Blogging Live from Toronto '09: Part 2 - Making Decisions
by Alex Billington
September 16, 2009
My apologies for the lack of coverage from the Toronto Film Festival in the past few days, as it has been pretty damn crazy up here. I always talk about my whereabouts and thoughts on films I've seen on Twitter, so head over there if you want to stay on top of everything from TIFF. One film I saw a few days ago was Mr. Nobody, a sci-fi drama starring Jared Leto. The film was about making decisions and it explained that in life, you have to make so many big decisions that you can't change, that sometimes it's best to not make a decision (it explores that idea in a fascinating way). And decisions are the biggest issue for me up here.
By decisions, what I mean is: deciding which film to see instead of another or even deciding whether to see it at all, deciding whether to stay up late to do work or wake up early to see a film, deciding whether to go to this party or that party, deciding whether to do an interview or not, deciding whether to get some food or stop and write articles and go on hungry, deciding what to say on Twitter in response to a film, it just goes on and on. There are so many decisions and they're racking up and everything is just getting exhausting. I've been trying to keep the regular news on the site up-to-date and haven't even had time to write any reviews.
For reference (since I haven't blogged about TIFF in a few days), I've updated the list of films I've seen below, but now added a quick rating in red next to each one. I realized that since I won't be able to review every film, and since most of you still want to know what I thought, I'd add one of four very simple ratings (either: hated it, just okay, liked it, loved it) next to each. That way you can get an idea (albeit it a very brief one) of what I thought of each film. Highlights recently include Defendor, Capitalism: A Love Story, Leaves of Grass, and Get Low. I'll hopefully be reviewing all four of those films at some point soon.
There are a few films that I want to mention before I dive back into the thick of things for a few more days. First off, I really disliked Youth in Revolt, the new Michael Cera film. The dialogue in it was atrocious, some of the worst this year, and add to that awful acting from both Cera and newcomer Portia Doubleday, and it really fell flat. Quite a letdown for a film that most other people I know seem to be loving. Oh well. Additionally, that film Mr. Nobody I saw was incredibly confusing, almost like a Terry Gilliam and Charlie Kaufman film combined, but I can't wait to talk about it with other people - it was just intriguing to watch.
The other film I wanted to mention today is Get Low, which you might've heard about already (as it's getting some good buzz). It stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Lucas Black and is about a man in Tennessee (in the 1930s) who throws his own "funeral party" while he is still alive. It was a beautiful film with some amazing performances, from both Black and Duvall specifically. This is the second film during this fest tour where Duvall really blew me away. He also appears in The Road for a very brief amount of time but will leave a lasting impression. In Get Low he delivers another phenomenal heartbreaking performance.
I've also done a number of interviews while here at TIFF. I did a co-interview with Jennifer's Body director Karyn Kusama and producer Jason Reitman last weekend. I also had a long talk with my favorite director Steven Soderbergh about The Informant and his career. And I most recently did a co-interview with Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson for their film Leaves of Grass. I also still have an interview with The Road director John Hillcoat from Telluride that I've been meaning to post. Hopefully I'll have a few of these up by the end of the week, but considering how busy I am, who knows? I'll do my very best!
Note: From now until October 1st I will be keeping a running tally on all the films I've seen across all three of the film festivals. You can find this list below updated in every new blog post, with links to any reviews.
Telluride Film Festival:
1. Red Riding: 1974 (dir. Julian Jarrold) - Hated It
2. Farewell (dir. Christian Carion) - Just Okay
3. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold) - Loved It
4. Un Prophete (dir. Jacques Audiard) - Loved It
5. Up in the Air (dir. Jason Reitman) - Loved It
6. Waking Sleeping Beauty (dir. Don Hahn) - Loved It
7. The Road (dir. John Hillcoat) - Loved It
8. Paranormal Activity (dir. Oren Peli) - Loved It
9. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (dir. Werner Herzog) - Liked It
10. Life During Wartime (dir. Todd Solondz) - Just Okay
Toronto Film Festival:
11. Creation (dir. Jon Amiel) - Hated It
12. Men Who Stare at Goats (dir. Grant Heslov) - Just Okay
13. Jennifer's Body (dir. Karyn Kusama) - Liked It
14. Valhalla Rising (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) - Hated It
15. A Serious Man (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen) - Loved It
16. The Trotsky (dir. Jacob Tierney) - Liked it
17. Up in the Air (dir. Jason Reitman) - Loved It
18. The Informant (dir. Steven Soderbergh) - Loved It
19. Defendor (dir. Peter Stebbings) - Liked It
20. Capitalism: A Love Story (dir. Michael Moore) - Liked It
21. Mr. Nobody (dir. Jaco van Dormael) - Liked It
22. Whip It (dir. Drew Barrymore) - Liked It
23. Youth in Revolt (dir. Miguel Arteta) - Hated It
24. Leslie, My Name is Evil (dir. Reginald Harkema) - Just Okay
25. Leaves of Grass (dir. Tim Blake Nelson) - Liked It
26. Get Low (dir. Aaron Schneider) - Loved It