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… Continue reading →
I gave myself til the end of January to post this list, hoping to catch up on all the end of the year releases that don’t reach most screens until January. Well, it’s the end of January, so it was time to commit to my list. After all, year end lists become less and less relevant the farther away from the end of the year they come.
I didn’t get a chance to see every movie I wanted to see from 2006, but I did catch a lot of them (46 and counting). Movies that I wanted to see by have not yet seen include Pan’s Labyrinth, The Last King of Scotland, Little Children, Flags of our Fathers, Jesus Camp, Deliver us from Evil, Hollywoodland, and The Good German, so that’s why none of them make the list. No worries, as this won’t be my last word on the year in movies (that’ll come around Oscar time).
For most of the year, I thought 2006 to be a pretty crappy year for movies. But, while putting this list together, I realised that it turns out that there was a lot of good movies this year, just not necessarily at the multiplex. Instead, it was a year of disappointing and diminishing returns for heavily promoted movies, especially during the summer. But if you sought out good movies, there was some great ones to be seen. So, if you’re down on the year in film, maybe you just weren’t seeing the right movies. Continue reading →
I’m still hoping to catch a couple more movies before I’m ready to do my year end best movies list, but I figure I’ll be optimistic and do a worst movies list now (optimistic because doing so contains the hope that none of the movies I’m waiting to catch will be on this list).
First off, I have no pretensions that this is the defining list of bad 2006 movies. In fact, movies on this list have appeared on Best of 2006 lists elsewhere. The truth is, I go out of my way to avoid bad movies, so if I happen to catch one, it’s a movie that looked like it would be good. A reason for this is that I’m not a fan of genres that often produce really bad movies, be it mindless action movies, teen comedies, slasher flicks, or fantasy/sci-fi (before you write your angry responses, I’m not saying those genres suck, I’m saying that they produce some really sucky movies from people just trying to make a buck off of genre fans. They can also produce good movies).
So this is my list of movies that looked good when I went to see them, and ended up sucking. I’m not avoiding controversy here, so feel free to bring the anger if you wish (or, even better, telling me when I’m right). Also, I reviewed each of these movies, so if you want to read my review, click on the hypertext accompanying each write-up. Continue reading →