Archives For TIFF12

TIFF’12: The Great Wrap-Up

September 18, 2012 — 6 Comments

Another year, another TIFF. The first movie I ever saw at the Toronto International Festival was Juno in 2007. It was the only film I saw that year, and my friend and I chose it completely on a whim, not knowing anything about it until we got to a wifi hotspot to check it out. The next year, 2008, I saw ten films, including Synecdoche, New York and Slumdog Millionaire. Each year since, I’ve pretty much gone “full TIFF” and seen as many films as I could fit in. This year, 2012, I broke my record from 2009 for the number of films I watched. It was also the most exhausting year of TIFF for me, not only because of the number of films, but because I squeezed that higher number into fewer days.

Seeing so many films in so few days has its advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious are the disadvantages. I’m sure anyone who has seriously done a film festival has been subsequently asked by others, “can you even remember all the films you watch?” Well, yes. Yes, I can. But there is a kernel of truth to the question/accusation. Ask me which films I saw at TIFF’12 and I’m going to start drawing blanks. Remind me of a specific film and it’ll all come back to me, but when I consider them all in a group it’s difficult to separate one from the other. The other major disadvantage is the exhaustion. Watching twenty or thirty or fifty films in a little over a week sometimes sounds to people like an easy vacation. Sit back, in the dark, watch movies. Only, at a festival you aren’t usually there to watch films passively. The mind is constantly working and processing and that’s tiring, especially when hours get thrown out of whack and it becomes so hard to find time for a meal that you sometimes forget to eat at all. Watching a silly movie like Ghost Graduation might be okay when you’re exhausted, but what about when it’s a new Terrence Malick film? Was my reaction to that film too heavily influenced by the fact that I’d rather have been sleeping? It’s hard to say.

Still, the advantages are there. Seeing films with like-minded people is one of the best things about the experience. For the most part, the people who come to a movie at the festival WANT to be watching a movie at the festival. These aren’t the chatters or texters or other sorts of assholes who regular ruin the moviegoing experience. At TIFF, generally, it’s an appreciative audience of fellow film lovers. They’re respectful to the films and to the people around them. There’s also something to be said for being in a cinematic state of mind. Normally, throughout the year, I intersperse movies amongst all sorts of other things. During the festival it’s all movies all the time. My brain is set to movie-mode. That’s what I’m built to think about and process and enjoy. I could never do that year round, but for about eleven days per year it certainly works. And none of that touches on the chance to see films that either may never be released or may be months or years away from coming out. I saw The Loved Ones at Midnight Madness back in 2009, and it only got a release in the US this Summer, and is finally coming out on DVD here this month.

But enough thoughts about film festivals in general; let’s talk TIFF’12! CLick to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 9

September 17, 2012 — 3 Comments

Finally! I have come to it. The end of TIFF’12. Okay, so there were actually two more days. But I skipped them! Including Day 9, I saw 29 films and a special live event. That’s 30 ticketed events in 9 days. I know some people who do more than that, but those people are crazy and my load just about killed me. But before I could officially call it quits, I did have to, you know, watch some more movies.

For my last day at TIFF I decided to go all out. I had four tickets, plus I planned on rushing one of two possible movies. It would be a long day, beginning with a movie at 11am and ending with a movie starting at midnight. I was also pretty confident that my line-up of films would be stronger than the last couple of days. As it turns out, I was right. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 8

September 17, 2012 — 3 Comments

Ah, what a pleasure it is to only start my day in the evening. Of course, that didn’t stop me from waking up early for no reason and being extremely exhausted throughout the day, but at least I could sit around and do nothing until 6pm. I’d considered heading down to check out the new Barry Levinson horror film, The Bay, but despite the solid word-of-mouth I just didn’t feel like sitting through a found footage movie.

I won’t make any bones about it. The back half of my TIFF’12 experience was not as great as the front. I mean, sure, I was still having a blast, but the films were mostly not as good. I attribute this to my front-loading  the films I most wanted to see in the hopes that I’d add in several films with great word-of-mouth for later. I did do that, but I was also still adding in random films that fit my schedule and looked decent. Either way, my Day 8 started very well, but took a sour turn. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 7

September 16, 2012 — 2 Comments

I had to wake up early for Day 7, not because I had a movie to see, but because I wanted to head down to the festival box office to exchange some of my back-half vouchers for tickets. I went ahead and did that, but then had nothing left to do, so I decided, to throw in an extra screening for the morning.

It’s not always easy choosing a random option at the last minute, especially since many screenings are already “rush line only.” I didn’t have too many screenings to choose from, and ultimately I settled on something with a director I didn’t care for, but a cast I loved. Continue Reading…

TIFF’12: Day 6

September 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

Day 6 was a slow day for me. And by slow I mean I only saw two movies. Actually, it was kind of nice to bring it down to just the two. Of course, that doesn’t mean I got any extra sleep or felt any less exhausted, but I suppose it provided a bit of relief after a few more busy days.

Of course, the risks were piling on, even in this day of only two movies. To the Wonder, the new film from Terrence Malick, was already getting some very mixed buzz out of Venice and various press screenings. Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers looked good, but then so did his previous film, Kill List, and I was decidedly unimpressed by that one. Still, I was prepared to jump in, and in fact I was expecting to enjoy both. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 5

September 16, 2012 — 3 Comments

Going to a film festival involves risk. Specifically, the risk of seeing bad films. It’s going to happen. If you’re doing more than just a few films you can’t avoid it. My first bad film of TIFF’12 was Hellbenders, but I suppose going into that one I knew the risk of badness at Midnight Madness would be higher than normal, and honestly I didn’t go to that film expecting it to be any good.

It’s always more disappointing when you expect a film to be good and it ends up not only disappointing, but being outright terrible. A good example for me would be Tyrannosaur last year. I went in fully expecting to like it, and considering the huge standing ovation the film got i suppose most people felt it delivered. I, on the other hand, hated the film. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t believe the positive reaction the film was garnering around me. But that’s the risk. You can’t enjoy every movie. Sometimes there will be bad ones. Sometimes you will come out of a movie loathing it. That’s what happened to me on Day 5. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 4

September 16, 2012 — 2 Comments

Day 4 and already I’m hit with film festival exhaustion. It might sound like an easy thing to do nothing but watch films for several days. I’m here to tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. Films require a kind of mental attention. Watching more than two in a row tires out the mind. Factor in the fact that at a festival as big as TIFF you’re also running all over town, standing in line-ups, getting up early, going to sleep late, and by the end of it you feel like you’re going to collapse.

All that being said, a film festival is a gloriously fun thing. It’s exhausting, but also rewarding. And even when the films themselves aren’t rewarding, the people you meet and hang out with make it all worthwhile. The night before I’d stayed up until 3am finishing off Cloud Atlas so that I’d have read it all before seeing the new film adaptation. It was worth it. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 3

September 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

Weather in Toronto is a funny thing. It’s a city with a pretty wide range of climate, and it can often be quite random. For example, while I was nearly dying of heat in line for the American Beauty live read on Thursday, standing in line for Frances Ha on Saturday was a cold, rainy experience. That’s not to say the weather put a damper on the day (it didn’t at all), but it’s one of the factors that makes TIFF a simultaneously fun and frustrating experience. You just never know what you’re going to get day-to-day from the clouds above.

Day 3 was another “take my mom to TIFF” day. Got up reasonably early, ate some breakfast and went down to stand in line outside the Elgin/Winter Garden in the rain. Luckily, we found a spot in line with some cover. Matt Price also showed up at some point, and finally the line let in. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 2

September 8, 2012 — 2 Comments

TIFF is a crazy experience. Waking up early, blogging, getting out to see several movies each day. It’s hectic and fun and tiring. My Day 2 was all of those things, not helped in the tiring department by my adding a fourth film to the day’s schedule. It was also yet day where I knew people at every movie I saw, which was nice in terms of making sure I had seats saved even when I was cutting it a little close, but it also meant I didn’t get any time to read more of Cloud Atlas, which I need to finish before Sunday morning.

The day started off with a trip down to the Ryerson where I’d be seeing Jacques Audiard’s latest, Rust and Bone. I got in line, not far back at all, and was soon joined by several friends, including Paolo Kagaoan and Ryan McNeil. One sandwich and an hour and a half later, we were seated and ready to start the day in movie-watching. I’d be seeing Rust and Bone, The Gatekeepers, Stories We Tell and Like Someone in Love. Click to read more.

TIFF’12: Day 1

September 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

TIFF’12 is officially on. How do I know? Well, the most obvious way to know is the line-ups. If you’re in Toronto at the beginning of September and find yourself constantly stuck in long queues, you’re probably at TIFF.

My first “screening” of TIFF’12 wasn’t until 6pm, but I still headed down early to do a couple ticket exchanges at the festival box office. That was a good idea. I got down there around 11am, had the tickets exchanged relatively quickly, and then got to hang out with Andrew Robinson of Gman Reviews, who’s in town for the fest all the way from Trinidad. What better way to kill time before Jason Reitman’s Live Read of American Beauty and The End of Time than to meet friends who I’ve only have spoken with on Skype? Click to read more.