TIFF: Day 8

16 09 2010

I love Toronto.

Stars can check in any time they want, but I could NEVER leave! (little Eagles reference there….)

And the stars DO check in anytime they want, and leave just as fast. No sooner do I see them walking our red carpets, then I see them gracing Leno’s stage.

Here’s the Photo wrap up for Day 7:

Abigail Breslin is trying out for the new Twilight…and showing off some Spray ‘Un’-Tan.

Ryan Gosling could sell anything with that face…

Taraji is surprised that people recognize her

and Sarah Silverman couldnt get her jewelery through customs, so ropes were used in their place.

I went off a little bit on Keanu Reeves yesterday. The guy grew up literally 2 blocks from his press conference, and yet he couldnt manage to make a comment about ‘coming home’… even when specifically asked. Disassociate all you want Keanu, you’ve got canadian blood and we’ll never let you forget it.

Also, congrats to all the films that have been sold at the Fest… it’s not just about the shoes Nicole Kidman wears people – some great indie films will now have an audience and the cast/crew might even get some $!

Today, the galas for Sarah’s Key and (Canadian film) Casino Jack will hit the red carpet. So expect to see Kevin Spacey, Jon Lovitz and Kristin Scott Thomas.


TIFF: Day 7

15 09 2010

Can you believe it? One week down…

Yesterday, the prolific Roger Ebert made some very complimentary tweets about our fair city, and this blogger, couldnt be more thrilled! I’m Canadian…I love it when people give us pats ont he back and ‘mentions’… never gets old. Oh, and the highlight of the day was that THE BOSS was in town. I guess he didnt get the role as final judge on American Idol… meh, this gig is better.

Anyhoo… Here’s a photo wrap up for Day 6, I warn you… Nicole Kidman is scary up close.

Natalie Portman “Just TRY to find a flaw, mwahahaha”.

Sam Worthington was under the impression that one needs to grow a beard to keep warm in this county.

Nicole Kidman has yet to recover from her Stepford Wives role… she even sleeps with that mask on.

and Helen Mirren decides that dressing UP for Toronto is unnecessary…the Jersey knit dress will suffice.

Today, watch for Zach Braff, Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Silverman. They are all in town, and all have films to promote. Gosling is slowly working his way back into Oscar nominee contention, ans his film Blue Valentine (may not be the feel goood film of the festival) is getting some buzz.

Any celeb sightings or films that need to be recognized? Let me know! Remember, Ryan Gosling knows his way around this city…he could be anywhere!

TIFF: Day 3

11 09 2010

Here’s a small Photo wrap up for Day 2

Papa Sheen felt the need to wear a sandwich board and picket in solidarity…for more towels perhaps?

DeNiro takes a page from Joaquin Phoenix’s guide to personal hygene

Mickey Rouke found a new friend who appreciates him for his intelligence and charm.

and Ben Affleck brags about his movie.


Today, the sun is shining and the stars are out in full force. The Hazelton, The Drake, The Intercontinental, The Hyatt… they are everywhere people! Find the closest Starbucks to any of those locations, sit with a non fat latte for 20 mins and you should have a sighting.

More updates to come…

Big Galas tonight: The Town, Easy A, Little White Lies, The Conspirator

TIFF: Day 2

10 09 2010

Before we get into Day 2, Some of you are are just waking up from an opening night for the ages- especially if you’re a proud Canadian without an inferiority complex about your global stereotype. That’s right folks, Score A Hockey Musical officially opened TIFF last night, and it put on QUITE a party. Akin to the giant blow-up Beavers at the Closing Ceremonies in Vancouver…and just as many hockey fans in attendance.

It’s a strange mix, film afficianados and festival elite mingling with Walter Gretzsky, Theo Fleury and Ron Mclean. Throw in icon Olivia Newton John, songstress Nelly Furtado and national late-night treasure George Strombo…and you’ve got the trimmings for a very interesting evening…Oh, and there was air hockey at the Liberty Grand. ‘Hey Olivia, I challenge YOU!’

Courtesy of the Toronto Sun

But now it’s the day after…Day 2. Now TIFF can get into a groove, and start generating Oscar buzz for worthy films. Today, the screenings of heavy-weight contenders such as Stone, Trust and the much talked about I’m Still Here.

Trust is the latest David Schwimmer vehicle – and in his desperation to shed the ‘Friends’-days, he has made an impressive transition. This film will be extremely heavy (a complete departure from his ‘Run Fat Boy Run’) as it deals with an online predators relationship with a young girl, and how her family deals with her rape and devastation.

Stone is getting some may-jor hype coming into the festival. I’m not a fan of Edward Norton rocking cornrows as an arsonist and inmate dealing with Parole officer (Robert De Niro) on his last assignment.

Finally, audiences will make up their own minds about the Joaquin Pheonix 2 year check-out from the movie business in I’m Still Here. Was it all a hoax? Was it scripted? Is he just a phenominal method actor a la Brando or a sad drug-adict squandering his priviledged actor-life? There will be alot of discussion about this film, not because it should win an Oscar, but because the whole scenario taps into a reality-tv culture where the line between art and life is often indistinct.

Oh right, and also…Megan Fox has landed in TO. Do whatever you please with that info…

TIFF: Day 1

9 09 2010

Red Carpets will roll…

It is Day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival, and with all the STARS showing up, what we really need is some SUN! September in Toronto is as unpredictable as ‘the-hunt-for-the-next-Idol-judge’. Last year it was 35 degrees (that’s hot for our american readers!), theyear before…torrential tsunami rains devastated the Holt party, the year before… LA had nothing on us.

What will this year bring? The forecast looks grey and cool…ironically, isnt that the trend for this season? I mean, it’ll match the black cocktail dresses and cool diamond bling.

Lets get past the weather shall we? If the only impression of Toronto these Celebs bring home with them is “it was kinda grey and cool”…then they missed the festival atmosphere  altogether.

Today, the Festival officially opens with a truly Canadian experience: music, hockey and polite criticism. When I heard that Michael McGowans “Score: A Hockey Musical” would open TIFF, I was worried. Worried that it was too obvious a choice, too Kitschy Canadian, too ‘in your face’ Toronto-lovin’. But last year, TIFF opened with a non Canadian film to much critical condemnation. So, choosing “Score” is somewhat of a ‘you asked for it’ wrapped in a could-be cult film bow.

I’ve read the reviews, and most are hesitant to give a true opinion. I think this film’s success will be determined infront of a live audience at the screening. Rhyming “zamboni” with “baloney” might be a huge bomb. On the other hand, it might just be the kind of clever irreverance that Canadians embrace.

Flop or Not… ‘Score’ will draw huge stars for its Red Carpet debut. Watch your back when you’re grabbing coffee today. Olivia Newton John, Walter Gretzky, Nelly Furtado…and likely a smackering of other hockey stars (cue Tie Domi and the cast of Battle of the Blades) are all in town for the premiere!

So wander through Yorkville today and keep your eyes peeled (I’ve already heard reports of an Olivia Newton John spotting!)

Pre-TIFF Special

8 09 2010

Dont you love ‘Eve’s? You know…the eve of Christmas, the eve of New Years, and now…the Eve of the Toronto International Film Festival. Anticipation is in the air, the hype has been building for months and the flights from LAX to YYZ have been booked.

For the next 10 days, Toronto is the cultural epicentre of the world. Do you think that sounds a bit over-dramatic? Well, it’s not. Think about it. Unless the Louvre is holding a 2 week ‘take your picture with the Mona Lisa festival’… this IS the place to be. Unless Greece is holding a 2 week reading and discussion of the Illiad…this IS the place to be.

Get into it Toronto!

Maybe you’ve never experienced the festival, and wonder what all the hullabaloo is about every year. Maybe you’re saying “I hate subtitles….so what’s the point?”. Or maybe, you think there is no way you could bump into Clint Eastwood at the Starbucks across from the Hazelton (true story!). I am here to tell you, my friends… this is YOUR year.

I’m just a filmy. A person who has a degree in film studies and film production. I have worked at TV and Film production studios and I have been in ‘the cutting room’ and swept the floors. But most importantly, I am a purveyor of all things entertainment. And I am just like you. I am a suburbanite with an insatiable Hollywood obsession. I’m not a big shot, but I’ve met them,  so please take that into consideration as you take my advice.

In 2007, I worked as an assistant at the TIFF Press Conferences. It may have been a less than sexy position…but it gave me some serious insight to the people that grace our presence at the festival. The hottest stars, the unkowns faces about to be HUGE, the cocky directors, the artsy-fartsy ‘auteurs’ and the talking heads.

These press conferences host the biggest names and house the most press every day. Watching as clamboring press and shutter camera cram into one room for a half hour question session and photo-op is exhilerating. Getting ice chips for Sean Penn is humiliating, yet strangely thrilling. But the best thing about this…is that the guy in the convenience stand in the lobby sees just as many celebs as the press does. Seriously. So my advice? Get yourself into the lobby of the official hotels.

Alot of people complain about the elitest attitude of film festivals. TIFF has in the past few years tried to re-brand itself as the ‘People’s Festival’. The Joe-Blo from Leaside could get into any film and appreciate it along with the hoity-toit from Bloor West. That’s not entirely true. Subscribers and donators get first shot at the big films, and unless you pre-order tickets, you wont be getting into any film with buzz.

But don’t fret! Listen, the movies with Clooneys, Eastwoods and DeNiros in them, will be out in theatres within a month. Nation-wide. This festival is meant to see the films that you will NEVER have the chance to see at your local AMC. That’s the beauty of the next 10 days. So pick a film that appeals to you based on plot, not on star power, and you might just find a gem. Scratch that, you WILL find a gem. And every movie I’ve ever seen at TIFF is playing to a packed house…no matter how small and unknown.

Take a chance, commute into the city one night this week or next, and see something you will never see again. Support the independant film industry, and revel in the fact that YOU live THE greatest city for next 10 days.

www.tiff.net for tickets!

Primetime Tuesday…

2 02 2010

It’s been such an entertaining string of days…with the Grammys, The Bachelor and waking up to the Oscar noms today… tonight, the entertainment continues. My advice? Stay in tonight…seriously.

Here’s What I’m watching tonight:

American Idol-
The countdown is ON…Ellen is set to take her place on the panel next week (Feb 9th). So tonight, the auditions continue, and Victoria (back for another 15 minutes of fame) BEckham will take the guest seat…again. Was no one ELSE available? sigh…at any rate, more nut cases, sob stories and future stars will see the judges tonight, and frankly, I’d watch no matter WHO was judging. Tonight, FOX/CTV 8pm

Biggest Loser-
is getting smarter. FINALLY, they have realized pitting ANY show against juggernaut, American Idol, not only depleats ratings…but also robs viewers of two great shows on a tuesday night. All this to say, BL has been bumped to 9pm tonight…right after Idol! If you think Simon is harsh… tune in tonight for an introduction to someone who blows him right out of the water. Jillian Michaels. The reason I watch this show… seriously, watch it tonight, 9pm NBC

Leafs vs Jersey-
Leaf fans have all but given up the will to cheer or watch our team as they sink hard and fast into last place. But Sunday’s shake-up should be enough to start watching this team again. Dion Phaneuf and JS Gigere will start tonight…and the rebuilding finally starts! Questions still remain…like, by giving away 3 of our top 5 scorers… who will shoot the puck tonight? We shall see.. tonight, 7pm Sportsnet.

Whatever you decide to watch, have a great TV Night.

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