Today started off much the way they’ll all start. I pulled myself out of bed after 4.5 hours sleep and scurried into the industry ticket line. (Not having to run across town each morning is really fantastic.)
The first film I saw today was from one of Canada’s most beloved filmmakers – Atom Egoyan (THE SWEET HEREAFTER, CHLOE, and many more). REMEMBER stars Christopher Plummer as a Holocaust survivor with dementia who escapes from his nursing home to seek revenge on the Auschwitz commander who killed his family. Though a serious and intriguing subject, with moments of great tension, the film sometimes comes off as a bit twee when dealing with Plummer’s age and condition. There’s a good story here, but I just didn’t completely buy it. That said, I know many people will love this film.
Next up was IN CONVERSATION WITH JULIANNE MOORE. Clips from Moore’s career (BOOGIE NIGHTS, BIG LEBOWSKI, FAR FROM HEAVEN, THE HOURS, STILL ALICE, and more) played before she took the stage for a hour-long interview with Cameron Baily (and eventually a handful of audience questions). As I already knew, this woman is a class act. It was exciting to hear her insights on acting and her eloquence and command of language is so refreshing. She mostly spoke of her career in indie films, but she still referenced all the Hollywood material (JURASSIC, HUNGER GAMES, etc) she’s done…and she attributes her years on soap opera for giving her an opportunity to really learn to work. When asked by a young, college bound actress about seeking a career and having a “plan B” (referencing STILL ALICE), Julianne suggested always getting a college degree (even if it is in acting) and “do everything that interests you.” I love her! (The Star covered this event. For their story, visit this LINK…though the link might not work outside of Canada.)
After lunch and a 30 minute nap, I scurried to THE LOBSTER, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. This is a film set in a parallel universe – but it’s not really science fiction. It’s the story of a man who goes to a hotel where people go to find partners. After 45 days, if they haven’t found a partner, they get turned into an animal of their choice (OK, so maybe a hint of science fiction). This quirky allegory is from the man who brought us DOGTOOTH – one of my favorite challenging films of the past decade. THE LOBSTER is the director’s first English language film, and though I certainly like some of its themes and some of its moral and societal questions, I felt it was a little more disjointed than I’d prefer. I felt like the film began to lose steam in its second and third act. That said, I’d certainly watch it again…so there’s a testament to its strengths.
My last film for the day was KILL YOUR FRIENDS, directed by Owen Harris. This is a super-polished and scathing look at the music industry – starring Nicholas Hoult and based on a best-selling novel. The portrait of how things get done for record labels (though I’m sure you could substitute any number of high profile “glamorous” jobs) is relentless, and the drug use, the disregard for women (and in this over-the-top case, even violence) was terribly off-putting. Now here’s the question. Will some audiences simply revel in it? Will the drug use and hookers with bare breasts seem the ultimate goal to some…or will audiences really read it as a cautionary tale? I’m hoping for the latter. Nicholas Hoult plays the adorable maniac very well, and the movie recalls the tone and message of films like THE PLAYER and AMERICAN PSYCHO.
That’s it for today. I’m off for a beer with some friends. Hoping to be in bed by midnightish….we’ll see.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. You can quickly look at all my Toronto posts by going to www.mostmetro.com/tag/tiff Thank you!