Monday, September 10, 2007

TIFF #6 (Vickie’s Diary): First Walkout of the Fest!

I have insomnia. Or, perhaps, not insomnia but some kind of freaky sleep situation where I can’t fall asleep at night and I can’t stay asleep in the morning. For the past few days, my body’s decided to wake me around 6:30am, regardless of when I hit the hay the night before, and then keep me awake. This is making me very, very, very tired. I find myself slipping into drowsiness over and over again at my screenings yet, when I get home and get ready for bed, suddenly I get my second wind and could not be more awake.


I feel the need to invoke the much-loved (by me) Margaret Cho Blog Brevity Law™ tonight. For those unfamiliar with this law, it allows me – the blogger – to keep my entry super-short because I’m writing it at an unholy hour and desperately need to go to bed...even if I won’t actually sleep much while there. Perhaps Eric will make up for my lack of prose tonight with a lengthy tome on how he spent his Sunday.

Here, then, in a nutshell, is my day:

Movie #1: XXY (6/8), an Argentinian drama about a teenaged hermaphrodite (Inés Efron), who’d been raised as a girl but who’s coming to terms with her sexuality and being urged to essentially choose a gender. Gorgeously shot and nicely acted, the film was languid and somewhat somber (definitely not a happy-go-lucky flick) and really made me want to take a nap.

Movie #2: The Orphanage (6/8), a fun “horror” movie about a woman (Belén Rueda, whom some may recall I *lurrrrrved* in The Sea Inside) who decides to reopen the long-closed orphanage she lived in as a child...only to discover that it’s, like, super-haunted by a whole gaggle of little-kid ghosts. I had been worried that the film would traumatize me, but it was actually not that scary at all. In fact, and this may very well be due to screwed-up hormones as a result of my sleep deprivation, it actually made me cry (?!) with its poignant ending.

I skipped Movie #3 (Les Chansons d’Amour) in order to spend the afternoon hanging out with Eric and Dan. We had lunch at Terroni and then wandered Yorkville for a while. I took them through the Four Seasons, and then we went on a photo tour of Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto...where Eric engaged in inappropriate touching with assorted statues, monuments, stationary objects and a post. Fun!

Movie #4: Aaron Eckhart’s Bill, my first walkout of TIFF 2007. I will preface this blurb by saying that Eric had told me earlier in the afternoon that he’d read the screenplay for Bill a few years ago and thought it was absolutely terrible. Much to my dismay, the finished product was just as awful. Painful, hammy overacting from Eckhart – as a married schlub unhappy with his life – did the movie in for me. I just could not watch him. A number of the cast members showed up for the screening, but I didn’t want to hear what any of them had to say so, 45 minutes in, I ran for the door.

Btw, TIFF organizers, what the HELL is with the rows and rows and rows of "reserved" seating at the screenings this year? Bill was showing at the Varsity 8 tonight, and the last TEN ROWS of the center section were completely blocked off, so paying customers were forced to sit on the flanks and in the front, while heaven knows who planted their bums in the plum seats. That didn't seem fair, and more than a few patrons voiced their displeasure with the practice.

Celebrity Sightings: Aaron Eckhart, Jessica Alba, Elizabeth Banks, Kristin Wiig (yaaaaaay!), Timothy Olyphant, Fisher Stevens.

Roger Ebert Sightings: No, but that’s okay.

Random Factoid of the Day: Belén Rueda used to be a talk-show host in Spain.

Weather For Tomorrow: Perfect weather! Partly cloudy, high of 23ºC.

Line Buzz: Numerous raves for Boy A, some good buzz on Chaos and a positive review of Fugitive Pieces.


Maria said...

So "Bill" is terrible? Man, that's too bad as I know someone from Greenstreet films, their producer. I have tickets to see it at a second showing, so I'll think about whether I skip it or go forward.

I'm currently having a great, but tired, time at TIFF 2007. I just got back from "The Golden Age" and "The Jane Austin Book Club" at Roy Thompson. Cate, Clive and Geoffrey were there and they were great in the movie, but I like the first Elizabeth much better.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

re: Reserved Seating.

I noticed that when I went to see Promise to the Dead: The Exile of Ariel Dorfman, and also in subsequent 'World Premiere'. I think when that is the case oodles and oodles of people involved in the film are at the screening. I've resolved to pretty much sit in the front row (with the exception of Scotiabank), and that way I don't have to see over anyone.

Matt said...

Larger studio sections are definitely a trend this year. We've had up to 250 at the Ryerson -- that's 20% of the theatre and I've asked at what point we suggest they arrange a private screening! But I'm not sure what power, if any, TIFF has to decline their seating requests.

I had a very nicely dressed fellow come up to me and say he was the exec producer for a film and was looking for (random name). When I responded "Well, some of your producers are right over there, perhaps they can help you," he said he didn't recognize any of them! That's right, they don't actually seem to know each other and so we have the darnedest time uniting them with the tickets someone is holding for them.

On a separate note, I've personally turned away three people for showing up too late, and seen staff handle a bunch more. The rule hasn't changed, but we may be enforcing it more often.

Linda said...

Whoah, Matt... freakin' 250 SEATS roped off for VIPs? I must be mistaken thinking that festivals are a venue for filmmakers to show their completed projects off to the, you know, "world" for the first time, as opposed to their own selected audience.

The whole thing reminds me of the similar Anthony Hopkins fiasco at SIFF, where many many seats remained empty, when they easily could have sold seats to "regular folks" and actually made some more money.

Oh, and back to the post, Belén Rueda is awesome. I hope The Orphanage gets some distribution!

Matt said...

If they don't fill those seats, we do try to (re)sell them. Large reserved sections are part of the reason I've seen up to 120 people from the "rush" line get into a screening that was sold out. (That is the record; usually it's a lot less.)

Paul said...

As I mentioned in a later posting (which I read first) I too disliked Bill. Considering each of the actors IS talented, I blame the directors and editors.

Sidenote: You left after 45 minutes? I stayed to the end... it actually got WORSE in the last 30 minutes. And majority of the audience left before Q&A... that's how Toronto audiences say a movie was bad.