Appearing in one of the movies! I was in Red Alert, a short that played before the movie Wet Bum. IT’s not enough that I cover 100 movies during the fest, now I have to be in them too! I even got a review. “@richardcrouse is great in Red Alert…” Mike Bullard wrote on twitter. “I’d like to tell you I didn’t know he was a redhead but I knew… I just knew ok.”
In person Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice sounds like hot melting wax. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional.
Robert Pattinson telling me about how Hollywood was before camera phones: “When I first started going to LA everyone was underage and if you were a famous actor the rules did not apply. You could be a sixteen-year-old and go into a club but now that there are camera phones everywhere that doesn’t exist anymore. That period was so weird. You’d see a fourteen-year-old actor wasted, doing lines of blow on the table. It was crazy. Now they just do it at their parent’s house.”
Julie Taymore telling me that A Midsummer Night’s Dream “It was the first play I ever saw. I saw it here in Canada at the Stratford Festival…”
Michael Moore’s answer to my question about his reaction to all the celebrity he gained after appearing at TIFF 25 years ago with Roger and Me: Asked what was going through his head while all this was swirling around him, Moore says: “Why didn’t I go to Jenny Craig three months ago?”
“I don’t know where they are,” Kingsley says about his characters, “if they’re inside me waiting to come out or whether they are outside of me. Are they hunting me or am I hunting them? I don’t know.”
Repairing Dustin Hoffman’s watch. During a roundtable interview the alarm on his watch went off several times. He gave it to me and I looked up the instructions on how to fix it on Google. “How did it you look it up on line? They have instructions to fix Timexes on line? I don’t automatically go to those things,” he said. During the interview he said: “I was told to take acting. Nobody flunks acting.” Later he said that it wasn’t such a bad choice because, for instance, “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a critic when I grow up.’”
Lowlight… waiting for BIll Murray for seven hours. (Although I love this from @ZeitchikLAT: Bill Murray, offering implicit proof on the merits of Bill Murray Day: “If this is really my day, why do I have to do so much work?”)
Sitting next to next to Boo Radley, Bill Kilgore and Tom Hagan. (Robert Duvall!)
Most quotable actors of the festival? Robert Duvall who said, about acting, “There’s no right or wrong just truthful or untruthful.” He calls Billy Bob Thornton “The hillbilly Orson Welles…” and said “Brando used to watch Candid Camera.” Jane Fonda was a close second when she said acting is great for the heart but terrible for the nerves… “Butts have become more in fashion… (since Barbarella) and “Television is forgiving to older women and making it possible for us to have longer careers.”
“I have distilled socialism in this box and am taking it back to America.” – Robert Downey Jr in my roundtable interview.
#TIFF14 socks day 3. Chris O’Dowd called them “powerful.” and Rosamund Pike said, “I’m enjoying your socks. They make me happy.”
Watching “Whiplash” knock the socks off an audience at an IMAX P&! screening. It is part musical—the big band jazz numbers are exhilarating—and part psychological study of the tense dynamics between mentor and protégée in the pursuit of excellence. The pair is a match made in hell. Teacher Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons is a vain, driven man given to throwing chairs at his students if they dare hit a wring note. He’s an exacting hardliner who teaches by humiliation and fear. This movie doesn’t miss a beat.
Love this quote: “Being in the military,” said Adam Driver of This Is Where I Leave You, “believe it or not, is very different than being in an acting school.”
As the Reel Guys continue their journey into the heart of the Toronto International Film Festival, Richard Crouse discovers a conflict he’s never encountered before and Mark Breslin uses the word “neurasthenic” for the first time ever during a major film festival.
Richard: Mark, I’ve been covering the film festival for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve had a conflict like the one Red Alert poses. It’s a short documentary about recent reports that redheads were going to become extinct. It features 10-year-old Sloan Avrich (a redhead whose father Barry directed the film), geneticist Amro Zayed, flame-haired model Lucy Liberatore and me as the resident film expert on all things Lucille Ball and Julianne Moore. I can’t review it, of course, but unofficially I give it 6 out of 5 stars. Writer Anne Brodie asked Sloan why she cast me in the film. “He is a friend of my parents. So I just asked him and he said yes. What a nice guy.”
Mark: I haven’t seen the film, but let me help you out: “Red Alert is a highly entertaining doc that truly comes alive whenever film expert Richard Crouse comes onscreen. His palpable magnetism and clever wordplay take a great little film and lift it to new heights.” I feel I can review a film without having seen it because I like all of Barry Avrich’s work. His showbiz documentaries are always great, but if you want to see a real oddball piece of hysteria check out Amerika Idol, about a small Balkan town that wants to erect a statue of Sylvester Stallone to bring the tourists in.
RC: I guess I was late to jump on the Benedict Cumberbatch bus. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional. He’s fantastic in the movie and after interviewing him at TIFF I can tell you he has a voice that sounds like melted wax.
MB: The movie is a sad and shameful story, tragic, really, about how a hero can be persecuted for his personal life. Cumberbatch, who I thought you wore with a tuxedo, specializes in neurasthenic roles and he brings an aristocratic grace even to comic book movies. I’m not surprised you liked him as Turing. He’d also make a great Kim Philby — the British spy who secretly worked as a double agent in the ’50s.
RC: Cumberbatch has a look that seems to lend itself to period pieces, as does his co-star Keira Knightley who plays Joan Clarke, a brilliant female mathematician who worked alongside Turing during WWII. In my chat with her, she pointed out that the movie may be set in the 1940s but is still timely today: “She was paid a fraction of what all the men were paid, which is still what feminists are arguing about today. So in that way it still is a very current issue in the same way that as much as gay rights have moved on since the ’40s and ’50s, it’s still an issue.”
MB: Knightley’s come a long way from the female soccer player in Bend It Like Beckham. I just loved her in this year’s Begin Again and I thought she was great in Last Night and Never Let Me Go.
“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse says “The Captive has good tension, but never really seems to gel,” and chats up a TIFF called “Red Alert.” It’s a 6 strar out of 5 movie… mostly because Richard is in it.
The producer and star of the TIFF film “Red Alert,” Sloan Avrich, tells Anne Brodie of Monsters and Critics about the film and working with Richard, who talks about Hollywood’s flame haired stars in the short film. Read the article HERE!
See the movie here:
Red Alert at TIFF:
Public Screening 1: Sunday, September 7, 3:45PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre (Isabel Bader)
Public Screening 2: Wednesday, September 10, 2:15PM @ The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Press & Industry 2: Thursday, September 11, 1:00PM @ Scotiabank 11
“IwishI had red hair.” – Richard Crouse, film historian, author
Known for his revealing and controversial feature length docs on media moguls, director Barry Avrich embarks on a new direction with Red Alert, a 9 minute short inspired by his daughter Sloan, that will have its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF14) in the Discovery program.
In Red Alert, Sloan, a 10 yr old redhead, is distraught when she discovers on the internet that red hair will be extinct within one hundred years. She sets out to make a documentary on the subject and debunk the myth so she and her fellow gingers can relax with the assurance that their legacy is not under threat.
Red Alert is the first film collaboration by father, daughter team Barry Avrich and Sloan Avrich. One day while working in his home office Sloan asked him why he always made films about subjects she either didn’t know (Lew Wasserman, Bob Guccione) or wasn’t interested in (Harvey Weinstein, Garth Drabinsky). Barry challenged her to come up with her own ideas of what she’d like to see and proposed that they make a film together. Sloan had recently run across an article online stating that redheads would be extinct in 100 years , and, rather alarmed, she decided she had to get to the bottom of the matter to see if it was really true.
Thus Red Alert was born. Sloan began researching the subject, unearthing footage and online articles about Kick A Ginger Day, an anti-ginger episode from South Park and a 2007 NBC The Today Show interview with Steve Warrington redhead activist and founder of online community https://www.redhedd.com. Along the way Sloan finds arguments for and against the future of red hair and learns to not believe everything you read on the internet.
Sloan also researched, selected, recruited and prepared interviews with experts including film historian and critic Richard Crouse, who reveals how redheaded stars like Lana Turner and Myrna Loy became even more famous during the transition from black & white to colour film when their glamorous locks registered with audiences. Geneticist Amro Zayed explains the science behind red hair, and celebrity hair stylist Daniel Fiori, model Lucy Liberatore and fellow gingers give their best tips for redheads.
“Red Alert” is a World Premiere in Discovery at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2014