Saturday, September 10, 2005

TIFF Entry #6: The First Walk-Out of the Fest...And It’s Only Day Three!

Yes, that’s right. I walked out of my first TIFF 2005 film this afternoon! But before details on that, I must announce some exciting (fest-wise) news: the Ryerson Theatre has been renovated and now has BRAND NEW SEATS and fresh new carpeting! Gone are the decades-old seats of last year, which were poorly padded (if at all), held together with duct tape and completely uncomfortable. Now: cushy, unscathed, Cineplex-quality red seats! It was all anyone in the theater could talk about!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to appeal to someone…anyone…working at the fest that they PLEASE inform Noah Cowan that the word is “confiscated,” not “CONSFIcated.” He keeps publicly mispronouncing it and he’s the co-boss of the entire festival! Twice he’s introduced films I was seeing, and twice he said “consficated” when rattling off the pre-screening list of rules. (Context: anyone caught recording a pirate copy of any movie will have it confiscated.)

So, please, someone gently pull him aside and whisper the correct pronunciation in his ear. He already has to struggle to tone down his ADHD and apparent caffeine addiction, so why should he shoulder the burden of, you know, not knowing how to say hard words right?

Okay, movies.

I started the day still basking in the afterglow of the magnificent Imagine Me & You (yes, I found out it should be “&” not “and”), despite being groggy because I was so W-I-R-E-D last night that I barely slept. I tried to focus on the proceedings at hand this morning, but my mind kept reverting to thoughts of “should I skip the Cate Blanchett movie tomorrow and see Imagine… again?” (I think this might actually happen. Yes, I know, I’m a nerd.)

My first film today was Mrs. Henderson Presents (6/8), a comedy-drama set in pre-WWII London and directed by Stephen Frears. The film stars Judi Dench as the titular wealthy widow, who’s bored and decides to buy a theater. She hires a theater manager (Bob Hoskins) and the two butt heads repeatedly as they prepare and execute a vaudeville show. But when ticket sales start to drop, they devise a new plan: nudity! That’s right, in the tradition of several fest films so far this year, clothes come off and everybody’s soon naked! (This includes Hoskins.) I must say, the penis is making quite a spectacle of itself at TIFF 2005. This is the third film so far where it makes an appearance.

Mrs. Henderson Presents starts off riotously funny, and I thought for a while that it might wind up being a delightful theater farce…but then it gets more poignant about 2/3 of the way through, and soon enough I was all teary. But I enjoyed it very much. Dench and Hoskins have AMAZING chemistry and comedic timing, and I’ll be buying the film’s supremely boppy soundtrack the minute it hits stores.

Up next was L’Enfer, the new film from Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land). Now, I’m partly to blame for my inability to understand what the hell this movie was about because I forgot to refresh my memory by reading the program book before leaving my apartment this morning. So I arrived at the screening unable to remember anything about this movie other than the fact that it co-stars Emmanuelle Béart. Tanovic attended the screening and told the audience (in his brief intro) that he hoped we were all still there by the end, because the film was, and I quote, “difficult to watch.” I immediately wondered what kind of depravity or violence would ensue, and assumed that, at some point, a penis would probably appear onscreen.

Not so much. Turns out, the film is “difficult to watch” because it’s incredibly BORING. And overwrought. And plagued by an overwhelming musical score that becomes almost comical in its efforts to set the tone. Based solely on the music, I kind of think this might have been a horror movie. Or a thriller. Or a tragedy. I really have no idea. It has something to do with four women (turns out, it’s a mother and three grown daughters) all coping with bad relationships (with a parent, with an unfaithful spouse, with a creepy professor). Why? Couldn’t tell you. I sat through an hour of the movie and, when I realized I could not name a single character, didn’t know who was related to whom or how, and didn’t care at all how the movie would end, I decided to pack it in. Festival walk-out number one! L’Enfer? This movie should have been called L’Ennui! (insert rimshot!)

As a result of my premature departure from that film, I had a little extra time before the next, and unwisely opted for a Happy Meal at McDonald’s en route. It was filling enough, but not something I want to have again anytime soon. I did save the cookies for later, though.

Then…Catherine Keener time! That’s right, baby, live and in person! I queued up for my last film of the day, Capote, which was making its world premiere at…three in the afternoon?!?! Yep. But I didn’t care, as long as Catherine and I were in the same space!

And we were! (OMG!!) These filmmakers knew how to pull out all the stops for their world premiere, and brought along a HUGE gaggle of participants. Several producers, screenwriter (and actor) Dan Futterman, the cinematographer, the composer and all three principal actors – Philip Seymour Hoffman (looking adorable!), Clifton Collins Jr. (who plays killer Perry Smith), and…*sigh*…Catherine Keener, looking stunning! Sadly, no comments from the cast on stage, just a smile and a wave before being ushered to their seats. Alas.

The movie itself was okay, if a little sterile and slow. It tracks Truman Capote through the process of writing In Cold Blood, and examines his relationship with Smith as he looks for information on the killings. But that’s about it. Hoffman makes a great Capote, but the story didn’t grab me. Catherine Keener’s supporting role, as Harper Lee, is key but relatively small. I liked it, I guess, but was kind of underwhelmed overall.

That was it for movies today. Every screening for tonight was sold out, so I called it a day at a pathetic 5:30pm. Before heading home, though, I decided to make a pit stop in the Four Seasons area again. There were a number of Big Fat Premieres tonight (including Brokeback Mountain, A History of Violence and Elizabethtown), so I thought mayhaps some celebs might be lingering in the vicinity. And they were! I was walking along Yorkville Avenue when I heard a small crowd start screaming, and I turned in time to see Ed Harris getting into his car.

“OMG!” I thought. “He’s in Viggo’s movie! Maybe Viggo’s leaving for the premiere, too!” This was going to be my chance to stalk Viggo for Jennifer, for SURE! But no. He’d already left, or left through the hotel’s other exit while I was looking at Ed. So no Viggo.

Tomorrow…well, tomorrow I might just see Imagine Me & You again. February is still really far away, and I need some feel-good moviegoing right now. We’ll see.

And what’s THIS???? Jodie Foster is in Toronto?!?! She was on the cover of the Toronto Star today, and it seems the junket for her upcoming film, Flightplan is taking place *here*, right now. Freaky.

Celebrity Sightings: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Ed Harris, Dan Futterman, director Bart Freundlich (I *think*…it sure looked like him!) and this guy who used to be on Saturday Night Live, but whose name escapes me right now. (He was a bit player, not a main cast member.)

Roger Ebert Sightings: Adding insult to injury, as I waited for a possible Viggo sighting, I stood next to this guy on his cell phone, who said, “Yeah! I just saw Orlando Bloom! And Roger Ebert! And I think Carmen Diaz!” (Yes, folks, he called her “Carmen.”)

Line Buzz: Some good buzz for a film from Singapore called Be With Me. So-so chatter about Takeshi Kitano’s Takeshis’, and a lot of pre-screening advance buzz for Mistress of Spices, which I’m seeing tomorrow night.


Linda said...

As far as the "confiscated," vs "CONSFIcated" problem, you can at least say your pronunciation-impaired fellow is in good company. Look no further than the "leader of the free world"--Dubya himself--who famously has been busted on his eyeball-rolling "nuclear" vs "nu-CU-lar" speech impediment. :D

Jennifer said...

Excellent stalking, Vickie! It actually makes me feel a little teary to think that someone tried to find Viggo for me. That's so sweet! I am mightily impressed by your Ed Harris sighting (just one degree from Viggo, and a fine actor in his own right)and am glad you got to see Catherine and Philip too...Maybe Carmen Diaz is just Roger Ebert's assistant, completely unrelated to Cameron ;)

Vickie said...

Ah, Jennifer. I feel like I was thisclose to snaring Viggo for you! Like he was *just* around the corner, and I only barely missed him.

There's still time. Maybe he hasn't left yet. Maybe he senses there's some curious reason he needs to stay in Toronto a tiny bit longer...

the_voice said...

No comment yet about how this year, the film getting the people's choice award WON'T have played in the Elgin, as the last two years films have, cause those "ballots" or whatever are nowhere to be seen at ANY of the Elgin screenings?

Vickie said...

I always suspect those People's Choice winners are fixed in advance.

And I think they figure the Ryerson screenings, where those little ballots are EVERYWHERE, will make up for the Elgin.

But I hadn't even noticed the ballot-free Elgin! I have a movie there later this week and will be sure to keep an eye out. 'Cause that's kind of weird.

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