Today my phone buzzed with the story of a film blogger calling 911 because he was bothered by someone using their cellphone during a screening. It's kind of a funny story to most, I suppose -- one that illustrates just how wrapped up people can get in this odd world. Except I didn't find it funny. At all. On any level. As a guy who spent every day of my working life for eight years trying to keep up with the volume of calls pouring in to 911 -- legitimate calls, each of which carried with it the weight of someone possibly dying -- I find Billington's action offensive.
Even when asked, not all actors and directors at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) are engaging with reporters on questions about red carpet designer wear or what their shots are at getting an Oscar nod.
Night Moves is about three environmental activists who blow up a dam. The first 15 minutes warn us that there are going to be some painfully unnecessary scenes laced with unnatural dialogue.
Like some psychedelic mash-up of Eyes Wide Shut, The Trial and Naked Lunch, R100 is by turns disgusting, hilarious, and tedious. For the most part the audience must surrender to the demented flow of the thing in order to have any fun.
Despite the utter unlikelihood of the plotting, everything about Enough Said feels lived in and true. Sparkling, light and yet awash in thoughtful insight into the particular challenges of new love in middle age, this was easily my favourite comedy of the festival so far.
A quick-paced, hard-charging adrenaline ride of a movie, Gravity takes us into the heart of an infinite darkness and then leads us home. As exciting as it is technically virtuosic, it invites us to reconsider the possibilities of the "popcorn movie." Thank god for that.
I judge a film by the punch it packs and whether it has the sentiments to reach and a message to teach. Egyptian filmmaker Ahmed Abdallah's Rags and Tatters possesses it all. But it delivers this wallop in a very meditative, introspected way.
Secrets and lies carried the day in most of the five films I saw Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival. But then, aren't the most interesting movies built around them? It's so obvious that Mike Leigh used the idea as the title of one of his finest efforts.
Between long, punishing shots of brutal whippings, lynchings, hangings, and rape, and the pervasive repugnance of the situation more generally, Steve McQueen has mounted the most affecting film about American slavery that has ever been made. But, does that in and of itself recommend it?
The very first year I produced the live coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival press conferences I met and became friends with one of the truly unique characters in the world of international cinema. Henri Behar is a fixture at Cannes as the moderator of the press conferences there, and years ago was asked to come to Toronto to reprise that same role here.
Hi-Ho Mistahey! is not the joyless catalogue of wrongs I feared. For every grievance the film portrays, it offers equal evidence of inspiring First Nations youth working proactively to improve their situation. Still, while It would be nice if the fix for education in Attawapiskat and other reserves were as straightforward as a better building and more money, the solution is very unlikely to be that easy. The engaging movie would have more impact if it recognized more explicitly that securing more government funding for on-reserve schools is just one piece in a much larger, and more complex, puzzle.
Hello, Mike! I'm not even sure we should have this chat -- or any other this Oscar season -- since the Best Picture winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards is "12 Years A Slave."
Within its creative chaos and subtle but critical balances lie not only the clues to Abu-Assad's genius, but many of the answers that could help us navigate today's hyper-divided world.
Nazareth is infectious. From the moment I set foot in town, I knew why the filmmaker had moved back to "the ghetto," as Abu-Assad affectionately calls it -- to his family's building, where he's now surrounded by uncles, aunts, and his amazing mother who lives just upstairs.
This week saw the kickoff of the Toronto International Film Festival and all the line-ups, cameras, parties, celeb sightings (and stalkings), road closures, red carpet poses, and chaos that go with it. TIFF usually makes me cranky. The whole lining up for tickets you've already bought thing makes no sense. And why the herding of audience members outdoors in inclement weather? Enter HuffPost's Spotlight on TIFF blog series. Hearing from directors such as Atom Egoyan and Alanis Obomsawin has been a refreshing reminder of what the festival is really about. It's not just a venue for waiting around and celeb stalking. It's the place an incredibly creative, hardworking group of people choose to share their deeply felt visions with an audience for the first time. Looked at that way, TIFF feels more like a privilege than a hassle.
The interviewers, who were all women, all asked me the same two questions with a grimace: "So did you have a scene where you had to... be physical...with a 14-year-old?" And I tried to explain, to make light, to assure them that it was... obviously uncomfortable but really honestly it was...fine. But I didn't have the time to explain myself; the interview moved on. Judgment was passed. My character in the film doesn't have a good defense.