I've been prepping for Toronto for the past two weeks, working at it like the OCD freak that I am, and it's only now, at the end of my first day at the fest, that I finally feel like I'm ready.
Well… I don't feel completely unprepared. Which is as close to "ready" as I'm going to get.
What does that mean to you here on the blog? What should you expect from Motion/Captured for the next week?
How does 35 reviews sound to you?
Last year, when I was at the fest, I didn't have a press badge. Even so, there was a ton of coverage here on HitFix between what I wrote and what Greg wrote. I think we offered up a pretty great glimpse of what was available at the festival in 2009, and I was happy with our coverage.
Not satisfied, though, and this year, I'm determined to do something I've never quite accomplished at any festival I've ever attended, no matter how hard I've tried. I'm going to try to publish something on every single one of the films I see.
I'm armed with a brand-new Macbook Pro, a busy-but-human schedule that has some writing time built into it, and a fairly detailed breakdown of where every screening is, where the nearest wi-fi can be found, and where I'm going to grab quick easy meals to keep myself going.
When I sat down with the full list of what's screening, I was immediately overwhelmed. I made a list of 95 films I'd like to see at the fest. That's absurd. Even if I were staying for every second of the festival (I'll be there from the 9th to the 16th), I wouldn't begin to dent that list.
Instead, it's much more likely that I'll end up seeing 35 films at the festival. Some are big high-profile titles, some are completely obscure, but in every case, I've carefully considered my options. I'm attending very few public screenings aside from the Midnight Madness events, which I'm doing every single night I'm in town, and that's fine with me. I like the energy at public screenings, but I'm trying to make the most of each day, and if I can stay at just one venue, simply moving from screen to screen, that sounds ideal.
Seriously, though… the list of films I'm not seeing is ether than the line-up at some feasts, at least on paper, and anything that actually made it onto my final list was carefully chosen. One of the reasons I'm writing this piece and running it now, before the fest, is because I want to give you a chance to change my mind if you've got a movie in the fest. Convince me I'm making a mistake I'll regret forever. Or if you've got a screener you can offer me for something that's not on my schedule, I'll add it. And I'll absolutely review it. I'm happy to do it. I hate leaving this many films unseen, but it's one of those damned time-and-space issues.
Here's my breakdown of what I expect to do.
Please feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back here and laugh at me at the end of the festival when I'm in tears.
THURSDAY, today, was our travel day, but even so, I managed to see the already-much-debated "Never Let Me Go," Hillary Swank's Oscar bid for 2010, "Conviction," and the opening night midnight movie, "Fubar II," a sequel to a cult Canadian comedy. All of that before I checked into my hotel, basically. Crazy.
FRIDAY, things kick off early with Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," and I'm so excited. I haven't seen the trailer, and I haven't read any reviews, and I know absolutely nothing. I love that I'm walking in unspoiled. Then it's "The Illusionist," the latest from the director of the animated Euro-charmer "The Triplets Of Belleville," based on an unfilmed screenplay by French comedy legend Jacques Tati. The latest from the directors who made "Half Nelson" and "Sugar" is playing, "It's Kind Of A Funny Story," and so far it looks like a teenage "Cuckoo's Nest" with Zach Galifianakis as McMurphy. And I'll wrap up my first full day with James Gunn's sure-to-be-disturbing take on superheroes, appropriately titled "Super."
SATURDAY is crazy busy. "Little White Lies" is the latest from Guillaume Canet, who made the thriller "Tell No One," and it sounds like this is more fiendish French fun. Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" seemed to be a big hit with the Telluride audiences, and I certainly liked the trailer. "Norwegian Wood" is an adaptation of the Murakami novel by Vietnamese director (), who made "The Scent Of Green Papaya" several years back. It's certainly a beautiful book, and I'm curious what sort of movie he saw in there. Finally, at midnight, Josh Hartnett toplines a real strange cast in the martial arts revenge fantasy "Bunraku." That's a hell of a potential day of movies.
SUNDAY is just as busy, if not moreso. To make sure I'm awake, I'm going to start the day with the latest film from the director of the awesomely loathsome "Ex-Drummer," and you should check out the trailer for his new one, "22nd Of May":
Just to underline the potential for trauma, I'll be seeing Catherine Breillat's new one, "The Sleeping Beauty." I'll be talking with the filmmakers behind "Never Let Me Go" and "Conviction" and maybe even "Black Swan" that day, as well as attending a special Midnight Madness event. Then I'm attending the premiere of Clint Eastwood's new one, "Hereafter," which is the supernatural film written by Peter Morgan and starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard. As if all of that weren't enough, I'll cap the day off with Brad Anderson's "Vanishing On 7th Street," which looks great, and which should make a perfect midnight movie.
I'm worn out just from writing up this preview piece. I can't imagine how tired I'll be by mid-point in the festival if I keep up with this crazy schedule.
MONDAY is the busiest film day of the festival for me, I think. I'm going to need a pick-me-up that morning, so I'm going to turn to the great Errol Morris and his new documentary "Tabloid." Since I'm not in town till the bitter end, I'm seeing at least one of the Midnight Movies that plays after I leave at earlier screenings, like this gorgeous lush-looking Hong Kong film called "The Butcher, The Chef & The Swordsman." I'll go from China to Korea for what sounds like a disturbing film, "I Saw The Devil," from the enormously talented director behind "The Good, The Bad and the Weird" and "A Bittersweet Life," with the stars of "Old Boy" and "Bittersweet." The film's already stirred up a storm of controversy over censorship in Korea, and sounds like one deranged ride. There's a short documentary in the evening called "Make Believe" about amateur kid magicians, and then, at midnight, one of the things I'm most excited about the entire week is screening, the return of John Carpenter to the bigscreen with "The Ward."
TUESDAY is a little less intense, even if it does start with John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole," which sounds amazing. Yes, partly because I'm a big "Hedwig" fan, so I'm automatically interested in whatever Mitchell does, but also because the film stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in what sounds like a harrowing emotional journey. "Peep World" by Barry Blaustein is my second film of the day, and I'm rooting for Blaustein on this one. "Fire Of Conscience" is another of the Midnight Madness films that I'm trying to see early before I go, a brutal martial arts film by the looks of it. And then at midnight, James Wan's new film "Insidious" is screening, and the only thing I know about it so far is that the first still from the film gives me the creeping heebie-jeebies.
WEDNESDAY is my last full day at the festival, and it starts with an early screening of a new Michael Winterbottom film called "The Trip," which reunites Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, who were so great together in Winterbottom's "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story." "Cold Fish" is one of the other titles I'm most excited to see, a new film from the director of "Suicide Club" and last year's brilliant "Love Exposure." Finally, at midnight, I'll check out "Red Nights," my last of this year's Midnight Madness events.
And on THURSDAY morning, before I leave for the airport, I'm going to try to sneak in a screening of Werner Herzog's 3D cave painting documentary, "Cave Of Forgotten Dreams" as well as a film called "I Am Slave" that, frankly, sounded interesting and fit in the schedule before my ride to the airport.
That's madness. That's so many movies, and that doesn't include the ones I've already seen that I'll be reviewing during the fest, as soon as I can without breaking an embargo. Films like "Stone" and "Let Me In" and "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" and "Tamara Drewe" will also get reviewed, and even though the festival's underway, you can also expect reviews of "Catfish" and something very special on Monday.
So we're going to be spending a lot of time together these next eight days, you and I, and I hope I can convey to you just how wonderful and hectic and thrilling and disappointing each step of the process is as we cover the 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Check back often. I'll try my best to make it worth your time.
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