Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Toronto Dispatch, part 1

Well, it's a nice 80 degrees in the day and about 55ish at night here in Toronto. Amid the usual bustle of North America's fifth largest city is a whole lot of film types making their ways from screening to screening. Full days are spent in dark rooms with like-minded buyers, exhibitors, programmers, distributors, writers, bloggers and such - punctuated by brief respites into the daylight for a drop at one of the many Asian noodle joints or maybe a quick stop for the amazing hot dog kiosks that seem to be on every other block. It's easy to subside on those.

In the interest of time and a half-hearted jab at objectivity (or maybe not), here's my viewing log for the first half of this year's Toronto International Film Festival with a comment , observance or something like it.

LIVERPOOL
Harsh lower Pacific Oceans, the Tierra del Fuego, the frozen fingers and cold air permeate the long long takes of this one. Snow...rain...vodka to warm it all. I thought at one point that I'd really like to visit, but I think I'll go in the summer.

VANJAN
Evidently, there are two adults in Burma and they both have bad teeth. Why Sony - big Sony - bought this is anyone's guess.

35 RHUMS
Good looking, but fairly dull Claire Denis.

Tried to get into BROTHERS BLOOM, but was shut out. I hear that I was lucky.


WALTZ W BASHIR
Often referred to as "the Israeli Persepolis", it's really much more than this.

HEAVEN ON EARTH
In Deepa Mehta's new film, an Indian woman moves to Canada to be married. She escapes a violent home (and reality in general) via a magic something.

THE BIGGEST CHINESE RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD
Many animals were harmed in the making of this film.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Kid from Mumbai slums wins big on Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Should be quite a hit. Witnessed the person of front of Roger Ebert turn around and punch him hard in the arm. Whoever you were, you punched a cancer patient. I hope you slept well.

OF TIME AND THE CITY
Terences Davies' arresting love/hate poem to his hometown of Liverpool. His first doc as well.

AMERICAN SWING
Plato's Retreat in 70's-80's NY was a swinger club hotbed of sex and lots and lots of hair, both pubic and chest-wise. Medallions as well. You would think that would sustain interest.

PLUS TARD, TU COMPRENDAS
Amos Gitai = Nap time.

Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etoiles de Dakar at Dundas/Younge Square. He was introduced by Spike Lee. Great great show. There's a documentary here about him that I hope to catch before leaving.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO
This will cause a generational rift, somewhere around the mid-40s. Since I fall in the lower, I thought it was drop-dead hilarious.

LOVELY, STILL
Aren't seniors cute? Especially when they fall in love. Remarkably, was written by a kid from Omaha then in his teens. He directed it some six years later. In retrospect, certain aspects seemed to have been included only to justify use of a certain Bright Eyes song in the closing credits, but the chicken came before the egg.

HAPPY GO LUCKY
Mike Leigh makes a crowd-pleaser. Very funny. Very good-looking film. Best female role so far at the fest.

GOODBYE SOLO
Rahmin Bahrani's latest effort set in Winston-Salem. Another victory from a director of economy.

THE BURNING PLAINS
Guillermo Arriaga has another star-studded lives-in-crossing moment...eh...this time he actually directs it.

Coming up on next update: The 4.5 hour CHE and, fresh from a win @ Venice, RELIGULOUS and Darren Aronofsky's THE WRESTLER.


--Toby Leonard

2 comments:

mr. pink said...

These were hilarious. More please! Did you see the Tennessee-filmed It Might Get Loud or Nothing But the Truth? And which of these might we expect to see at the Belcourt?

Also, did you see the waaaay-extreme French horror movie Martyrs? Scott Tobias at the Onion AV Club made it sound pretty great.

Zan said...

I'm on the plus side of 40 and enjoyed the hell out of "Zack and Mirri Make a Porno."

Also, for all those who complain that it's hard to get tickets in Toronto, I walked up to the rush line for Zack & Mirri and 2 seconds later and guy walked up and asked if anybody needed a ticket. I said yes, intending to buy it from him, but he just gave it to me free. Awesome.

BTW, I had to laugh about your rave review of...the Toronto hot dog stands! You are right on the money: I think I ate more hotdogs there in 1 week than I have in the last 10 years. They are addictive. I started calling them crack dogs.