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    #TIFF10 Thoughts

    My general thoughts about my experiences at TIFF this year:

    • Was originally worried about the fact that the premium screenings spilled out of the Elgin and Roy Thompson Hall, but this didn't turn out to be a problem for films I wanted to see, and since the Elgin wasn't entirely premium screenings, I was able to hit the VIP lounge.
    • I have been critical of the Volunteers in the past, but this year TIFF succeeded in training them extremely well, and by having SO MANY of them, they were nothing but helpful.
    • The Bell Lightbox seems very promising. The two movies I saw were well presented, concession prices remind us what they COULD be if not so overpriced at regular theatres, the exhibits - in particular, the Essential 100 exhibit - were awesome. If you haven't already, you should visit this building. The Tim Burton exhibit will be cool when it arrives too.
    • Lines were well placed this but I think people should stop lining up so early. Just stop. We will ALL be happier if you don't line up 2 hours before.
    • Reading material I picked was great! 100 Bullets entertained and Effective C++ educated.
    • Enjoyed seeing movies with friends, and particularly Katharine who joined me for 9 films.
    • Tried to go to Guu for dinner a few times, but it was always too busy.
    • Only had 1 film at the Varsity and 1 at the Isabel Bader. Noticeable that they're moving the films away from the old Uptown Theatre location and towards the Lightbox. Meaning away from Yorkville as well.
    • 21 was a reasonable amount of movies for a week off from work.
    • 3 midnight madnesses was more than enough for me. After the first two, I knew I was not going to be able to a midnight followed by a 9am start to a 4 movie day.

    I miss the experience already, and look forward to next year!



    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 9

    Last day for me, and 4 feature day!

    It's Kind of a Funny Story
    Is not a side-splitting comedy. It's one of those comedy / drama things. Katharine had no desire to see it based on the ads portraying it as a comedy, but enjoyed the drama parts. Maybe future ads should focus on the drama part for one part of the audience, and hope that Zach Galifianakis draws the other part. It was Katharine's favourite film of the festival, and I quite enjoyed it as well. It's a great date film. My favorite part was a piano cover of the Pixies' There Goes my Mind.

    Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
    A perfect blend of mystery and Kung Fu. The mystery, despite someone else speaking to the contrary, was well executed. If you paid attention, you could have solved the mystery along with the Detective. The Kung Fu, and the final action scene are quite well done, mainly for emphasizing the importance action to the plot rather than having fight scenes and stunts just for the sake of having fights. Worth a viewing, for sure.

    The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical
    Katharine really wanted to see this film, and the Globe and Mail named it pick of the festival. It's a good documentary about kids in the slums of Mumbai performing songs from the Sound of Music in a high class concert hall, and the fact that the kids, despite struggling to perfect their parts, succeed in performing quite well on performance night, makes for a feel good moment (I wanted to applaud). But I saw a couple of great documentaries, so the execution of this one failed to hook me completely. The story is touching, but the film execution wasn't as good as some other documentaries this year. You should see it, but TMN is a good venue.

    I will gladly rant to you in person about WHY this was my least favourite film of the festival (the main reason being how the film completely botched the payoff scenes near the end of the film, but there were many other issues), but I would have walked out of this film if I wasn't there with Katharine. Highest grossing film in the history of China, but executes horribly in every possible way.

    And that's it. I will try to post some general thoughts on the festival soon.



    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 8


    At the last minute, I picked up a ticket to this film, on the basis of a two minute clip on TV saying that it was like District 9. It was more Cloverfield and the Mist than District 9, and does a good job setting up the mood, but isn't an action movie (so nothing like District 9 or Cloverfield). Cloverfield was packed with action. This was not. Be warned, if they advertise this film as action-packed when it is released in November, don't expect action. Any action. Maybe 20 minutes of action total in the film. But it's not a horrible film. Also, it's a little strange that the whole film was planned around imagery in the director's head rather than plot, and it shows.

    Next up, my last day of the festival, and it's a 4 feature day!



    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 7

    A documentary and Katharine's least favourite film of the festival!

    How To Start Your Own Country
    The concept of the film seemed promising: investigate all these micronations in the world. With the exception of two people, most weren't that funny, and the others weren't serious enough, so it failed to go to the extremes it needed to to succeed. It should have either gone full silly - as could have been done with a few more silly micronations - or full serious by looking at Somaliland, Lechtenstein, Tibet, etc, etc and focus on those. By not going to a serious or silly extreme, it can't click with an audience. Not worth a look.

    Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    IFC Films has picked this up, and you MUST see this incredible 3D documentary in theatres when it's released. Documenting the oldest cave paintings known to man, this 3D film makes you feel like you're in the cave. And if liked Grizzlyman and Encounters at the End of the World - other Herzog documentaries - you'll like this one. That said, although I thought it was spectacular, my companion to the film really didn't like it.

    Next up, an alien film!



    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 6

    Black Swan
    The Wrestler was my favourite film of the festival a couple of years ago. The director has returned with a film that could have been called, 'The Ballerina'. It was intense, entrancing, gripping, gritty, and used visual effects in an extremely subtle and effective way to enhance the film rather than distract (like it did in the Fountain, another film by the same directory). If you liked the Wrestler, you should see this movie, but avoid if you disliked the Wrestler. Portman is good, but not as good as Rourke was. Probably my fave film of this year's TIFF.

    A Katharine pick, this film was very sad, and a little slow, but 'ok'. There isn't much I want to say about it.

    Poised to be my fave film if TIFF on concept alone - one man show of Ryan Reynolds in a box buried underground - it was a good film that should be seen in a full theatre, and was technically impressive, but I would have preferred it if (SPOILER ALERT) there WAS a conspiracy (as implied in the trailer), rather than the main character just going a little crazy. I think having seen Black Swan earlier in the day, it was hard to find this film to be as intense as advertised. Worth a gander and enjoyable, but don't expect best film of the year.

    Up next, a full day with Katharine, including her least favourite film of the festival.