Saturday, August 30, 2008

17 Out of 20 Ain't Bad

I got an e-mail from TIFF today confirming the processing of my order. I got all of my picks with the following exceptions: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Synecdoche, New York, and The Paranoids. I'll figure out what to do about those later. I'm half asleep right now. Good night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Calling it "done"

I'm done for now. I need to make another decision or two, but the schedule is pretty much how it's going to be. I'm seeing a little bit of everything. See for yourself.

Good night.

Schedule Taking Shape

I've got a few too many films, but the schedule is taking shape. There is a link in the upper right hand corner of the web page that will pop up a calendar showing my schedule as it stands. It's live, so as I shift things around, it will change. Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom.

Meanwhile, I need to eliminate a few screenings, and contemplate buying a ticket for a special screening or two. It's never easy...

Minor Disappointments #1 and #2

The first film I looked for was the Coen Brothers' new flick Burn After Reading. I immediately notice two things:
  1. The movie only shows before I arrive in Toronto. I sort of expected this.
  2. The movie only shows at venues where I would have to purchase a single ticket instead of using tickets from my 10-packs. This doesn't make me happy...


For those of you playing along at home, check out the calendar at the bottom of this page. It is a view of my film schedule, courtesy of Google Calendar. Neat, huh? You'll need to click on a button a couple times to get to the week beginning Sunday, 9/7, until I figure out how to default the calendar to that week.

Okay, now down to the hard work...

Film Selection Tuesday

The film schedule comes out this morning at 9:00 CDT. I'll be spending this afternoon and this evening in my office reading about 249 feature films, cross checking with the schedule, whining about some films that I can't see because I'm not arriving until Sunday, and eventually settling on a list of 20 screenings. It's a good thing I have more vacation time than I know what to do with.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I was restless Sunday night, and with the film festival rapidly approaching, I thought I could use some practice. After a quick scope of the Fleur Cinema's web site, I determined that Vicky Cristina Barcelona was the most eligible movie, and off I went.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen's latest work and stars his muse of late, Scarlett Johansson, along with Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Penélope Cruz and Patricia Clarkson. The movie, narrated throughout by a non-character, follows the story of Vicky and Cristina, two young and pretty American women staying in Barcelona for the summer. While there, they meet an Artist named Juan Antonio (portrayed by Bardem in a starkly different role than in No Country For Old Men), who propositions the young women, simultaneously. Vicky and Cristina are best friends with similar interests, but very different outlooks on love.

As evidence of their differences, Vicky, the tall, thin, level-headed brunette, is appalled by Juan Antonio's invitation, while Cristina, the busty blond free-thinker is intrigued. They compromise, joining Juan Carlos on a sojourn to Oviedo by way of a small plane piloted by Juan Antonio himself, but checking into separate hotel rooms. While there, they spend time with Juan Antonio, together and separately, and relations ensue. After the weekend, they return to Barcelona, and things become more complicated when Juan Antonio's estranged ex-wife (it's rumored that one of them tried to kill the other, though it's disputed who was holding the knife) reenters the picture. Juan Antonio's wife is portrayed by Cruz, and I have to say it's the first time that I thoroughly enjoyed watching her in a movie.

The movie is about make believe people behaving in ways that you and I would not behave, and would not be able to in the first place because we wouldn't have the time nor the money. That much I learned from the septuagenarians on an apparent first date in the row behind me. I can deduce that they're both hard of hearing, and I am not, for I could hear every word they said. At least, I could until I moved some 50 feet away from them. How I can't wait for the festival, where talkers are booed by their fellow audience members...

Anyway, I enjoyed the escape of the movie, even if the ending leaves you with the feeling of "oh, the movie is over now." The narration speeds the film along without getting sidetracked on details that Woody deemed inconsequential, though I had to wonder if he was double-parked during production. No, I couldn't relate directly to any particular character, but they were believable and entertaining. My imdb rating: 7/10.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Film List Out Today

The complete film list for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival comes out at 3 PM EDT today. While this allows me to do some pre-screening, I really can't begin to decide what I'd like to see until the schedule comes out. I won't be arriving in Toronto until late Sunday morning, so I can only presume that I'll miss a film or two I'd like to see. I have to wait until next Tuesday for the complete schedule. That's when the real mayhem begins...