Toronto International Film Festival


It's that time of year again. That time of year when walking around Yorkville in sunglasses and a baseball cap makes you the object of stares. Now, I don't normally walk around town incognito like that. But you see, everybody's looking for celebrities. It's a sickness. A sickness that I happen to enjoy baiting. This is the one time of year that the more unavailble you appear to the people around you on the street, the more they want to know you. Now, I may not be famous, but I do love answering the "do I know you from somewhere?" question. There are so many possible answers. This year I have decided to go with the pointed, "Yes, I think you do" and then walk away. Last year I opted for "Don't tell Mother you saw me *sob* !!!" at which point I ran for the hills. It's fun to mess with suburbanites and out of towners. Fun, I tell ya.

I've been unable to do the festival properly this year, which is unfortunate because there are some great looking movies out there.

I was able to catch two films last Friday, both of which turned out to be real gems.

Bright Young Things

I had a particular interest in seeing this film because it is the directorial debut of Stephen Fry, the magnificent British - I want to call him a "humourist" but that seems trite - he is an actor, an author and now a film director with an unusual talent for being both hysterically funny and astoundingly smart and touching at once. He adapted the script from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies". The cast consists of mostly young, British talent all of whom are very strong in the film. The male lead is Stephen Campbell Moore who bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Fry's friend and colleague, Hugh Laurie. Fry and Laurie have been working together since college, first as a sketch duo and later on the BBC and PBS in the brilliant adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels. They have also appeared together in such films as 1994's "Peter's Friends". Whether this casting was a concious decision or something Freudian at work, the results are quite favourable. Another fun bit of casting is Dan Aykroyd chewing up the scenery in the most amiable way imaginable.

The film works on a number of levels. I will spare you the plot synopsis and merely say that it will make you laugh and it will make you think and it is released on October 3rd. Go see it.

Lost in Translation

This is the second feature film from writer-director Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides). That's right, that Sofia Coppala. Francis' little girl. For those of you that can't see past her "performance" in The Godfather Part III, now is the time to get over it, already. She may be no actress, but the fruit really did not fall far from the tree as far as her skill as a writer / director goes. The film is set in Tokyo, where two bored Americans, a fading TV star (Bill Murray) shooting an ad for a Japanese whiskey and a young married woman (Scarlett Johansson) with an ambitious, neglectful husband (Giovanni Ribisi), become fast friends after meeting in a hotel bar. The two then spend an adventure-filled weekend together, as the press release says "finding themselves". It is a wonderful, moving, quiet little charcter study. Bill Murray is riveting in his portrayal of this character. I would like to officially start the Oscar buzz, right here, right now.

The film opens on September 19th. Go see it.

Okay, the balcony is closed. See you at the movies!

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