Sunday, 31 August 2008

TIFF'08 Pre-Fest Vlog#2 - Picking Up Your Pass Order

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Here is my TIFF'08 pre-fest Vlog#2. Discussed is the advance order process, pick up, exchanges, single ticket purchases and more random festival insights

Note from Vlog: When I say "exchange" this includes making selections for if you have any leftover tickets on your pass. For example, if you only got 18 of your 20 picks you can "exchange" the last 2 at the times I say "exchange".

Important Dates:

Monday September 1, 2008 10AM:
Processed advance orders are available for pick up at the Festival Box Office at the Toronto Life Square at Yonge & Dundas. Bring your pick up voucher and any/all things noted in the Vlog.

Wednesday September 3, 2008 at 7AM:
Single tickets for non -Premium screenings go on sale at Festival Box Offices at Toronto Life Square at Yonge & Dundas, Manulife Centre and Roy Thomson Hall. These three box office accept cash, debit and Visa.

Update: Want to know more about the pick up process? Check out this post at TIFF Talk for a detailed description. Also check out their link to TIFF Reviews forum where people have posted screenings they did not get into through the advance lottery process - this is great information to have for planning your back up selections.

Schedule Changes:
Here are the details about the changes to screenings. This was copy/pasted from the email send from Customer Service:

"Important information about schedule changes.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, several screenings listed in the Official Film Schedule and the Order Book have schedule changes, which may have affected our ability to fully process your order.
We apologize for the inconvenience. If your order has been affected, you will be able to make substitutions when you pick up your order. Please note the following changes:

Saturday Sept 6 at Varsity 8
MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA
Screening has been cancelled

Wednesday Sept 10 at Ryerson
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Correct start time is 3:15pm

Friday Sept 12 at Scotiabank 4
IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T'AIME
Correct start time is 11:45am

Friday Sept 12 at Varsity 8
NEW YORK I LOVE YOU at 6:00pm
Screening has been cancelled

Friday Sept 12 at AMC 3
BLOOD TRAIL
Correct start time is 8:15pm

Saturday Sept 13 at Varsity 2
MESRINE is not playing at 6:45pm
(as listed in the Official Film Schedule calendar)
Correct title for this slot is
SIN TREGUA (aka UNWANTED WITNESS)

Title changes:
UNWANTED WITNESS is now known as SIN TREGUA
MESRINE aka PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE, PART 1 is now known as L’INSTINCT DE MORT

Due to unforeseen circumstances, there will be only one screening of PARIS, NOT FRANCE: Tuesday, Sept. 9, 6pm, Ryerson.

An additional public screening of LYMELIFE will replace the second public screening of PARIS, NOT FRANCE: Thursday, Sept. 11, 3pm, Ryerson. An additional public screening of LOVELY, STILL will replace
the third public screening of PARIS, NOT FRANCE: Saturday, Sept. 13, 5:45pm, AMC 2."

As always, check the official TIFF'08 site for all information on policies, procedures and up to date inforamtion.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Toronto After Dark 2008 - 8 Titles Announced!

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Earlier this week The Toronto After Dark Film Festival made several announcements for the upcoming third festival that hits the Bloor Cinema in Toronto the October. The excitement is unleashed as 8 titles are revealed, information about the rockin' VIP passes is available and key dates noted to add to your calendar. For those who have not had the scary pleasure of attending the Toronto After Dark Film Festival if you are into horror, sci fi, fantasy, action, thriller, cult and bizarre films - this is a festival for you. The fans are fanatic and it is truly one of the most fun festival experiences around. Where else can you end up in line with a zombie? Want to know more about what the experience is like? Check out my coverage of the 2007 festival.

Looking ahead to the 2008 line up, there is certainly a lot to look forward to. Three of the films caught my attention very quickly. First is the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In which played at Tribeca and received a love of love at Fantasia film festival winning multiple awards. It does look rather dark, but what vampire film isn't? Another film that looks fantastic is Mirageman, a Chilean superhero/action film. What really stuck me about Mirageman, is that it places the superhero in a current day non-fantasy setting which bring a whole new tone to the genre. Plus, the action is kick-butt! Next up on the happy excitement train is Repo! The Genetic Opera, because you have to have a musical right? Only musicals that include collection agents for delinquent organ replacement recipients and have the stellar cast including Anthony Stewart Head (Giles on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'), Sarah Brightman and Paul Sorvino. I'm ready to rock out to that I'll tell ya!

More titles include the highly anticipated Japanese gore-fest Tokyo Gore Police on the line up, along with the animated Idiots & Angels and Canadian mockumentary Who is KK Downey?. We also have Red, a compelling thrilled based on the Jack Ketchum novel starring Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore and Robert Englund. Rounding out the titles is Trailer Park of Terror filling in the zombie requirement.

Want to get ready for the festival? VIP passes are now on sale and early birds get a fantastic deal: $99 gets you into all 17 screenings (which works out to less than $6/film), parties and priority entrance to seating. Price goes up to $119 after September 24, 2008 so don't delay. It's one of the best deals around! There are limited quantities of the VIP passes so if you know you are going to go, better snatch one up!

Complete line up and schedule will be released September 24, 2008. Can't wait that long? Well you will have to, but to keep the excitement going you can check out this video from Renerd.com with an interview with Adam Lopez, Festival Director & Founder.

On to the details for all of the films. Below you will find information on each of the eight titles that have been announced including links to trailers (with spoiler warnings), IMDb pages and official film sites if available.

Idiots and Angels
Dir: Bill Plympton
Animated, USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free until halfway point

Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Dir: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson
Sweden
IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free until halfway point, I stopped watching after that as I've already heard a fair amount about the film. Really looking forward to seeing it!

Mirageman
Writer/Dir: Ernesto Espinoza
Cast: Mark Zaror
Chile
IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free, and awesome to boot!

Red
Dir: Trygve Diesen & Lucky McKee
Cast: Brian Cox, Robert Englund, Amanda Plummer, Richard Riehle, Tom Sizemore
USA
IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free until 2/3rds through

Repo! The Genetic Opera
Dir: Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV)
Cast: Anthony Stewert Head, Alexa Vega, Sarah Brightman, Paul Sorvino, Bill Mosely, Paris Hilton
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays music), IMDb Page, Trailer - very cool trailer, you get the gist of the film by the halfway point

Tokyo Gore Police / Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu
Dir: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cast: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Tak Sakaguchi
Japan
IMDb Page, Trailer - Lots of violence and gore in this trailer. First half it mostly spoiler free and atmospheric, but the second half shows a lot of the really gory stuff and special effect which in this type of film I would consider a spoiler.

Trailer Park of Terror
Dir: Steven Goldmann
Cast: Nichole Hiltz
Official Film Site (autoplays music), IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free until 2/3rd through

Who is KK Downey?
Dir: Darren Curtis and Pat Kiely
Cast: Darren Curtis, Matt Silver, Kristin Adams, Pat Kiely, Dan Haber
Canada
IMDb Page, Trailer - spoiler free

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 runs from October 17-24/08 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, 29 August 2008

TIFF'08 Advance Lottery - Box #9 wins!

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I've never been to the advance lottery box selection before, it was pretty cool. They actually show you each and every number that they drop in which is awesome but takes a fair amount of time considering there were 78 boxes. Box 9 was selected (It's a little hard to see but that was the selection).

Remember, regular orders are processed after all the donors at the Benefactor giving level and above (gifts of $250 or more). So, after all those order are processed, then they will process orders from Box 9, then Box 10, then all the way to 78, then Boxes 1-8.

For information on what happens next, check out this post.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Box #9

The official box is #9 for the Advance lottery for TIFF'08. There were a total of 78 boxes this year. I'm so excited, my order is in Box 10! After the line up I endured last year of 6 hr and 15 min this feels like sweet justice. I am so thrilled to be close to the beginning of the line. I hope you all did well! Pics and vid will be added later today.

To toggle your memory, last year the box selected was 66 and there were 75 boxes total.

Now it's a waiting game. The orders will be processed over the weekend and you will get an email once you package is processed. Last year you were also able to see your order online in the box office site once it was processed, just in case you don't get an email.

You can pick up your processed orders Monday Sept 1/08 (yes, that is Labour Day) at 10am at the Yonge & Dundas box office. People line up early, this is the longest one of the year. I know I've said this before but I'll reiterate that if you gotten all or most of your selections I would not recommend going Monday morning - there are so many people there!

For those looking for single tickets, Premium tickets for screenings at Roy Thomson Hall and the Elgin "Visa Screening Room" are currently onsale. Single tickets for the remaining venues go on sale Wednesday September 3, 2008. Tickets can be purchased on the TIFF'08 site (red 'Buy Tickets' button on the upper right. Check the Box Office page for box office locations, hours and methods of payment.

As always, check the official TIFF'08 site for all information on policies, procedures and up to date inforamtion.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 29, 2008!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 29, 2008! Well it is officially getting to the end of summer, August is almost gone, warm days are cheered for in an almost anticipatory nostalgic sense, the CNE has been open for ages and the pre-festival ticketing process for the Toronto International Film Festival has begun.

The weeks releases feature an odd hodge-podge of 'get those suckers out before the end of summer' and minimal limited releases. In terms of watching the trailers, it was not the most inspiring week! But as always, I'm sure there are some gems in there.

In limited release this week we have just two films. First up is Outsourced, a 2006 TIFF selection centred on a US call centre employee that must go to India to train his replacement. Interesting premise, but I get a little leery of 'cross cultural connections that include comedy' but this one has received high praise and looks pretty sweet in nature. Next up is Goal II: Living the Dream which is a sequel to the film Goal! released in the UK in 2005 but never released in Canada. It focuses on a footballer (soccer for us North Americans) trying to make it big.

In wide release this week we have four releases the most interesting one I would have to say is Babylon A.D. which was anticipated to be released back in Feb 2008 and the strong buzz on it was the upset that the US rating would be PG-13. Now, it's finally here with a 14A in Ontario and well I'm still interested despite all that because it's action/sci-fi movie starring Vin Diesel and also has Michelle Yeoh in it. Traitor is another wide release this week, it stars Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce and unfortunately I don't know much more than that as the trailers show too much too fast that it's hard to determine much other than possible conspiracy which you get from the title alone. Looks interesting, but not enough non spoiler information is available to form an opinion on it. This leaves us two more films in release: College and Disaster Movie which is odd to see them released in the same week as they appear to have the same target market. College feels like a bit of an anomaly as its a film is about high schools pretending to be college students, not people starting college which makes the release time feel a little odd. It's also rated R in the States, so will their target market be able to see the film? No rating information found in terms on Ontario classification. Disaster Movie is another spoof movie, but I have to say it is quite a feat the turn around time into the theatre considering that it spoofs almost all of the big summer blockbusters from this year. It also provided me with the funniest piece of trivia of the week, one of the working titles for it was Meet the Spartans 2: The Story of McLover & The Kingdom of the Crystal Beer Can. That almost makes up for watching the trailer. Almost.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Ashkenaz Festival 2008
A festival of New Yiddish Culture
Festival runs August 26 - September 1, 2008
Films screenings are from Aug 30-Sept 1/08 at the Studio theatre in Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto International Film Festival
September 4 - 13, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Be sure to check out daily coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival at Movie Moxie with polls, reviews and vlogs.

Friday August 29, 2008 Releases

Babylon A.D.
Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika, Les Rivières pourpres / The Crimson Rivers)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Mélanie Thierry, Michelle Yeoh, Gérard Depardieu
USA/France
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free for first third, major spoilers in last third

College
Dir: Deb Hagan - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, Kevin Covais
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3rd in

Disaster Movie
Writers/Dirs: Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer (Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie)
Cast: Vanessa Minnillo, Nicole Parker, Crista Flanagan, Matt Lanter, G. Thang
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Entire trailer is spoilers

Goal II: Living the Dream
Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax <2005>)
Cast: Kuno Becker, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varella, Rutger Hauer
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free for first third

Outsourced
Dir: John Jeffcoat (Bingo! The Documentary)
Cast: Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharker
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer (autoplays music - pause is on bottom right) IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free until 3/4 the way through

Traitor
Writer/Dir: Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Hollywood Palms)
Cast: Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Saïd Taghmaoui, Neal McDonough, Archie Panjabi)
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Both Trailer 1 & 2 have spoilers, I stopped watching them almost immediately

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of August 29, 2008**

Thursday, 28 August 2008

TIFF'08 - Pass/Program/Package Pick up and Drop Off

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The main TIFF box office this year is the "Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square" at Yonge & Dundas up on the third floor. The building is on the north east corner of Yonge & Dundas. The first day to pick up your pre-purchased festival pass, official film schedule and program was Tuesday August 26/08. Even though the box office was on the third floor we actually waited outside at and up Victoria street (one block E of Dundas off of Yonge). Below is the scene at 8:30am on Tuesday August 26/08.

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I was anticipating the line to be re-directed upstairs to the third floor, however it was actually done outside. Good choice there as it was a nice day, and it made the process very smooth. They started delivering the goods to folks at 9am. I was about 100 or so people back in line and it only took about 25 minutes to get my package. Here they are being handed out to us happy campers, including me!

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Some of my line buddies made it into this picture - I hope you guys get your picks!

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Happy day! Finally - the schedule and advance order forms.

As I was one of the folks that pre-purchased a program book and went first thing to pick it up, I got one of the 'bag of goodies'. Some nice additions this year were the beer stein, coffee grounds and pizza gift certificate (of a 'surprize' amount). Old stand bys were chocolate and the much needed yellow & green highlighter. Here's a picture of the lot:

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Pretty good stuff! If you want to see what last years was like, check here.

So, after getting all of the needed equipment it was all about making the film choices. I did this in record time this year selecting 40 films (in 3 hours) and then filling out the order forms (1 hour). I hmm'ed and haw'ed and ate some chick pea salad deciding on whether or not to make second choices. The decision was yes. Time it took for the second choices was a lot faster (1 hour) but filling out the selections to the same as the first time (1 hour). So all in all that was 6 hours start to finish which started with plotting in my 'must see's', then basically looking at each time slot which to fill in the blanks. I double and triple checked my selections from the time-graph on paper I created to the advance order book form. Then I re-checked each order book form to make sure that the picks met the criteria for that type of pass (i.e. no after 5:01 pm selections for daytime pass, and also that I met the exact number of total tickets with my first selections). Overall it took 6 hours, during which I 'listened' to The Bourne Identity, Stigmata and Serenity. Funny how mainstream those all are in comparison to what ended up being my first picks.

So, how that that was done it was time to make my way to the drop off location back at Yonge & Dundas. I went on Wednesday August 27/08 around 4:50pm. Headed up the second escalator to the third floor.

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And look to your left to see the tucked away (but really right in front of you) location to drop off your passes. This will also be the place to eventually purchase merchandise, as a TIFF employee mentioned to me.

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One note, there are lots of festival staff around (look for clipboards and headsets) the Yonge & Dundas location as of Wednesday. I saw them at all the first three escalator landings and also in front of the actual box office, pictured below, which is on the third floor and to your right as you get off the escalator.

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But all I wanted that day was to hand in my selections. Which I did - into Box 10. There it is in the box:

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Fingers crossed that Box 10 is on or near the beginning of the processing. A new thing they added this year was that donors of a certain level get their orders processed first. They had boxes for them as well, but so far they didn't look very full.

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Remember to be part of the advance lottery your selections are due by Friday August 29/08 at 1pm at the Yonge & Dundas locations.

Pick up of orders begins Monday Sept 1/08 (yes, that is Labour Day) at 10am at the Yonge & Dundas location. This is by far the longest line I've encountered at TIFF. They email you when your packages have been processed - so make sure you check that to see how your selections turned out. If you got all your picks I'd highly recommended picking up your tickets at another time to save waiting in line.

Want to know more?
I vlogged about the pick up process here.
My first film selections are noted here.
Unsure how to fill our your order forms or how the advance lottery works? Check out this fantastic post over at TIFF Talk where it is explained in detail, with pictures!

As always, check the official TIFF'08 site for all information on policy & procedures.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

First picks for TIFF'08

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Here are my first choices for films this year. Well, not my actual 'must see' list but these are the films I have submitted as my selections. I'm going to drop off my orders later today. I did make second picks but the irony is they were usually more hyped films - I wouldn't recommend that method, but I did feel compelled to but in a second pick so sometimes it was something like The Wrestler or RocknRolla.

1st picks:

24 City
A Film with Me in It
Achillles and the Tortoise
All Around Us
Ashes of Time Redux
Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, The
Blind Loves
C'est pas moi, je le jure!
Chocolate
Dernier Maquis
Derriere Moi
Detroit Metal City
Dungeon Masters, The
Eden Log
Empty Nest
Every Little Step
Fear Me Not
It Might Get Loud
JCVD
Katia's Sister
Kisses
Martyrs
Ocean Flame
One Week
Patrik, Age 1.5
Pontypool
Radio Love
Real Shaolin, The
Sauna
Secret of Moonarce, The
Sky Crawlers, The
Still Walking
Toronto Stories
Tokyo Sonata
Un ete sans point ni coup sur
Universalove
Vacation
White Night Wedding
Winds of September

Program Breakdown:
So far the program breakdown in CWC and Midnight Madness heavy - which I expect. I'm a little surprized to see so many Vangaurd selections - when the program first came out I steered clear of it due to pretty intense content, but over the years I have seen some stelllar films from it (Chyrsalis, Boy A). I wish I got at least one Canada First! in there, but so far my Canadian selections have been through other programs.

10 Contemporary World Cinema
6 Vanguard
5 Midnight Madness
5 RTR
5 Special Presentations
2 Discovery
2 Masters
2 Visions
1 Sprockets
1 Gala

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Pre-fest Vlog #1

Clicking the play button to hear my views on the TIFF pick up, ticket and schedule process so far! Static pic is a little scary - very strange!

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A few notes:
The box office I refer to is called "Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square" at Yonge & Dundas as opposed to the various name incarnations I came up with.
This is my first ever vlog attempt, I hope you enjoy it!

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Not sure how to fill out the TIFF'08 forms?

I know at first look it feels confusing, but check out this fantastic post over at TIFF Talk to guide you through filling out the forms, as well as the advance lottery process.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

TIFF'08 - Scheduling Considerations and First Film Selections

Tomorrow the public film schedule will be announced for TIFF'08 - are you ready?

I certainly thought I would but after lots of print outs, a numbering system and a spreadsheet later I'm feeling a little more lost than normal. Last year I wrote about How to pick the pics, How I picked my pics and finally Why I picked my pics, and the info there all still stands up well.

Initially my plan was to see all the Midnight Madness, Canada First! and as much other Canadian, Asian film as I could and of course, anything martial arts or science fiction that is included in the line up. That was my plan when I applied for media accreditation, but I didn't get in this year so we are back to no limitations. I think I'll still hold true to most of that pattern but likely will not see 'all' of any one program. There are also many more documentaries that I'm interested in that I had anticipated. Although

First, lets look at some considerations in terms of scheduling/timing.

Sunday morning - Subway opens at 9am
If you are travelling by TTC, remember that the Subway opens approximately 9:00am on Sunday mornings. If you are planning to go to an early screening make sure you can get there. There are many 24 hr streetcar routes including the 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton.

Midnight Madness films - Subways close approximately 1:30am
If you are going to check out the Midnight Madness screenings (and you should - they are a lot of fun!) remember to plan your trip home. If you are a TTCer, make note that the subway closes approximately 1:30am daily. There are many 24 hr streetcar routes including the 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton.

Know what you can and can't see as per your pass
Many of the patrons who purchased passes have noticed that there pass will not get them into premium screenings. This includes Roy Thomson Hall (same as last year) and the Elgin "Visa Screening Room" (change from 2007). If your pass has limitations, and most of them do (i.e. 1 ticket per screening, 4 tickets per order, start time is prior to 5:01pm), make sure you know what they are so you can get the full benefit of your pass. Read everything that comes with your tickets and packages.

Decide what you want to see / what experience you want to have
Everyone will have a different TIFF experience, so think about what you are looking for. Do you want to see the filmmakers? Then try to see those films early in the festival. Looking for celebrites? Roy Thomson Hall and the Elgin have the big names at their screenings. Want to see things that are obscure so you can wow your friends? Browse the lists until you find it! Want a wild and crazy crowd? Go to Midnight Madness - there is nothing like it!

Know your strenghts and limitations:
If you aren't an early bird, this likely isn't the time that you can change your pattern so schedule films not first thing in the morning. Some thing with piling on the films in one day, if you don't think you can do more than two - don't! Enjoy those two and save the rest for later. But, if you know you can sit through a whole day at one theatre, go for it. If you are willing to run out during the credits then schedule films tightly, but if you want some flex time to stay for Q&A's give yourself more of a buffer between films.

Now, the next big question is - what to see?
What I did was went through a printable film list by program from over at TOfilmfest and gave each film a number based on interest and how available I thought the film would be:

1 - Must See
2 - Strongly interested
3 - Mildly interested
4 - Wouldn't not see
5 - No, due to content or assumed tickets not available.

The plan was to only have about 5 must see's but currently the number is sitting closer to 25. I'm planning on seeing about 40 films so it seems unlikely to get all 25 of those in just in terms os scheduling constrants alone - but I'm open to the possibility.

A little explantion for "Wouldn't Not See" means that the films didn't grab me, but there was no indication that the film included content that I would find disturbing or regret to see later.

Here are my current 'must see's'. All may change in a mere few hours when the scheudle is available but here's to hoping! The rationale is a mix of films that will likely only be available to see at a festival, a strong leaning to Canadian films and Midnight Madness films. I also like to see a film from a country that I've not seen any films from before. I also like to take a chance on a few films that I know almost nothing about because you never know when you will find a gem. I've excluded the majority of Gala/Special Presentations as they appear to be mostly screened at Roy Thomson/Elgin which I can't see on my pass.

Must-See List:

The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Dir: Kim Jee-woon
I've been talking about this kimchi western for ages and I do not want to miss the opportunity to see it. The trailer is awesome.

Ashes of Time Redux
Dir: Wong Kar-wai
I'm a huge Wong Kar-wai fan and therefore really looking forward to his latest film. My only hesistation is that I've not seen the original Ashes of Time.

Adoration
Dir: Atom Egoyan
I'm not sure there will be an available screening for this but I can always hope. Atom Egoyan films always thought provoking as well as beautiful, which is a lovely combination.

Valentino
Dir: Matt Tymauer
Anything about fashion will peak my interest. Again, I'm not holding my breath that the film will be available to passholders.

Achilles and the Tortoise
Dir: Takeshi Kitano
This is the third film in Takeshi Kitano's trilogy which also included Takeshis' and Glory to the Filmmaker - both films I saw at previous TIFF's so I can't imagine letting this one pass by without seeing it.

White Night Wedding
Dir: Baltasar Kormakur
This is my 'country to explore' choice as it's from Iceland.

Été sans point ni coup sûr / No-Hit No-Run Summer
Dir: Francis Leclerc
French Canadian film set in 1969 starring Roy Dupuis from the director of Looking for Alexander / Mémoires affectives in a film about family and baseball,

Toronto Stories
Dirs: Sook-Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, Davide Weaver, Aaron Woodley
You can't get more Toronto than a film about Toronto. I'm really looking forward to this one which is a film of four stories each shot by a different Toronto director.

Pontypool
Dir: Bruce McDonald
Small town Ontario zombie movie by Bruce McDonald. Need I say more? Didn't think so.

Vacation
Dir: Hajime Kadoi
Japanese film about a prision guard who goes on vacation.

Only
Dirs: Ingrid Veninger, Simon Reynolds
Two 12 year olds in Northern Ontario embark on a journey. Sounds good to me!

Blind Loves
Dir: Juraj Lehotsky
Documentary on blind people finding love.

At the Edge of the World
Dir: Dan Stone
Eco-warriors on a pirate voyage. Current day. Yep, I'm in.

Dungeon Master
Dir: Keven McAlester
Documentary on 3 D&D players. Films about gaming are an automatic 'yes' for me.

It Might Get Loud
Dir: David Guggenheim
Documentary on guitar players Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.

Mémoire des anges / Memories of Angels
Dir: Luc Bourdon
Documentary of the NFB and their role in Canadian film and including numerous clips from NFB films.

Real Shaolin
Dir: Alexander Sebastien Lee
Documentary following four students as they go through training in the Shaolin temple in China.

Yes Madam, Sir
Dir: Megan Doneman
Documentary on th efirs woman police officer in India: Karin Bedi.

JVCD
Dir: Mabrouk El Mechri
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as himself in a comeback story that appears to blend truth and fiction. Opening night Midnight Madness Film.

Burrowers
Dir: J.T. Petty
Western with possible supernatural tendencies, in a reinvention of John Ford's The Searchers.

Eden Log
Dir: Franck Vestiel
Midnight Madness + Science Fiction = yes.

Chocolate
Dir: Prachya Pinkaew
Woman martial artist Jija Yanin kicks butt, from the director who brought us Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior and The Protector / Tom yum goong. Closing night Midnight Madness Film.

Those are my front runners! How about you, any must sees itching on your list?

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, 25 August 2008

TIFF'08 - Tickets - where and when?

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If you purchased passes which need films to be selected (10, 30, daytime, festival, etc. but not out of town packages), time line is as follow:

Tuesday August 26/08 10am* at the Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square (Yonge & Dundas)
You can pick your 'official order envelope' with forms to fill out, official film schedule and purchase program book. Remember to bring your 'envelope voucher' and if you purchased a program book in advance, bring that voucher too.
*Update: TIFF Talk reports envelope pick up can begin at 9am, and now the TIFF site says the Toronto Life Square Box Office is open at 9am on Aug 26/08.

Friday August 29/08 1pm at the Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square (Yonge & Dundas)
Envelopes with selections made are due for drop off to be included for the advance ticket draw. Read all the instructions very carefully.

Monday September 1/08 as of 10am at the Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square (Yonge & Dundas)
Tickets are available for pick up. Remember your pick up voucher!
This day there is usually a huge line up. Last year I waited 6 1/2 hrs to pick up my tickets (1 line up) as well fill in the gaps in my selections (a different line up).

Notes for pick up day:
-You usually get an email from the Box Office as well as you can check your order online. If you are have all of your selections I'd recommend enjoying your Labour Day not waiting in lines and pick up the tickets later.
-There are usually 2 lines. 1 to pick up, and 1 to make exchanges/selections for films you didn't get. What I saw last year was people had a friend go into the exchanges line while they waited in the mammoth pick up line to cut down the wait time.

Looking for single tickets?
Premium tickets for screenings at Roy Thomson Hall and the Elgin 'Visa Screening Room' are currently on sale.
All remaining single tickets will go on sale Wednesday September 3, 2008 at 7am.

What does 'OFF SALE' mean?
Off sale means that there are currently no tickets available for sale, but they encourage you to try try again. One recommended time to check for more tickets is at 7am on the day of the screening to see if same day tickets are available.

What does 'RUSH" mean?
Rush means that the advance and same day tickets are no longer available, however you still might have a chance. Each theatre was a rush line outside the theatre and if seats become available for the screening they may go to the rush line. One thing to note about Rush, is that their is usually 1 Rush line for all films at the location so make sure you know which film you are there to see and have your method of payment ready in case it is your lucky day.

For full and complete information on box office, ticket package and ticket info, please visit the TIFF'08 website.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Poll Results: Your fave Action/Adventure this summer was:

Your fave Action/Adventure this summer was:

54% - The Dark Knight
12% - Hancock
8% - Iron Man
4% - Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Hellboy 2, Indiana Jones 4, Wanted as well as "Didn't see any" and "Summer ain't over yet"!
0% - No votes for The Hulk, The Mummy 3, Speed Racer, Wall-E or "Didn't like any".

I'm not really surprized that The Dark Knight reigns supreme this year for summer fare, in fact I wondered if it would sweep at 100%. I'm happy to hear that there was some love for Hancock, it was one that I really enjoyed.

Check out the sidebar to your right latest poll where you can vote on "I'm most likely to see a film based on...".

Thanks for voting!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

My Week in Film

I know it's been a busy week when I've only seen two new films. I don't have pictures to share and I haven't seen any new trailers! What's been occupying all my time? Well, it's been two-fold TIFF-ness. On Tuesday August 19th the complete list of films for the Toronto International Film Festival was released, so I've been checking out lists and making my own. But, I've also took the week to try to take a breather from TIFF knowing that as of Tuesday this week when the schedule is announced it will be full-on TIFF madness until the festival is over. So, I watched some Olympics, re-watched Finishing the Game numerous times and even got some sleep. But, I did see two films, and I won't keep you in suspense any longer.

Akiko: Portrait of a Dancer / Akiko - Aru Dansa No Shozo, seen at the lovely Cinematheque Ontario as a part of their Japanese Classics series this summer. I didn't know anything about Akiko Kaneda going into this film but was taken by the picture listed in the program. In general, I'll always see a dance film no matter what the context. My sister Jamie enjoys dance films as well so we went together to see the film. I did enjoy the film, which had some very intense dance sequences and a fantastic photo shoot for a performance. There was also a bittersweet thread of the story about when a profession, especially as an artist, your life can be taken over by your art. At least, that is what I believe they were trying to say. Unfortunately not all of the film was subtitled, in particular the studio sequences went on for long periods of time with no translation. As someone who has spend time in the world of dance many years ago, I got a sense of what is happening but it would have been sweeter to know for sure.

I don't think we can get a film more far away in likeness to Akiko than the next film I saw. After a long two days of errands, shopping and a fantastic day at the CNE (particularly the cat show - tons of Rex's this year and some beautiful Burmese cats) I really was looking for a no-thinking-required film to zone out to. Boy, did I find it with Snakes on a Plane. Is it supposed to be a comedy? Cuz if it was, it was a great success, I laughed so many times. The concept is ridiculous, the acting intentionally goofy and some of the 'effects' had me on the floor. But, I was completely entertained for the duration of the film and it was exactly what I needed at the time.

What did you see this week?

Ok, I can't not have pictures on this post, so I'll share with you some of the cat pictures. Are they cutie pies?

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This is how I felt when I got home after the cat show, time to relax!

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Isn't this Burmese cat a beauty?

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I was totally in love with this Oriental cat with snow-leopard like colouring. He sure was a talker though!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

TIFF'08 Premium Tickets - Roy Thomson Hall and Elgin

A reminder that premium tickets for screenings at Roy Thomson Hall and "Visa Screening" room at the Elgin go on sale Saturday August 23, 2008.

Check out the Gala schedule and "Visa Screening" room at the Elgin schedule. These include many of the high profile films such as Passchendaele, Adoration, Blindness, Stone of Destiny, Burn After Reading, Empty Nest, Che, Appoloosa, RocknRolla, The Wrestler and The Good, The Bad,the Weird.

These premium tickets are $37.38 (not including service charges) can be purchased:
-online
-by phone 416-968-FILM / toll-free at 1-877-968-FILM
-in person TIFFG Box Office at Manulife Centre (Bay/Bloor) as of 10:00am

Box Office information notes that there is a limit of four tickets per screening, per account. Also if the premium tickets are noted as OFFSALE, they recommend to continue to check back as new inventory may become available.

Single tickets for regular screenings go on sale Wednesday September 3, 2008.

See TIFF'08 site for full details on tickets, box office and film schedule.

Update as of Saturday August 23, 2008 at 7:30PM, six screenings are ‘OFF SALE’:

The Secret Life of Bees, Friday September 5, 2008 – 6:30PM
Burn After Reading, Friday September 5, 2008 – 9:30PM
Rachel Getting Married, Saturday September 6, 2008 – 6:30PM
The Duchess, Sunday September 7, 2008 – 6:30PM
Nothing But the Truth, Monday September 8, 2008 – 6:30PM
Pride and Glory, Tuesday September 9, 2008 – 6:30PM

I'm a little surprized only 6 have gone offsale, I thought more at this point. I know I'm waiting for the official film schedule to be released to see if any of the films from this lot will be in screenings that are available through passes before shelling out the near $40. It is a risk as waiting that long they could become unavailable.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Fan Expo 2008 - August 22 - 24, 2008

I tell ya, the Fan Expo is where I'd like to be this weekend.

Fan Expo
August 22 - 24, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Why go?

Guests Galore
Buzz Aldrin, Brent Spiner, Kate Mulgrew, Jamie Bamber, Edward James Olmos, Henry Wrinkler, Wes Craven, Sid Haig, Bruce McDonald, Hugh Dillon, Brad Dourif, Ruggero Deadato, Kristy Swanson, Linnea Quigly, Shawnee Smith, Lloyd Kaufman, Sean Astin and many more.

5 expos in One for all your needs:
Comic Book Expo 2008
SFX 2008 Science Fiction Expo
Rue Morgue Festival of Fear Horror Expo
2008 CNAnime Expo
GX 2008 Gaming Expo

Midnight Madness 2008
Midnight Madness is one of the most exciting film line ups of the year, and you will be able to purchase single tickets for all the Midnight Madness films for TIFF'08 before they go on sale Sept 3rd, as well as pick up Midnight Madness Packages (1 ticket per midnight screening).

Toronto After Dark Sneak Preview!

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The official first announcement for Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 will be Tuesday August 26, 2008 but if you drop by Booth #1143 in the Festival of Fear section you can get a sneak preview to the feature film line up. Also, don't miss the chance to participate in the draw for the giveaway contest to win a Festival VIP Pass worth over $100. Don't miss your chance, this is one of the scariest, funnest festivals in Toronto. Want to know what the experience is like? Check out Movie Moxie coverage of the 2007 festival.

The Pit and the Pendulum released on DVD
This fantastic short film has played at over 100 film festivals and I had the opportunity to see it at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2007 (see review here). Buy your copy before the August 25, 2008 release day by visiting Booth #1216 . More info on The Pit and the Pendulum here.

Rue Morgue Festival of Fear National Horror Expo
This is one of the five expos included in the event and not only do they have guest and evens galore, there are also off site screenings include the following intimate evenings:

Sins of a Supervixen: An Intimate Evening with Tura Santana, including a screening Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Friday Aug 22/08 9:00PM at The Bloor.

American Monsters: An Intimate Evening with Tobe Hooper, including a screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Sunday Aug 24/08 9:00PM at The Bloor.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 22, 2008!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 22, 2008! Huge number of releases this week count 'em up and you are gonna get ten films which certainly means there should be something for everyone.

Seven of the releases are limited release including the spectacular Boy A, which I would highly recommend for the tour de force performance by Andrew Garfield and phenomenal story. If you are looking for some giggles I suspect that Hamlet 2 would be in order as it follows a failed actor turned teacher who needs to save the school drama program, and it looks hilarious. If you'd rather get a tad more serious with a touch of sweet we have we have Ben Kingsley and Penélope Cruz in Elegy which is defined as: A mournful or melancholy poem (yes, I looked it up). But Elegy isn't the only drama/romance this week, we also have Henry Poole Is Here which also adds some comedy to the mix as well. Critical acclaim is all around many of this weeks limited releases including the war film Beaufort, the border crossing drama Frozen River and Mongolian set heart wrenching drama Tuya's Marriage - all three films have an over 80% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes.

In wide release this week we have Death Race which IMDb lists as a sequel to the 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000 with David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone, however it feels more like a revisioning of the idea in a different setting. Also in wide release we get warmed up for the school season with the college themed The House Bunny where the house mother is former bunny, however I'm more likely to and suggest checking out The Longshots which is based on a true story of a girl football player starring Keke Palmer and Ice Cube.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon
Festival Watch

Rue Morgue Festival of Fear National Horror Expo
August 22 - 24, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Guests include: Wes Craven, Sid Haig, Bruce McDonald, Hugh Dillon, Brad Dourif, Ruggero Deadato, Kristy Swanson, Linnea Quigly, Shawnee Smith, Lloyd Kaufman, Sean Astin and many more.

Off-site Screenings include:
Sins of a Supervixen: An Intimate Evening with Tura Santana
, including a screening Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Friday Aug 22/08 9:00PM at The Bloor.

American Monsters: An Intimate Evening with Tobe Hooper, including a screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Sunday Aug 24/08 9:00PM at The Bloor.

Fan Expo
Includes: Comic Book Expo 2008, SFX 2008 Science Fiction Expo, Rue Morgue Festival of Fear Horror Expo, 2008 CNAnime Expo, GX 2008 Gaming Expo
August 22 - 24, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Guests include: Buzz Aldrin, Brent Spiner, Kate Mulgrew, Jamie Bamber, Edward James Olmos, Henry Wrinkler and many more.

Wednesday August 20, 2008 Releases

The Rocker
Dir: Peter Cattaneo (Lucky Break, The Full Monty)
Cast:Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Emma Stone, Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays audio), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3rds through

Friday August 22, 2008 Releases

Beaufort / Bufor
Writer/Dir: Joseph Cedar (Campfire / Medurat Hashevet)
Cast: Oshri Cohen, Itay Tiran, Eli Eltonyo, Ohad Knoller, Itay Turgeman
Israel
Limited Release
Official Film Site (French) Autoplays trailer, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Boy A
Dir: John Crowley (Intermission)
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Peter Mullan, Siobhan Finneran, Alfie Owen
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free for first third

Death Race
Writer/Dir: Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator, Resident Evil, Event Horizon, Mortal Kombat)
Cast: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Ian McShane, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer has lots of spoilers, but not time tracking so watch at your own risk!

Elegy
Dir: Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words, My Life Without Me)
Cast: Sir Ben Kingsley,
Penélope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Hopper
USA
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer
(remember to select 'trailer' not 'film clip') You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point

Frozen River
Writer/Dir: Courtney Hunt - directorial debut
Cast: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Michael O'Keefe
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

Hamlet 2
Dir: Andrew Fleming (Nancy Drew, The In-Laws, The Craft, Threesome)
Cast: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Elisabeth Shue, Josephy Julian Soria, Skylar Astin, Phoebe Strole, Melonie Diaz
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

Henry Poole Is Here
Dir: Mark Pellington (U2 3D, Arlington Road)
Cast: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Adriana Barraza, George Lopez, Cheryl Hines
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3rds through, then lots of spoilers

The House Bunny
Dir: Fred Wolf (Strange Wilderness)
Cast: Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katharine McPhee, Beverly D'Angelo, Colin Hanks
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

The Longshots
Dir: Fred Durst (The Education of Charlie Banks)
Cast: Keke Palmer, Ice Cube, Tasha Smith, Matt Craven, Dash Mihok
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until the halfway point

Tuya's Marriage / Tuya de hun shi
Dir: Quanan Wang (Jing zhe / The Story of Ermei)
Cast: Yu Nan
China
Limited Release
No Official Film Site found, IMDb Page, Trailer on Youtube
Trailer spoiler free for first third

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of August 22, 2008**

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Looking for the TIFF'08 line up?

So was I. Until I found the details over at 1st Thursday and Indiewire (PDF).

Update as of 3:10pm -
Official Film List Press Release, which doesn't actually include the list of 312 films (249 features) but you can find the film list is on the TIFF site here.

Who will be there? Check here for the list on the Press Release of 500+ Guests.

Update 7:40pm:
Search & sortable film list over at TOFilmFest

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

My Week in Film - Life is Sweet

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Headed out to the theatre this week to catch up on some releases from the weekend before last. Choices were: Amal and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. Double win this week, both films were a hit. I was happy to finally catch up with Amal which has been on the festival track since TIFF last year and has received across the board good reviews. Those reviews are well deserved, the film is very touching and speaks many truths of human nature be they good, bad or somewhere in between. Set in India, it follows a autorickshaw driver Amal through his daily and chance encounters which shape his world and that of those around him. After the film there was a surprize treat was waiting for the audience as Richie Mehta (director/co-writer), Rupinder Nagra (star) and two of the producers were there for an impromtu Q&A. It was clear that the audience loved the film as they expressed their encouragement for the film to be shown in multiple settings. Amal will continue to have an expanded release in the next few weeks. Next up for theatrical releases is The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. Now, I do think they could have made a better title but other than that I knew I would likely see it considering how much I enjoyed the first film. I can say with confidence that I really enjoyed the second one as well. I thought individual stories of the 4 characters were all believable and really got the awkward, smooth or overconfident 'next steps' of flying the coop. I also love films about friendship. Not only do the 4 main characters do a great job but the supporting cast was brilliant.

It's been a while since I've taking part in a blogathon, and that needed to change. With the challenge posed for the Sight Unseen blogathon over at Cinexcellence I couldn't resist: pick up a DVD that you would normallly pass by on to watch & review. Game on! My selection was Legionnaire, click through for full review.

Now we get to the super sweet films, both of which are stars on screen with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in The Game Plan and Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. Both selections came from being on available on the library shelf. I picked The Bodyguard because I had never seen it before, and I remember when it came back in '92 and everyone had seen it and the song "I Will Always Love You" was played everywhere. My expectations were not high and it was fun in a way, as you could easily tell what would happen next. I wouldn't say it would hold up for repeat watchings due to the fact that there is very little chemistry between the two leads and that is what holds a film like this together. Next up is The Game Plan, which I was looking forward to as it looked like a fun sport type film and then an unexpected family member gets thrown in the mix. Fun premise! Then the film opened and I saw the Disney symbol. Ah, okay - this will be complete family fare, which could be fine and it almost was. I did enjoy the numerous charming moments but I felt overall it was a kids movie with not a lot of content that was engaging as an adult.

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Trailer madness. Watching The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 and two of the trailers were: High School Musical 3 and The House Bunny. What does this say about their demographic? I don't think people who would be interested in Sisterhood 2 would go to The House Bunny, Sisterhood is about friendship, being and finding yourself, not pretending to be something else.

High School Musical 3 Trailer - spoiler free
The House Bunny Trailer - spoiler free until 3/4 the way through, offensive throughout

If those are too saccharine for you check out the Trailer for Burn at Twitch a horror/thriller about people who spontaneous combustion. Disturbing images in the last third of the trailer.

With seeing a fair amount of DVDs and yes, VHS tapes I took the opportunity to pick up a new knitting project. I was at the point where everything needed finishing touches which I can't do while watching film. So, a new hat is in the works. I can now say I'm comfortable with both yo (yarn over) and SK2P (slip, knit 2 together, pass over slipped stitch - it's a double decrease). I did have to watch a demo for the last one.

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See how far along it is after just 4 films?

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What did you see this week?

Monday, 18 August 2008

Poll Results: Summer Movies in 2008 Have Been...

50% - Some Hits, Some Misses
14% - Better Than Expected
14% - Disappointing
14% - Didn't See Any
7% - Awesome!

The results are in and looks like most of us liked at least some of what we saw with 78% choosing either Awesome!, Better Than Expected and the most popular answer Some Hits, Some Misses. I choose Better Than Expected myself, for specific films that were better than I expected: Wall-E, Get Smart, Hancock Mamma Mia! and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2.

Check out the sidebar to your right latest poll where you can vote for your favourite action/adventure film of the summer!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Legionnaire

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Dir: Peter MacDonald (Rambo III, The Neverending Story III)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Paul Kynman, Steven Berkoff, Nicholas Farrell, Ana Sofrenovic
USA, 1998

Seen: August 16, 2008

Reason to see: A challenge! Cinexcellence is hosting a Sight Unseen Blog-a-thon, where the idea is to buy, watch and review a film that is on sale for $5 or so. The trick is, you pick a film you would normally pass on by.

I have to say, picking the film was the hard part. I went to HMV as they usually have DVDs for sale in the suggested price range. But then I looked at the choices (see below) and knew I was in trouble. First off, I had seen almost everything! But after those, the ones left I actively didn't want to see. I really wanted to participate so I kept looking. I settled on Legionnaire as it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, and since I'm really hyped for his film JVCD which will be at TIFF'08 I felt like this could be a rekindling to his work.

Right from the beginning I was intrigued. The idea of the Legion, a place where you can sign up as a mercenary, no questions are asked and the benefit is the possibility to get a second chance on life. This is a great theme for a film. But, then it started in 1925 Marseilles in a club with can-can girls. Hmmm. That isn't the desert, is it? I was expecting training, fighting, bonding and harsh times - and there is all that but somehow they manage to get in romance, drama and even a little gangster-ness. It felt like the film was trying to get too much in it and spent a fair amount time getting to where it said it would be. The film did have some great characters including Van Damme's Alain Lefevre and Luther played by the delightful Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. There are a few fighting scenes, but no where near the amount I thought there would be. Overall, it plays mostly as a drama, where the story and characters are the highlight. The score really adds to the film, with majestic music bringing in moments to really hit home.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it light historical war drama

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2008

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Friday, 15 August 2008

19 Discovery, 6 Vanguard, 5 Visions titles announced for TIFF'08, Plus Future Projections

The film list for this years Toronto International Film Festival just keeps growing and growing! Announced recently were selections added to the Discovery program, Visions & Vanguard program as well as selections for Future Projections. With all of the choices growing exponentially, I may wait until the full film list is released on Tuesday August 19, 2008 before sitting down and making tiered priority to see lists.

Here are the newly released list of films, sorted by program then sorted alphabetically:

Discovery

$9.99
Dir: Tatia Rosenthal
Animation (stop-motion)
Voices: Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia
Israel/Australia

Apron Strings
Dir: Sima Urale
New Zealand

Better Things
Dir: Duane Hopkins
United Kingdom

Cold Lunch
Dir: Eva Sørhaug
Norway

Daytime Drinking
Dir: Young-seok Noh
South Korea

Gigantic
Dir: Matt Aselton
Cast: Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman
USA

Hooked
Dir: Adrian Sitaru
Romania/France

Jesus and the Giant
Dir: Akin Omotoso
South Africa
short film, will be shown with Medicine for Melancholy

Kabuli Kid
Dir: Barmak Akram
France/Afghanistan

Lovely, Still
Dir: Nik Fackler
Cast: Martin Landau, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott
USA

Lymelife
Dir: Derick Martini
Cast: Rory Culkin, Alec Baldwin, Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton, Kieran Culkin, Emma Roberts and Cynthia Nixon
USA

Rain
Dir: Maria Govan
Bahamas

Parc
Dir: Arnaud des Pallières
Cast: Sergi López, Jean-Marc Barr
France

Snow
Dir: Aida Begic
Bosnia and Herzegovina/Germany/France/Iran

The Stoning of Soraya
Dir: M. Cyrus Nowrasteh
Cast: Shohreh Aghdashloo
USA

Tale 52
Dir: Alexis Alexiou
Greece

Vacation
Dir: Hajime Kadoi
Japan

What Doesn't Kill You
Dir: Brian Goodman
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Peet, Donnie Wahlberg
USA

Winds of September
Dir: Tom Shu-Yu Lin
Taiwan

Zift
Dir: Javor Gardev
Bulgaria

Vanguard

Afterwards
Dir: Gilles Bourdos
Cast: Romain Duris, John Malkovich, Evangeline Lilly, Reece Thompson
France/Canada/Germany

Kisses
Dir: Lance Daly
Ireland/Sweden

PA-RA-DA
Dir: Marco Pontecorvo
Italy/France/Romania

Sauna
Dir: Antti-Jussi Annila
Finland

Tears for Sale
Dir: Uroš Stojanovic
Serbia/Croatia

Universalove
Dir: Thomas Woschitz
Austria/Luxembourg

Visions

Expectations
Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
South Korea/France
short film, will be shown with Je veux voir

Je veux voir
Dirs: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Rabih Mroué
Lebanon

Süt
Dir: Semih Kaplanoglu
Turkey/France/Germany

Uncertainty
Dirs: Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Olivia Thirlby, Lynn Collins
USA

Unspoken
Dir: Fien Troch
Belgium
World Premiere

Vinyan
Dir: Fabrice du Welz
Cast: Emmanuelle Béart, Rufus Sewell,
France/United Kingdom/Belgium

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 15, 2008!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday August 15, 2008! We have another Friday sandwiched by Wednesday releases week - it feels as though the whole month of August will continue like this! However, there are many options to choose from just make sure to confirm showtimes before heading to the theatre. In film news, just two weeks after the trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released, the release date has been pushed from the November 2008 until July 2009. How am I to wear my Gryffindor scarf in July, I ask you, how?

In limited release this week we have an assortment of genres including the Canadian Tkaronto about finding yourself though meeting someone else which looks quite touching, we also have the music documentary 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris and the 3D animated family film Fly Me to the Moon.

In wide release this week we have a completely different set of genres with the latest horror from Alexandra Aja with Mirrors, Woody Allen's new romantic comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the animated science fiction Star Wars film Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

We also have a few special releases including the re-release of the powerful documentary Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上 in a limited run. There is a special screening of Midnight Meat Train in its Toronto premiere. Midnight Meat Train was adapted from a Clive Barker novel and has been surrounded by controversy of the past few months due to having its release pushed to fewer and fewer theatres. Catch them while you can!

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Filmi
South Asian Film Festival
Continues until August 18, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema and the Royal Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

Midnight Meat Train
Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura (Alive, LoveDeath)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Vinnie, Jones, Leslie Bibb, Roger Bart, Brooke Shields
USA, 2008
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer (Spoiler free for first half, scary images)
Thursday August 21, 2008 at 9:30PM at The Bloor, presented by Rue Morgue
Toronto Premiere

Wednesday August 13, 2008 Releases

Tropic Thunder

Dir: Ben Stiller (Zoolander, The Cable Guy, Reality Bites)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Jay Baruchel
USA/Germany
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until halfway point

Friday August 15, 2008 Releases

Fly Me to the Moon
Dir: Ben Stassen - feature film directorial debut
Animated, 3D
Voices: Tim Curry, Robert Patrick, Kelly Ripa, Buzz Aldrin, Trevor Gagnon
Belgium
Official Film Site and trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free until the half way point

Mirrors
Dir: Alexandra Aja (The Hills Have Eyes)
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Cameron Boyce, Erica Gluck, Amy Smart
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays sound), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 'E' spoiler free until half way point, scary images throughout

Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Dir: Dave Filoni - feature film directorial debut
Animated
Voices: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Anthony Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee
USA/Singapore
Official Film Site (autoplays film segment), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer '1' spoiler free until 2/3rds through

'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris
Writer/Dir: Raymond De Felitta (The Thing About My Folks, Two Family House)
Documentary on jazz vocalist Jack Paris
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3rds through

Tkaronto
Writer/Dir: Shane Anthony Belcourt - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Melanie McLaren, Duane Murray, Mike McPhaden, Lorne Cardinal, Jeff Geddis
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Vicky Cristine Barcelona
Writer/Dir: Woody Allen (Cassandra's Dream, Mighty Aphrodite, Manhattan)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson
USA/Spain
Official Film Site, IMDb Page,
Trailer
Trailer shows a lot of the film, you get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point.

Wednesday August 20, 2008 Releases

The Rocker
Dir: Peter Cattaneo (Lucky Break, The Full Monty)
Cast:Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Emma Stone, Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays audio), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3rds through

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of August 20, 2008**
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