Wednesday, 29 July 2015

TIFF is 40 and fabulous

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) celebrates it's 40th year as one of the biggest film festivals in the world.  This year TIFF15 is celebrating the past while looking into the future.

At the Tiff press conference they announced some of the galas and special presentations coming to the festival this year.

There will be approx 300 films at the festival this year and some free programming to celebrate their 40th anniversary as well.

They released some of the upcoming film presentations and I looked through the list and picked out some of the ones I am looking forward to seeing.

Will see how many I actually get to see.  It's always tough to see everything you want because of scheduling but I will try and see some of these if I can.

Opening Night Film
Jean-Marc Vallée, USA World Premiere In Demolition, a successful investment banker, Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two strangers form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

The Dressmaker
 Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia World Premiere Based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a bittersweet, comedy-drama set in early 1950s Australia. After many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, Tilly Dunnage, a beautiful and talented misfit, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly, and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, Tilly sets out to right the wrongs of the past and transforms the women of the town but encounters unexpected romance along the way. Starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving.

 Peter Sollett, USA World Premiere
Based on the Oscar-winning documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is the true love story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials — the Freeholders — conspire to prevent Laurel from doing so. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells and activist Steven Goldstein come together in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality. Starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon and Steve Carell.

The Martian
 Ridley Scott, USA World Premiere During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, The Martian features a star-studded cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

The Danish Girl
 Tom Hooper, United Kingdom North American Premiere The Danish Girl is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander), directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables). Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

The Family Fang
 Jason Bateman, USA World Premiere Annie and Baxter Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents. But when both siblings find themselves stalled in life, they return home for the first time in a decade where they become entangled in a dark mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance. Jason Bateman directs and stars, along with co-stars Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken, in this film based on the New York Times bestseller.

The Lobster
 Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France/Netherlands North American Premiere In a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Starring Colin Farrell, Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Ben Whishaw.

Tom McCarthy, USA International Premiere
Spotlight tells the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James and Billy Crudup.

 Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France/United Kingdom/Switzerland North American Premiere Youth explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. While Fred (Michael Caine) has no plans to resume his musical career despite the urging of his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz), Mick (Harvey Keitel) is intent on finishing the screenplay for what may be his last film for his muse Brenda (Jane Fonda). And where will inspiration lead their younger friend Jimmy (Paul Dano), an actor grasping to make sense of his next performance? From Italy’s Oscar-winning foreign language film writer and director Paolo Sorrentino, Youth asks if our most important and life-changing experiences can come at any time — even late — in life.

Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 26 while quantities last.

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Self/less an interesting mix of sci fi, action and drama

  2. I was fortunate to be able to attend a preview screening of the new film SELF/LESS starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds.  The great thing about seeing preview films is that you see them without any pre conceived judgments attached to them and other people's opinions so you walk into them with an open mind.  I thought that the trailer looked interesting but I found the film to be a lot more deep than the a trailer can convey. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.  Besides the fact that it was starring an incredible actor in Sir Ben Kingsley and a great and handsome and Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.  There was also another great Canadian actor Victor Garber and a very interesting character played by Matthew Goode.  A stellar cast of actors. What I also really appreciated about the film was the fact that it was well written with an interesting story that was a bit sci fi, a bit of action with some amazing stunt scenes and it had a love story but not in the way that happens in most hollywood movies.  It reflects where we are with medical breakthroughs and the things people will do to reverse the ageing process and prolong life.  

  1. Successful billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) has accomplished many things but he is nearing the end of his life because of Cancer.  While his mind is still strong his body is failing.  He comes across a business card that claims to be able to help him.  He decides to take a leap of faith and try an expensive medical procedure called "shedding," in which his consciousness is transferred to a new body that has been developed in a lab as he is told. Every surgical or medical procedure has it's consequences but Damian who has now taken on another life and is now called Edward  in (Ryan Reynolds) body, starts a new life in New Orleans.  Everything doesn't go according to the plan when he starts having hallucinations about someone else's life. He knows that there is more to the hallucinations and begins to investigate their source.  What he learns takes him into a world he didn't bargain for.  There are true consequences to his actions and he is taken on a path to make it right and reverse the damage that these experimental shedding processes have done.
   While I don't do Star ratings because everyone sees a movie through a different set of glasses but I highly        recommend seeing this film.  It is a ride that will make you think about the future of technology and it's    consequences.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

ICFF - Italian Contemporary Film Festival- Industry Day

It's a bit later than I would normally post this but I have been so busy trying to keep up with all of the festivals going on in this city that I haven't had time to write about my visit to 4th Annual ICFF- Italian Contemporary Film Festival's Industry Day.  I was so busy during the week of ICFF June 11-19, 2015 that I only had 1 day free to attend any of their program and that day fell on their Industry Day.
This year it was all about Animation.  I don't do animation and don't know as much as I should about it so I decided to go and see what's the latest in Animation.   Industry Day was held at Studio 10 at the Pinewood Studios downtown.  It was held all afternoon in the studio.

It was presented by Sheridan College and speakers from Sheridan and production company AIC Movie Inc/AMBI and Rainbow CGI.

Mostly the day focused on the program at Sheridan College which is a leader in producing Animators for film and television and they showcased some of the students works.  AMBI talked about some of their past and future big productions.  Their notable upcoming project will be Artic Justice which they have high hopes of it competing with the large Hollywood Animation studios.  It has a huge cast of well known actors such as James Franco, Alec Baldwin, John Cleese and Angelica Huston.

The fun part of the day was the motion capture demo at the end of the day with the actors showing how their movements are captured live to add CGI effects so that the Directors can direct mixed set ups with real actors blocking the movements that can be animated in the computers live.


Unfortunately I didn't have time to see any of the films but one that I really wanted to see was The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship by Sergio Navaretta.  It was also screened at another local festival in the same week and I still didn't have a chance to see it there but since it's Canadian I am hoping it goes to another one of our many film festivals in the city or it gets picked up by one of the networks.

Although I didn't have time to attend as much of ICFF as I would have liked it did seem to me that it was a well organized festival that was trying to showcase the best in Italian Film and the Industry collaborations.

I have a friend that attended the Opening Night party and it looked like I missed a good party.  You know Italians know how to throw a party with fabulous food and drink.  I hope it falls on a better week for me next year so that I can spend a bit more time attending some films and parties.

Til next year ICFF.

Fore more info about the Festival www.ICFF.CA    #ICFILMFEST15