All eyes were on screen, but the climate emergency was on the minds of attendees during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)—one of the largest publicly-attended film festivals in the world.

Behind the scenes, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) teamed up with acclaimed photographer Justin Wu and The Krim Group, to set up a pop-up photo studio to capture the concerns of celebrity influencers and amplify their calls for climate action. The activation marked the beginning of an initiative called “The World is in Our Hands,” which calls upon high-profile personalities to use their voice to shine a spotlight on the global climate emergency. The studio space was made available by the Fairmont Royal York, one of the Festival’s premier event hotels.

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A24 is nearing a deal on a new project that would pair director Mike Mills with Joaquin Phoenix. (Via Deadline.) The project would be Phoenix’s first role following his celebrated performance in the forthcoming Todd Phillips-directed “Joker.” The movie will be written and directed by Mills, best known for his films “20th Century Women” and “Beginners.” Production is set to begin this fall. The project is a boon for A24, especially as Phoenix heads into this year’s awards season with a much-hyped performance. Phoenix is currently considered the frontrunner for the Best Actor Oscar.

The new project will be produced by Chelsea Barnard, Lila Yacoub and Andrea Longacre-White.

Read more at Deadline.

After the Toronto Film Festival, “Joker” received some negative reviews for “being very violent.” Stephen Galloway, from Hollywood Reporter, made this great article in defense of the film.

In 1971, Warner Bros. released one of the most controversial films in movie history. 

A Clockwork Orange told the dystopian story of a brutal young man, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), who leads a band of thugs (“droogs”) on a terrifying crime spree, beating, raping and committing acts of what’s called “ultra-violence” along the way. At one point, he bludgeons a woman with a phallic sculpture; at another, he and his droogs bash a man and rape his wife while chanting “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Stanley Kubrick’s film drew an immediate outcry despite its box office success. Pauline Kael called it “pornographic” because, she argued, it dehumanized the suffering of Alex’s victims while eliciting sympathy for Alex’s own. The Catholic Church forbade its members from seeing the picture, which was given an X rating in North America.

But what made Clockwork Orange especially troubling was the spate of copycat incidents that followed, or at least incidents that looked as if they’d been shaped by the film.

In early 1972, a British prosecutor slammed it for influencing a 14-year-old accused of manslaughter. Later, a 16-year-old, pleading guilty to killing an old man, said he’d heard about the movie, while his attorney assured the court that “the link between this crime and sensational literature, particularly A Clockwork Orange, is established beyond reasonable doubt.”

There, of course, is the rub. No study has ever established that link beyond a reasonable doubt; nor is there any evidence to show that a criminal — even one who imitates something on film — wouldn’t have done something equally abominable at another time.

Kubrick knew this. Still, shaken, he asked Warners to withdraw his picture from theaters while defending it with the argument that: “To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around. Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life, nor cause life.”

Read more at Hollywood Reporter.

Joaquin Phoenix attends the Mercy For Animals 20th Anniversary Gala at The Shrine Auditorium on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

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“Joker” premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 09, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

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Joaquin Phoenix was honored with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Tribute Gala.

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LOS ANGELES — It wasn’t clear where the conversation with Joaquin Phoenix went off-track, assuming it was ever on track to begin with. But now he was batting me around the way a cat bounces its prey between its paws before devouring it.

At this moment, it wasn’t my questions about why, in an idiosyncratic film career, he had chosen to play the Joker, the cackling comic-book criminal, or how he had prepared for the demanding, transformative role, or what it all meant about the state of contemporary moviemaking that had set him off — though these topics would all provoke him in different ways, in time.

It was my stray observation that he could probably sustain himself on emotionally wrung-out roles for as long as he wanted, which had caused Phoenix to recoil in his seat like he was Tony Montana, about to unload on an incompetent underling.

“Oh, really?” he asked, in a sarcastic voice as dry as sandpaper. “Well, good. Thank you so much. That’s great. I was worried.” Then he grinned and let out a laugh, to let me know he was kidding. Or was he?

If you’re going to make a movie about a homicidal madman in clown makeup, you might as well get a guy who radiates low-level menace. Though he has portrayed everyone from Johnny Cash to Jesus of Nazareth, Phoenix has lately settled into a string of movies about loners (“The Master,” “Her,” “Inherent Vice”), killers (“The Sisters Brothers”) and lonesome killers (“You Were Never Really Here”) that have let him plumb the depths of human experience.

While there’s no telling where his creative wanderings will take him, it would have seemed safe to predict that a high-profile movie based on a studio-owned intellectual property wouldn’t be anywhere on that itinerary.

But here he is, starring in “Joker,” a seedy character study and possible origin story for this perpetual Batman nemesis. The movie, which is directed by Todd Phillips and will be released by Warner Bros. on Oct. 4, is neither a traditional comic-book blockbuster, nor typical source material for its leading man.


Joaquin Phoenix has three Academy Award nominations, four Golden Globe nominations (and one win) and a lead role in another film that’s already getting Oscar buzz, but in an emotional speech Monday night, the “Joker” actor made it clear that none of it would have been possible without his late brother River Phoenix.


Joaquin Phoenix stunned Toronto subway passengers with a surprise visit that briefly clogged a downtown station’s platform and stairwells.

Phoenix spent about five minutes wandering past transit riders to view black-and-white images of farmed animals. The wall murals are part of a campaign by the Colorado-based organization Be Fair Be Vegan.

Leading the tour was Anita Krajnc of the vegan advocacy group Toronto Pig Save.

Krajnc says the event was organized very quickly, noting she asked Phoenix on Sunday if he could make an appearance and he agreed that night.

“He’s so busy, the only window he had was 3 to 5 p.m. today and he has this big award, yet he took time out to come see Be Fair Be Vegan Toronto because it’s so close to his heart,” said Krajnc.

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Todd Phillips’ dark comic book film Joker has won the Golden Lion Award at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday and cemented its place as a legitimate contender for the rest of the awards season.