36 Films! Why? To use this year’s slogan – It’s what we do! Let’s just hope it’s not a a tear jerker of a year like TIFF13 – it’s taken 3 years for my sinuses to recover.
If you are curious, this is how it’s going down this year.
Thursday I start the festival out right with one of my besties (who just happens to be of German descent and owns a piano store) for the Cannes laugh out loud favourite, Toni Erdmann. Then I join my one of my fellow monkeys and TIFF partner in crime for Mia Hanson-Love’s Things to Come, the film about her mother’s rebirth following her marriage break-up that promises to be different than most films about women “of a certain age”. Next we drink a stiff cup of coffee and see Free Fire, our one and only midnight madness movie. It’s probably mad to subject ourselves to a midnight show at the start the festival but hoping a later start on Friday takes the edge off.
Well rested on Friday (if I say it, it shall be so), I start with Leo and Fisher’s much anticipated environmental doc Before the Flood. Next up is Paul Verhoeven’s Elle starring Isabelle Huppert, again, with a bit of a dinner break before the Trespass Against Us, an English gangster flick starring two of the greatest Irish actors of our time – Brendan Gleesan and Michael Fassbender.
Saturday is not too shabby either, but somehow they are better spaced so should make it easy to get from film to film. First up is Ewan McGregor pulling a Babs with his directorial debut, and an ambitious one at that, with the adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, American Pastoral. I’ve started to read it and hope to finish it before the showing. To honour my late Grandmother, I will be seeing The Journey with a fellow Northern Irish descendent. While two dudes with Northern Irish accents talking in a van about peace between the Unionists and Republicans may sound dull, my guess is nothing about Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, played by Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney will be. But just in case, there is a wierd one to follow, Osgood Perkins’, I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House. To close the night is the highly anticipated, by me, Chuck Wepner story, The Bleeder, directed by Philipe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) and starring Liev Schreiber.
Sunday I have a bit of a dilemma. My main goal is to see Moonlight and Lion. I also wanted to see The Handmaiden, however my partners in crime are seeing Loving and Its Only the End of the World, also compelling. Either way, Sunday will be a very full day.
Monday the day starts out with Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, followed by Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest, a complementary screening of The Arrival and finally Bleed for This.
Tuesday I’m slowing things down to enjoy my Mom’s birthday. We start with the apparently dazzling Hollywood musical La La Land, followed by a nice lunch and topped off by Manchester by the Sea.
Wednesday I’m looking forward to seeing Paterson, as well as Orphan, The Journey is the Destination and Una. To quote my two fellow monkeys, for sure Julie will see Una, Ben Mendelsson is in it!
Thursday I get a late start with what will bound to be a memorable performance from Rebecca Hall in Christine followed by a highly anticipated (by my mother and I) double feature, the Irish love story, The Secret Scripture and Rob Reiner’s LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
On Friday I start the day with an accidental selection, Salt and Fire, the film I will from now on refer to as the other volcano movie by Werner Herzog. Followed by movies I purchased on purpose, Ma’Rosa which won Jaclyn Jose a beat actress award at Cannes and I, Daniel Blake, which won Ken Loach his second Palme D’or.
Rounding out the last weekend of the festival, I will see Planetarium, Brain on Fire, Godless and Brimstone on Saturday, and to bring it all home City of Tiny Lights, Daguerreotype and Handsome Devil on Sunday.
Stay tuned for brief updates as the week progresses. There’s sure to be a couple of duds in the mix, but I do believe this is going to be another knock out Festival in Toronto!