TIFF 08: Day 5

Now that we’ve been at this for four days, we’re settling into the routine pretty well. We wake up and have a little something to eat at the hotel (since we have a kitchen in our room), then head out to the first screening. When we have back-to-back screenings (which are generally separated by an hour), we’ll grab something portable for lunch/dinner and eat it in line for the next screening. At some point, we’ll have time to come back to our hotel for a nap (or simply relaxing while still being awake), then head out to the final screening (taking the subway to each location, as we’re right on the line and most of the theatres are as well).

But there’s also a routine to the screenings themselves, which is of more interest to you, the reader. We’re generally seated 20 minutes or so before the film is due to begin (today I’ve been using that time to write this stuff on my laptop… like I’m doing right now, whereas previously the laptop stayed at home while Kim and I played Scrabble on our iPods). The films never start on time, as they want to give enough time to sell tickets to people in the rush line. Then the festival programmer comes out to introduce the film, thank the sponsors, tell us to turn off electronic devices, and introduce the director/producer who is in attendance (every screening thus far besides Passchendaele has had a representative, generally the director, except in the case of the multi-director effort covered below). The director gives a short intro to the film, and if it’s a premiere, will also introduce the cast in attendance. They then sit down (or leave if they’re not sticking around), the lights dim, and the anti-piracy message comes on screen (to which those in the audience in the know reply “Arrrr”). We get a Bell Lightbox ad (that’s the new festival location that they’re building), then a Universal NBC message thanking the festival volunteers (for whom we in the audience applaud), an annoying Motorolla ad I’m more than tired of, and a Cadillac people’s choice award ad I’m also tired of (but less so than the Moto one), and the film begins.

If it’s a premiere, the toadies in the reserved seats will applaud for the studio/distributor banners of whomever they work for. Generally, the audience will applaud for anyone mentioned in the credits who was announced to be in attendance (whereas toadies will also applaud for people like the DP or others mentioned in the credits that we don’t know). When the film is over, there’s more applause (maybe even a standing O, generally induced by the toadies), and a short Q&A. If Kim and I have another screening to get to, or didn’t particularly like the film, we don’t stick around for that (which is why at TIFF, aisle seats are king. We’re sitting at the aisle right now, in two seats separated from the rest of the row. These may be my favourite seats yet). As we leave the screening, we hand off our ballots for the People’s Choice Award, rinse, repeat.

Read on for musings on New York, I Love You, Ashes of Time Redux, and Plastic City
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TIFF 08: Day 4

Three days and nine movies in, and the free stuff well ran dry today.

When you wait for a screening to start, you generally have to wait outside (except at the Scotiabank Centre), and if you want to get a good seat you have to wait outside for awhile. Companies looking to push samples of their product on people thus have a captive audience, which has led to us receiving a lot of free shit, some good, some bad. So far, we’ve gotten two free cans of Red Bull, a couple Dole Fruit Sparklers, a mini-bag of Starbucks coffee beans, a couple other coffee-related samples (I didn’t pay attention since I don’t drink coffee), two t-shirts, a bag of rice chips (sucked), some stupid hand puzzle, and a pair of mini binoculars (which we haven’t needn’t since we wait in lines to get good seats and all, but could come in handy for the upcoming Neil Young concert I suppose). But nothing today. Hopefully this doesn’t mean the end and is merely a result that we tended to stay indoors today because of the rain (both subway stops had indoor entrances to where we were leaving and arriving). I’m still hoping that the Sun Chips people are trying to expand their influence… I love those things.

Read on for musings on Food, Inc., Slumdog Millionaire, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno
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Movie Review Catch-up

This quickie review package contains two 2008 theatrical releases, the sort of thing that the old me would have obsessively tried to write out full reviews for, even if I didn’t have the time. Now, I’m trying to branch out a bit more, so movies like these are getting lost in the shuffle. Which isn’t a judgement on the films themselves necessarily, but more that I’ve now gotten far enough away from them that I probably wouldn’t be able to give them a full write-up anyway. Especially since blockbuster season is upon us and I try to get my thoughts out there on the movies people are more likely to see.

Read on for reviews of:
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
Redbelt (2008) 
The Visitor (2008) 
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