TIFF 2014: Kill Me Three Times

Here's a cool animated poster for the TIFF-bound Simon Pegg starrer "Kill Me Three Times".

The movie, a darkly comedic thriller from rising star director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog), will premiere in Toronto as part of the Contemporary World Cinema selections.

In the movie, Simon Pegg plays the mercurial assassin, Charlie Wofle, who discovers he isn't the only person trying to kill the siren of a sun drenched surfing town (Alice Braga). Charlie quickly finds himself at the center of three tales of murder, mayhem, blackmail and revenge. With an original screenplay by James McFarland, the film also stars Sullivan Stapleton (as a gambling addict that attempts to pay off his debts through a risky life insurance scam), Teresa Palmer (as a small town Lady Macbeth), Callan Mulvey (as a wealthy beach club owner simmering with jealousy), Luke Hemsworth (as a local surfer fighting for the woman he loves) and Bryan Brown (as a corrupt cop who demands the juiciest cut). KILL ME THREE TIMES was produced by Laurence Malkin and Share Stallings (the team behind Death At A Funeral and A Few Best Men) and Tania Chambers. 

Sounds fun!

Raymond Lo

41st Telluride Lineup

And the Fall Festival Season is on!

The Telluride Film Festival, presented by the National Film Preserve, announced today its official program selections for the 41st edition of the festival. 

Telluride will screen 85 features, short films and revivals representing twenty-eight countries, along with special artist Tributes, Conversations, Panels, Education Programs and Festivities. 

The festival will also be screening surprise unannounced films during the week-long festival which starts Friday, August 29, 2014.

I have seen the lineup and it is heavenly!

I can't wait for these titles to screen at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles in November!

Here's the 25 features in the main lineup:

THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT (d. Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi, U.K.-U.S., 2014)
’71 (d. Yann Demange, U.K., 2014)
99 HOMES (d. Ramin Bahrani, U.S., 2014)
BIRDMAN (d. Alejandro González Iñárritu, U.S., 2014)
DANCING ARABS (d. Eran Riklis, Israel-Germany-France, 2014)
THE DECENT ONE (d. Vanessa Lapa, Israel-Austria, 2014)
DIPLOMACY (d. Volker Schlöndorff, France-Germany, 2014)
FOXCATCHER (d. Bennett Miller, U.S., 2014)
THE GATE (d. Régis Wargnier, France-Belgium-Cambodia, 2014)
THE HOMESMAN (d. Tommy Lee Jones, U.S., 2014)
THE IMITATION GAME (d. Morten Tyldum, U.K.-U.S., 2014)
LEVIATHAN (d. Andrey Zvgagintsev, Russia, 2014)
THE LOOK OF SILENCE (d. Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark-Indonesia-Norway-Finalnd-U.S., 2014)
MADAME BOVARY (d. Sophie Barthes, U.K.-Belgium, 2014)
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT (d. Robert Kenner, U.S., 2014)
MOMMY (d. Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2014)
MR. TURNER (d. Mike Leigh, U.K., 2014)
THE PRICE OF FAME (d. Xavier Beauvois, France, 2014)
RED ARMY (d. Gabe Polsky, U.S.-Russia, 2014)
ROSEWATER (d. Jon Stewart, U.S., 2014)
THE SALT OF THE EARTH (d. Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Brazil-Italy-France, 2014)
TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (d. Nick Broomfield, U.K.-U.S, 2014)
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (d. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium-Italy-France, 2014)
WILD (d. Jean-Marc Valleé, U.S., 2014)
WILD TALES (d. Damián Szifrón, Argentina-Spain, 2014)

See you at the movies!

Raymond Lo

Trailers: "Gone Girl"

The full trailer for "Gone Girl" is here!

This David Fincher adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel is one of the hotly-anticipated movies of the Fall movie season. It opens October 3. The first week of October is now the unofficial start of the Oscar season. "Gravity" opened around the same time last year. So did "Argo" the year before.

I read the book and if you haven't and you think you know the story, you are dead wrong! I read the book over one week (I have a day job, thankfully) and it's one of those books where you just can't put down. You will not forget Amy and Nick after you've read the book - or, after you've seen the movie.

Watch the trailer below:

Raymond Lo

Trailers: "The Maze Runner"

There's a new film opening on September 17, 2014. You have to watch it. I can't say no more.

Here's the trailer:

Raymond Lo

First Look: "Men, Women & Children"

The new Jason Reitman film MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN will make its world premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie stars Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler AND Ansel Elgort.

Based on the Novel by Chad Kultgen and a Screenplay by Jason Reitman & Erin Cressida Wilson, "Men, Women & Children" follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose - some tragic, some hopeful - as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.

Here's the trailer:

Raymond Lo

Movies: July 2014 List

It's August! We are now past the halfway mark of the year and, in just two months, our world will be buzzing again with movies after movies vying for that coveted Oscar ride through February next year. I have released my top 10 films of the year through the first six months of 2014 last month. That list is now completely dated. Why, you ask. It's because I saw in July what I think is the best movie of the year - and, perhaps, one of the most important films in the history of American cinema. I am referring, of course, to Richard Linklater's epic masterpiece, "Boyhood." I wrote a full review of that film and the link can be found here: http://raymonddeasislo.blogspot.com/2014/07/film-review-boyhood.html

July was not a good month for me in terms of the number of movies I saw. I only saw 11 films throughout the month - thanks to never-ending deadlines at my day job - but it was still a great month in terms of quality. I saw six brilliant, interesting films at this year's Outfest including the late Robin Williams' haunting turn as a repressed sixty-something man grappling with his homosexuality and his devotion to his wife (played superbly by Kathy Baker!) in Dito Montiel's "Boulevard". When I watched the movie, I had no idea that it was one of the final four movies that Mr. Williams would leave his devastated fans with. His performance, though impressive, is not likely going to net him an Oscar nomination but it was a showcase and a testament to his unparalleled talent as an actor who can weave through comedy and drama so effortlessly.

At Outfest, I also got to see Eytan Fox's latest film, the hilarious "Cupcakes", which I truly enjoyed. It's a crowd-pleasing and entertaining comedy about 6 friends who represented Israel at a global singing competition similar to Eurovision. The movie is a departure from Fox's more topical and serious films but it's a winning film nonetheless that invites loving comparison to some of Pedro Almodovar's fabulous and colorful comedies.

Another American film I saw was "Last Weekend" (dirs. Tom Dolby, Tom Williams), which featured Patricia Clarkson's masterful turn as a society matriarch on the verge of something - or everything. She may just have been menopausal or whatever but her performance lifts the movie even if you have lingering doubts about the motivations behind the character.

Other films I saw at Outfest include the excellent Russian film "Winter Journey" (dirs. Lubov Lvova, Sergey Taramaev), the flawed but engaging French film "Salvation Army" (dir. Abdellah Taïa) - quick, can you guess why is the title such?? - and the Canadian film "Sarah Prefers to Run" (dir. Chloe Robichaud) which premiered at Cannes in 2013.

Outside of the festival, I finally got to see Bong Joon-Ho's much-heralded "Snowpiercer" which I didn't find quite satisfying. It was suspenseful and stylish, yes, but its allegorical symbolism, though radical, is just too obvious that it rendered the supposedly explosive climax almost inconsequential. I was rooting for the train to actually derail just to have an ending to the film. Which it did!

I also saw Michel Gondry's latest, the lovely "Mood Indigo." My review is here: http://raymonddeasislo.blogspot.com/2014/07/review-mood-indigo.html

Here are some pics (collaged) of Patricia Clarkson from the Outfest and my selfie with the Oscar-nominated actress.

And, lest I forget, the list of the movies I saw in July.

Mulan (China) DVD  4 Stars
Mood Indigo (France) 4 ½ Stars
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (US) 5 Stars
Snowpiercer (Korea/US) 4 ½ Stars
Salvation Army (Morrocco) 3 Stars
Cupcakes (Israel) 5 Stars
Boulevard (US) 4 Stars
Winter Journey (Russia) 4 ½ Stars
Last Weekend (US) 3 Stars
Sarah Prefers to Run (Canada) 3 ½ Stars
Boyhood (US) 5 Stars

See you at the movies!

Raymond Lo

Remembering Robin Williams

In my decade-long career interviewing (whenever my schedule permitted, that is) Hollywood superstars, I have had the honor and rare privilege to be up close and personal with so many of them. Robin Williams was one of them superstars and he was one truly good man.

The Philippine Star reprinted my interview with Mr. Williams in 2011 and it came out today. I am sharing that interview with you my readers, as well. The interview was in conjunction with the movie "Happy Feet 2" which he was promoting back then.

The online edition of the actual Philippine Star story can be found through this link:


MANILA, Philippines - I’m lucky to have also interviewed Robin Williams during the Happy Feet 2 junket in L.A.

I’m reprinting pertinent portions of that interview in 2011:

Here’s a sample of how funny Robin Williams can get.

Setup — He saw an iPhone (which also doubles as a voice recorder) placed in front of him and he immediately picked it up and had the following imaginary exchange with Siri, the latest software featured in the current iPhone release.

Robin: Siri, where’s a good restaurant in Paris?

Siri: I’m sorry, Robin. I am not able to get the full locations in France.

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Robin: Siri, why?

Siri: I can’t answer that question, Robin, legally.

The very energetic Robin returns as Ramon and Lovelace in Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet 2, the sequel to the 2006 Oscar-winning and box-office hit animated movie. The sequel also features the voice of Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, who is back as Mumble. Hank Azaria, who provides the voice for The Mighty Sven, the penguin who can fly, and Grammy-winner Common, who provides the voice for Seymour, the leader of a new penguin colony, are the new additions to the stellar voice cast along with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Sofia Vergara and pop music superstar Pink (billed in the movie as Alecia Beth Moore).

Elijah, Common and Hank were also at the junket along with director George Miller and they were just as captivated by Robin’s funny antics as we were.

The Oscar-winning actor is so witty he could turn any simple, innocent questions into something crazy, irreverent and just damn madly hilarious.

Asked what he thinks of the latest 3D technology craze, which was used to great success in Happy Feet 2, Robin quipped: “One thing I don’t want to see in 3D is porn!”

“I think that would like, ‘Whoa! Put it away!’” he exclaimed. “I mean the technology is extraordinary but I’ve seen a good 3D and an okay 3D. When I saw Avatar in 3D, it was so vivid because of the whole world, that’s why it was so expensive because of the details.”

Happy Feet 2 reportedly cost $120M to make because of the state-of-art 3D technology employed during production.

“The shots in this movie, under water, having dived off the coast of Australia — it’s created an immersive experience,” he added. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and children who have been to the screenings of this movie and they were all like this, (Robin paused and formed a delighted expression on his face), in awe, which is a wonderful thing. The technology is increasing on a daily basis. Once you write the program, someone builds up the next program.”

Robin recalled that when he did the effects-laden Jumanji some 15 years ago, “one of the hardest programs to write was the monkey because of the hair and I am going, ‘Wow, I’ll be working for a while!’” he joked.

But he was wrong. Peter Jackson would revolutionize the motion-capture technique in only five short years and in 2001, Lord of the Rings changed the whole ballgame.

Robin referred to a conversation he had with a fellow actor recently about Andy Serkis’ (the actor who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, “It’s one of the most vivid characters I’ve seen in film in recent history,” he said, “and that’s done with CG (computer graphics) but with a person behind it, driving it, which is a wonderful combination of technology and humanity. Even though it’s an ape, he gives it such depth and it’s just powerful.”

“That thing that Coppola said years ago at the Academy Awards, ‘the technology will always need great storytelling to work together’ — that’s happening and it is driven by directors who know the technology… and I am just in awe. I just become a child sometimes watching these movies,” the actor further added.

One journalist asked Robin which among the movies he’s done so far would he like to see on 3D and he quickly replied, “None so far,” before getting into another series of bellyaching jokes.

“I don’t know. I think Birdcage in 3D will just be gayer,” he said before standing up and doing a routine from the movie. Later, he would joke: “Michelle Bachman’s husband, come out! Come out, Mr. Bachman, come out! Join us!”

The room was filled with laughter when he was doing this and his co-stars, especially Hank, filled Robin in with materials by suggesting movie titles.

“Awakenings in 3D would be good,” Hank suggested, referring to Robin’s 1991 Oscar-nominated movie with Robert de Niro about a man who woke up from years of catatonia.

“Oh my god,” Robin reacted by acting all stiff and said, “that is like the attack of the giant snails!”

“There’s one French guy going, ‘You could make a movie like that, it will be called The Fabulous Killer Snails and it will be eight hours long… and they come and they put salt on you while you sleep.’”

It was one of the most enjoyable interviews this writer ever had and if only I could share my recording of the entire interview, all you readers can also revel in the genius of the man.

Raymond Lo

2015 Oscar Foreign Language Submissions

Updated - October 7, 2014

Cuba, China and Kyrgyztan made last-minute submissions increasing the total number of countries participating this year to 77! Good luck to everyone!



Updated - October 2, 2014

Ireland beat the deadline and is in! 74 countries are in the race!


Updated - October 1, 2014

Deadline's today! Costa Rica, Australia and South Africa are in!



South Africa "ELELWANI"

Updated - September 30, 2014

One day to go before the deadline and three countries join the race. Argentina submits the expected nominee "Wild Tales". Lebanon and Ecuador also announce their entries.

Argentina "WILD TALES"


Lebanon "GHADI"

Updated - September 28, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Russia, Egypt and United Kingdom (yes, they have another entry this year!) are in. They are the 65th, 66th, and 67th countries to announce their submissions!



United Kingdom "LITTLE ENGLAND"

Updated - September 25, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Spain, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Palestine are in!

New Zealand "THE DEAD LANDS"


Palestine "EYES OF A THIEF"


Updated - September 24, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

With just a week to go before the deadline, four more countries announced their entries overnight. The Philippines has selected what is perhaps the longest film ever submitted (I will have to research further on this) to the Oscars in Lav Diaz's acclaimed four-hour snoozefest "Norte: The End of History". Italy, Singapore and Uruguay also named their selections.

Uruguay "MR. KAPLAN"



Updated - September 23, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

India and Iceland announced their submissions today.


Updated - September 22, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

With the October 1 deadline approaching, 7 countries announced their submissions over the weekend and they all look mighty interesting!!! I wish i could watch the Iranian entry "Today" today (pun intended). Switzerland, Israel, Macedonia, France, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina all made their announcements too this weekend. Thailand also announced their submission today.



Bosnia and Herzegovina "WITH MOM"

Iran "TODAY"



Macedonia "TO THE HILT"

Switzerland "THE CIRCLE"

Updated - September 19, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Canada submitted Xavier Dolan's "Mommy". Lithuania submitted "The Gambler" - one of the best movies I've seen all year!. South Korea, Belgium, Slovakia all announced their entries, too!


Lithuania - "THE GAMBLER"

Canada "MOMMY"


South Korea "SEA FOG"

Updated - September 18, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Six countries announced their submissions today! Brazil has a strong chance of getting into the coveted January shortlist with the the Teddy-winning "The Way He Looks"! Other countries making their announcements are Colombia, Denmark, Morocco, Pakistan and the Czech Republic.

Colombia "MATEO"

Czech Republic "FAIR PLAY"

Denmark "SORROW & JOY"

Morocco "THE RED MOON"

Pakistan "DUKHTAR"
Updated - September 17, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Panama submits for the first time! Bolivia announces submission.



Updated - September 16, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Slovenia selects the award-winning "Seduce Me", Hongkong submits Ann Hui's "The Golden Era" and Latvia goes with the animated film "Rocks in My Pockets."

Slovenia "SEDUCE ME"

HongKong "THE GOLDEN ERA" (dir. Ann Hui)

Updated - September 13, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Afghanistan submits "A Few Cubic Meters of Love".


Updated - September 12, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Mexico could get a nomination this year with their entry, "Cantinflas."


Updated - September 10, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Montenegro and Portugal announced their entries today.



Updated - September 9, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Greece, Taiwan, Ukraine and Chile have announced their selections today.

Ukraine "THE GUIDE"




Updated - September 7, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Dominican Republic, Peru and Mauritania have made their entries known this weekend, too!

Dominican Republic is fielding "Cristo Rey", Peru, the curiously-titled "The Gospel of the Flesh", and Mauritania, the Cannes-winning film "Timbuktu."

Dominican Republic "CRISTO REY"


Mauritania "TIMBUKTU"

Updated - September 5, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Bulgaria, Georgia and The Netherlands have announced their submissions!



Netherlands "ACCUSED"

Updated - September 4, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Japan and Norway announces Oscar submissions!


Norway "1001 GRAMS"

Updated - September 3, 2014

More Oscar submissions!

Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Serbia, Sweden, Venezuela and Austria all announced submissions this past couple of days!

Croatia "COWBOYS"







Updated - August 28, 2014

Luxembourg submission is "Never Die Young"

Luxembourg "NEVER DIE YOUNG"

Updated - August 27, 2014

Nepal and Germany have announced their submissions. Deadline for countries to submit is October 1.


Nepal "JHOLA"

Updated - August 14, 2014

The 2015 Oscars is upon us once again... Various countries have begun submitting their official entries to one of the most coveted and career-making movie awards in the world: the Oscars!

I shall be compiling the submissions as I get wind of them.

First to announce their submission is Hungary. "White God", which won a prize at Cannes this year and won the hearts of critics for its canine cast.

Turkey and Poland have announced their submissions, too!

Romania is said to have submitted "The Japanese Dog."

Nepal and Germany submissions.


Hungary "WHITE GOD"
Poland "IDA"
Raymond Lo