Dawn and The Husband will be spending the next few days attending the Toronto International Film Festival, known to the locals as TIFF. As rookie attendees, they realize there is a great deal to learn and a great deal to know. They have selected a modest number of films (5) as their initiation into TIFF with hopes that perhaps this learning experience will lead to a more comprehensive schedule in future years. TIFF is also serving as a tremendous distraction from the world's ills, the impending High Holidays, and hurricanes named for Jewish uncles and aunts. The next several posts will focus on TIFF and offer very quick bullet point reviews for the movies seen. Plan your Oscar ballots appropriately.
A few quick hits from TIFF
- King Street or "Festival Street" as it has been dubbed during the festival, has been a walking wall of people this weekend. The mayor has stated publicly that he wants this to be the last year that King will close on the first weekend of TIFF. I do understand the city's issues. Diverting the streetcars, asking commuters to find alternate routes into work, and moving traffic onto other arteries is a major pain in the ass. But...it is also an amazing street festival that is drawing thousands of visitors into the entertainment district and the bars and restaurants are absolutely loving it. I think that the mayor might want to chat with some of these small business owners before he makes this recommendation to council.
- I DO NOT understand these crazy "star gazers" who are staking out areas behind theatres or camping on the street in front of restaurants to catch a glimpse of simply anybody. As we walked by the Princess of Wales theatre this morning, we noticed the huge crowds waiting with fevered anticipation. I asked one woman who they were waiting for and she answered, "I don't have a clue, but it must be someone big." Here's an example of what they see. Behind the elbow of the guy holding up his phone, you might catch a glimpse of Jake Gyllenhaal. That's me in the black jacket.
- As we waited on the queue for today's film, TIFF volunteers came by to collect any garbage we might have. Toronto may not be a perfect city, but we do try really hard to be a clean one. ***TIFF TIP ALERT*** Make sure that you are aware of the food and beverage policy at the individual venues. Some theatres will allow you to bring water or snacks. Other aren't so friendly.
- Today's film was Suburbicon. I will admit that this was not a film I was eager to see and I did acquiesce to The Husband and his love of everything Coen Brothers. I have mixed feelings about the brothers and their films. I love some and hate others. But, this is TIFF and one must be open to a variety of film types. In Suburbicon, director George Clooney has taken an aging Coen script written in the early '80s, tweaked it, and created a brutal dark comedy combined with a historically accurate racially charged moment from America's checkered past. It is obvious that Clooney was eager to make a statement in this film and while there were times that I thought his attention was too divergent, the film does work on both levels. While Matt Damon and Julianne Moore are the big draws, the film is actually flat out stolen from them both by the work of young Noah Jupe and a wonderfully evil turn by Oscar Issac.
- Suburbicon actually surprised me. I went into the theatre ambivalent and walked out fulfilled. It is a film that will really please Coen Brother disciples and given his history and comfort with Ethan and Joel, Clooney is a good fit as director. (It was a really wonderful surprise when George came out and did a quick Q and A with the audience. That doesn't usually happen unless the movie is a premiere. He is brilliantly funny, easy-going, happy to answer questions about his work...not his personal life...we were warned, and truly charming.) Suburbicon is not for everybody but it will find a willing audience with dark comedy aficionados and those looking for a bit more depth in their film choices. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation for this film: An enthusiastic YUP from The Husband and a YUP, GO SEE IT from Dawn.