Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day Six - It All Begins To Wind Down...

 Another muggy day here. About 90 degrees outside, only the auditoriums are set to a chilly 7 below. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much. Luckily I have a wrap I use as a blankie. Its the second to last day, and the fest is winding down.

The Fading Gigolo. John Turturro directs and stars in a movie about two guys who find themselves at a crossroads. What should they do? Woody will pimp for John who will service rich ladies. Of course. And throw in some Hasidim.

How I Live Now. This film was directed by the same guy who did 'Last King Of Scotland', so I had some high hopes. No comment.
All Is By My Side. Dunno, don't get the title either of this bio pic of Jimi Hendrix and his early days. Andre Benjamen (Outkast, doncha know) plays the guitar legend. Must admit that the fact there was no Hendrix music was a bit odd. Can you tell who is the real guy?

Day Five - And Another Five Films

I don't want to say I'm feeling like I'm living GROUNDHOGS DAY (the movie), but each morning is turning into a kind of nice routine. The alarm goes off, I look around my turn of the century room in the bed and breakfast and think: movies today. Lots of movies. Not complaining...well maybe I am because out of five films, only one was worth seeing and hoping it gets the light of day it deserves. Let me start with that one - which was the last of the day.

Watermark. These are two images from the phenomenal documentary that travels all over the world looking at how we use and abuse water. The filmmakers worked with a world renown photographer and the mixture of still and live is breathtaking. This film must see the light of day in theatres!
 Third Person. A movie I wanted to love - Paul Haggis (Crash) directing Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody in a mash up of a bunch of unhappy

people following similar tragedies. Set in Paris, Rome & New York.

Qissa. Wow, I was not prepared for this mythological Indian film. One of my favorite actors (Irrfan Khan) stars as a patriarch of a family that has had to rebuild itself after being thrown from their land in a war around the turn of the century. His greatest desire is for a son; his wife produces only daughters, so he forces the last born to live live as a boy. A really authentic telling of the times, but with lots of ghosts and images.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Three & Four - Why Do People Always Find Parking Spots in Movies?

Just a musing came to me today while watching a film set in New York (the otherwise thoroughly enjoyable 'Can A Song Change Your Life?' [see below]. Why is it so easy to park in movies? I don't know about you, but I can circle several blocks in San Francisco for a LONG time before parking. Anyway, as my grandmother would say, if that's my biggest problems with the movies I've been seeing here at TIFF, then...and its not. We're in the thick of it and thick is a good description. LOADS of movies we want to see booked on top of each other with masses and masses of the masses trying to get in. Yesterday was a mixed bag - mainly good.
Words and Pictures. What's my science for picking films to see? Hmmmm....oh yeah, do I have a crush on any of the actors. Had to see this because of Clive Owens. How about if I leave it to the critics to weigh in on this movie about two competing high school teachers, both with struggles of their own.
Philomena. Another opportunity to watch Judi Dench secure her place as one of the top three actors in the business. She plays an older woman who was forced to give up her child for adoption and her quest to track him down. A kind of shockingly pulled back effort by Steve Coogan as a journalist who goes along on a journey with her.
Our Man in Tehran. Did you love ARGO? Then you will love this documentary that tells the true story behind the story. Made by Canada, it of course smiles on the land to our north with good reason. They took in our escaped hostages before we could get in there and bring them out as filmmakers. The thing I loved is how they painted Jimmy Carter as a man who put the release of all the hostages above his political aspirations - something the great humanitarian has been paying for ever since.
August: Osage County. If this is fall, it must be time for a seriously well acted drama starring Meryl Streep. Based on a Pulitzer winning play, this is the ultimate dysfunctional family film. See it with your siblings, but never your mother. With Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, etc etc.

You Are Here. Owen Wilson and Zach Galifanakis are just plain mismatched both together and for the script as two close buddies struggling with being grown up men.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day Two - Great Quality Pictures & Chicken Dogs in the Rain

12 Years a Slave. One of the most talked about and best reviewed films of this festival. The lines were almost impossible long to get in to this film based on the true story of an educated and successful New York 'freeman' who is tricked to head south. Once there, he's sold into slavery and he spends 12 years to fight his way back. A tremendous film, heartfelt, at times hard to watch as you are taken inside the slave life. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Alfre Woodard. So nice to catch some Alfre again.
Lucky Them. Toni Colette stars as a somewhat aging rock writer in Seattle whose quiet claim to fame was being dumped by a music star who disappears from her and the music scene. This movie was to have been Paul Newman's last movie, but sadly he died before it got made. His wife Joanne Woodward serves as an executive producer.
Dallas Buyers Club. Back in the mid-1980's when AIDS was first ravishing the nation and 'big pharma' was pushing AZT as a wonder drug, people were getting more ill from the side effects from the drug than the disease. Matthew McConaughey plays a homo-phobic man who contracts the disease and winds up opening a 'buyers club' where patients can purchase non-approved drugs that work better than the approved drugs. Really well done and an interesting subject.

Enough Said. It was really hard to see James Gandolfini up on the big screen this afternoon. Its just sad that he's gone. Gotta say, this is a really, really nice movie. Julia Louis Dreyfus is simply charming as a divorced mom with a kids leaving for college who meets a man going through the same thing and a romance ensues (with complications of course).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day One: Beautiful Road Trips & An Enigma

The Great Beauty is an amazing Fellini-esque, mind and sensory blowing story of a man who has reached the pinnacle of status, class and culture in modern day Rome. Amazing art, both modern and classic, gorgeous views of Rome and a man who questions his life. LOVE this movie!

Exit Marrakech was directed by Caroline Link, who made the Academy Award-winning NOWHERE IN AFRICA. The German film follows a father and son whose relationship has been strained for years. The father is a theatre director producing a film in Morocco and the son comes to spend the summer. Their rift causes the son to take off and the father has to find him. Their road trips are a magnificent view of the Moroccan country-side. I've traveled there pretty extensively and its pretty enthralling.
SALINGER. I am and have always been a huge fan of J.D. Salingers work. Recently there have been a large number of biographical books, some veiled, some bordering on obsession. This film looks at both his life and some of his more obsessive fans and people who have been in his life. I read a book about his time as an infantryman in WWll and it was eye opening. This doc opens soon at Sundance Cinemas!

Arrival, Confusion & Sunshine

My red-eye arrived late enough for me to keep the boss waiting. On the positive side, customs were fast, luggage arrived and its a pretty fall day here. Day One started out pretty scary as I left my iPhone in the limo. Got it back. That's living lucky. And we even got checked in time enough to rush to catch a screening.  Too bad it was moved to tonight. Ok, so far things are incredibly disorganized in terms of the screening schedules. So many additions and changes its near impossible to figure where to go. Hoping its just typical first day confusion. This year there are so many movies to see, and so many scheduled on top of each other.