Review: KILL YOUR DARLINGS

imageEver heard of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac or William Burroughs?  You should...they are three of America's most prolific poets linked together by two things...the beat generation and murder. All three crossed each others' path while embarking on a literary education at New York's Columbia University in 1944.  Their paths also became intertwined with Lucien Carr and David Kammerer, which results in a murder mixed with depression, suicide and repressed homosexuality.

What is the "beat generation"?  The"beat generation" was a group of American post-World War II writers who came into prominence during the 50s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of "Beat" culture included rejection of received standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition.

Daniel Radcliffe (Allen Ginsberg) has really evolved since leaving Harry Potter behind and gives a solid, layered performance. Jennifer Jason Leigh (Naomi Ginsberg) never ceases to amaze me when she is on screen.  What a brilliant, focused actress she is!!!  Just when I though Michael C. Hall could do NO wrong as Dexter on Showtime, he gives me depth in the form of an emotional roller-coaster as David Kammerer.  Last, but certainly not least, Dane DeHaan is letting us have it with his portrayal of Lucien Carr.

This film ran a little long for me and took a minute to get to the meat of the story.  However, it did peak my interest about the beat generation and its subjects.  It also sheds light on how being gay has always been and continues to be a judgemental, stigmatic label placed into a negative light by insisting that being gay is a lifestyle choice.  Interesting isn't it?

KILL YOUR DARLINGS opens in theaters on October 18.

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

2013 Toronto Film Festival

august-osage-countyThe Toronto Film Festival is winding down over this weekend and now it looks like the best picture race could include “12 Years As A Slave,” “August: Osage County,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Gravity,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,”  “Philomena,”  “Prisoners” and “Rush.  That doesn’t even include the dark horses, which could be  any of the following: “42,” “All is Lost,” “Blue Jasmine,” “The Fifth Estate,” “Invisible Woman,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Labor Day,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and “Nebraska.” Having been at a disadvantage of not being able to attend these festivals, I rely heavily on info reported on their respective  websites and the journalists that ARE privileged enough to attend.

According to THR correspondent Steve Pond, there are few things learned from the Toronto Film Festival thus far...

1)  Size matters … But not always in the right way.

This year’s festival had 288 features, more than 100 screenings a day, and a vast selection of movies of every shape and size and genre.

2)  It’s a good year.

You’d be hard-pressed to find any critical bombs on the TIFF schedule this year. “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” lived up to their buzz, “Prisoners” ,“Labor Day”, “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Enough Said” won many devotees, and this past Sunday night Ron Howard’s “Rush” got a standing ovation for its kinetic look at the rivalry between two legendary Formula One race car drivers.

Meanwhile, the festival showcased little gems like  “The Lunchbox,” “Ida” and “Gloria,” the documentaries “Tim’s Vermeer,” “Midway” and “Burt’s Bees,” the near-wordless survival drama “Canopy” and the wholly unclassifiable “Under the Skin,” a bizarre, creepy and oddly moving sci-fi puzzler with Scarlett Johansson as an alien who picks up men for reasons that have nothing to do with sex.

3)  Buyers want friendly movies.

Sure, Toronto is known for Best Picture winners, for foreign films, for docs and dark indies. But what’s selling so far? Crowd-pleasing movies.

By far the biggest deal for a TIFF title was the Weinstein Company’s acquisition of John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” a delightful blend of drama and comedy from the director of “Once.”

With musical numbers ably performed by Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and others, along with a marvelously rumpled Mark Ruffalo as a down-on-his-luck record industry exec, the film drew standing ovations at its public screenings and is the kind of fresh, feel-good movie that seems destined more for the multiplex than the arthouse cinemas.

You could say something similar about “The F Word,” which sources say has received multiple bids this weekend. The film is a small gem, a 21st Century spin on “When Harry Met Sally” with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as best friends who might be more than that.

Radcliffe is quickly putting Harry Potter in the rearview mirror, and Kazan, a year after deconstructing the rom-com genre with “Ruby Sparks,” embraces it – and as usual, she is a delight.

Meanwhile, Focus Features picked up Jason Bateman’s “Bad Words,” a gleefully profane lowbrow comedy that won’t be seen anywhere near awards season, but could be nasty enough to draw a few crowds.

Movies like these are the reason Toronto isn’t like Telluride or Venice, and why it attracts far more money than those festivals.  Instead of careful curation, TIFF offers one-stop shopping – and for now, to what should be the surprise of no one, the people with money are stopping and shopping in the commercial-movie aisle.

Based on all the buzz, I decided to share trailers from the films with the most buzz...AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, 12 YEARS AS A SLAVE & GRAVITY...All clips can be found on youtube.com

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!