Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Daytime Drinking, Hunger, Religulous

Seriously. Does anyone who knows me think I could pass up a film called Daytime Drinking? Even one in Korean?

This film was entertaining, but not destined to change to world or sweep a bunch of awards, I don't think. I was almost more entertained by the Q&A where the young director (through a translator) admitted he was an art student who didn't know much about film making and was pretty floored that his film was now making the festival circuit. When someone asked him why he chose this subject for his film, instead of going into some artsy explanation involving existentialism or other such heady stuff, he said, "I like drinking and I like traveling, so I thought, why not make a film about drinking and traveling."

The protagonist of the film is heartbroken, having been recently dumped by his girlfriend, and drinking with his buddies one afternoon, they all talk him into going on a trip with them to cheer him up. He can't leave right away (as they plan to) because he has to find someone to take care of the family dog, so he agrees to meet them at the mountainous village the next day. Problem is, when he arrives, his friends aren't there and it turns out they just kept drinking the day before, and were too hung over to go and/or don't remember making the plans. And the market they assured him would be there is closed. And the great pension they recommended is less than welcoming. So what's a young man to do? Drink, of course. And he ends up getting into more and more scrapes including being dumped in the snow at the side of the road in his underwear. I laughed quite a few times during this film, and the view into young Korean culture (much the same as student culture here -- only the details are different) made this one worth seeing.


After In the Name of the Father, you'd think the story of Bobby Sands' 1981 hunger strike had already had its time on the big screen. But this film is different. It was certainly one of the "buzz" films and in fact won the prize for the best film in the Special Presentations series. (The first year such an award has been handed out.) And Special Presentations had many really great films... so this is no small achievement.

The film follows not only Bobby Sands, with an astonishing performance by Michael Fassbender, but also a prison guard and other people on both sides of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. The effect is such that the film doesn't take sides as blatantly as most films that cover politically charged subjects do.

It was made by a first time director, Steve McQueen, a young British artist of some repute (his work has been acquired by the Guggenheim among other major galleries) and certainly the film shows his eye for detail and finding a beautiful way to show many things that are less than beautiful. And the ugliness of things too. Showing the truth in them, I guess.

Many things in this film will make many viewers gag and/or cringe with disgust, but it was worth seeing for Fastbender's performance, alone. Staggering what humans will do to other humans and what one human will do to himself.


This was a highly anticipated film in general this year, partly because Larry Charles and Bill Maher showed 12 minutes of it last year at the festival during a talk they gave as part of the Mavericks series (which are lectures/discussions with filmmakers). It was also highly anticipated by me because it was Bill Maher and Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Borat) and the subject was the ridiculousness of religion. What could be better than that? But to be honest, the film disappointed me a bit. I did laugh, but some of the laughs seemed like cheap shots based on sight gags when they didn't need to be. The words coming out of the people they interview are funny enough with out the "ba-dump-bum". I didn't feel like the film really taught me anything or made me see anything any differently... but perhaps they were literally preaching to the choir in my case, having decided much about organized religion was ridiculous at least 25 years ago.

Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was Charles' answer to a audience member's question at the end, who wondered why the film mostly makes fun of Christians and Muslims and Mormons and Scientologists, but pretty much leaves the Jews alone (except for a small bit with a clearly fringe sect of Jews) and was that because he (Charles) was Jewish. I don't want to misquote him, so I won't put his answer, but it made me think the audience member had been right to ask the question... He said something about there being fewer Jews in the world than Christians or Muslims so he was trying to be proportionate... but that doesn't explain the bigger bits on Mormons and Scientology.

I'm sure this one will be opening (and being picketed in various US cities) soon. I think some time in October, in fact. Worth seeing for the laughs. I might even go again. I know I missed some lines because of the full audience and raucous laughter, and maybe I simply wasn't in the right mood to fully enjoy this film, having just come out of the very serious Hunger -- a terrifying look at how religion can tear people apart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More TIFF films

I was going to try to go through these by type or theme or something clever (ha)... but I figure the best strategy now is to just work my way through the fest chronologically, making at least a brief comment about each film I saw. Here goes:

Katia's Sister

This was a strange little film from The Netherlands destined not to come to a multiplex near you. I did find it interesting, though. Sad story about a young, strange girl who is neglected and taken for granted by her prostitute mother and beautiful older sister who's slipping into a life of prostitution herself. The main character, who doesn't get named until the final scene, takes the nurturing archetype character to the extreme, basically running the entire household, although she's the youngest. She idolizes her sister (Katia) and starts up inappropriate relationships with other people in an attempt to be more like her sister. Very different sort of coming of age story and a look at the life of Russian immigrants in Holland.

Wendy and Lucy

This was one of the films this year there was a lot of "buzz" about and I expect it will get distribution, at least to art house type theatres. It stars Michelle Williams who always impresses me. I've seen her in quite a few small independent films and she's always good. Ultimately, this is a very sad story. I cried. Wendy is traveling with her dog Lucy, trying to get up to Alaska for a high paying job in a fish packing plant, when her car breaks down in Oregon. She's carefully budgeted every penny she has for the trip (without any luxuries like motels -- she and Lucy sleep in the car -- or much food for herself -- Williams was skinnier than I've ever seen her) so the extra expense of needing anything done on her car is terrifying and there's no work to be had in this depressed Oregon town. In a moment of desperation, she steals a can of dog food, is caught by a holier than thou shop clerk, and during the 6 or 7 hours she's detained by the police, Lucy disappears. I don't want to say much more about what happens, but it's a real and sad look at living on the edge of pennilessness and shows both the best and worst sides of human nature in terms of the people she encounters while trying to find her dog and get back on the road. Ultimately, it's a story of sacrifice and quite beautiful.

But it's a very quiet film... During the intro, the director called out someone who she'd seen come in with nachos. Her words were something like: they ask you to turn off your phones, but apparently it's okay to chomp on a huge tray of nachos. I didn't hear any chomping, so perhaps that viewer was shamed into saving them until after the film. (An aside... Generally film fest goers do not eat during films. Between films to be sure. One has to eat. But usually the every-seat-filled theatres are completely silent during the screenings. Especially the "quiet" films. People are really respectful of the films and other film goers.)

Is There Anybody There?

I didn't originally find the premise of this one that engaging, because it sounded too sentimental. But I saw the film Boy A during the week we had to make our festival selections this year and was so impressed by that film that I had to see this one by the same filmmaker. Interestingly, during the intro, the filmmaker said that Boy A was a film he did to fill time while waiting to get the funding and cast together for this one. But I really liked Boy A better, although this film certainly has more commercial appeal. It's the story of a young boy who lives in an old-folks home run by his parents and is obsessed with the supernatural and the question of whether there is life after death. A retired magician, played by Michael Caine, moves into the house and the pair strike up an unlikely friendship ultimately helping each other. Sounds schmaltzy, right? But it's actually not as sentimental as it sounds (although I think it is more sentimental than the director thinks it is) and has some truly funny and touching moments and a twist I didn't see coming. Michael Caine, who plays a character at least ten years older than he is in real life, received a standing ovation both before and after the screening, and it was well deserved. The young boy, Bill Milner, who was so amazing in last year's Son of Rambow, wasn't at the screening because, as the director said, he's a victim of his own success and couldn't leave the set of the film he's currently making.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some of the Docs

I'm not sure whether it was a theme of the festival overall this year, or just the ones I picked, but I saw quite a few films that were either based on true life stories, and/or documentaries about people's lives.

A couple of these documentaries: Yes Madam, Sir, and Waltz with Bashir, I already blogged about, and here is my attempt to fill you in on a few more.

More Than a Game

This wasn't one of my first choices and to be honest, while I'd heard the name Lebron James before, I had no idea who he was or that he was even one of the subjects of this film when I put it down as a second choice. I just knew it was a film about high school basketball and I didn't have anything better to see in that time slot.

Well, I'm glad I went, if only for the experience of being in the theatre which was filled with hundreds of teenage boys who were clearly there to see LeBron more than they were there to see the film, but were extremely excited. The room really buzzed. And it's a good film. The filmmaker followed Lebron's high school basketball team over it's career and the director must have been very young when he started shooting this, because he barely looks 30 now. The film also contains TV and home movie footage of the boys playing as young as eight years old and their story of friendship and loyalty and hard work really was inspirational. (Although the grainy TV footage was a little hard to watch from my 2nd row middle vantage point. But being at the feet (literally, I think I could have touched his pant leg had I tried) of Lebron during the Q&A almost made up for that.) It was touching during the Q&A to see 4 of the 5 young men on stage (one, Sian, couldn't come because he's currently playing College football and had a game) and all the men were in tears a few times. My favorite part of the story was how they ended up playing for a mostly white Catholic high school, instead of the mostly black high school everyone expected them to go to. One of the boys (now men) Dru, was very small at 14 and it became clear to him that the coach at the school they were expected to go to was not going to let him play. So he went to talk to the coach at the other school who recognized the kid's talent (in spite of his size) and made it clear he'd give him a chance. So Dru announced to his Dad and friends he was going to this mostly white Catholic high school and all of this friends followed him there including Lebron. The school went from not even being on the charts in high school basketball land in their first year to being the National Champs by their senior year. It was a great documentation of not only the friendship/loyalty/sportsmanship that I mentioned before, but also how hypocritical the media/system is toward amateur sport. They build this kid up to be a huge celebrity while still in high school, and then penalize him for it. Great film. Not sure if it'll get a wide release, but I'm sure it'll at least end up in rotation on cable TV channels.

Paris, Not France

Jumping from inspirational to the ridiculous, was another documentary about celebrity. This doc film maker followed Paris Hilton around for a few years and the movie was touted to expose much about the heiress we didn't know... But I have to say, there was nothing new in it for me. Yes, this woman is smarter in real life than her reality TV persona would imply. But the constant "I work so hard" started to grate when the evidence of her working was simply jetting around the world to show up at meetings to approve the hard work other people have done on her behalf. She was at the screening (in spite of some rumors she was trying to block the film and the number of screenings being cut from 3 to 1 after the festival programme was published) and it was interesting to have her there. But I was proud of most of the audience members. Yes, there were a few truly obnoxious people who stood in the aisle with their camera's taking multiple photos of her while the film was being introduced, but for the most part people were pretty cool. The one thing I wondered about... There were several moments when I think things she said might have received a laugh from the audience had she not been there, but like typical Canadians, we were too polite to laugh at her expense with her in the room.

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love

On the same vein of docs about real life people, this film about African musician Youssou Ndour was also entertaining, but didn't blow me away. He first rose to World attention when he sang with Peter Gabriel, but he's quite famous both in Africa and in many countries in Europe -- particularly France. He is talented and his story was interesting, but I felt like it pulled back from discussing the main topic, which was the negative reaction he received in his native Senegal an in other Muslim countries, when he released an album of sacred music. The original planned release of this album was very near September 11, 2001. He held off for a few years, but the negative reactions didn't come from non-Muslims, but from Muslims who believed it wasn't right for a "pop singer" to be singing religious music. I must admit much of this film has faded from memory, as I saw it early in the festival, but I doubt it'll get a theatrical release in North America. One interesting sidenote. I saw a man in the audience (amongst the reserved seats) who looked a lot like Danny Glover, but older. The next day, I saw a photo of Danny Glover at the TIFF that made me think it had been Danny Glover I saw... But I'm not 100% sure. He sat across the aisle and about 5 rows up from me, so mostly I was looking at the back of his head.

And to round out my list of documentaries:

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

I exchanged a ticket for a Colin Firth film (Genova) to see this one, based on the recommendation of some friends from Indiana, (Brian and Michael), I met at the 2002 Film fest and have seen most years since then. I figured the Colin Firth one will hit theatres and this one might not.

And it was really entertaining. Especially considering it's about a college football game that happened nearly 40 years ago. But it was excellent story telling. The film is interspersed with clips from the game in chronological order, so that you feel like you actually have seen the game by the end, and most of the footage is interviews of the players (including Tommy Lee Jones who was one of the Harvard team members.) Really interesting how "characters" came out in the interviews and how the men remember (or misremember) so many details so many years later. By clever editing of the clips, the filmmaker really paints a picture of the rich, priveliged (and very talented at football) Yale boys against the not-so-privileged (or talented at football) Harvard boys. A really fun underdog comes from behind story and a great view back to the late 60's when so much was going on at American Universities (although not so much at Yale, it seems.)

Even though you know the outcome of the game from the title of the film... it was really exciting to watch and impossible right up to the end to imagine how the score will come out that way. Audience members were cheering or groaning as plays were made or missed.

The film also has lots of fun little surprises (like Tommy Lee Jones) who was such a sourpuss it was funny. Yes, most of us know that Al Gore was Tommy Lee Jones's college roommate, but it was fun to watch TLJ reluctantly talk about that. Hilarious when he tells the interviewer how funny Al Gore was and then tries to think of examples... but TLJ is so not funny that even if these things were funny when Al did them, they aren't funny now. Another of the players (a Yale player, if memory serves) was dating Meryl Streep during college (and there were photos of them together) and other players knew a rowdy, drunken rich boy who was constantly in hot water named George W. Bush. Fun film. Don't know if it's commercial enough to get a big release, but like More than a Game I'm sure it'll show up on cable TV and/or on DVD at a minumum.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

So, I was going to wait until tomorrow to start writing/posting my comments about the films I went to this year, but since Slumdog Millionaire won the People's Choice award and I LOVED this film, I thought I'd make a few quick comments tonight. (Actually, I guess it's technically tomorrow, already.)

First a disclosure. The director, Danny Boyle, can do little wrong in my books. Shallow Grave is one of my all time favourite films (and not just because it was my first introduction to Ewan McGregor. Okay, that actually might have been a big part of it.) But if you've never seen Shallow Grave, you should rent it (as long as you're prepared for something quite dark. Come on. It is called Shallow Grave).

Then Danny Boyle did Trainspotting, cast Ewan again, and both he and Ewan got famous. Since then I haven't love-love-loved any of his films quite that much, but I have enjoyed them all, even Millions, which didn't do well at the box office. (Mostly, IMO, because it's like a sweet kid's film for the first 3/4 and then like a violent action film for the last 1/4.) That said, Millions is another good rental.

Many people didn't like his adaptation of The Beach, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton, but I was one who did. And I had read the book. I also greatly admired Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, which is so not my kind of movie, but I went because Danny Boyle was the director. (and got my first intro to Cillian Murphy, another favourite actor, now.)

So, back to Slumdog Millionaire. I don't want to ruin anything, but it has a very clever plot device that I sure wish I'd thought of. The film's about a young man who grew up in the slums of Mumbai who wins the big prize in the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It's based on a book called Q&A, if I remember correctly. The screenwriter was at the premiere and he said that the book was pretty much a series of disconnected but vivid stories and he had to devise a through line for the film so he created.... a romance. And it was a sweet one. I think this screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, should be a new hero for me. He also wrote The Full Monty and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, among others.

Slumdog Millionaire will do really well I expect. The films that win the People's Choice award at the TIFF almost always do well, (past winners include: Whale Rider, Fahrenheit 911, American Beauty, The Big Chill, Hotel Rwanda, Life is Beautiful, etc. etc.) and I think this one has some great ingredients. A main character who's really fabulous and heroic, lots of action, lots of interesting detail about slum life and gangsters in Mumbai, and, like I said before, a fabulous plot device/structure I'd have killed to have thought of myself. I'm breaking down. I don't think this spoils it. The structure is basically the TV quiz show we all know. For each question we get a flashback to the kid's life to see why/how he knows the answer. It's slightly more complicated than that, but I thought it was a genius structure for showing someone's life story. Vignettes to show how he knows certain details but also show so much more and contribute to an overall plot -- actually to more than one plot. We have the "how did the kid get to the point where he's on the show" plot, the romance plot and the "will he go all the way and get to keep the money he wins on the show" plot. Brilliant storytelling the more I think of it.

No idea when this film will be released. The only release info listed on imdb.com is January 2009 in France. Keep your eyes open for this one. I'm sure it'll be coming to theatres soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Celluloid Burn out

I really wanted to blog during the festival, but am finding it too hard... Gee. I haven't even been adding the titles to my sidebar list of movies seen in 2008. Quelle slacker.

Rest assured I will post reviews of more films starting next week. Promise. I've seen films ranging from bleak Scottish art films, to a Korean film about getting drunk, to a documentary about Paris Hilton. (and she was sitting across the aisle from me.)

Saw 5 films today. First one started at 9:00 am and I just got home and it's nearly midnight... Have tickets for 6 tomorrow... Ack!

All 5 films were good today. Better day than yesterday... (although at least one yesterday was amazing, too...)

Today's films:

50 Dead Men Walking
The Brothers Bloom
Maman est Chez Le Coiffeur (excellent)
Uncertainty (interesting)
Me and Orson Welles

I'm not sure about Uncertainty (ha!) but I think all of the rest of these had their world premiere at the festival and they are all worth seeing. Wish I could describe why right now.

Again... will blog more about these films, but not now. :-)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Seven Down -- 38 to go

So, I'm 7 films in now and this is starting off as very different kind of festival year for me.

Fewer stars, less glitz, more challenging films.

And I'm too tired to really do justice to the films I've seen so far, but here's a quick summary.

Plus Tard, Tu Comprendras (French with English subtitles.)

French film introduced by the Festival director as one of the best films of the year, that fell slightly flat for me. Compelling topic -- 43 year old man in 1987 finds out that his mother is Jewish, right before she dies, and struggles with learning one side of his family all died in the holocaust and that his mother hid this information from him. Like I said. Powerful topic. And Jeanne Moreau plays the mother, but I didn't ever feel very invested in the story. I think part of it was the film maker's decision to have the protagonist talk to himself -- basically listing all the facts we needed to know, fairly often. Storytelling "telling" of the most blatant kind -- not that I have a better solution for the film maker... Just saying I found the choice kind of weak.

Waltz With Bashir (Hebrew with English subtitles.)

Arguably the best film I've seen so far. But as the director said while introducing it: "I wish I could say "enjoy", but it's a difficult film." It's an animated documentary about events that happened in the war between Israel and Lebanon in the early 1980's. Interestingly, it's also about genocide and memories of war and how we cope with them (like the first film) but this one did a much better job of it in my opinion. In a nutshell, the director was a 19-year-old soldier in the Israeli army at the time and realizes 20 years later he has no memory of the events and tries to piece it together to regain his memories by talking to his friends and journalists etc. Highly recommend this film, as long as you're prepared for something dark and thought provoking.

JCVD (French with English subtitles.)

I don't usually go for the "midnight madness" selections both because it's hard to do midnight movies and get up the next day, and because they're usually horror and/or very violent action films, which just aren't my thing. But I couldn't resist this one. JCVD stands for Jean-Claude Van Damme and yes, he's the star -- and playing himself. And the film was quite fun and an interesting look at celebrity in our society -- or I guess in this case, Belgian society. And the Belgian society thing really just heightens the issue of celebrity because he's so singularly important to the Belgians in terms of being the only serious movie star to come from there. If this one gets released, check it out. I was amused and I expect if I'd ever seen even one Jean-Claude Van Damme movie before, it would've been even funnier. (Although I really did laugh when he loses a part to Steven Segal because Steven agreed to cut off his ponytail.)

RockNRolla (English, perhaps could've used a few subtitles, but not as badly as some of Ritchie's previous films needed them.)

Drum roll.... Guy Ritchie is back. (And boy is he good looking in person. What a charming cutie Mr. Madonna is.) I really enjoyed this film. By far the most enjoyable film I've seen so far this year. Very funny in parts and I think a great lesson in sub plots, too. (But don't really have the brain power to do a proper critique of it now.) Filled with great characters each with his/her own story and all those stories interconnect and impact each other so that the stakes escalate for just about everyone and at various points in the film the audience knows much more than the characters which is always fun. Very fast paced, great sound track, Gerard Butler. Need I say more? Oh, and film's narrator was played by another good-looking British actor named Mark Strong who, especially in profile, is the spitting image of Andy Garcia. (Where are all these great looking British actors coming from lately???)

Yes Madam, Sir
(English with some highly unnecessary subtitles at times, as was pointed out by an Indian Canadian during the Q&A, who was offended by the subtitles.)

Documentary about Kirin Bedi an Indian woman who was the first female officer in the Delhi police force and thus far (I think she's just in her 50's) has lead a very impressive and inspirational life. It was a pretty straightforward documentary in terms of structure, etc. but it really held my interest, and she's certainly someone to be admired. Both the film maker (a young Australian woman) and the film's subject, Kirin herself, were at the screening, so it was a good Q&A at the end.

Tony Manero (Spanish with English subtitles.)

This Chilean film wasn't one of my picks and frankly I think I could've lived without seeing it. In fact, if not for the Q&A I think I would be posting that I hated it. But as the director answered audience questions, I started to understand and appreciate the film a bit more. But it is not a film for everyone (or most people for that matter.) The "hero" of the film (an anti-hero if I've ever seen one) is obsessed with the Saturday Night Fever character Tony Manero and goes to some pretty violent and hideous extremes in order to feed this obsession. And his childish and brutal reactions to jeaously were disturbing -- but the most disturbing for me display of jealously was something his girlfriend does... I literally raised my hand to my mouth when I realized.
After the film, my first thought was "why the hell make a film about this horrible man?" but what I figured out during the Q&A was that the protagonist's character and actions were a metaphor for the Pinochet regime in Chile at the time (1970's) and also a demonstration of how that regime was obsessed with American capitalist ideals to the point where the regime used extreme cruelty and horrible crimes were committed to ensure those who got in the way of those ideals were eliminated. The more I think of this film, the more powerful and kind of genius it was, but, I repeat, on the very off chance it comes to a theatre near you, proceed with extreme caution. There is not one character to like in this film and there's some pretty extreme and unexpected violence.


To wrap up my day, I saw yet another film I didn't pick, but rather picked me, because it still had tickets available when I was filling all the gaps left by my horrible luck in the lottery, and I noticed Rufus Sewell was the star (and I love him). Vinyan was another difficult film. (Like I said... so far difficult films are the theme of the festival for me.) Perhaps if I'd been a bit more prepared for a horror type film, it would have been easier... It's more psychological horror than slasher, although there are a few bloody bits, too. For both this film and Tony Manero the audience sat in stunned silence at the end... no applause. Very surreal to sit in a full theatre of people who sit silently through credits. No talking. No leaving. Just silence.
This film is about a couple who lose their very young son while on vacation in Thailand when the Tsunami hits and then 6 months later go to Burma trying to find him when the mother thinks she sees a glimpse of him in a DVD shown at a charity fundraising event. The film turns into something that makes the kids in Lord of the Flies look sweet. Looking at this photo from the film used in the TIFF programme... I have to wonder: Why did I pick this film after seeing this image? And the final image of a huge group of little boys rubbing mud on Emanuelle Beart's bare body... well, disturbing doesn't quite cover it. (But I guess compared to the image of my beloved Rufus earlier being disemboweled by this same little gang was worse.)

So... to sum up my first 2 days... Probably the only film I've seen that's likely to get a wide theatrical release is RockNRolla and I give it my thumbs up. In fact, I might see it again when it opens at the end of October.

Tomorrow I have an odd list of films, too. In fact, I've already decided to skip my morning screening. (Do I really need to get up for a 9:00 am screening of a black and white Bulgarian film? Even if it's had a lot of buzz? I don't think so. Especially since it's already 1:30 am and the screening's at the theatre farthest from my house.

(I do have some films I'm really excited about later in the week, though... They aren't all so depressing. I promise. At least I hope not...)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

5 Hours in a line and a movie

So, my pessimism turned out to be well founded re my selections for the festival. I only got about half of my first picks and not even all my second picks for those slots, so had a lot of holes in my schedule to fill. I went down just after the box-office opened at 10:00 am this morning and immediately kicked myself (which takes talent) because the line to pick up envelopes already wrapped around a very large city block. (For you Torontonians... Line went from Dundas and Victoria, down Victoria to Gould, across Gould to Yonge, and was back at Dundas again when I found the end to join it. (Of course if I'd been bright enough to ask, or even fathomed the possibility the line was that long, I could have just walked across Dundas to join the end of the line... but no... I had to walk all the way around.

That line took about 2 hours and then once I had my tickets, I got in the line for the box office where one could make exchanges... Actually, I got to jump that line a bit, because in the first line I was chatting with two women who were together and one of them got in the box office line before we got to the front of the pick up line... So we got to jump that 2nd line a bit.

The box-office line was much shorter--only about half-way down Victoria--but moved much, much more slowly and took another 3 hours to get to the point where they let you in the building and up to the box office (where another line snaked around for 20 minutes or so.)
Luckily, only the last 90 minutes outside were in the sun, but that was long enough to give me a sunburn and make me feel like I had heat stroke by the time I got up to the box office where I scrambled to make sense of my tickets, and the gaps in my schedule, and compare it to what was still available. I managed to get a few more tickets, including the second screening of the new Charlie Kaufman film and the second screening of Religulous (for both of which I'd picked the first screening, but didn't get). Sadly, I missed some holes and need to to back again tomorrow morning. Let's pray it won't be so bad tomorrow.

Then after all that, exhausted, sweating and still suffering from heat stroke, I decided to see what was starting at the big air conditioned multi-plex upstairs and was just in time to see Get Smart, which has been playing for a million years, but is still at this huge 24 screen cinema.

Funny. Silly to be sure, but a few really big laughs and I like that they set up Patrick Warburton to play Hymie in the sequel, so all in all it was a good way to recover from the 5 1/2 hour line ordeal. No way would I have been able to accomplish anything productive if I'd gone home, anyway.

I really want to get down there by 9:00 tomorrow morning... but since it's 2:00 am already, and I'm blogging and doing laundry instead of sleeping... We'll see.

Over and out.

BTW. The TIFF starts on Thursday evening and hopefully I'll have the brains and energy to make a few posts during the following 10 days. I've got 43 tickets right now... and hope to score a few more tomorrow and maybe try the rush line for a few others. I'm torn about the Religulous thing... Because I do have a ticket for the 2nd screening... but if Bill Maher and Larry Charles don't show up for the second screening, I'll be bummed I didn't go for the RUSH tickets... At the same time, I'll be bummed if I wait in line for RUSH for 2 hours, don't get in, and wasted the chance to see other films.... Hmmmmm... Oh, my life is so tough.
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