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Month: September 2006

Off again

Ok, it’s been a really busy week getting caught up from last week, and now I have to take off again – this time to Niagara for a softball tournament. When I get back, when things settle down again, I’ll flesh out some of those reviews as promised, and write all kinds of other incredibly boring things.

Some Vids

Like most digital cameras, mine has a video feature that I don’t use very much. I did point-and-shoot a couple vids this past week though, so here they are:

Vince Vaughn on his favourite part of making his film – at the Q&A for Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show.

Bobcat Goldthwait Loves Degrassi – when introducing his film Sleeping Dogs Lie, Bobcat Goldthwait told the crowd that he’d be sneaking out during the screening to have his picture taken at Degrassi Street. Apparently he’s a huge fan. This clip, which is really just audio (it was way too dark in the Paramount theater for video), is from after the screening when he shows off the Degrassi T-Shirt he bought while he was out.

Day 6, 7, 8, and the post-tiff blues…

Ok, we’re back home. I’m kinda sad. Gotta start work tomorrow and no more movies for a while… that was so much fun. We’re already planning next year’s visit. I’ll write more wrap up stuff later, and as promised, get back to re-reviewing some of the flicks. For now, just some more quickies:

Day 6: I Don’t Have a Title For This Day

I didn’t love this film, but it was pretty cool – very cool style of animation, good story and all, I think I just had a hard time with the pacing. One interesting note: the movie studio is apparently pretty concerned about piracy with this flick – there were several security guards standing at the front of the theater scanning the audience for cameras throughout. I may be mistaken, but I think they were using some kind of night-vision contraptions too. I never saw this kind of security at any other film. And once I noticed them and realized what they were doing during this film, I got rather distracted by it.

Un Dimanche a Kigali
Based on the novel, A Sunday At The Pool In Kigali, this is a love story set in the time leading up to, and immediately following the Genocide in Rwanda. Interestingly, it takes place at the same hotel that Hotel Rwanda does, the Hotel Mille Collines. I really enjoyed the novel, and was really looking forward to the film. It was very powerful and very well done.

The Pleasure Of Your Company
Very hollywood comedy starring Jason Biggs, playing basically the same character he does in American Pie. There’s nothing really new here, but it was entertaining anyway. Nobody was in attendance – boooo!

Day 7: Day Off!

This was the only day we didn’t schedule any films – we just wanted a day without a schedule. So we didn’t do a whole lot – Danielle had brunch in the morning with a friend, then we went shopping and hung around in Yorkville for a while, and had dinner. Nothing major.

Day 8: So long, film fest

So sad that it’s over… all day I kept thinking about any way we could squeeze in just one more movie. We saw three.

Kabul Express
It didn’t get very well reviewed apparently, but I had fun at this movie. I do have to say that the American woman actress that was in it was extremely awful, but other than that, the cast was great, the script was entertaining, and the film was well put together. I’ll tell you a story about the Q&A session later.

Love and Other Disasters
This was a really surprisingly great film. I’ll write more later.

I really wish we could have ended on a better note. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Danielle wasn’t crazy about it. And the director had already gone home.

Like I said, I’ll write more later. For now, check out the few pics I took on my Flickr Photostream.

Day 4 and 5: I Met Bobcat!

Ok, some more quickie reviews – I promise, I’ve been taking notes and will try to expand on some of this stuff later. I’ll just start with a note about today: I met and had my picture taken with Bobcat Goldthwait at the screening of his film, Sleeping Dogs Lie. I was so totally giddy about meeting him too – I totally grew up on the Police Academy movies, and practically everything else he did in the 80’s. I’ll post the picture when I can. So here’s a quick rundown of the films we’ve seen the past two days:

Everything’s Gone Green
Written by my favourite writer ever, Douglas Coupland, I couldn’t not like this. Classic Coupland all the way. Unfortunately he wasn’t in attendance – I’d have liked to have heard from him. Paulo Costanzo was in attendance.

Mon Meilleur Ami
This was definitely a highlight of the festival for me – our first Gala screening at Roy Thomson Hall. Unfortunately, Daniel Auteuil couldn’t make it, but director Patrice Leconte and co-star Dany Boon were there, and Dany was rather entertaining beforhand as well. A very touching, heart-felt film about friendship.

Sleeping Dogs Lie
The short version of this review: If you’re going to see one movie this year about a dog getting a blowjob, this should be it.

Loved this film. Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait (did I mention I met him?), this film is about what happens when you don’t leave the proverbial sleeping dog lie. You know in a relationship, that inevitable point where one partner asks the other, “tell me a secret from your past.” And your answer is supposed to demonstrate your absolute love and trust of each other – that you can tell each other anything. In Sleeping Dogs Lie, Bobcat Goldthwait asks and answers the question, “What if the answer to that question is something so unspeakably horrible that it could tear your life apart?”

Summer Palace
We picked this one up with our vouchers. I really wanted to like this film. Maybe I was just too tired.

Another midnight screening, this was a last-minute selection today to use up our other vouchers, and I’m really glad we caught it. It’s a documentary about underground horror film and what the horror genre says about a society that produces these kinds of films. Specifically, he speaks to a handful of film makers who are responsible for some of the most messed up horror flicks you will ever see. I want to tell you more about this flick, but I can’t. Just see it.

Day 2, Day 3 and beyond… and dialup access sucks

I wanted to spend more time writing these reviews before posting them, but just haven’t been as productive as I’d hoped… so I’m going to rapid-fire a handful here, but I reserve the right to revisit them later.

Day 2: Wild, Wild West:

Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland
In the fall of 2005, Vince Vaughn rounded up a handful of comics and hit the road for 30 shows on 30 consecutive nights, traveling by bus across America from Los Angeles to Chicago. This actually wasn’t our first choice, but I’m glad we saw it – this was loads of fun. Vince Vaughn and the cast were in attendance, and got up for a Q&A after which was great. I’ll write more and post some pics on this later.

The casting call for this film asked for actors willing to perform extremely graphic sexual acts before the camera. Indeed this film, at least in the five minutes before the credits roll, treads a fine line and challenges our perceptions of the difference between pornography and art. Swirling in controversy since before a single frame was shot, Canadian actress Sook yin Lee (of Much Music fame) had to fight to keep her job at CBC radio after they threatened to fire her for accepting a role. The film is a powerful examination of solitude, loneliness, love, sex and one woman’s quest for her first orgasm. Worth seeing, but be forwarned: very graphic gay, straight, and everything-in-between sex scenes may push you to the limits of your comfort zone, if you have one.

Day 3: I don’t trust old people

Too many old people. I could’ve watched this film without the audience.

A story about a woman paramedic who loses her ability to speak after a horrific accident and her attempts to keep her marriage together through any means necessary.

The Dog Problem
Really cute fun film about a guy who gets a dog to help him through a depression on the advice of his psychologist. Mena Suvari and Giovanni Ribisi were in attendance.

TIFF Day 1: Connectivity Issues

Ok folks, sorry in advance if posts are more scarce than I’d promised. The place we rented is great – awesome location, really cute little basement apartment, but one thing is missing: the ad said there’d be Internet Access. Sadly, that seems not to be the case. There’s an Ethernet jack, so the place is wired. There’s just no internet juice. I’m going to talk to the owner tomorrow, hopefully there’s just something that needs to be hooked up.

The drive down was alright – nothing particularly notable – other than this useless bit of information: it’s exactly 222kms from the Parkdale Sunoco to the sign on the 401 that says it’s 222kms from Toronto. Weird, huh?

So day one is done, and so far we’ve been having a blast. First celeb sighting happened at 3:00pm on Bloor Street – I saw a chick from The ‘L’ Word – I don’t know anyone who watches that show, but if you do, it’s the one that wants to become a man. I can’t remember her name. If I had internet, I’d look it up…

The movies so far have been great – here’s the rundown:

The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema – by Sophie Fiennes
What a great way to start off a filmfest! Slavoj Zizek, a philosopher and psychoanalyst takes us on a tour through his favourite films, breaking each apart into their psychoanalytical concepts and themes. Hitchcock, David Lynch, The Matrix, Alien, Star Wars, The Exorcist, and more, all get a dose of his special brand of analysis, helping us to deepen our understanding and appreciation of them. Sophie Fiennes films Zizek on meticulously recreated sets from the films he discusses – providing at times humour, and at others, perhaps a sense of authority, for what better vantage to discuss a film than from within the film itself? The runtime on this was a bit long, but it is intended to air in three parts.

Fido – by Andrew Currie
This movie was so much more than I’d hoped for. And I didn’t have low expectations. I read it described somewhere as a cross between Shaun of the Dead and Pleasantville. That’s pretty much bang on. The dead have returned to life, and after the Great Zombie War, science found a way curb the undead desire for human flesh and domesticate them, putting them to work delivering newspapers, doing yard work, and as family pets. Setting the film in an idyllic suburban 50’s-era neighbourhood, director Andrew Currie manages to turn the zombie genre on its head and gives us some stuff to think about in the process. And hey, who wouldn’t want a zombie Billy Connolly for a pet?

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane – by Jonathan Levine
Our first Midnight Madness flick this year (and hopefully not our last), this movie was delicious. The film was beautifully shot and crafted by the very talented, and the very young, as we found out when he got up to introduce the film, Jonathan Levine. This is slasher flick meets music video direction. But not in a bad way. This film is smart and its characters are much more grounded in reality than your typical slasher flick. The gore is gory, the girls are hot, and the boys are horny, all par for the course in slasher flick land, but the film still manages some surprises too.

Greetings from TIFF – Finally! (and Sorry!)

Sorry for the lack of posts folks, turns out there’s no internet access at the place we’re staying at, as I had been told there would be… I’ve been writing some stuff offline and will try to post whenever I can. I’ll post stuff from Day 1 right now, and will try to get to the rest later. It’s been awesome so far, by the way – lots of great films – it’ll be sad to have this week end – I could do this all the time. We’re off to the Gala premiere of Mon Meilleur Ami tonight – so I gotta go get showered and changed. Will try to post more stuff tonight.

On our way

It was a helluva workday for both of us, but now it’s done, and we’re hitting the road… real soon – just a few more things to tie up at home. Tomorrow morning we pick up our tickets, and our first film is “The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema” at 12:15. YAY!

Our own little filmfest

Last weekend was a gloomy-rainy-indoorsy weekend here in Ottawa, so Danielle and I decided to get geared up for the filmfest by… seeing a bunch of films. Friday night we saw Little Miss Sunshine, and all I gotta say is, GO SEE IT NOW. If this is not the funniest movie you’ve seen all year, then you have no soul. Very well crafted, funny, moving story, well acted, and totally heartfelt. Don’t miss this one.

Other films we saw:

He Died With a Falafel In His Hand – This Australian feature was funny and quirky and different, but not quite the laugh-fest I think we were hoping for. I mainly picked it for its name though, so what can you really expect?

The Closet – Danielle insisted I see one of French superstar actor Daniel Auteuil’s films before we go to the fest since we have gala tickets to the screening of “Mon Meilleur Ami.” In “The Closet”, Auteuil plays Francois Mignon, a rather sad, dull man about to get fired from his rather dull job in the accounting department for a condom factory. On the suggestion of his neighbour, rather than committing suicide, he comes out of the titular “Closet” as a means of scaring the suits into letting him keep his job out of fear of being labelled discriminatory. The plan works, and the film plays out like your typical (though better-than-average) american comedy. Overall, the film was light, fun, and Daniel Auteuil was really great as the loveable loser.

Open Water – I saw this flick in the theater when it came out, and really enjoyed it, so I didn’t mind renting it again so Danielle could see it. I love the whole independent nature of this film – how it was shot on DV on weekends by a husband and wife production team with no crew and no real budget. There are no special effects, so when you see a shark on screen, it’s the real deal. The film is superbly acted, and the pace and tension are perfect throughout. For such a low-budget flick, there are some really amazing and memorable shots throughout.

Talladega Nights – I was really disappointed in this one. I know a big part of it had to do with the audience we were with – we caught a Sunday matinee on a long weekend. The place was full of kids and the jokes were just flying over most of their heads. I think I would have enjoyed it more in a better audience, but I was still disappointed in the overall package – just not as funny as I’d have liked.

World Trade Center – Since 911 everyone’s been waiting for the film adaptations with much trepidation – the fear was that an interpretation could end up disrespecting the tragedy and the memories of those lost by being too judgemental or political or corndog patriotic or outright racist. I really thought that United 93, and now World Trade Centre, have both done a really good job of telling parts of the story without passing judgement on the events or the politics surrounding them, something that I think is really important. The events of 9/11 have been politicized enough. It’s time to respectfully remember.


“EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN is about when you get older and you feel certain doors closing very quickly on you. It deals with that feeling of now or never.” – Douglas Coupland

I’m really looking forward to this flick – I love Coupland’s work (I think I own just about everything he’s written!), and I totally missed Souvenir of Canada last year. I’m so happy we got this pick!