Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tim's Top 10 TIFF Tips

If you haven't already heard, the Toronto International Film Festival starts today so I thought I'd  knock out a quick list of the cinematic marvels you need to check.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams – Many will be relieved to learn that Werner Herzog's first foray into the world of 3D isn't a sword and sorcery epic but rather, an intriguing exploration of rarely seen 32,000 year old cave paintings at Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in Southern France, which the great  director artfully turns into an investigation of what makes us human. The New Yorker article First Impressions by Judith Thurman which inspired Herzog's film can be found right here.
Monday September 13 TIFF Bell LighBox 1 at 9:45 pm
Wednesday September 15 AMC 7 at 5 pm
Saturday September 18 TIFF Bell LightBox 1 at 9 pm

Fire of Conscience – One of this year's Midnight Madness highlights, Dante Lam's magnum shoot-em-up opus turns up the typically fast and furious Hong Kong action movie mayhem up a few frenetic notches while maintaining a ruthlessly gritty realism. No arty camera angles or Woo-esqu slo-mo balletic flights of fancy, Fire of Conscience is a street fight and Lam puts you right in the middle of the cacophony of violence.
Saturday, Sept 18  Ryerson at 11:59 pm
Sunday Sept 19  Scotiabank Theare 11 at 3 pm

Casino Jack – A strange but true tale of rampant politcal corruption and fraud based on the outlandish true crime story DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff played by Kevin Spacey and filmed by George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness, Factory Girl, Mayor of Sunset Strip)  in lovely Hamilton, Ontario.
Thursday September 16 Roy Thompson Hall at 6:30 pm
Friday September 17 Visa Screening Room (Elgin) at 2:30 pm

Inside Job – With his eye-opening directorial debut No End In Sight about the Iraq conflict, Charles Ferguson demonstrated he could make sense of a complex issue in a concise way. With Inside Job, he lays out the contributing factors for the global economic meltdown, grills both government officials and financial biz barons on what they knew and when they knew it, and then explains in infuriatingly clear detail how it all could've been averted.  
Thursday September 9 Ryerson at 9 pm
Saturday September 11 AMC 8 at 10 pm

Cold Fish –  Japanese cult director Sion Sono became a J-Horror superstar overnight upon the release of 2001's deeply disturbing Suicide Circle which he wrote and directed in two weeks. His latest thriller concerns a serial killer who deals in tropical fish. Not for the squeamish but expect the screenings to sell out quick nonetheless. 
Sunday September 12  AMC 6 at 10 pm
Friday September 17  AMC 3 at 8:30 pm
Sunday September 19  Scotiabank Theatre 2 at 12 noon

Machete Maidens Unleashed! – Director Mark Hartley who uncovered the dirty underbelly of the Australian film biz during the 70s in Not Quite Hollywood turns his probing camera lens on low budget movie-making in the Philipines where just about anything is possible for a price. As you might expect, Hartley's findings are troubling, offensive and sometimes absurdly hilarious. 
Sunday September 12  AMC 10 at 8 pm
Tuesday September 14  AMC 10 at 5 pm
Saturday September 18  AMC 7 at 12:30 pm

A Night For Dying Tigers – On the evening before going off to prison, the convicted man has a cordial get together with his wife (Jennifer Beals), his dysfunctional family and friends. Black comedy ensues. See interview with director Terry Miles right here
Friday September 10 AMC 3 at 8:45 pm
Saturday September 11 AMC 2 at 11:45 am
Friday September 17 AMC 6 at 3:30 pm

Boxing Gym – A documentary about some unknown amateur boxers from Texas might not sound terribly compelling but put a masterful filmmaker like Frederick Wiseman in the gym with them and it's a whole different heavy-bag game. 
Saturday September 11  AMC 7 at  3:30 PM
Sunday September 12  AMC 7 at 3:15 PM
Saturday September 18  AMC 2 at 2:30 PM

Boxing Gym from Quinzaine / Directors' Fortnight on Vimeo.

FUBAR II - Hoser heroes Terry and Deaner get in their beat-up Cutlass Supreme and head to Fort McMurray in search of lucrative pipeline jobs but will gladly settle for some sweetass worker's comp instead. The Canadian dream?
Thursday September 9 Ryerson at 11:59 pm
Saturday September 11 Varsity 8 at 12 noon

The Light Thief – You can always count on the TIFF programmers to toss in a couple of  charmers out of left field which become word-of-mouth faves and Aktan Abdykalykov's tragicomic Light Thief looks like this year's model. The intrigue begins when Svet-ake  an affable handyman who steals electricity to help poor families in his Kyrgyzstan village, encounters Bezkat, a greedy politician who seems eager to make all of Svet-ake's dreams of generating cheap wind power come true. 
Friday September 10  AMC 4 at 6 pm
Saturday September 11  AMC 3 at 9:30 am

The Light Thief (Clip 2) from Quinzaine / Directors' Fortnight on Vimeo.

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