Friday, September 17, 2010

TIFF BITS: The Home Stretch

It's bizarre to me that TIFF is actually still happening.  The festival is so front heavy that the second weekend feels a little like an after thought.  The screenings are much emptier and most of the stars have gone home but maybe that's your thing.  Maybe you don't like masses of screaming people and would rather just see a movie.  You're in luck because there are plenty of great films playing this weekend.  With your permission, I will break them down for you, in hopes that you have a TIFF-erific weekend!


Varsity - 9:00 AM
Don't waste your time on this joke of a film.  I know you like Zach Galifianakis and he is one of the better things about this film but it is truly not worth the price of a TIFF ticket, nor is it worth getting out of bed this early for. It just isn't that funny a story.

Ryerson - 6:00 PM
This Emma Stone comedy opens in traditional theatres today but if you're looking for that particular TIFF vibe to go along with this hilarious movie, catch this screening at Ryerson.  I'll say it again, this is one of the funniest movies I've seen all year.  Adults will love it too so fear not, Mom and Dad.  (Click to read the Black Sheep review)

Bell Lightbox - 7:00 PM
In honour of the new Bell Lightbox theatre and of the 35 years the festival has been in existence, TIFF is offering some of the films that made big splashes at the festival in past years for free, including Deepak Mehta's haunting WATER.  Free, people.  You can't beat that.

Varsity - 7:45 PM
Tom Tykwer returns to form with his latest, THREE.  After a mediocre Hollywood experiment (THE INTERNATIONAL), Tykwer returns to Germany with the story of a couple who both separately fall for the same guy and have parralel affairs with him.  Tykwer is feeling cheeky with this one and it makes for a great look at modern relationships.


AMC - 9:45 AM
Ondi Timoner, whom I had the good fortune to speak with during the festival, presents famed environmentalist, Bjorm Lomberg, in this counter piece to the Al Gore documentary, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.  It is not bent of taking down the Davis Guggenheim Oscar winner but rather to get people to see the climate change issue from another perspective.  Challenging and worth it.

Elgin Theatre - 11:00 AM
John Cameron Mitchell is one of the few personalities at the festival that I did not get to meet that I really wanted to.  He is an amazing director and he proves with this fantastic drama that he can handle more straight forward fare with great poise.  Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhardt star as parents who lost a young child.  Under Mitchell's direction, it feels fresh and hits hard.

Elgin Theatre - 2:30 PM
Famed music video director, Mark Romanek, returns to feature filmmaking with an adaptation of a widely loved novel.  It looks very pretty and the performances are solid but it left me feeling rather cold.  I would wait on this one as it is coming to theatres pretty soon.  The full Black Sheep review is coming later today.

Bell Lightbox - 6:00 PM
Take any excuse you can to visit the Bell Lightbox theatre. Danny Boyle's 127 HOURS is a great excuse.  James Franco stars as Aron Ralsten, the mountaineer who was trapped for 127 hours in a cavern back in 2003.  This film is an intense trip about man and nature but is not for the faint of heart. Ralsten has to go through a lot to get through his ordeal but if you can stomach it, you should.  (Click for full Black Sheep review)

Bell Lightbox - 7:00 PM
Another free offering from TIFF at the Bell Lightbox theatre.  This Sarah Polley film from a few years back exemplifies perfectly what Canadian cinema can be when done right.  Gordon Pinsett and Julie Christie give haunting performances as a wife succumbing to Alzheimer's and the husband who watches her slip away. (Click for full Black Sheep review.)

Varsity - 8:30
Casey Affleck is making my life real difficult.  I have yet to review this look at the supposed lost year of Jaoquin Phoenix and now he has announced that the whole thing was a fake.  I'm not sure how to write about it now but it was still one of the most fascinating films I saw at the festival.  Don't miss this train wreck; it is better than you think.

Elgin Theatre - 9:00 PM
This Ben Affleck directed adult drama is a fine piece of filmmaking.  It isn't going to change the world or anything but it is a smart story and executed with finesse and care.  Affleck also stars and I have not seen him give this good a performance maybe ever.  Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner fill out the cast. (Click for the full Black Sheep review)

Ryerson - 9:00 PM
This Darren Aronofsky picture was certainly one of the most buzzed about films at TIFF this year.  Many think it is brilliant while others, some of the more pickier critics I suspect, feel it is a B-movie with great production design.  I thought it was an intense look at the breakdown of one individual dancer and damn gorgeous to behold.  This one doesn't come back to theatres until December so if you can catch it now, please do. (Click for the full Black Sheep review)

Bell Lightbox - 9:00 PM
I caught this Werner Herzog documentary yesterday morning and it was definitely unlike anything I've seen from the documentary world.  This is primarily because Herzog shot the film using 3D cameras. A documentary in 3D?  Weird in concept but very well suited here as Herzog takes us deep into a cave in France that has what are likely the oldest examples of human painting in existence.  The 3D itself was definitely put to good use.

Bell Lightbox - 10:00 PM
If you read my site at all, you know how I feel about this Paul Haggis ensemble drama about racism in Los Angeles.  It is certainly a good film but I have my issues with how manipulative it is.  That said, many of you love it and TIFF is playing it for free just for you so if you want to see it on the big screen again, here is your chance. (Click for full Black Sheep review.)


AMC - 12:00 PM
The latest Woody Allen farce will be released in theatres before you know it but if you can't wait, you shouldn't have to.  It is familiar but it is certainly charming and an enjoyable experience all around.  It is standard fare though so don't go expecting new from Mr. Allen. (Click for full Black Sheep review)

Scotiabank - 3:15 PM
See above.

Bell Lightbox - 9:00 PM
Directed by David Schwimmer and starring Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, this family melodrama is horrifically cliched and subsequently reasonably offensive at times.  Owen & Keener play parents to a 14-year-old girl who is the victim of sexual abuse.  The intentions were surely good but the execution is very tired.  Avoid.

Varsity - 8:45 PM
And here is another film for you to avoid.  Do not be fooled by the intriguing cast - from Michael C. Hall to Sarah Silverman to Rainn Wilson.  This comedy is so bent on being quirky and different that it doesn't realize how completely unrelatable it is.  I chuckled here and there because the cast is what it is but it was mostly just ridiculous.

Bell Lightbox - 10:00 PM
Here is the last in the free 35 years screenings at Bell Lightbox.  I don't think I need to really say anything about this Rob Reiner film because so many people love this one.  If you've never seen it on a big screen before, here is your chance!

Ryerson - 6:00 PM
You voted and the winner will be announced this Sunday afternoon, in time for this free screening at Ryerson.  Every year TIFF lets the people decide their favourite film at the festival and then lets them watch it for free.  Last year's winner was PRECIOUS.  The year before that was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.  And we all know how well those films did afterward.  Who will win this year?  BLACK SWAN?  We will have to wait and see.

And that's it!  Black Sheep's guide to the final weekend at TIFF 2010.  I hope you find it helpful and who knows, maybe I will run into you at screenings this weekend.  My press pass is pretty much spent at this point so I'll be doing it in public this weekend.  Hehe ... By this, I mean I will be seeing public screenings all weekend and I am very excited for this.  There is only so much time I can spend amongst press and industry people.  They barely even clap for the volunteers!

Enjoy your last weekend at TIFF and be sure to check back on Black Sheep this weekend for more reviews and Black Sheep's choices for the best films at TIFF.

Happy TIFF!

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