‘Nomadland’ Wins Audience Award at Toronto Film Festival

Noble Horvath

Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a low-key drama starring Frances McDormand as a woman who loses her house and travels around the Western United States in a van, has won the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Toronto International film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Sunday.

The first runner-up for the award was “One Night in Miami,” the first feature to be directed by actress Regina King. The second runner-up was “Beans,” a coming-of-age story from indigenous Canadian director Tracey Deer.

The People’s Choice Award in the documentary section went to Michelle Latimer’s “Inconvenient Indian,” while the Midnight Madness winner was Roseanne Liang’s “Shadow in the Cloud.”

Over the last eight years in a row, and nine of the last 10 years, the TIFF People’s Choice winner has gone on to be nominated for the Academy Award for

Read More

The ups and downs of having the Toronto Film Festival at your fingertips

Noble Horvath

My screening companion ditched me about 15 minutes into Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s “Wolfwalkers,” a captivating animated feature that turned out to be one of the highlights of my 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. Not hers, though. What can I say? One person’s treasure — in this case, a 17th century Irish fantasy about a plucky young girl and a pack of gorgeously shape-shifting wolves — can be another person’s terror. Here is where I should probably note that the screening venue was my living room, my companion is 4 years old and the movie — a thrilling reminder that hand-drawn animation needn’t be cute or cuddly — featured just a few too many crossbows, guns and lupine growls for her taste.



a close up of a man and a woman looking at the camera: Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby in "Pieces of a Woman." (Toronto International Film Festival)


© (Toronto International Film Festival)
Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman.” (Toronto International Film Festival)

For those of us watching from afar, this

Read More

‘Rifkin’s Festival’ Review: Woody Allen Travels to Movie Memory Lane

Noble Horvath

DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIÁN, Spain — In Luis Buñuel’s “The Exterminating Angel,” one of the canonical European classics that is directly referenced in Woody Allen’s “Rifkin’s Festival,” guests at a bourgeois dinner in a lavish mansion find themselves unable to leave. Supplies dwindle. Tempers fray. Some odd stuff happens with a bear. It’s an exaggeration to suggest that, except for the bear part, the situation might be at all similar to that of the jobbing film critic, or the completist filmgoer, when it comes to Allen’s late-period movies. But then again, it is true that no matter how much, and for what precise reasons, one may long to leave this party — one that started winding down quite some time ago — a new Allen movie shows up year after year (almost without fail, 2018 being an anomaly).

So it’s a relief to report that “Rifkin’s Festival” is, to the ravenous captive,

Read More

Eason offer; Irish book deals; festival news; Gallery at 50; Jan Carson shortlisted

Noble Horvath

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer. You can buy a copy of the bestselling sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale for only €4.99, a saving of €6, at any Eason store this Saturday on purchasing a copy of The Irish Times.

*

In Weekend Review, Maria Luddy and Mary O’Dowd, authors of Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925 (Cambridge University Press), look at the institution’s fascinating history.

Reviews include Eoin Ó Broin on No Fixed Abode by Maeve McClenaghan; Barry Pierce on Death in her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh; Anthony Roche on the six-volume series, Irish Literature in Transition; Doug Battersby on The Abstainer by Ian McGuire; Paschal Donohoe on Soft Power: The New Great Game by Robert Winder; Rabeea Saleem on The Harpy by Megan Hunter; Sarah Gilmartin on Indelicacy by Amina Cain; and Seán Hewitt on the best new poetry.

*

Arts journalist Edel Coffey’s

Read More

Music review: The Lammermuir Festival Online

Noble Horvath

In spite of taking place online this year, the 2020 Lammermuir Festival still captured time and place beautifully, writes David Kettle

Friday, 18th September 2020, 5:22 pm

As we grow ever more familiar with online concerts – whether we love or loathe them – the question changes from what we’re seeing to how we’re seeing it. With its “Autumn Special” collection of online concerts, the 2020 Lammermuir Festival has taken quite a sophisticated approach on the concept, with performances filmed from several angles, TV-style presentation and incorporated online programme notes. It’s impressive stuff, well thought through, and more importantly, with its videos drenched in early autumn light from Haddington’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, it also serves to convey the live festival’s spirit of beautiful music in beautiful places.

Most crucial, clearly, are the performances themselves, and in focusing on artists who already have strong relationships with Lammermuir, co-artistic

Read More

quirky festival romance at a Gen-Z Burning Man

Noble Horvath

Summerland, the new film by directing duo Lankyboy (Kurtis David Harder and Noah Kentis) is a reliable summer road trip movie about friendship forged in the sun. There’s nothing new here, admittedly, but it’s all too sweet, fun and eminently likeable not to have a good time.

Setting off from the East Coast of America to a California festival called Summerland, a group of friends find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Bray (Chris Ball) has been catfishing a hunky Christian guy called Shawn (Dylan Playfair), pretending to be Stacey (Maddie Phillips), who is his best friend Oliver’s girlfriend. Bray thinks that if he can only meet Shawn in person at the festival, he might be able to convince his crush of his true sexuality. Obviously, romantic hi-jinks ensue.

Summerland mainly follows Bray, Oliver (Rory J. Saper) and Stacey as they drive to the festival in Stacey’s

Read More

‘Rifkin’s Festival’: San Sebastian Review | Reviews

Noble Horvath

Rifkin’s Festival

Dir/scr. Woody Allen. Spain/US/US/Italy. 2020. 91 mins.

“Film festivals are no longer what they were,” says Mort Rifkin (Wallace Shawn) the “cranky little introvert” at the centre of Woody Allen’s Rifkin’s Festival. Allen is exactly how he’s always been, though, playing his greatest hits in this nostalgic whimsy about a married American couple who attend the San Sebastian film festival. The director aims a few arrows at the film business which mostly shuns him now, and that can bring some energy to this story of a ”middle-class Jew from the Bronx” having a late-life crisis in the Basque Country. Mostly, though, it’s a familiar watch and a pallid reminder of better days we’ve had with the director.

Rifkin’s Festival raises a polite smile, but never threatens anything more.

Paying tribute to the great European classics (via black-and-white montages including his old favourites The Seventh Seal and 8 ½

Read More

Woody Allen Makes Fun of Film History in Strange Self-Reflective Comedy

Noble Horvath

Click here to read the full article.

These days, every new Woody Allen film invites the same question: Is it possible to review the film and not its disgraced filmmaker? “Rifkin’s Festival” makes this challenge especially daunting: All the action takes place at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where the film opened this year’s edition. Wallace Shawn stars as a revered but neurotic director with romantic delusions. And if it seems like Allen is really asking for it, there’s one more factor working against the 84-year-old filmmaker: The film is far from vintage Allen and would struggle to find a mass audiences even before it turned against him.

Having said that, “Rifkin’s Festival” is a notch above middling Allen comedies like last year’s “A Rainy Day in New York,” thanks to delightful turns from Shawn and Gina Gershon as well as some zany stabs at film history in a

Read More

‘Rifkin’s Festival’ Review: Another Minor Diversion from Woody Allen

Noble Horvath

Mort Rifkin, the ostensible novelist at the center of “Rifkin’s Festival,” has longterm writer’s block, and it’s hard to imagine that Woody Allen has ever empathized less with a character. Where Mort believes it’s futile to write if the finished work is not going to be on the level of Dostoevsky, the 84-year-old Allen continues churning out screenplays on an annual basis, unencumbered even by the increasingly distant memory of his own greatest work. His 49th feature, “Rifkin’s Festival” is the latest in a lengthy string of undistinguished bagatelles that might all be described as effortless, and not in an especially complimentary fashion.

Following Wallace Shawn and a typically jumbled grab-bag of fine actors as they mosey around the San Sebastián Film Festival — for which the film acts as an extended promo, duly opening this year’s edition — “Rifkin’s Festival” is a scenic summer-wind romcom that was presumably a

Read More

New York Film Festival Gives New Life to ‘The Spook Who Sat by the Door’

Noble Horvath

“Spook” opened in September 1973 in the midst of televised Watergate hearings, several years after the F.B.I.’s secret Counterintelligence Program (Cointelpro) disabled the Black Panthers. Paranoia was high. The year’s other independent features included the white vigilante tale “Walking Tall” and the John F. Kennedy conspiracy docudrama “Executive Action.” An anticipatory article in The Chicago Defender, the nation’s pre-eminent African-American weekly, wondered if “Greenlee’s masterpiece” might “touch off race warfare.”

Unsurprisingly, reviews were mixed. New York Magazine characterized “Spook” as “completely irresponsible.” The New York Times critic Vincent Canby gave a more cautious appraisal: The movie is “seldom convincing as melodrama,” but “the rage it projects is real.” Indeed, midway through, the police trigger a violent chain reaction — shooting an unarmed kid as he flees through a back alley — that is still unfolding when “Spook” ends.

Some weeks later, The Times ran a Sunday think piece with the

Read More