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Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Mini Film Reviews for Day 4

I’m at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, so I thought I’d post some mini reviews of the movies I’ve seen so far. I’m breaking up the posts by the days on which I watched the movies. Descriptions by/from Reviews are my own rambling opinions.

Weathering With You

An old tale taken from Japan’s ancient Shinto myths and projected onto a bleak near-future of floods, pollution, and global warming, Weathering With You follows the difficult lives of a runaway and a lonely girl who has recently lost her mother.

Sixteen-year-old Hodaka arrives penniless in rainy Tokyo and finds shelter and employment with Suga, a detective who runs a sketchy occult magazine. Working on the urban legends column, Hodaka is asked to track down a rumoured hare onna, or “clear-weather woman,” someone with the magical powers to part the clouds and let bright rays of sunlight shine through. His investigation leads him to Hina, the kind-hearted, gentle girl who works at a burger shop and offered him food when he was starving. Hina has the power to control the sky — a gift that could bring unexpected wealth in a perpetually wet and overcast city like Tokyo.

My take:

(Full disclosure: I dozed off during the first 10-15 minutes of this movie. I’d had one and a half drinks during the day, and the lure of a dark theater was too much for me to handle. I managed to snap out of it and stay awake for the rest of the movie, though.) I loved the animation style, and the story was interesting, rooted in the urban legend of the sunshine girls (and boys). I genuinely cared about Hodaka and Hina, as well as the supporting characters, particularly Hina’s younger brother, Nagi, a pint-sized lothario. The movie had a good balance of realism, fantastical elements, and humor.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Yes. The attention to detail in this anime film is amazing. The story is made richer for it, so it deserves the big-screen treatment.

Pelican Blood

Wiebke (the ever-dynamic Nina Hoss, also at TIFF in Ina Weisse’s The Audition) is a horse trainer and adoptive mother to Nicolina (Adelia-Constance Giovanni Ocleppo). The two share a strong bond and live an idyllic life in the countryside. Together they plan on expanding their family to include Raya (Katerina Lipovska) and travel to the young girl’s native Bulgaria to bring her home.

Shortly after that trip, Wiebke learns that her new daughter suffers from an attachment disorder and cannot build emotional connections to those around her — further, she begins exhibiting shocking behaviour and grows increasingly violent, claiming her actions are motivated by the provocation of a dark spirit. After a specialist explains that Raya will have lifelong issues and does not feel empathy, Wiebke must decide whether she is willing to keep her new child and simultaneously risk Nicolina’s safety.

My take:

I found this movie interesting, but it didn’t rock my world. I found Raya unsympathetic enough that I didn’t want Wiebke to try and “fix” her. That said, young Katerina Lipovska is an amazing child actor, particularly for one so young. Other movies have tried and done better with the “evil” child aspect of this story.

Worth seeing in a theater?

No. It’s interesting enough to hold your attention, but wait until it’s streaming online.


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Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Mini Film Reviews for Day 3

I’m at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, so I thought I’d post some mini reviews of the movies I’ve seen so far. I’m breaking up the posts by the days on which I watched the movies. Descriptions by/from Reviews are my own rambling opinions.

Love Me Tender

Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is certainly not lacking in inspiration or energy, though she is bound to her family apartment and her cloistered routines. She is a 32-year-old woman with acute agoraphobia. One day, her mother dies and her father deserts her, leaving Seconda to battle her demons and fend for herself. She has sporadic connections with the outside world: a little girl who verbally attacks her from the courtyard and abusive phone messages from Henry (Gilles Privat), a debt collector who threatens action. Preoccupied yet burdened with her own survival, Seconda gets a chance for release when a homely bottle collector named Santo (Antonio Bannò) visits, but she must play her cards right. A maelstrom of circumstances changes everything and, after a lot of determination and gusto, anything is suddenly possible.

My take:

This movie got off to a slow start, as can be expected when your main character is an agoraphobe who won’t leave her home. Once she does leave, though, it gets much more interesting — and a lot funnier. I would have liked a more defined ending, although I can live with what I got. The movie’s saving grace is lead actress Barbara Giordano, who is captivating enough to hold your interest while using simple body language to get big laughs.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Only if you’re an art-house movie lover. I did enjoy the film, but I don’t think it’s one that needs to be seen on the big screen to be enjoyed.

The Giant

Charlotte’s (Odessa Young) life is changed forever when the teenager’s small Georgia town is shaken by the beginning of a series of murders on the same night that her missing boyfriend coincidentally reappears. As an unknown killer on the loose preys on young women over the course of a summer, Charlotte has to navigate this new danger while also struggling to recover from the trauma of her mother’s recent suicide.

My take:

Oh, where to start? The extreme close-ups that had me feeling more like a dermatologist than a moviegoer? The flared-up cinematography that didn’t really allow for much cinematography? The story that was so confusing I still don’t know what parts of the story even happened — the murders? Joe’s return? The blaring sound design that telegraphs a scene change or shift with a deafening crescendo? I kept waiting for something, anything to happen, but nothing ever did.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Hell no. Not unless you’re a film student and want to learn what NOT to do with your first feature-length film. Other than that, this was a waste of almost two hours of my life I can never get back.

Color Out of Space

When an iridescent meteorite plummets from outer space and into the property and foundations of a remote New England estate, a malignant force begins to insidiously permeate the lives of an unassuming family. The effects are gradual — time begins to dilate, nature assumes an otherworldly hue — and all things bright and beautiful eventually mutate and corrupt under its influence. So proceeds this eerie adaptation of the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, one of horror’s most haunting, here presented by the enigmatic South African filmmaker Richard Stanley. … The patriarch of this doomed brood is none other than Nicolas Cage, continuing his recent renaissance as a midnight-movie staple with an increasingly unhinged performance that reliably ricochets among every technique in the Stanislavski playbook. The rest of the ensemble, which includes Joely Richardson and Tommy Chong, play effective foils to Cage’s delirium, but the real star of the show is the alien entity itself. This all-consuming, dispassionate menace manifests itself in a series of grotesque, body-horror, and psychedelic spectacles, worthy of its ineffable literary origins.

My take:

I should have read the short story instead.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Only if you’re a die-hard Nicolas Cage fan or special effects aficionado.

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Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Mini Film Reviews for Day 2

I’m at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, so I thought I’d post some mini reviews of the movies I’ve seen so far. I’m breaking up the posts by the days on which I watched the movies. Descriptions by/from Reviews are my own rambling opinions.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

From the imaginations of Oscar nominees Armando Iannucci, director of TIFF 2017’s The Death of Stalin, and Simon Blackwell, who co-wrote Iannucci’s breakthrough feature In the Loop, comes this gloriously frenetic adaptation of one of Charles Dickens’ most beloved novels. Starring Oscar nominee Dev Patel and featuring an august supporting cast that includes Oscar winner Tilda Swinton and Golden Globe winners Hugh Laurie and Ben Wishaw, The Personal History of David Copperfield is gloriously entertaining, careening through 19th-century England as it tracks its hero’s zigzag destiny.

Born six months after the death of his father, David (Patel) is lucky to be raised by a loving mother. But when Mum weds the dour Edward Murdstone, David is shipped off to the cottage — actually a capsized boat — of his housekeeper’s family. These peculiar accommodations prove to be only the first of David’s numerous temporary abodes, which include an oppressive boarding school and the home of his eccentric aunt Betsey Trotwood (Swinton). Wherever David goes, whether living in poverty or comfort, he writes pithy impressions of all those he encounters — impressions that will one day constitute his autobiography.

My take:

This movie is perfection, from the cast to the writing to the visuals and cinematography; it’s a feast for the mind and for the eyes. (And no, it’s not about a certain magician, it’s based on the Charles Dickens novel.) It’s lush to look at, and you’re invested in David’s story and rooting for him throughout, from precocious child to young adult. I can’t say enough about the cast. Led by the amazing Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, and Peter Capaldi just about stole every scene they were in. There are too many other cast members/characters to list here, but they’re all memorable.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Yes. Absolutely. See above re: a feast for the mind and for the eyes. Also, I went in to the movie liking Tilda Swinton and came out worshipping her.

Sea Fever

Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) is a brilliant young marine biology student, more at home amidst laboratory equipment than people. As a component of her studies, she boards a trawler overseen by a couple (Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen) whose amiable demeanour shields both financial worries and profound grief. Siobhán is not exactly welcomed aboard: her cool, scientific perspective is at odds with that of the salty, superstitious crew of “fishmen,” and her red hair is considered bad luck. Not long after setting sail, the old ship’s hull is glommed onto by a bizarre, bioluminescent creature of unknown genus.

My take:

This movie is a bit more of a slow burn than what’s usually in today’s horror movie scene, but I liked it. Everything that can go wrong on a fishing boat expedition does, and then the weird things begin happening. Are they all hallucinating? Is there something else at play? And how can they survive it? The long takes on open seas and from underwater angles help add to the feeling of isolation felt by those on board the ship. Thanks to its premise and the director’s steady hand, the climax avoids the usual everything-thrown-at-the-wall chaos of most modern horror.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Yes, for the beautiful cinematography that adds to the sense of claustrophobia and isolation felt by the ship’s crew, but I don’t think anything will be lost in translation if you watch it at home.

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Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Mini Film Reviews for Day 1

I’m at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, so I thought I’d post some mini reviews of the movies I’ve seen so far. I’m breaking up the posts by the days on which I watched the movies. Descriptions by/from Reviews are my own rambling opinions.

The Whistlers

Corrupt cop Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) travels to the Canary Island of La Gomera, where he collaborates with mobsters in order to try and free a shady Bucharest businessman named Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea), who is believed to know the whereabouts of a mattress containing millions in cash. Under heavy surveillance on the island, Cristi is taught by the local gangsters and a femme fatale, appropriately named Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), to communicate in an indigenous whistle language called “El Siblo,” which is unintelligible to the police because it sounds like bird calls. Full of double-crossings and unexpected twists and turns, Porumboiu’s neo-noir thriller is an intelligent, entertaining, deadpan-funny caper that explores the limitations of language while at the same time using it as a poetic form of resistance.

My take:

I chose this movie because it sounded interesting and fairly different from my standard fare, and it did not disappoint. The locations were gorgeous, the characters were fascinating, and it was funnier than I expected. I found myself really rooting for Cristi, despite his obvious character flaws, and the gorgeous, kickass Gilda. I liked the movie’s structure in that there were “chapters” devoted to each main character’s story, with very little overlap between segments. Well edited, it put together a cohesive, linear story. I also learned from the director during the post-screening Q&A that there were/are in fact civilizations that use(d) a whistling language, which the actors were trained in, which added another layer to the movie as a whole.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Yes. The Whistlers was entertaining enough and beautifully filmed so that I appreciated the big-screen treatment.

Blood Quantum

Jeff Barnaby’s astutely titled second feature is equal parts horror and pointed cultural critique. Zombies are devouring the world, yet an isolated Mi’gmaq community is immune to the plague. Do they offer refuge to the denizens outside their reserve or not?

The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial blood measurement system that is used to determine an individual’s Indigenous status, and is criticized as a tool of control and erasure of Indigenous peoples. The words take on even more provocative implications as the title of Jeff Barnaby’s sophomore feature, which grimly depicts an apocalyptic scenario where in an isolated Mi’gmaq community discover they are the only humans immune to a zombie plague. As the citizens of surrounding cities flee to the Mi’gmaq reserve in search of refuge from the outbreak, the community must reckon with whether to let the outsiders in — and thus risk not just the extinction of their tribe but of humanity, period.

My take:

I felt like the social/political critique aspect of the movie was oversold. While it was great to see an ensemble cast comprised of Indigenous actors, not a lot was done with that fact other than the characters’ immunity to the zombie plague. I felt like more time could have been devoted to really expressing what the filmmakers intended to say, but didn’t quite convey. Most of the main characters were easy to root for (Bumper was my favorite), while the villainous ones were easy to hate. That said, this was a fun zombie movie entry with impressively gruesome, extremely gory kills (done creatively on a budget, it turns out).

Worth seeing in a theater?

Yes and no. Yes to support the underrepresented Indigenous community, and yes if you really enjoy your gory horror movies on the big screen. No because other than some imaginative kills, we’ve seen this type of zombie movie treatment already.

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Tuesday 10: Post-Vacation Double Edition

Favorite Celebrity Meetings/Encounters

  1. Shaking David Duchovny’s hand
  2. Smiling and waving at Colin Farrell and receiving the same in return
  3. Meeting Zoe Bell after Bitch Slap
  4. Meeting and being wished a happy birthday by James Purefoy
  5. Holding his lighter, pack of cigarettes, and rubber rat while director Jaume Balagueró signed an autograph after [REC] 2
  6. Meeting and getting photos taken with Alex Van Sprang and Stefano DiMatteo after Survival of the Dead
  7. Meeting and telling Minae Noji how much tinier she is in person
  8. Meeting Erin Cummings and Julia Voth and, when I told them the photo was for my husband, having them blow kisses at my camera
  9. Being thisclose to George Clooney
  10. Sitting near Michael Moore during Vengeance

Favorite Movies Seen at TIFF*

  1. The Trotsky
  2. The Men Who Stare at Goats
  3. Soul Kitchen
  4. Daybreakers
  5. Vengeance
  6. Triage
  7. Jennifer’s Body
  8. [REC] 2
  9. Cleanflix
  10. Solomon Kane

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TIFF, Day 5

Song Lyric of the Day:

Stand tall / Doll you make them feel so small / And they love it / The boys wanna be her / The girls wanna be her / I wanna be her / Yes I do

Peaches / “Boys Wanna Be Her“*

Another day, more movies under my belt. It’s funny — I just spoke with Rich a little while ago, and he said that I’m not updating enough because people keep asking him what’s going on with me. Which I find very flattering, of course — I’m happy people are enjoying reading about my trip. So since tonight is my biggest between-movie gap so far (my next movie is at midnight), let me explain why I haven’t been able to update ye olde blog here that often.

Today was my fifth day here in Toronto. I’ve watched 14 movies so far, including having skipped about three in order to rest my blistered, bleeding feet or nap. That’s right: On my fourth day in, I hit the proverbial wall. So I grabbed a nap and woke up an hour or so later disoriented and unsure what day it was. I made it to Capitalism: A Love Story, but was too tired to hit The Loved Ones at Midnight Madness. I haven’t been to New York City in three years, but this trip has more than fit that particular bill. I have walked miles — yes, miles since arriving here on Thursday. Movie theaters are several city blocks apart, so I have to factor in the walking time along with the anticipated wait time with regard to when my movies are scheduled to start. For example, tonight I’ll be seeing Bitch Slap at The Ryerson. That’s exactly a five-minute walk from my hotel. So I’ll leave my hotel at about 11:15PM or so to get in line. I’ll sit on the side of the sidewalk, chatting and making new friends like I’ve been doing throughout the festival so far (the native Torontonians and Canadians I’ve met have all been so nice), watching something on my iPod, Twittering, or reading (if there’s enough light). Sometimes I do all those since I’m in line so long. About 10 minutes before the movie is due to start, we’re let into the theater. Seating is on a first-come basis, but as long as you’ve got a ticket you are guaranteed a seat.

If I’m seeing a movie at the AMC, that’s about a 10-minute walk. If I’m seeing a movie at the Winter Garden/Elgin, that’s a 15-minute walk. If I’m seeing something at the Varsity, that’s at least a 20-minute walk. And since my handy-dandy camera goes everywhere with me, as does my large travel bag, toting my Macbook around is out of the question. So I blog/upload photos whenever I’m back in my room. And not unconscious.

I’ve walked so much while here and spent so much time in movie theaters, in fact, that eating has become secondary. My hotel room doesn’t have a fridge or a microwave, so I grab food on my way to or, more often, back from a movie. This whole trip, I’ve had two pop tarts, three small subs, two large slices of pizza (which cumulatively amounted to half a medium pizza), a chicken Caesar wrap, two Twix bars, a few sodas, half a bag of popcorn, chocolate milk, and lots and lots of bottled water. Keep in mind that that’s everything I’ve eaten over the last five days. I honestly think the adrenaline and excitement have stymied my appetite. Shame that feeling won’t last once I get home.

That said, as exhausting as it’s been walking all over this very cool city on my bloody stumps (read: feet), I’m having a BLAST up here. Ten years ago, this kind of trip would’ve been unimaginable for me: I was a happy little hermit with very few friends, who kept to myself; I was incredibly introverted. Like cripplingly introverted — seriously. Now I’m making friends in whatever line I wait or whichever auditorium/theater I watch a movie. I’ve not only reconnected with my high school/college friend, Sanjay (check out his Midnight Madness blogs — the man has had maybe six hours of sleep total so far); our mutual high school friend, Eric; Suzanne from Pennsylvania and John from New York, friends of Sanjay and Eric’s who are now friends of mine, too; and others, including Bill and Leslie; Big Al; Gisele; Huck and Barb; and those whose names I either didn’t get or just can’t remember at this time.

When I go to the Midnight Madness movie, like I will tonight, I get back to my hotel between 2:30AM and 3AM. Depending on how wired I am, I may not fall asleep until about 4AM. Then it’s up at about 10AM if my first movie is at 11AM, and so on. Tomorrow my first movie is at noon, so I’ll probably get up at 11AM and be out the door and on my way to the theater at about 20 to noon since it’s playing at The Ryerson.

I hope all that helps explain why blogging has been uber-lite this trip (unlike my Twitter account, which automatically updates my Facebook page).

I have managed to take tons of photos (shocking, I know), many of which are already on my Flickr page. I’ve also shot lots of video which I will begin posting once I’ve had a chance to watch some of them.

I managed to find out where the celebrities in town for the festival pass their time (i.e., not mingling with us hoi polloi); I’m going to try to venture in that direction over the next couple of days, when I go souvenir shopping. The only times I’ve seen celebrities so far have been when they’re walking the red carpet on the way into a premiere, during Q&A discussions after movies, and on their way out into a waiting car after the movie. That said, I was in the front row for the David Duchovny/Demi Moore movie The Joneses yesterday and managed to get to the stage immediately after the Q&A, where I got Mr. Duchovny’s attention and told him how I enjoyed the movie and what a big fan of his I am. He shook my hand and thanked me. I TOUCHED AGENT MULDER. I honestly thought I might piddle afterwards, I was so giddy having met him. And, yes — he looks absolutely gorgeous up close. I also got within two feet of George Clooney the other day and got photos of Colin Farrell as I passed him on the way into Triage. I also met and got photos with the lovely and gracious Alex Van Sprang and Stefano DiMatteo from George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead. DiMatteo even teased me and Suzanne with a line from the movie, holding up both his hands and saying, “Five minutes and I change change your lives forever.” And after Daybreakers the other night, Sanjay not only introduced me to and photographed me with the Australian identical-twin directors, Michael and Peter Spierig brothers, but got them to autograph a mini-poster of the movie for me, too. (Thanks again, Sanjay!)

Since I’m not sure when I’ll get to post in this much detail again this trip (I still have eight movies to go), I’ll leave you with a few photos. I’ll do my best to upload the latest batch to Flickr soon.


Colin Farrell (taken as I was being pushed past him.)

Stefano DiMatteo and yours truly.

Alex Van Sprang and yours truly.

The Clooney (look, Ma, my first paparazzi shot!)

*From the Whip It soundtrack.

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My TIFF Lineup

Song Lyric of the Day:

The question is a truth / There is nothing we can’t do / I’ll see you along the way baby / The stillness is the move

The Dirty Projectors / “Stillness Is the Move

As you can see, time did not allow for me to update this weekend. Aside from my sister’s birthday lunch, dinner at my in-laws’ house last night, and finally seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, my spare moments were spent on Operation Bookcases. Long story short: I moved 500+ hardcover books, Rich helped me move the two old empty bookcases, we found takers for them, and I assembled two of the five new bookcases. That’s just for the fiction books in the guest room. We have a lot of books, on every floor of the house. Whenever we move, it’ll just be that much more of a pain.

Anyhoo. Last week I spent the better part of my free time going through the TIFF catalogue and choosing which movies I want to see. I bought the Festival Lite package as well as the Midnight Madness package. The Festival Lite package is for 30 movies (it is a film festival, after all). The MM package guarantees that I get to see the MM showings; I’m told they’re pretty popular and usually sell out, so I didn’t want to miss out. Of course, it wasn’t until after I chose 29 movies total, leaving myself an open ticket, that I received confirmation that, yes, the MM package is in addition to the Festival Lite package, not part of it. Which means now instead of one open ticket waiting for me, I have seven open tickets waiting for me. Provided I don’t go blind or get theater-seat sores on my ass after my first few days at TIFF, I’ll add some more movies to my schedule once I’m in Toronto.

I’m glad to have finally selected my movies and set my schedule, though. The TIFF package that arrived last week weighed 3.6 pounds, the majority of that weight being the 450+-page movie catalogue. Also included in the package was the scheduling book, my Advance Order Booklet, and my drop-off/pick-up vouchers. Behold:

Here’s what made it feel like homework: Filling out the Advance Order Book, which entailed verifying codes, checking that I could make the showtimes, and seeing where on the map theaters are located to figure out the logistics. Good thing my normal walking speed is permanently set to Native New Yorker. Walking a few blocks in a few minutes? Pshaw. I can do that in my sleep.

One thing that really made my day was seeing that Colin Farrell, aka my Beautiful Irish Man Whore, is in not one, not two, but three movies premiering at TIFF. Unfortunately, the one I’d like to see most, the late Heath Ledger’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, premieres the day after I fly home. Que sera sera. (Dear God: I’ve been a really good girl this year. Please let me at least run into Mr. Farrell in the theater lobby or cross paths with him sometime during the festival. Thanks and Amen, Pattie.)So after much hemming and hawing and list-making, my first-choice movies are:

  1. Creation
  2. Nymph
  3. Jennifer’s Body*
  4. Cleanflix
  5. The Informant!
  6. The Trotsky
  7. Daybreakers*
  8. The Hole
  9. Up in the Air
  10. Triage
  11. George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead*
  12. The Men Who Stare at Goats
  13. The Joneses
  14. The Warrior and the Wolf
  15. Capitalism: A Love Story
  16. The Loved Ones*
  17. Whip It
  18. Harry Brown
  19. Ondine
  20. The Invention of Lying
  21. Bitch Slap*
  22. Soul Kitchen
  23. Together
  24. Jean Charles
  25. Vengeance
  26. [REC] 2*
  27. A Single Man
  28. Leaves of Grass
  29. Kamui

I only picked second choices for some, not all, to keep my options open. And now that I know how many extra/open tickets I have, I’m glad I did. I also scheduled my movies with some nice gaps in between to allow me time to explore Toronto a bit. Since I’ve never been, I’m looking forward to taking my camera and just walking around the city. Only 10 more days to go …

*Denotes Midnight Madness movies

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Movies on the Mind

Song Lyric of the Day:

Interruptions are always on my mind / Interruptions you know I’d like to unwind / And I do have the time / Said I’d like to unwind / But I’m out of the lonely

Rogue Wave / “Interruptions“*

Today I fully intended to blog about the results of whittling my way through the massive TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) catalogue. As it turns out, it’s been exhausting whittling my way through the massive TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) catalogue. Since I received my OOTTSS (Out-of-Town Ticket Selection Service) FedEx package the other day, I’ve been cramming like I haven’t crammed since college. Every free moment at work (basically just over lunch), I’ve been reading movie descriptions. Every evening after work, I’ve been reading movie descriptions. And I finally whittled the massive choices down to 29 movies over my seven full days in Toronto. Only to find out today that my Midnight Madness tickets do not count toward my 30-movie total. Which means I will have about seven movie tickets waiting for me when I get there. And I’m OK with that — it’ll give me a bit of leeway to choose movies I may not otherwise have chosen to watch. All but ensuring I’ll likely come home blind. And maybe deaf.

Time allowing, between my sister’s birthday celebration, visiting my in-laws’ house, and finally seeing Transformers 2 (I may be going to my first film festival, but I’m anything but a movie snob), I will try to post my planned film festival schedule this weekend. Or I may just give my eyes a rest in preparation for dozens of hours of stargazing.

*Listen to “Interruptions” here.

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Excited About Midnight Madness

Song Lyric of the Day:

Stumble in somnambulance so / Pre-dawn corpses come to life / Armies of the dead surviving / Armies of the hungry ones

The Misfits / “Night of the Living Dead

As you know, I’m going to the Toronto International Film Festival this September. So I was very excited to see the Midnight Madness movie lineup released earlier today (I got my info via Twitter). Despite my initial disappointment that the rumors about The Descent 2 being the opening movie proved to be just that, I’m happy with the official lineup. What exactly is Midnight Madness about? Until I find out via firsthand experience, I have only my friend’s description and the TIFF‘s definition:

This popular, iconoclastic midnight programme highlights the weird and the wonderful, including thrillers, chillers and rockumentaries from directors who prefer to work in genres not usually seen in a festival context.

Now that the lineup has been released, I think I’m most excited about the opening movie, Jennifer’s Body (check out the red band trailer at Shock Till You Drop). It stars Megan Fox, but I’m excited because it’s (1) a horror comedy and (2) written by Diablo Cody. I’m also looking forward to Daybreakers, primarily because it’s by the makers of the very funny Australian zombie horror comedy Undead. Go rent it now. A man punches a zombie fish in the face! A zombie fish! In the face! How many movies can claim that?

Since [REC] 2 is part of the lineup, I now have to rent [REC]; I enjoyed the American remake, Quarantine, which started out slow and ended up scaring the living shit out of me and my sister. Good times. And to think, I hear the Spanish original is even scarier. I’m also intriguted by George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead; I’ve seen all of his Dead movies so far, so why would I miss out on seeing the newest one? Last but not least, I’d like to check out The Loved Ones; the director is a newbie and the premise sounds interesting.

[REC] 2 image courtesy of

The best part about watching all these scary movie
s? Describing them in detail to the hubby. Because there’s nothing Rich loves more than hearing about horror movies. Well, except not having to watch them.

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Countdown to Vacation

Song Lyric of the Day:

To be gone away awhile, tell me all the things that I / I’ll be missing here in this old life

Safetysuit / “Gone Away

Even though it’s two months and a day away, I’m excited beyond belief counting down to my solo vacation in September. Where am I going? To Toronto! Specifically, to the Toronto International Film Festival.
Why a film festival, you may ask? Well, I’m a big movie buff; I wouldn’t call myself a film buff because I’m not that discriminating. I love movies, but I’m not snobby about it or elitist about which ones I’ll watch. (Remember, Clue is one of my all-time favorites, after all). I’ve met film buffs who were actually film snobs in that they turned their noses up at most of what modern movie studios have to offer. They were actually very judgmental about yokels who like stupid movies like, oh, let’s say Clue (ahem). They were genuinely off-putting with their attitudes. Needless to say, we never did get together to watch that experimental black-and-white, 8mm-processed film about the inner workings of an oversized clock in a German industrialist factory and the one-handed idiot savant who ends up uncovering a terrible government plot that threatened mankind’s very existence (cough). I watch movies for the same reason most of us do: to escape. What’s the point in being a snotty shit about what I watch? That’s what TV is for. (I’m looking at you, America’s Next Top Real Housewife Idol Dancing With Made-Over Chefs).

Going to a film festival is something I’ve thought and talked about doing for years. This year, the timing worked out in that no immediate family members are due to give birth, I have more than enough vacation days, and I can actually afford to go. And while I’m excited about getting to watch all these fresh, new, hopefully original movies, what I’m really looking forward to is meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen since college; this will be his and his best friend’s eighth year going, so his input has been invaluable in helping me plan. And, admittedly, the mere thought that I just might get lucky enough to see and, ideally, meet an actor or actress I admire is also something to look forward to. Who would I love to meet? George Clooney? Pass. Brad Pitt? Nah. Julia Roberts? Yawn. Now, Simon Pegg? Hell yes! My God, I’ve watched his movies (and most episodes of Spaced) often enough that I could act out pretty much any part in any scene. I love his writing (and acting) that much. The man is a comic genius. Genius!

And to address the elephant in the room, Rich is not going with me — this is a solo vacation. Why? Because as anyone who knows my boy is already keenly aware, Rich is not the watch-up-to-six-movies-a-day kind of guy on the best of days, and certainly not on a vacation. This is a man who won’t watch a movie a second time if his first viewing was less than a year ago. Now, take him on an all-the-art-museum-visits-you-can-cram-in-a-day vacation, and he’d be a happy boy. Besides, I need to know my puppy is happy with his daddy around the house. Because he’ll be on suicide watch without me around for eight straight days (Troubadour’s just a *wee* bit attached to his mommy. Just a tad.).

Now if only I knew a Toronto-based blogger with whom I could meet up for a drink. In between movies, of course.

Image courtesy of Viole Music via a Google search.

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Filed under movies, toronto, toronto international film festival, vacation