Friday, August 31, 2007

And with lightning speed...

They already processed my order and notified me that I got tickets to all of my first picks. I must have gotten a good draw in the lottery this year. That'll save me a lot of time and hassle. It will also take a lot of the challenge out of it, but I can deal with that sort of letdown.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My picks are in

I stayed up late Wednesday night, and then got up early Thursday to finish making my picks. It was grueling. For those of who are curious, I'll tell you how it works. For those of you who aren't, you can skip the next paragraph.

The full schedule and film details go on-line on the second Tuesday before the festival starts. For locals, that's when they can pick up their film guides and other materials. For us out-of-towners, our materials are delivered by the friendly FedEx driver Wednesday morning. You have to fill out your schedule and FedEx it back by late Thursday afternoon, kind of a quick turnaround. Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to make more time, get organized, blah blah blah. Never works out that way.

So here's my schedule. The movies in parentheses are "second choice" selections. If there are no tickets available for my first pick, they'll try to get me a ticket to the second pick flick. I don't make many second picks, because there either aren't other movies showing at the same time that I want to see, or I just want to see my first pick really bad. I will "rush" for those movies if I don't get them (more on rushing another time).

Saturday, Sept. 8
6:00 No Country for Old Men - The latest from the Coen Brothers, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson.

8:45 Nothing is Private - From one of the creators of Six Feet Under and set during the Gulf War.

Sunday, Sept. 9
9:15 Lust, Caution - Ang Lee does sexy intrigue. Who could pass that up?

1:00 Religious: A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles - not actually a movie, but actually a live conversation on stage, with perhaps a preview of a movie Bill Maher is connected with. Gotta be good for some laughs.

5:30 Joy Division - A documentary about the band I mentioned in an earlier post. Hardly a replacement for Control, but I'll take it.

9:15 Just Buried - Quirky black comedy about a funeral home. Can't beat that for fun!

(9:00 Chaotic Anna) - I don't know why I picked this movie out of Spain. I'll probably get a ticket to Just Buried, so it hardly matters.

Monday, Sept. 10
3:00 Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Actress extraordinaire Cate Blanchett and director Shekhar Kapur are back together for what I assume is a sequel to Elizabeth.

7:00 The Savages - I picked this movie for Philip Seymour Hoffman. I'm a little afraid, because it was filmed over a year ago, and won't be released in theatres until February 2008. That's generally not a good sign.

(6:30 The Last Mistress) - Some French flick I picked as a backup in a sleep deprived state of delirium. The French movies I pick never turn out well.

Tuesday, Sept. 11
3:45 Sleuth - This was one of the last movies to make it on the schedule. Mystery directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Michael Caine and Jude Law. Probably decent, but I doubt anything special.

6:45 Dr. Plonk - Strange movie from the land down under. I'm rolling the dice on this one. A silent movie, it's a comedy about the end of the world.

9:00 Walk All Over Me - One of my selections from our neighbors to the north, starring Leelee Sobieski. Boy, she's cute.

Wednesday, Sept. 12
11:00 Cassandra's dream - Woody Allen's crime drama starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor.
(12:15 Cleaner) A crime drama starring Samuel L. Jackson, among others.

3:30 M - A thriller out of South Korea. I've enjoyed most of the movies out of South Korea. Their film makers seem to have a good sense of humor.

8:00 Mad Detective - Another wild ride from Johnny To. I saw one of his movies last year, and had a blast. He has quite a following in Toronto. It will be a raucous crowd compared to most screenings, to say the least.

Thursday, Sept. 13
3:30 The Babysitters - What starts out looking like a creepy movie about a middle aged man (John Leguizamo) getting involved with his teenage babysitter turns into a dark comedy about a babysitter who starts a call-girl service for married men.

6:15 The Trap - Serbian film noir. This is a wildcard pick.

9:00 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke play brothers that attempt to rob their parents' jewelry store. I'm guessing it doesn't turn out well.

Friday, Sept. 14
9:30 Reservation Road - Based on a book by John Burnham Schwartz, who wrote a book I once read. I almost bought this book once, but forgot about it. I figured I'd catch the movie. It's a thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mira Sorvino, among others.

12:30 The Tracey Fragments - Another Canadian flick. The director won the award for Most Outstanding Canadian Film at the festival way back in the late 80's. This is will not be an "upper".
(12:30 Flashpoint) - A selection from the "Midnight Madness" programme (notice the Canadian spelling), this is a wild martial arts flick.

9:30 Weirdsville - Strange movie (who would have guessed it) from Allan Moyle, who long ago made a movie called Pump Up the Volume . This one is about a couple stoners who get into trouble when they try to dump a girlfriend's dead body. Sci-fi/horror/comedy. I'll need that level of weirdness after The Tracey Fragments.

And that's all, folks! I'll be back when my picks are processed, probably toward the end of next week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's going to be a late night

I just opened my packet from the festival. Last year, they gave me an extra day to get my picks back to them. No such luck this year. I need to fill out my picks sheet and get it back to Fedex by 5:00 tomorrow. Bowling league starts tonight (yeah, I'm in a bowling league, so what?), so I can't start back in until about 9:30. I only have about 290 more movie synopses to read, though, so I should be able to get at least three hours of sleep. Right?

How many stages of grief are there?

I'm not sure which stages these thoughts fit into, but while I was getting ready for work, these ran through my head:

"Maybe they'll have technical difficulties, and have to reschedule a showing for later in the week."

"I'll fly out Friday on standby. The B&B might have a room available."

"I should check again, maybe I read the schedule wrong."

"Maybe the movie will be a major disappointment and I'm just dodging a bullet".


Anyway, the festival is throwing me a consolation prize. The film Joy Division is in fact a documentary about the band, and *one* of its three showings is while I'm in town. I guess I know where I'll be Sunday afternoon at 5:30 EST. Do you?

It's not all dead roses though -- scheduling snafu #2: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution shows at the same time as David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. Decisions, decisions...

Disappointment... Anguish... Woe...

So the movie I mentioned I want to see more than any other (Control) shows 9/7 @ 9:45 PM and 9/8 @ 9:00 AM, both well before my 9/8 afternoon arrival in Toronto.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Where does the time go? The 2007 film list is already on-line. I'm pumped about a few movies, curious about many. The full schedule won't be on-line until the 28th, so I don't know what I can see yet. I'm guessing that the full details will also be available then. Right now, all they give you is a title and a director, which isn't much to go on. imdb provides a little more detail on some, but the festival film guide is always much more informative.

I definitely want to see Control, directed by rock photographer Anton Corbijn. It's a biography of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, an influential post-punk band from Manchester. They were rapidly gaining popularity of the underground sort when Ian hung himself. Bummer, eh? Anyway, he was apparently interesting enough to be the subject of a movie. It doesn't hurt that Samantha Morton plays his wife, nor that I'm a fan of the band.

Other movies caught my eye, some of which I want to see, but not necessarily all. Can you guess?
  1. Joy Division; A documentary, not sure if it's about the band, or a Nazi prostitution ring...
  2. Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Starring one of my favorite actresses, Cate Blanchett
  3. Sleuth; Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine
  4. Run, Fat Boy, Run; Feature directorial debut from a guy most popularly known as Ross
  5. Cassandra's Dream; Woody Allen's latest
  6. Honeydripper; Directed by John Sayles (it's not about bees, Jen, I checked!)
  7. Lust, Caution; Directed by Ang Lee, who is not trying to persuade the MPAA not to slap this film with an NC-17 rating
  8. Mad Detective; Directed by Johnnie To, great action/comedy director out of Hong Kong
  9. Then She Found Me; Feature Directorial debut from Helen Hunt
  10. No Country for Old Men; Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Tommy Lee Jones
  11. Nothing Is Private; Directed by Alan Ball of Six Feet Under fame