TIFF Day 5: Racing Towards the Finish + New Oscar Hopefuls
by Alex Billington
September 12, 2007
I'm currently sitting in our nice, new hotel room in Toronto in the midst of Day 5 here at TIFF. Things are really starting to wind down and get quieter; the fest in general seems to moving much more slowly and while each and every screening is still sold out, the crowds seem to be less in number. I've got screenings of Married Life and Sukiyaki Western Django left to catch tonight and a few more big ones this week. Is the fest improving? Not at all, it still feels like a drawn-out, unorganized lump of some half-exciting movies. And I'm still searching for a yet-to-be-found "hidden gem".
Over the past couple days updates have been slow but I did happen to see a few very highly anticipated films. The first of which was the Beatles musical Across the Universe, which actually opens in theaters this weekend. The film is quite far from perfect but is still pretty damn good and I highly suggest it to every last person who has even the faintest interest. The next morning after I caught a screening of Sean Penn's Into the Wild and discovered a somewhat flawed film with an invigorating message. Is it worth seeing? I wouldn't go out of my way to suggest it unless you really have an interest in indie and experimental films.
I've also got to give mention to two Oscar hopefuls that I discovered in the last few days: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Jennifer Connelly in Reservation Road. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a foreign language film that is bound to be a strong contender for Best Foreign Language Oscar and I will be supporting it myself unless something else absolutely stunning comes along. As for Jennifer Connelly, her performance in Reservation Road gave me the chills - she's riveting and undoubtedly deserves a nomination!
Here's my updated list of movies I've seen from TIFF (that are playing at the fest - in order that I saw them) and a brief rating (subject to change) next to each one.
TIFF Films Seen:
Michael Clayton - 9/10
The Brave One - 8.5/10
In the Valley of Elah - 7.5/10
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward of Robert Ford - 9/10
Rendition - 7.5/10
Juno - 8/10
Young People Fucking - 9/10
Lust, Caution - 8/10
Diary of the Dead - 5.5/10
Lars and the Real Girl - 7.5/10
Redacted - 4.5/10
Across the Universe - 7/10
Into the Wild - 6.5
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 8.5/10
Paranoid Park - 5/10
Reservation Road - 7/10
Married Life - ?/10
Ping Pong Playa - 9.5/10
Sukiyaki Western Django - 6.5/10
There are still 3 more days in this fest and that means there are still a few more big films to see! Some of the ones I'm looking forward to catching are: Bill, Death Defying Acts, and In Bloom. Stay tuned - it's not over yet!