TIFF ’13 – DAY NINE

* Finish my shift and head to Bloor for a screening of Palo Alto. During my shift I began to kick myself for not exchanging that ticket for something else – an additional screening of August: Osage County had been added (that sold out fast, admittedly) and I never did get to Rigor Mortis. However, I decide to make the best of it and settle in for some tales from James Franco’s hometown.

* Palo Alto is actually better than I had expected! I was pleasantly surprised with the “realistic” portrayal of teenagers in the film – usually I find realistic teen films to be hyper-stylized and over the top. Yeah, kids were drinking and having sex, but it wasn’t over the top. There wasn’t any bullying, no one was depressed and acting out, they were just… kids. Jack Kilmer (son of Batman) plays one of the leads and he’s great in it. All the kids are great in it, really, Aside from Emma Roberts they’re all fairly unknown and that helps with the believability of the film; they all seem like actual kids you might know. Definitely worth a watch, I think.

* Leave Bloor Hot Docs to come back to Scotiabank. The day before an additional screening of Finding Vivian Maier was announced and I was able to procure tickets for Allison and myself. I am tired, but I’ve been dying to see the film since it was announced so I’m pretty psyched.

* Finding Vivian Maier does not disappoint. It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking look into the life of a prolific photographer whose work isn’t discovered until after her death. A very private, incredibly talented, and often times dark person, Vivian’s life and the memories those that knew her have of her are as intriguing as her art itself. I really want to own one of her prints now.

* Midnight Madness is once again a bust. I hate not going, I miss the crowds and the atmosphere, but I just can’t do it when I work at 7:30 the next morning. This is something to keep in mind for next year when planning my work schedule.

DAY NINE FILMS:

Palo Alto – Liked it. A lot more than I thought I would, actually. It wasn’t too fancy or too flashy, it’s not particularly controversial or risqué (though there is a plot point about James Franco and Emma Roberts that made me a little squeamish), it’s just a simple, honest look at teenage life. Gia Coppolla, I am on board.

Finding Vivian Maier – LOVED it. Such a wonderful film. It was funny, it was touching, it was upsetting… I am endlessly fascinated with this woman and want to know everything I can about her.

TIFF ’13 – DAY EIGHT

* My first shift without Natasha is pretty monotonous. Thankfully Sonia, who I worked with last year, is working with me again and I spend my shift catching up with her.

* After our shift, Sonia and I rush Une Jeune Fille (A Journey). I won’t lie, kids: I slept through at least 75% of it. The problem was, while very beautiful and artistic, the film was also SUPER quiet. As far as I can tell, the movie is about a girl who says very little, who runs away from home, doesn’t talk to anyone for at least 20 minutes, meets a man who also rarely says anything, then begins to work on his farm and bond with him over soothing music in total silence. I missed so much of the film that when I woke up at what I thought was the point when things were actually going to start happening, it turned out to be the ending?! An ending I found very ambiguous, likely because I missed the majority of what actually happened in the film.

* After laughing at my inability to stay awake, Sonia and I part ways and I head to Starbucks to wake myself up before my next rush. While waiting in line for a couple minutes, I hear a tired sigh behind me and immediately recognize it – it’s Vanya, and we’ve been standing in line together for at least five minutes without even realizing it. Turns out she has followed me to rush Cold Eyes at 6:15 despite knowing nothing of the film.

* I thoroughly enjoyed Cold Eyes. I actually would have loved to watch a television series all about these characters, an elite team of the Korean police force whose entire purpose is to blend in to their surroundings and observe everything. They are essentially surveillence, in charge of finding and identifying potential suspects without actual engaging or being discovered. It was a really cool, really engaging little action thriller that I think could make a nifty serial if done properly.

* Cold Eyes was enjoyable, but it was also longer than I’d anticipated. I get out and immediately book it to the Elgin, waving to Vanya while rushing my ass off to meet Allison for A Promise. I somehow manage to get to the line mere seconds before we are let in. I am magical.

* A Promise was good, but I honestly don’t know if I liked it or not. It felt a little toothless to me; like I was supposed to feel the angst and temptation the leads were supposed to be feeling, when in reality I felt no such conflict. Everyone in it was just a little too… nice. I wanted someone, somewhere in it to be a little villanious, but no dice. Alan Rickman was very funny and very delightful though, and it’s pretty hard not to swoon over Richard Madden.

* Sadly, none of the cast is there even though they were expected to be. I feel really bad, I know Allison wanted to see Richard Madden. The director was there though, and quite adorable so that made up for it slightly.

DAY EIGHT FILMS:

Une Jeune Fille (A Journey) – I really don’t feel like I have any right to have an opinion on this film. I slept through far too much of it to be able to speak on it with any confidence. What I saw seemed pretty? And well-acted? Definitely soothing, I’ll say that.

Cold Eyes – Loved it. It was thrilling and fun and very funny. I wanted more stories involving these characters, so hopefully they’ll make a sequel someday.

A Promise – You ever tell yourself you’re not sure how you feel about a film, and then start to talk about it and essentially talk yourself out of liking it? I think that’s what I did here. I just expected more of a story and found the whole thing to fall a bit flat. Love the cast though!

TIFF ’13 – DAY SEVEN

* Despite it being my shortest shift of the Festival, work DRAAAAAAAGGGGGGS on. There’s practically nothing to do all day and I am counting the hours until I am free.

* Get off work at noon (THANK YOU BRITA!) and head to Ryerson to see Don Jon. I am lined up forever and starting to nod off a little in line but I am very excited – I’ve been wanting to see JGL’s directorial debut ever since it was announced.

* Sadly, Joe has left T.O., so there is no Q&A and no opportunity to meet him. I won’t lie, I’m pretty bummed out. I was genuinely expecting him to be there at least to do a Q&A. I am now really kicking myself for not stalking the red carpet for the premiere. I could have gotten in on this!

* Confession: I really loved this movie, and I am pretty sure it’s almost entirely because I am biased. Do I think it’s his best film? No. As far as directorial debuts go, it wasn’t the best I’ve seen. But guess what: it wasn’t the worst either. I thought it was funny, I thought both he and ScarJo were great in it (and I’m not usually the biggest Scarlet fan) and I thought it was an interesting story. As far as his first foray into directing I thought it was a promising start and I am definitely still fully on board the JGL love train. That said, I will fault no one who completely disagrees with me.

* After Don Jon, I meet up with Vanya for a P&I of Dom Hemingway. I honestly don’t think I have ever loved Jude Law more, and I am including my favourite SNL skit of all time where he and Seth Meyers play drunken Michael Caine and Peter O’Toole. He was funny, sexy, and just all around cool as hell. I was expecting a bit more of a crime caper, but was pleasantly surprised by how little capering there was and how much of it was Jude Law running around in various states of undress giving loud, articulate monologues on everything from how he will win back his daughter’s affections to how perfect his own penis is. It has a bit of a Guy Ritchie feel to it, and the story could use more fleshing out, but everyone needs to see it for Jude Law’s performance alone.

* Turns out that Vanya has an extra ticket for Blind Detective that she can give me. I was going to try and rush Tom at the Farm but decide that a guaranteed ticket to a film I wanted to see trumps waiting in line for a potential ticket to a film I wanted to see. Plus, James and Natasha are going to Blind Detective as well so we all get to sit together.

* I am not particularly familiar with Johnnie To’s work going into the film, but I am definitely a fan by the end. It was so much funnier than I expected it to be! Somehow the movie is both action/thriller and romantic comedy, and it does both perfectly. Loved the leads, loved the story, loved the humour… I will definitely be seeking out more of Johnnie To’s work now. Vanya is a long-time fan so she has officially made me a convert.

* Once again, I find myself getting out a screening too late to get to Midnight Madness. Once again I am disappointed because Rigor Mortis really intrigued me. The biggest downside of working all morning shifts is that it means I have to sacrifice Midnight Madness in the name of more galas and premiere screenings. I am honestly not sure if I prefer this change or not.

DAY SEVEN FILMS:

Don Jon – Loved it. But I love everything he does. I really do think it’s funny though, and worth checking out if for no other reason than to hear Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Tony Danza do their best impressions of folks from New Jersey.

Dom Hemingway – Loved it. Jude Law is stocky, scarred, and tears up the screen. It is the sexiest I have ever found him.

Blind Detective – Loved it. The action scenes were fantastic but the humour was even better. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

TIFF ’13 – DAY SIX

* Get to work and meet Brita, my new best friend. Not only does she agree to come in early so I can go to Don Jon the next day, she informs me she takes tap dance classes and says she’ll send me info on beginners classes. Should I take up tap dancing guys? I kinda really want to…

* Finish work and immediate join the rush line for Bad Hair. It is hot as balls outside and people are GRUMPY. My cousin Mike wanders by and our tradition of just randomly running into each other during the Festival is still in tact.

* Bad Hair was fantastically heartbreaking. It’s a Venezuelan film about a young boy who wants nothing more than to straighten his hair and dress in a nice suit for his school photo. His mother fears that this is an indication that he is gay and begins to take her fear and anger over this out on him. It’s never made clear whether poor Junior is gay or not, and it isn’t really relevant; what matters is a poor boy whose individuality and sensitivity makes him a mark for all his mother’s aggression and frustrations. I really loved it, even if it did make me sad.

* After Bad Hair I head to the premiere of How I Live Now, starring Saoirse Ronan. I haven’t read the book, but after watching the movie I’d like to. I enjoyed the flick, but I feel like there were details covered in the book that weren’t covered in the film fully which left me going, “wait… what?” It was definitely intense and I thought Saoirse was incredible in it, but the ending left me a little unsatisfied. I’m curious as to whether the same holds true for the book.

* Once again I found myself thoroughly impressed with the performance of a mostly unknown child actor. The little girl who played Saoirse’s nine-year-old cousin was so incredible, she is added to my list of “Favourite Adorable Ginger Brits”.

* The movie lets out too late for me to try and rush McCannick and after some soul-searching I decide to head home. I am now regretting not seeing the Midnight Madness though, if only because I think I could have managed it without being dead on my feet. Missed opportunity. Oh well…

* I managed to see more than one movie, which is a pretty big accomplishment at this point. I am getting frustrated with my movie going this year and how few I am able to squeeze in in a day.

DAY SIX FILMS:

Bad Hair – Loved it. It was heartbreaking and honest and once again features an outstanding performance from a child actor.

How I Live Now – Liked it. It was definitely well done and the story was strong but I kind of feel like maybe something was lost between the page to the screen. I might be wrong though, maybe it’s a perfect adaptation. I need to read the book to properly assess my feelings, I suspect.

TIFF ’13 – DAY FIVE

* Slept all of 4 hours. Feel like death. Work is like some sort of living nightmare.

* Get some caffeine in me and I start to perk up. Go back and forth with Allison about whether the red carpet for August: Osage County is worth checking out. I really wanted to see Finding Vivian Maier but word on the street is it is practically impossible to rush. The internet informs Allison that Benedict is expected at the premiere, and so we decide to give it a shot.

* Roy Thompson Hall is a MAD house. Somehow, through the miracle of my good fortune, I manage to get us fairly close to the stantion with only one person in front of us. The red carpet begins! We see Dermot Mulroney! Abigail Breslin! Juliette Lewis! The beautiful Ewan McGregor! Look, way over there is Julia Roberts! And where is Benedict? Back in England, apparently. Oh well.

* Allison wants to try and see if she can get James Cordon’s autograph so she accompanies me to One Chance. The crowds there are bananas because Taylor Swift is coming, but Allison decides to stick it out. I join the rush line and am informed that I am tenth in line. My chances look pretty good.

* Out of nowhere, all of us in line are given free tickets and led to the ticket holders line. I immediately text Allison and send her to the rush line. I still have no idea why, but she was given a ticket too and joins me for her first TIFF screening ever. And it was free! She is quite pleased.

* We manage to find pretty fantastic seats in the balcony. We look down and find Tom Felton being seated and everyone going bonkers. Poor Draco can’t even watch a movie in peace…

* One Chance was so cute, guys. So freaking cute. It’s nothing groundbreaking – the true story of Britain’s Got Talent’s first winner, Paul Potts, and his dream of being an opera singer, but it’s a sweet little film nonetheless. James Cordon is so amazing in the lead role and his chemistry with Alexandra Roach is adorable. I admit to being a little biased (I am a little in love with James Cordon) but I genuinely enjoyed it.

* After the movie, some techs dragged a mike and amp on stage. Taylor Swift fan girls start screaming so much it’s embarrassing, but they are to be disappointed – it is not Taylor, but Paul Potts himself who comes out and sings us a little opera. It is INSANELY good. I get goosebumps hearing him sing. He joins the cast and director for a Q&A and is charming as you’d want him to be. This entire evening has me feeling all giddy and lovely.

* Despite the threat of Taylor Swift tweens, Allison and I decide to try and meet James Cordon after the flick lets out. Thankfully, Miss Swift runs out of the theatre with a wave and is gone. Many disappointed autograph seekers around us, but this means there’s more room for us to get close to the door to meet James.

* JAMES CORDON COMES OUT. HE SIGNS ALLISON’S MOVIE. HE SIGNS MY TICKET. HE TAKES A PICTURE WITH US.

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CHEEK TO CHEEK, WHAT!

I know it’s crazy, but we were shaking when we met him. Hands down, the kindest and most generous actor with his fans I’ve seen so far.

* After that, I call it a night. I’ve missed the rush for Enemy and honestly, nothing can top the high I’m on, so I might as well go home and dream happy dreams.

DAY FIVE FILMS:

One Chance – Loved it. Might just be a biased personal opinion but whatever, I thought it was sweet and really delightful. If you like adorable little British movies, check it out.

TIFF ’13 – DAY FOUR

* My only day off devoted entirely to movies. Seeing only one on Day Three has me feeling like a total failure so I am determined to make the most of my day off.

* Wait in the rush line for Labor Day. A nice older gentleman strikes up a conversation with me, as nice older gentlemen are wont to do. There must be something about my face that just screams to grandpa-types “TALK TO ME ABOUT MOVIES! I LOVE MOVIES!”

* Labor Day is a bit of a departure from I’ve come to expect from Reitman, but I still liked it. The story played out pretty much exactly as expected, but I didn’t mind – I was enjoying Josh Brolin too much to care.

* I have time before my next screening, so I dash to Ryerson to see if I can get a ticket to Oculus, Karen Gillan’s horror movie in Midnight Madness. Because I am the luckiest girl in the world, I am able to get a ticket and skip off to my next screening.

* Next up: Horns, with Daniel Radcliffe. Having read the book, I was really looking forward to it, but also a little wary of how the adaptation was going to play out. While there were sections of the book that were left out that I would have liked to see, I was really happy with the film overall. Daniel Radcliffe was pretty much perfect as Iggy, the lead character, and the film was as darkly humourous as the book was.

* Immediately after Horns I join the rush line for We Are The Best! I am feeling headache-y and hungry, and the line is crazy long, but I know I will regret not seeing this one so I buckle down, swallow some Advil, and soldier on.

* So glad I stuck it out. So far, We Are The Best! is my favourite of the Fest. A Swedish coming-of-age film about three 13 year old girls in the 80s who start a punk band is one of the sweetest, most relatable movies I’ve seen in a really long time. There are tons of flicks about pre-teen boys that are praised for being realistic and honest; this is one of the first ones featuring girls that I could personally relate to and found so incredibly true to life.

* After my third screening I am starting to fade. But, if I go home, I might pass out and miss Oculus; this is not an option. After considering my options, I decide to rush Night Moves at Ryerson so I can just immediately get in line for Oculus after it ends.

* Night Moves is not my cup of tea. I thought I was watching a thriller about Eco-terrorists; turns out I was watching a character study on a quiet, brooding Jesse Eisenberg who glares at things and says nothing. It was disappointing too because I’m a fan of most of the cast and was excited to see what they’d do with it. Instead I was just bored.

* Night Moves ends and I run out to meet Deena in the ticket holders line. I don’t have time to eat, but Deena and her friend Emily provide me peanut butter cups and Doritos to get me through. I scarf them down like I haven’t seen food in weeks.

* Karen Gillan doesn’t come to Toronto for Oculus, but Katee Sackoff is at the premiere and so is Rory Cochrane which leads to me whisper squealing “IT’S LUCAS!!!” to Heather and Deena, neither of whom knew what I was talking about.

* Oculus was creepy and wonderful. Hearing Karen Gillan with an American accent was really odd, but I loved her in it. And the kids! I have been loving the performances of all the child actors I’ve been seeing in films this Fest. Annalise Basso was extraordinary as young Karen.

* In the end, seeing five movies to make up for only seeing one the day before was not my wisest idea. It is well after 2am by the time I get home, I am still hungry, and I have a 7:30am shift the next day. This will not end well.

DAY FOUR FILMS:

Labor Day – Liked it. More than most people, I suspect. I am a sucker for sweet stories and it’s hard for me not to like something with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet.

Horns – Loved it. It was dark, it was funny, it captured the tone of the original novel near perfectly. I was really impressed with both Radcliffe’s performance, and Aja’s direction.

We Are The Best! – LOVED IT. So much. Easily my favourite of the Festival so far. I loved those little punks so much.

Night Moves – Not impressed. Maybe I was too tired to appreciate it, maybe it was just a little over my head, I don’t know. I appreciated what they were trying to do and the story they were trying to tell, I just didn’t connect to it, personally.

Oculus – Loved it. It was creepy and a little gory, but not too gross. Lots of moments to make you jump and shriek and shout at the screen, which is always something you want out of a horror flick.

TIFF ’13 – DAY THREE

* First Festival shift. I won’t go into it all, but it was about as chaotic and stressful as any first shift of the Festival. At least I get to work with Natasha.

* Shift ends and I immediately join the line to see Cannibal, a ticket I actually forgot I had when I sorted my schedule. Eep.

* I enjoyed Cannibal, though I don’t think I got as much out of it as I should have. The movie was really beautiful, but I was far too tired for a film with extended shots of mountaintops and long takes where I watch a character drink a whole glass of water. When the dialogue ebbed out and the movie got quiet, I would find myself doing the baby-head-bob. I thought the acting was superb though and the lead reminded me of a young, Spanish Alan Rickman.

* Unfortunately the movie runs longer than expected and I miss the rush for Mystery Road. I am now at a loss – do I join the rush line for Dallas Buyers Club 3 hours before the movie starts? Can I last that long? Should I try rushing something out. These are the dilemmas that only TIFF can create.

* On an impulse I decide to try and rush The Double – I have a ticket for later in the week, but I decide I would like to see Richard Ayoade in person if I can, and I can always exchange my ticket for something else.

* Once we pass the 15 minute mark into the movie, I bail. I am too tired and hungry and decide to go home and sleep. I have no intention of seeing Midnight Madness – an Eli Roth movie in general is rarely my cup of tea, and one about a tribe of cannibals in the amazon is definitely not something I would seek out. “But didn’t you just see a move called ‘Cannibal’?” you might ask. Yes, yes I did. But I felt fairly confident that an artistic Spanish film would not gross me out as much as anything Eli Roth would make. I find the man delightful, I find his films far too much for me to take.

DAY THREE FILMS:

Cannibal – Liked it. I will definitely need to rewatch it when I am more awake and able to pay closer attention, but I thought it was an interesting character piece and I really enjoyed Antonio de la Torre’s performance as the emotionless killer who begins to feel something for his latest victim’s twin sister. Definitely worth a viewing.