Everyone loves gifts, and companies especially like sharing their products with celebrities and other influencers, hoping to associate their brands with A-listers, and get some all-important media attention. So with every TIFF comes the inevitable swag room: The Gift Lounge. What was up for grabs this year?
Denis Villeneuve had two films at this year's Toronto Film Festival. The better one was called Enemy. The one that's getting the big studio release this week is called Prisoners.
Professor Greyson and Tarik Loubani, an emergency doctor from London, Ont., went to Egypt despite the unrest. They seemed not to know about the animosity between Egypt and Gaza, between the Egyptians and Hamas. Now, we Canadians will have to get him out of jail where he has been incarcerated since August 26.
This year the footprint black films and artists have left behind is resoundingly deeper, bigger and better than ever before. Especially when you consider that director Steven McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, a graphic and compelling allegory about slavery, has won the festival's prestigious People's Choice Award.
Hateship Loveship is a thematically inside out version of "Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage"; Munro's story is about silence, whereas the movie is about finding a voice. Both are worthy stories, but Munro's asks more of the reader than Hateship Loveship does of the viewer.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the most high profile film festivals in the world. International stars walk the red carpets, the world press turn its collective eye toward Toronto and, it's hoped, tourist revenues shoot through the roof. But does being a big deal at TIFF really translate into mainstream success? Or to put it another way: do festivalgoers who LOVE movies work the same way as people who simply like them?
Teleporting Chinese tourists. Masturbating astronauts. Death by duct tape. Semen-filled puppets. Possible time travel. That one guy from Corner Gas. I was at a loss for words, and kept looking around to see if someone, anyone, was as confused and enraged as I was, but they were speechless in the face of True Art. I call bullshit.
Nothing, however, pulls you out of that zone -- that sweet spot of movie viewing -- as the sudden intrusion of a brightly lit screen of someone's cell phone in your line of sight.
I can't say I'm all that surprised about George Clooney skipping the TIFF premiere of Gravity. He's embarrassed. I would be too. And Sandra Bullock, let's face it, you're basically just playing the same role you had in Speed. Except Speed had a plot.
I thought that viewing this at a public screening with retirees eating popcorn (versus a press screening with jaundiced critics) would be fairly excruciating. It wasn't. Toronto's cinephiles stand ready to embrace it all.
Under the Skin is simply a brilliant, complex novel, awash in metaphor and allegory, concerned with high philosophy. Faber's novel could have made for a memorable, thoughtful thriller. Unfortunately, that's not exactly what director Jonathan Glazer has offered us.
What if your child went missing and you had no photograph of him to share, no money, no Internet to search, and no one who could help you? You would probably do everything you could the hard way. In Canada, this wouldn't be the case. In some places, this is reality. This is the story of the TIFF film, Siddharth.
It is never a good thing when people decide to walk out of a screening, however it's probably worse when these walkouts happen at a film festival screening, in front of the creators of the film. However, when the movie in question is called The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears, one has to wonder: what did these people think they were watching?
Cannes used to be the craziest, but today there may be no more hysteria-inspiring festival than Toronto, which is jam-packed with vaunted Hollywood movies.
In The Husband, Hank is a petite, painfully skinny ad exec. He hates his job, his coworkers and basically his entire life. It's not hard to see why. Henry is solely responsible for looking after his baby, Charlie, because his wife Alyssa is in jail. She is a former teacher incarcerated for having sex with her 14-year-old student. It only gets worse from there, but it's a worthwhile character study.
If you were able to watch a new movie every two hours all day from 8 a.m. through midnight for the entire 10-day run of the festival, you would still only be able to see a little more than half of the movies the festival has to offer.