contribution to the Iron Sky franchise is such that they should also be considered as joint copyright holders of the original movie. However, the defendants successfully argued that the five technicians were a part of a much larger team, had no creative input into the film, and were hired on a contract basis.
The court did say the visual effect artists had copyright to the animators in a single case, the design of the film's Japanese spaceship, but they concluded the copyright had been legally and correctly transferred to Blind Spot Pictures.
The lawsuit unfortunately delayed the sequel, which was supposed to be released in 2018 for a year and a half. The film was partly financed by crowdfunding efforts on Indiegogo and centers around a plot about dinosaurs living at the core of the Earth, ruled by Adolf Hitler and a race of reptiles.
Iron Sky producer Tero Kaukomaa also announced plans for an Iron Sky prequel, Iron Sky: The Ark, to be set in China and produced with Max Wang, who also produced Annaud’s Wolf Totem, which grossed over $110 million at the Chinese box office. Jeridoo is looking and financing and distribution options for this new film.
While the Terminator series has had its share of ups and downs in the past, the newest installment is about to shake things up, announcing for the first time in 25 years, Linda Hamilton, who played the iconic Sarah Connor, will be returning.
The first promo photograph from the upcoming film was just released, featuring Linda Hamilton in aviators, a pump-action shotgun, and bulletproof vest, looking very badass. Her role in Terminator 2 defined what a strong female lead meant to be—a role model for hundreds of action heroines to come.
At the Cannes Film festival Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the new Terminator would be moving forward with James Cameron executive producing and in the director's chair will be filled by Tim Miller, the man behind Deadpool. It seems like they are looking for hot new talent to carry the story and bring a new generation of fans to the franchise while still pleasing the older generation by having Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton anchor the film.
A few actors have already been cast. The franchise has found its latest Terminator in Agents of SHIELD's Ghost Rider actor Gabriel Luna. Also joining the cast will be Colombian actress Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta of Pretty Little Liars joined the cast in a yet-to-be-named role.
The current release date slate for Terminator 6 is July 2019, in the middle of summer blockbuster season. At the moment it has some tough competition. It’s slated to be released in the same month as Top Gun 2 and the live-action Lion King. Whether this will change remains to be seen.
The actual plot of the film is as of yet unknown at this point with many loose ends still waiting to be tied up. What we do know is that the movie will be a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day and will be ignoring the storylines of 3, 4 and 5 entirely.
Cameron is developing the story with Miller who plans on writing a trilogy with The Dark Knight's David Goyer, Dark Angel's Charles Eglee and The Sarah Connor Chronicles' Josh Friedman.
Hopefully you remember the plot of T2 but if you don’t, it ended with the T-1000 (played by Robert Patrick) destroyed, along with his predecessor the T-800, (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) who sacrifices himself to save humanity. Sarah Connor and her son John are still alive, and Judgement Day is stopped – or so it seems.
The T-800 made the ultimate sacrificed by lowering himself into molten steel. However, not all of him is gone – there's a bit of his arm that was ripped off during the climactic battle. Could Sarah use this bit of him to recreate the T-800?
What we really want to know is how they will make Schwarzenegger look like the killing machine of 25 years ago. It would makes sense for Sarah Connor to have aged but the T-800, being the machine he is, will always look the same (supposedly). Will there be a cleaver plot twist that explains this little detail? Only time will tell.
The movie is currently in pre-production with filming originally due to begin in March 2018.