Toronto 2008 Day 4 - Day 6: Parties, Interviews, and Films Galore
by Alex Billington
September 10, 2008
I'm sitting here in a Starbucks on Bloor Street in Toronto, trying to catch up on some writing before heading over to catch a screening of an indie film called Gigantic. There's one thing I always think about at every screening or while I'm writing every review, and it's the motto at this year's fest: For The Love Of Film. Some fellow journalists have gotten tired of seeing it everywhere, but every time I see it, it reminds me that this festival and everything I do is truly for the love of film. I don't care that I didn't get a press pass and I don't mind watching awful and boring movies, because I still enjoy every minute of every day. Right down to the audience yelling out "argh" during the anti-piracy message and the charming song during the opening video. So let me try and recap the last few days of the Toronto Film Festival as best as I can.
I'm trying to get this update out before I'm rushed into another series of screenings. There's so much I want to talk about - the parties, the interviews, the movies I've seen, the crazy life I live as a journalist. So where do I begin? The parties maybe? I don't want to boast, but everyone loves to hear about them (right?). The best one I've been to was the afterparty for The Wrestler (which is where the photo to the right comes from), Darren Aronofsky's latest film (that I talked about previously). Everyone from the cast of The Wrestler to Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Gerard Butler, Marilyn Manson, and so many more were all there. I had a great time and won't say much else, but if you're looking for one hell of a party, Toronto is the perfect place to be. Just make sure you leave time the following morning, because the next day I didn't get up until noon.
I have a handful of interviews that I've already finished up here in Toronto and are just waiting to post. I talked with Danny Boyle in Telluride, which was a treat, and Guy Ritchie here in Toronto last week. I also had the chance to speak with Ed Harris about Appaloosa, Edward Norton about Pride and Glory, and Darren Aronofsky. All of the interviews went great - not a problem with any of them. Actually, all of them have been better than normal, and I'm not sure if it's due to the feeling up here in Toronto or what. Aronofsky was an absolute delight to talk with, a true honor, so stay tuned especially for that one. I'm currently in the process of transcribing all of these and will have them out within the next few weeks.
I've been trying to pack in as many films as I can while I'm up here, but I keep falling short. To pick up where we left off in our last update, let me go over the last few films I've seen since then. In addition to Deadgirl, I've seen: The Wrestler, Pride and Glory, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The Brothers Bloom, The Burrowers, and Synecdoche, New York. As I mentioned in my review of The Wrestler, that film is one of my favorites from the fest. As time has gone on and more and more people have asked what I've really enjoyed, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is still one of them that I've consistently mentioned, alongside of The Wrestler. There hasn't been anything else I've seen at this fest so far that has really stuck out in my mind, but it's still a few days from finishing. I'm starting to hear about good ones friends as well and am trying to catch screenings of The Hurt Locker, Goodbye Solo, and Zift, too.
One thought that's been creeping up in my mind as I've been writing this is my growing disdain for Catherine Keener. I think my very first introduction to her, where I actually remember noting who she is, came with The 40 Year Old Virgin. Since then I've seen her in everything from An American Crime to Into the Wild to Hamlet 2 and most recently Synecdoche, New York just this morning. She's not a bad actor, but seeing her today made me realize that I'm getting very tired of her because she plays the same annoying character in everything! I really don't want to see her in another indie again in a long time, but I know she's got a few things coming up. Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest.
When it comes down to it, at the end of the day when I return back to my hotel room that I'm sharing with Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm and reflect on the day past, I always remember that it's all about my love of film. Every movie I see, every interview I do, every party I attend, every review I write, it's all for my love of film. And thankfully Toronto has provided a wonderful venue for me to see great movies, whether good or bad, and still smile at the end of the day. There are only three more days left until this festival wraps up and I move on to Austin, Texas, and I'll be moving on with great memories. I just hope all of our readers will continue to bear with me as I try and manage my limited time every day. We may be moving slower than normal this week, but we've got a lot of great features coming up and so much more in the works.