One of my FAVOURITE things about Toronto is they host TIFF: The Toronto International Film Festival. The only public film festival in the world.
I started off volunteering at the festival about 8 years ago and then started going as a general viewer. Soon after that, my sister and I starting making TIFF our annual “thing” - getting a ten pack of tickets, making our 1st and 2nd selects, and then getting giddy about the 5 movies we were going to see. Thanks sister, as you generally did all the leg work getting the tickets!
We became one of “those” festival goers. Zipping from one film to another, hydrating and then dissecting what we had seen after. So. Much. Fun.
So, in the spirit of “opening day” for TIFF11, I give you a random dump of movies that I would go see - commentary courtesy of torontolife.com
The Descendants - George Clooney is back on the Oscar campaign with this one. The Descendants, wowed just about everybody at the recent Telluride Film Festival and is now being proclaimed a certain Best Picture nominee. It’s the latest from Academy fave Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways), and features Clooney as an absentee dad forced to take care of his daughters after his wife falls into a coma. Aw. FYI, I am a huge Clooney fan and am sad that he’s in town & I am not ;-)
The Eye of the Storm - Australian Fred Schepisi (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Six Degrees of Separation) is arguably one of the greatest living film directors, but because he occasionally has to pay the bills (ahem, It Runs in the Family), he never gets the credit he deserves. His latest, about a brother and sister vying for their mother’s inheritance, got rave reviews at the recent Melbourne International Film Festival, as did his sterling cast: Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling. FYI, I am a huge fan of Geoffrey Rush. Met him last year after The King’s Speech. Charmer.
Drive - This thriller about a Hollywood stuntman (Ryan Gosling) who commits a crime in order to help out a neighbour (Carey Mulligan) has already been anointed the next big thing by critics who saw it at Cannes. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (the Pusher trilogy, Bronson) apparently pulls out all the stops and shows today’s Hollywood hacks how to do action right. Let’s hope the critics weren’t just drunk on French wine. FYI, Gosling is Canadian. I support Canadian content!!
Take This Waltz - Sarah Polley returns to the director’s chair after her great Alice Munro adaptation Away From Her. Those who’ve read the script for Take This Waltz, about three Queen West types (Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby) who get caught up in a summer love triangle, say it’s an utterly different film, but every bit as nuanced. It’s also supposed to be quite the love letter to Toronto, which is clear in the three clips that recently debuted online. FYI, I generally like whatever Sarah Pollley is in, but I love what she directs even more. I look forward to seeing this one.
A Separation - This Iranian film won the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, and the award was well-deserved. Director Asghar Farhadi (About Elly) has fashioned a gripping and humane portrait of life in contemporary Iran by focusing on a fiercely personal legal battle between two couples. We can’t think of another recent film that more convincingly illustrates the limits of the law in achieving truth and justice. FYI - TIFF makes it possible to see many films from around the world that you would normally not be exposed to. This movie I would definitely go and see.
To round out those movies, I would also see From the Sky Down, the documentary from David Guggenheim about U2 and also PJ20: Pearl Jam 20 from the amazing Cameron Crowe.
Happy Movie Going!