Its that time of year again in the great white north. All the stars fly up from Los Angeles and New York to that other city by the lake to see what Hollywood has to offer this fall. I am, of course talking about the Toronto Film Festival, the preeminent cinematic event that Canada has to offer.
I haven’t been for a number of years, and I’ve discovered that the whole thing has moved south. When I first came up there, back at the end of the 90s, the whole ting was primarily in a small area around Bloor Street, where the green line subway meets the yellow line. There were a bunch of theaters and restaurants in the area, all within easy walking distance and there was an underground area where you could walk around when it was raining. The Bes part was that I got to go to all the films and panels and stuff on a full pass. I really appreciated that.
Now things are different. The foundation that runs the fest has it’s own building, the uptown Varity multiplex has been replaced with the downtown Scotiabank Cineplex, and they let me have a measly five “rush tickets” That mean I have to wait out in the rain (okay, that only happened once) for at least 40 minutes for a P&I screening while al the “real” critics” got to wait inside. To make matters worse, I wouldn’t be able to use any of the facilities, except maybe a toilet.
I knew this already, so I only went for two days instead of the usual ten. You can’t really see or do all that much in that amount of time, but it would be better than nothing. The reason for this state of affairs was that I was asked bout last years request a couple of weeks after this year’s deadline, I wasn’t planning on going this year, and what it was all about. I told the editor in chief here what the thing was and why I didn’t go, and he said why didn’t I go? To make a long story short, we sent a request, and they sat on it for a couple of weeks and offered me my “consolation prize” less than two weeks before festival started.
This meant that the airline prices went up in less than 36 hours and I had to make up my mind ASAP. Still, all the cheap tickets were gone, so I had to do an open jawed deal going to Buffalo, crossing over Niagara Falls, and taking a bus to Toronto.
After spending the night at a youth hostel on the American side and spending a few hours on the Megabus, I got to my destination. I checked in and went to the registration office in order to pick up my tickets. That’s when the fun started.
This sort of stuff always happens. I go, wait on line, and when I try to pick up the tickets, they aren’t there. Well, THEY were, but my name wasn’t. We had words. They got the supervisor. HE had heard of me, but my name still wasn’t on the list, so he went to his supervisor. Time passed ..And passed. . I got my tickets. This sort of shit is supposed to happen at Sundance not here!
Next was to check out the press lounge. The two nice ladies at the front wouldn’t let me in. I asked for the list of all the publicists. They wouldn’t give it to me.
I know they wouldn’t have given me anything had I not been sending them coverage for a full ten years for now extinct publications. But still…jeez!
Having gotten dinner at one of the many high-end restaurants across from the festival headquarters. I went to Sociabank Cineplex and saw Kick Ass 2, which was as bad as everyone said it was. But it was good practice anyway.
Next day, I got up bright and early to see my first film. The Fifth Estate was supposed to be one of he highlights of the festival. There was an eight thirty AM screening and things being the way they were, I had to get on line soon. …
But they had decided to cancel that screening at the last minute. Oh JOY! So I had to find a schedules so I could figure out what the hell I was going to do for the rest of they day. That was actually somewhat easy. The next film worth seeing was Don Jon, a romantic comedy for men, written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
G-L plays the title character, who’s into porn, cleaning and religion, in that order. He meets a nice Jewish girl named Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who proceeds to take over his life. This leads to problems, which are somehow solved by Esther(Julianne Moore), whom he meets in a class Barbara forces him to take.. its funny and incisive and will make a ton of money.
So with that over, we look at the schedule and discover….*groan*..three films all at the same damn time. Now this has been a problem with the P&I screenings since I first started going way back in the ‘90s. So we I guess it’s best to go to a Harry Potter movie. This time Daniel Radcliff plays Allen Ginsburg, who is a freshman in college and has yet to become the first hippie. Here he meets Lucien Carr(Dane DeHaan), who introduces him to Jack Kerouac(Jack Huston) and William S. Burroughs(Ben Foster) at a salon of sorts run by David Kammerer(Michael C. Hall), who has been stalking Lou and ends up dead.
This is not a murder mystery, but it is actually rather good, especially Foster. The film’s title is : Kill Your Darlings. I has to do with editing advice.
When this was all over, there was the David Cronenberg reception, which was a mile to the west of where the main action was. It was the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Wine, cheese and lousy art, even if it was done by Cronenburg., and some of it wasn’t.