Monday, 14 September 2015







A young woman in Ireland in the 1950's can't find work and her priest has arranged a job for her in New York.  She doesn't have any family in New York but stays in a female boarding house with a host of characters.  She tries to settle in and feel comfortable with her move to another country but doesn't feel like she fits in until she meets a handsome Italian plummer who is from Brooklyn. He shows her the beauty of New York and she starts to feel comfortable until a family tragedy sends her back to Ireland and she gains a new perspective on what her life may have been if she had stayed. She is now forced to make a choice between staying in her homeland or moving back to Brooklyn to be with the man she fell in love with.

I watched this film with a group of my film festival friends and one of them happened to be from the same town in Ireland and there were a lot of similarities in her own journey with the exception of the Italian man.  This film really got to her and there were a few of us in the group that went through a host of emotions while a couple of the guys just didn't understand as much.

This film was a nod to the old Hollywood romance films.   It isn't a face paced film but it's a beautifully told story about ones homeland and fitting into a foreign environment.

I would say 8 out of 10 of us really loved this film.   Art is subjective so I don't like to rate films but if the majority of a group of people like a film then you know you have something special.

Friday, 4 September 2015

My TIFF Film Picks

TIFF - The Toronto International Film Festival is just about to begin a milestone year with it's 40th Film Festival starting next week.  Now is the time when people are quickly planning their 10 or 11 days at the festival.  Every year the festival gets bigger and bigger and it gets tougher to try and see all the films you want to see in such a limited time span.   With a couple hundred films at a dozen different theatres it's tricky to figure out where to be and when and what to see.  So planning has been the key for many successful longtime film goers.  Some of my friends create Excel spreadsheets to map out where there films are.   This year I used the spreadsheet that created by Tiff and whittled it down to the picks of films I want to see.

Art is very subjective and this list is the films I want to see.  Your list may be very different.  I choose my films based on subject matter, sometimes an actor that I think will be very good, sometimes it's a director and sometimes it's just something I think would be just a lot of fun.

One thing I have learned in my 15 years doing TIFF is that it's hard to get everyone to agree on the same film.  With my 30 odd Tiff teammates we can all see the same movie and there will be a few in the bunch that weren't fans of the film while it hit home to others.  A dozen of us saw a film last night and a few cried while it didn't touch others the same way.  So you never know what films you will connect with.

Here is my list of films I hope to see either at Tiff or the near future and I hope a lot of them end up being Academy Award Nominated films this year.

I won't go into detail now about the films or why I chose them but I write about the ones I do get to see later.

I hope you get to see a few goods films and look out for some of these at screens in the future.

45 Years
Special Presentations
Andrew Haigh
About Ray
Special Presentations
Gaby Dellal
Amazing Grace
Sydney Pollack
Contemporary World Cinema
Naomi Kawase
Beeba Boys
Gala Presentations
Deepa Mehta
Being Charlie
Special Presentations
Rob Reiner
Black Mass
Special Presentations
Scott Cooper
Born to be Blue
Special Presentations
Robert Budreau
Special Presentations
John Crowley
Zander Lehmann
Gala Presentations
Jean-Marc Vallée
Special Presentations
Jonás Cuarón
Every Thing Will Be Fine
Wim Wenders
Eye in the Sky
Gala Presentations
Gavin Hood
Five Nights in Maine
Maris Curran
Gala Presentations
Peter Sollett
Special Presentations
Meghna Gulzar
He Named Me Malala
Davis Guggenheim
Hyena Road
Gala Presentations
Paul Gross
Into the Forest
Special Presentations
Patricia Rozema
Janis: Little Girl Blue
Amy Berg
Keith Richards: Under the Influence
Morgan Neville
Gala Presentations
Brian Helgeland
Len and Company
Special Presentations
Tim Godsall
London Fields
Special Presentations
Mathew Cullen
Miss You Already
Gala Presentations
Catherine Hardwicke
Mississippi Grind
Gala Presentations
Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden
Mr. Right
Gala Presentations
Paco Cabezas
Our Brand Is Crisis
Special Presentations
David Gordon Green
Gala Presentations
Atom Egoyan
Special Presentations
Tom McCarthy
The Danish Girl
Special Presentations
Tom Hooper
The Dressmaker
Gala Presentations
Jocelyn Moorhouse
The Family Fang
Special Presentations
Jason Bateman
The Lady in the Van
Special Presentations
Nicholas Hytner
The Lobster
Special Presentations
Yorgos Lanthimos
The Man Who Knew Infinity
Gala Presentations
Matthew Brown
The Martian
Gala Presentations
Ridley Scott
The Meddler
Special Presentations
Lorene Scafaria
The Steps
Contemporary World Cinema
Andrew Currie
The Witch
Special Presentations
Robert Eggers
This Changes Everything
Avi Lewis
Special Presentations
Jay Roach
Special Presentations
James Vanderbilt
Women He's Undressed
Gillian Armstrong
Special Presentations
Paolo Sorrentino

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Starving Foodie's guide to Best places to Eat during Tiff

Starving Foodie's guide to the best place to eat while at TIFF?  (Toronto International Film Festival 2015)

I compiled this list for my Starving Foodie Blog but I thought it would interest all the Film lovers attending the festival.

I have been doing Tiff for about 15 years and some years I hardly have time to get any food so sometimes you grab a bagel at Tim Horton's but other times you have an hour to wait in between screenings when you just want to sit down and have someone serve you a good meal and have a rest between running around to theatres or parties.

This list will help you if you are new to TIFF or just don't know where the best place to eat near a theatre is.

Now if you are looking for Celebrity Spotting you might only see a few here or there probably grabbing a Starbuck's coffee but mostly they are the high end places because if you are George Clooney or an A list celeb you can afford to go anywhere you want to and most of the time George and his pals go to restaurants you have never heard of or haven't even opened to the public yet  or are nowhere near where you would expect them to be because they have drivers that can drive them anywhere they need to go.   

So my suggestion is to forget about Celebrity Stalking and just go where you can get fast or great food depending on what you have time for and save your energy for seeing as many films as you can.

These are my choices for places I would recommend going to that are pretty close to each theatre.   There are thousands of restaurants in Toronto and I have curated it down to a few based on variety and proximity.  I have generally left out Food Courts because they close early.  

If I haven't added YOUR favourite place it's because I haven't been there or didn't think it was one I would recommend for various reasons.


*     Starving Artist
**    Gotta Job
***   A list Celebrity $$ 

1. TIFF Bell Lightbox
Ravi Soups
Burrito Boyz
O&B Canteen

224 Adelaide St. W. 
322 Adelaide St. W.
6 Blue Jay Way
350 King St. W,
299 Adelaide St. W.
2.  Elgin/Wintergarden
189 Yonge Street

Richmond Station
The Chase

1 Richmond St. W.
10 Temperance St,
176 Queen St. W.
3. Scotiabank Theatre
259 Richmond Street West
Khao San Road
300 Richmond St. W,
304 Richmond St. W.
326 Adelaide St. W.
132 John St.
4. Princess of Wales
300 King Street West

Tim Hortons

322 King St. W.
18 Duncan St.
161 Pearl St.
5. Roy Thompson Hall
60 Simcoe Street

Ritz Carlton 
Elephant & Castle
Los Colibris 
El Cabalito

181 Wellington St.W.
212 King St. West
220 King St. West

6.  AGO
317 Dundas Street West

Mean Bao
Village by the Grange Food Court 
275 Dundas St. W. 
317 Dundas St. W.
281 Dundas St.  W.
109 McCaul St.

7.  Isabel Bader
93 Charles Street West

Slab Burgers
La Societe
The One Eighty

 47 Charles St. W.
131 Bloor St. W. 
55 Bloor St. W. 51st 
8.  Ryerson
43 Gerrard Street East

Banh Mi Boys
Reds Midtown 
Salad King

399 Yonge Street
382 Yonge Street
340 Yonge Street
9.  Bloor Hot Docs
506 Bloor Street West
Aroma Espresso 
Pauper’s Pub

504 Bloor St. W.
500 Bloor St. W.
539 Bloor St. W.

Richmond Station
Banh Mi Boys

Aroma Espresso Bar

disclosure: The restaurants listed are my own choices and I have not received any compensation from any of the listed restaurants to appear on this list.