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Film Intelligence: Night falls on Toronto

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: trips to Toronto, Hawaii and a Los Angeles porno theater.

1. Crazy For Midnight Madness

With August upon us, we’re just one month away from fall movie season (in a related story: hallelujah!), which unofficially kicks off in a big way with the Toronto Film Festival. The 2012 lineup is pretty killer: Rian Johnson‘s LOOPER, the Wachowskis’ CLOUD ATLAS, HYDE PARK ON HUDSON with Bill Murray as President Franklin Roosevelt, and David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK are just the tip of the Canadian iceberg. Genre film lovers like myself always look forward to Toronto’s Midnight Madness sidebar; this year it includes AFTERSHOCK, an earthquake thriller starring HOSTEL director Eli Roth, Barry Levinson’s horror film THE BAY, Rob Zombie‘s THE LORDS OF SALEM, Martin McDonagh’s SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS with Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell, and the ambitious anthology film THE ABCs OF DEATH, featuring 26 horror shorts by 26 filmmakers including Ben Wheatley, Ti West and Adam Wingard. Better make sure your passport’s in order soon; the 2012 Toronto Film Festival runs from September 6 through 16. [Indiewire]

2. Calling in a Marker

Chris Marker, a pioneering multimedia artist, passed away on July 30 at the age of 91. The French director and photographer is today best remembered for his hauntingly poetic essay films, LA JETÉE and SAN SOLEIL, both of which are currently available to stream on Hulu Plus courtesy of the Criterion Collection. In The New York Times, Dennis Lim described Marker’s work as “fragmentary and cohesive, united by an abiding interest in the nature of time and memory and by a strong physical and intellectual wanderlust.” That work inspired numerous filmmakers, including Terry Gilliam, who used LA JETÉE as the basis for his scifi film 12 MONKEYS. With major contributions to film and photography, Marker left his mark on numerous mediums. He will be missed. [The New York Times]

3. They Bought a Script

It took almost six years for Cameron Crowe to follow up his flop ELIZABETHTOWN with his next film, WE BOUGHT A ZOO. Fortunately it looks like the wait between ZOO and his next project will be much shorter. Sony has acquired Crowe’s new screenplay — apparently a Hawaiian-set romantic drama titled DEEP TIKI — which will star THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN’s Emma Stone. When I spoke to Crowe last year, he mentioned that meeting and casting child actors to play Matt Damon’s family in WE BOUGHT A ZOO had really opened his eyes to the breadth of young talent in Hollywood, and inspired him to write a new screenplay that would give him the opportunity to work with new faces. I’m not sure whether this is that script or not, although Stone could have easily played Scarlett Johansson’s part in WE BOUGHT A ZOO. Stone and an as-yet-undetermined male costar should start shooting with Crowe this fall. [First Showing]

4. Arrest Warrant Issued for Cuba Gooding Jr.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens in New Orleans winds up in the tabloids — who are reporting that Cuba Gooding Jr., Oscar winner for his role in JERRY MAGUIRE, is wanted by police for an alleged battery that took place at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street. According to reports, Gooding, who is down in the Big Easy shooting a film entitled THE BUTLER with Oprah Winfrey, became agitated by fans who recognized him and began pestering him for photographs. When a bartender at the Absinthe asked Gooding to calm down, he allegedly struck her with an open hand. Police were called, Gooding was asked to leave and apparently more shoving ensued. Unless Gooding gets the incident cleared up and fast, the next time he screams, “Show me the money!” it might be to a bail bondsman. Bah-dum-bum; thank you, thank you, I’m here all week! Be sure to tip your waitress. Or at least don’t hit her. [The Hollywood Reporter]

5. Two Shows Cancelled? You’ve Gotta Be Yanking My Chain

Poor Fred Willard. It’s bad enough he got arrested for masturbating at a porno theater (because the dignity and sanctity of porno theaters must never be defiled by something as vulgar as masturbation). He’s now lost not one but two television shows in the wake of the incident. Last week, PBS removed Willard as the voice of its series Market Warriors; this week, ABC announced it had pulled his improvisational comedy series, Trust Us With Your Life. “Insiders” told Deadline the decision was based on ratings (the show was not as well exposed as Willard’s privates, I guess) but either way, Willard is getting a, uh, raw deal here. Thankfully, Willard’s next film project, which is titled — and I swear I’m not making this up — THE YANK, is still on track. It sounds like he’ll be well-prepared. [Deadline]

Photo credit: CBS Films