Blog: TIFF 2018 is here - do you need to be a member to get the best out of it?

TIFF sign on King Street West

Six years ago, when I moved to Toronto, one of my dreams was to go to Toronto International Film Festival. Since I arrived in late summer of 2012 and was starting school, it was too late for me to get tickets for any galas, but I still managed to see one movie.

It was “Laurence Anyways” by a French Canadian director Xavier Dolan. The movie screening was very low-key compared to my later experiences at TIFF, but nevertheless, I found it very exciting. The screening was at Scotiabank Theatre, but we still got to meet with the director and the cast. To watch the movie and then have a chance to be at the Q&As with the cast inspired me so much. I couldn’t wait for 2013.

During the summer of 2013, I purchased TIFF membership, and I did not regret it to this day. There was an orientation for new members, which I went to and even wrote a post on Tumblr about it. I am going to insert a part of my blog post here:

Today was the orientation tour for new members at Bell Lightbox, and of course, I went there. There was a pretty big group of people (bigger than I expected), and we were split into two smaller groups. First, we had a tour around the building and were told about the architecture of the building - the concept of light and shadow and boxes within boxes. I have been to Lightbox before - both times during the festival, this and last year. I was only on the second floor and inside cinema 2. Today we had a tour, and we were able to go inside halls 1 and 5. We also went inside the Bell Blue Room which is for TIFF members only.

The best thing about membership is that you can come over to the Lounge (on the second floor - Luma restaurant/bar) or to the Bell Blue Room (which is open only on Thur-Fri afternoons and all throughout Sat-Sun). You can just hang out there. Have a snack. They also conduct workshops, screenings, exhibitions. Some things (like special exhibitions or TV shows season finale/premiere screenings) are free, others are available at a discounted price. (They also used to organize the Oscar ceremony screening in the members’ lounge for a couple of years. It was a lot of fun!)

They also have a Book club, and film discussions. They also have a film reference library, and you can watch any title there on the spot for free.*

I went a bit crazy with TIFF in 2013-2015. I watched a lot of movies in those years, some of them I rushed, others I was lucky to get tickets for in advance.

All movies I watched at TIFF in 2014

With years, TIFF membership benefits and the process of obtaining tickets for TIFF have changed. This is the information that I got from TIFF website as of today in regards of festival benefits.

Members 365

At the Toronto International Film Festival:

  • Exclusive ticket package pre-sale
  • Exclusive advance-package ticket selection
  • Exclusive individual ticket pre-sale
  • No service fees on exchanges via your TIFF Account Manager
  • Priority service through the Box Office

If you are reading this during the festival, it is already too late to get any festival packages. For those, you have to sign up for TIFF newsletter and watch your email months ahead. However, if you plan to buy individual tickets, getting a TIFF membership would still be beneficial as it gives you priority at the box office.

Naturally, you can purchase tickets online or over the phone, but if you have vouchers, you need to exchange them for movie tickets. The lines at the festival are unbelievable!

TIFF

If you have a ticket for a movie, arrive about 1 hour before the screening as there will be a line for ticket holders and everyone would be admitted about 10 mins before the screening. The seating is usually not assigned, and once all ticket holders are inside, the volunteers would count empty seats and let in the rush line.

TIFF

Rush Line is a great way to get tickets for screenings that are sold out. There are usually at least 10% of seats are being saved for that purpose. Sometimes extra tickets might be released on the day of the screening. Checking the TIFF website every day of the festival is a great tip!

TIFF Rush ticket

If you want to rush a ticket, then arrive 3-4 hours before screen time. Bring a chair, an umbrella, snacks and a book, and make friends with people around you. I have experience standing for 5-6 hours in rush lines, in the sun or under the rain, reading books, talking to people, taking breaks to run to a nearby Starbucks or Tim Hortons, and cheering every time the line moves one foot ahead.

It is hard to describe the feel of the festival. You need to experience it on your own. See mobs of fans crowd every entrance and exit waiting for Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Watch a fan ask Benedict Cumberbatch a very inappropriate question. You get so used to being around people who talk about festival movies and discuss spotted celebs almost 24/7 that later being outside of that orange bubble feels less real.

TIFF 2013 - fans are waiting for Benedict Cumberbatch in front of Princess of Wales theatre

Unfortunately, I missed a year or two of the festival due to being away on vacation, but every time when I had an opportunity, I would see at least a couple of movies.

TIFF 2017

Would having a TIFF membership help you get the best out of the festival? In my opinion, yes. It definitely helped me get early access to tickets packages and priority in Ticket Office. Not to mention discounts in some local restaurants. Members’ Lounge is pretty cool too, although it is usually not available during festival days.

Yours truly at TIFF

Check out my movies tag to see the reviews and my past experiences.

*Please refer to the official TIFF page for membership benefits, prices and festival tickets. As the details might change without my knowledge.

Links:

https://www.tiff.net/membership/

Movie/book review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

"Everything, Everything" Movie  

"Everything, Everything" Movie review

 

I am one of those bookish people who have to read a book before the movie. It doesn’t always happen, but I strive for it. The only movie franchise that I have ever watched without reading books (not for the lack of trying) was The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. And I loved them a lot!

 

I admit it, I am a book snob. I always think that books are better than movies. Sometimes it is even hard to compare the two as movie scripts inevitably bring changes to the plot, and not always to the best effect.

 

It was one of the reasons why watching “Everything, Everything” the movie was very low on my priorities list. I am not very fond of romance stories, and even though I loved the book, I didn’t feel compelled to watch it on screen.

Thank goodness for transatlantic flights: I am ready to watch “Madagascar” movies for the upteenth time just to distract myself!

 

So, after watching The Boss Baby (which was cute), Smurfs: The Lost Village (which was fairly stupid) and rewatching “Penguins of Madagascar” (because they rock), I settled to watch “Everything, Everything”.

 

The movies has only one, rather unimaginative, tagline on IMDB: “A teenager who's spent her whole life confined to her home falls for the boy next door.”; and an average rating of 6.4. I didn’t have much hopes for the movie, as I knew the plot, but I hoped to be entertained by the characters, and sure I was!

 

I think that Amandla Stenberg is a perfect Maddy. I loved her acting and her sweet nature. She was, honestly, the best thing about this movie. I was not as impressed by Nick Robinson (Olly) as I felt that he was not gritty enough, if you will. I liked how their text conversations were translated into face to face conversations on screen. The presence of an astronaut was a nice touch. But otherwise the movie was not very visually imaginative. The books has some cool illustrations, that were missing from the movie.

 

I think my biggest disappointment with the "Everything, Everything" movie was that it failed to deliver a punch at the end. Everything showed on screen was sort of mellowed out, in my opinion. Maddy was less sick, her mother less obsessive, Olly less intriguing. I loved Olly in the book, but in the movie he was a bit mediocre, unfortunately. The imperfections and inconsistencies in treating serious illness are more visible on screen than in a book format too. (E.g., Maddy's mother or her nurse enters the house and goes through decontamination, washes her hands but then grabs the bag and brings it in? That looked very improbable.)

 

When I read the "Everything, Everything" book, I gave it a rather high rating of 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, it was sweet and resonated with my personal experience of being subjected to an obsessive care by a relative. However, since then I did read some reviews by people who pointed out that even though Maddy’s disability was not correctly portrayed and this representation is actually harmful. I admit that I did not think about the representation of serious chronic illness or disability when I read the book as it always held a bit of an unrealistic touch for me. As in, this is a mysterious disease and nobody knows what it is (which is actually not true, but it was my interpretation of it). Obviously, I can not speak on behalf of people who struggle with serious chronic illness or disability, but as my mother is severely allergic to animals (we are talking about not being able to share a space with an animal for any period of time), I do understand how this representation seems unhealthy and deems the character's situation as not serious enough. Especially, since the message is that it is okay to risk everything (family, health, life) for the sake of love.

 

Nope, don’t do that, kids.

 

I am not going to change my rating on Goodreads for this book, although I do now think that 4.5 stars was a bit too generous. However, I did enjoy "Everything, Everything" and the writing style, and still think that it was a great debut novel. Nicola Yoon is also a total sweetheart - I met her at BookCon in 2016. Too sad that the movie flopped for me.

 

Overall movie rating: 2.75 stars

 

"Everything, Everything" Book review

 

"Everything, Everything" Book

 

Written: November 2015

 

personal rating: 4.5 stars

 

This book deserves all the love and hype surrounding it! It is a very cute story about a girl who is allergic to everything. One day, a new family moves into a nearby house and she befriends their son.

 

I liked everything about this book. The way it is written. The fact that it is interrupted by illustrations and notes written by Madeline. The fact that this book has some similarities to "The Fault In Our Stars" but only it is way better and lighter and happier. (And also, HAWAII!)

 

The characters are unique and have very distinctive voices. I loved both Madeline and Olly. I loved the setting of the book. I loved all the descriptions.

 

I also loved the twist and the way the story resolved itself, even though I did suspect something like this would happen. (It also quite unexpectedly resonated with my own experience, which was a bit surprising.)

 

Can't say more but this book gave me rather happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. Even though it mostly about illness. Nicola Yoon has achieved something that John Green failed to do for me.

 

Read it. You will love it.

 

***

More book reviews

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Sources:

BLOG: Movies I would love to watch at TIFF 2017

Are you ready for TIFF 2017?

 

 

Ever since I moved to Toronto, I have been going to Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) almost religiously, increasing the number of movies I watched every year. In 2012, during my time in college, it was only 1 movie, “Laurence Anyways by the Quebec director Xavier Dolan. In 2013, I watched 5 movies and experienced rush lines for the first time, lining up to see “The Fifth Estate” (which flopped but I still liked it), and then first disappointment as I missed out on the ticket for “August: Osage County”, and so on. In 2015, I beat my own record and watched 8 movies during the festival - for some of those movies I spent up to 4 hours in rush lines! It was intense! (You can read about my past experiences under Cinema tag.)

Unfortunately, last year I went on vacation right at the time of TIFF (which is beginning of September). I was very disappointed but seeing my family was more important. Unfortunately, this year I also going away.

 

So, to keep myself somewhat up-to-date with what is going on at the festival, I made a list of movies that would have been my initial list of movies to keep an eye out for. Obviously, it is not possible to watch so many during the festival (and still keep your full-time job), but it is always good to have 1-2 options to choose from for every day, as you never know if you are going to get a ticket or not.

 

I took the information about the movies from TIFF website, so please refer there for the schedule which will be available on August 22 at www.tiff.net.

 

 

A Fantastic Woman

Una Mujer Fantástica

Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: Chile

Duration: 103 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

 

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio follows his 2013 Festival hit Gloria with this drama about a young transgender woman struggling with both her own grief and societal prejudice after the death of her middle-aged lover.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/a-fantastic-woman/?v=a-fantastic-woman

 

Alias Grace

Directed by Mary Harron

Country: Canada, USA

Duration: 90 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Primetime

 

A layered historical drama based on of Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize–winning novel about a poor Irish servant accused and convicted of murder, from director Mary Harron and screenwriter Sarah Polley.

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/alias-grace/?v=alias-grace

Black Cop

Directed by Cory Bowles

Country: Canada

Duration: 91 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Discovery

 

A black police officer (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) seeks revenge after being egregiously profiled and assaulted by his colleagues, in this searing political satire by actor-director Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys).

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/black-cop/?v=black-cop

 

Breathe

Directed by Andy Serkis

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 117 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease.

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/breathe/?v=breathe

 

Call Me By Your Name

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Country: Italy, France

Duration: 132 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The latest from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood (Timothée Chalamet) and his father's research assistant (Armie Hammer).

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/call-me-by-your-name/?v=call-me-by-your-name

Dark River

Directed by Clio Barnard

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 89 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Ruth Wilson stars in British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s atmospheric and layered drama about the old wounds and bitter new grievances that come to light when a woman returns home to settle the tenancy of her family’s Yorkshire farm.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/dark-river/?v=dark-river

 

Darkest Hour

Directed by Joe Wright

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Gary Oldman steps into the imposing persona of Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) period drama set in the early years of the Second World War, when Churchill’s rousing leadership inspired a nation.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/darkest-hour/?v=darkest-hour

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) directs Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about a woman who returns home to her orthodox Jewish community in London and rekindles a romance with her cousin’s wife.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/disobedience/?v=disobedience

 

Euphoria

Directed by Lisa Langseth

Country: Sweden, Germany

Duration: 104 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program:Platform

Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth directs her Hotell star Alicia Vikander and Eva Green (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) in this story of two estranged sisters attempting a difficult and ominous reconciliation, with supporting performances from Charles Dance, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Stanley, and Adrian Lester.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/euphoria/?v=euphoria

 

For Nonna Anna

Directed by Luis De Filippis

Country: Canada

Duration: 13 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts

In this raw and graceful testimony of intersectional womanhood, a trans girl has to care for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her — but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/for-nonna-anna/?v=for-nonna-anna

 

Kings

Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Country: France, Belgium

Duration: 92 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

In the English-language debut from writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang), a recluse (Daniel Craig) helps a woman (Halle Berry) and her multiple children when riots erupt in Los Angeles following the 1992 acquittal of the policemen charged with assaulting Rodney King.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/kings/?v=kings

 

Mary Shelley

Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour

Country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Elle Fanning stars in this scintillating biopic of the Frankenstein author, chronicling her tempestuous marriage to dissolute poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the fateful night at a Swiss chateau that inspired her most famous creation.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/mary-shelley/?v=mary-shelley

 

Pre-Drink

Directed by Marc-Antoine Lemire

Country: Canada

Duration: 23 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts 

Alexe, a trans woman, and Carl, her gay best friend, disrupt the boundaries of their friendship when they decide to have sex for the first time — and raw emotional truths collide with illusions of breezy detachment at a time of transition.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/pre-drink/?v=pre-drink

 

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

Directed by Angela Robinson

Country: USA

Duration: 108 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Luke Evans (High-Rise, Beauty and the Beast), Rebecca Hall (Christine), and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) star in this biopic of William Moulton Marston, the American psychologist who put his progressive ideals about female liberation into practice by creating the DC superhero Wonder Woman and living in an "extended relationship" with his wife and another woman.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women/?v=professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women

 

Submergence

Directed by Wim Wenders

Country:France, Germany, Spain

Duration: 112 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The new film from the great Wim Wenders (Pina) is a globe-trotting romance about a water engineer (James McAvoy) and a deep-sea researcher (Oscar winner Alicia Vikander) striving to reconnect although separated by oceans, continents, and civil war.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/submergence/?v=submergence

 

The Current War

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Country: USA

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) directs Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in this account of the race for marketable electricity in the United States between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-current-war/?v=the-current-war

 

The Death of Stalin

Directed by Armando Iannucci

Country: France, United Kingdom, Belgium

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Armando Iannucci (Veep) directs Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, and Andrea Riseborough in this acerbic send-up of the Soviet Supremo and his band of scheming bootlicks.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-death-of-stalin/?v=the-death-of-stalin

 

The Upside

Directed by Neil Burger

Country: USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart star in this remake of the French hit The Intouchables, a dramatic buddy comedy about the unlikely friendship between a rich quadriplegic and his working-class caregiver.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-upside/?v=the-upside

 

Thelma

Directed by Joachim Trier

Country: Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark

Duration: 116 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Recently moved to Oslo to attend school, a young woman falls in love and discovers that she possesses terrifying powers, in this supernatural thriller from acclaimed director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs).

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/thelma/?v=thelma

 

What Will People Say

Hva vil folk si

Directed by Iram Haq

Norway, Germany, Sweden106 minutes2017STCColourNorwegian, UrduWorld Premiere

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Nisha’s double life — obedient to her traditional Pakistani upbringing at home, typical Norwegian teenager to her friends — comes crashing down when her concerned parents kidnap her and send her to Pakistan, in Iram Haq’s personal, empathetic story of family, community, and culture.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/what-will-people-say/?v=what-will-people-say

Let me know what you would like to see this year!

I feel very 'meh' about Oscars this year

Not only I am not impressed by Oscars being "oh so white" but also none of the movies that I watched and liked at TIFF (with the exception of The Danish Girl) are nominated this year. I mean, in big categories. For the past few years, as a TIFF member, I had an opportunity to watch Oscars live at Bell Lightbox among other movie lovers. For free. That was the members perk.

This year they are charging everyone $100+ and I just don't feel it. I don't think it is reasonable to spend that much money for an opportunity to watch the ceremony celebrating the movies I do not care about.

(I did watch The Martian and I really enjoyed it but I feel that it is still inferior to the book AND does not really deserve an Oscar nomination. The fact that Black Mass was not nominated for the best picture is something I won't forgive the Academy. Not to mention nominations for Tom Hardy or Johnny Depo.)

I haven't seen The Revenant but I am pretty sure it will score the award as well as Leo. (Whom I have disliked for years and even though I do see his talent, I have no desire to watch the movies with him. Titanic has ruined this actor for me. *shudder*)

Seeing as I have no favourites in this race (except for, perhaps, Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, and Tom Hardy), I may not even watch it at home. This is the first time in years my excitement for Oscars is this low.

Is anyone watching it tonight?

New Year Resolutions

I'm quite aware it is February ;) I wrote those down a month ago, but never got to share them.

  • read 70 books*
  • listen to 10 audiobooks
  • see 10 theatre plays
  • watch 50 movies
  • start art journal again
  • write more
  • blog regularly (once a day)
  • take more photos and share them
  • consistently write book reviews
  • write plays/events reviews
  • take care of my health
  • start going to the gym again
  • travel to new places
  • meet new people
  • smile every day

*I set my goal at GoodReads for 70 books as well, but it is not the same. On GoodReads I keep track of both books and audiobooks, but in my journal I keep them separate. Which means that I will hit my GoodReads goal before my personal one.

I must say that my book reading challenge is going quite nicely AND I have already listened to 10 audiobooks, so that is quite encouraging :D

I also started a new art journal. I hope to keep doing that throughout the year.

I still suck at writing and posting reviews right after the events/plays/reading books. But I am working on it!

TIFF 2015: My Updated Schedule

TIFF_Sep6 When I say that buying TIFF tickets is incredibly stressful - this is what I mean. The sale started at 9am, and I entered the website and got into the queue. I had to wait for about 45-50 minutes before I could get into the website (you see my number in the line). I didn't have high hopes, as previous years the queue didn't work properly, I was kicked out more than once, etc.

This year they must have made some major improvements, because this queue actually did work! I got into the website and I even managed to purchase tickets! Of course, The Martian, Legend and first 2 screenings of The Danish Girl, as well as Black Mass were off sale. No surprise there. But I got the ticket for the third and final screening of The Danish Girl which is better than nothing. I also got a ticket for Freeheld, which is a gala!

I made adjustments to my schedule and this is how it is going to look like. Yes, I will have to rush three movies (The Martian, Legend, Black Mass), but I already have 2 vouchers (unused from my package) plus those screenings are at rather convenient times, so I should be able to get to the rush line 2-3 hours before the screening. (It does not guarantee that I would get in, but it is a fair chance.)

I admit, I am not sure how I am going to manage this crazy schedule. I will probably need lots and lots of coffee.

Weekday Date Time Movie Location Ticket
Thursday 10-Sep 21:30 LONDON ROAD Elgin Theatre Yes
Friday 11-Sep 21:30 THE MARTIAN Roy Thomson Hall RUSH
Saturday 12-Sep 15:30 ABOUT RAY Princess of Wales Yes
Saturday 12-Sep 21:30 LEGEND Roy Thomson Hall RUSH
Sunday 13-Sep 11:00 LEGEND Elgin Theatre RUSH
Sunday 13-Sep 15:45 EQUALS Princess of Wales Yes
Sunday 13-Sep 21:30 FREEHELD Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Monday 14-Sep 21:00 BLACK MASS Elgin Theatre RUSH
Tuesday 15-Sep 19:15 Downriver Scotiabank Theatre Yes
Thursday 17-Sep 21:30 DISORDER Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Friday 18-Sep 21:30 STONEWALL Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Saturday 19-Sep 15:15 THE DANISH GIRL Princess of Wales Yes
Saturday 19-Sep 21:15 LEGEND Princess of Wales RUSH

TIFF 2015: Intro & My Plans

TIFF 2015 is almost here and I want to share with you what I am planning to see. This year is going to be fantastic. There are a lot of great movies and a lot of celebrities coming, and most importantly TIFF is celebrating 40th Anniversary! Woohoo!

Same as last year I purchased a tickets package - My Choice Premium Pack of 6 tickets. Which means that I get 6 tickets for gala and special presentations (which involve red carpet and often cast Q&As). This is my favourite type of screenings as they usually bring the top movies as galas and special presentations.

I admit that the choice was tough. There are amazing movies that are coming, but I had to narrow the choice down to six. To be honest, my list has at least 20 movies, but seeing as the festival runs only between 10-20 September, I won't be able to see all I want.

You can have a look at the full list of TIFF movies here - http://tiff.net/festivals/festival15/films

My priority list of movies that I would like to see is:

  • The Martian
  • The Danish Girl
  • Black Mass
  • Freeheld
  • Legend
  • Stonewall
  • London Road

The top three movies are my top choices, but sadly I didn't tickets for them. What happens after you buy a tickets pack is that you are given a certain time window (a date and a time) to select tickets. How soon you are able to do that depends on the level of your membership (priority is given, obviously, to sponsors), so my window was September 3, almost a week after the selection was open. I wasn't really surprised that those tickets got sold out as those are quite highly anticipated movies. I did get 4 tickets out of 6, which means that I will get the two remaining ones as vouchers.

Individual Tickets go on sale to general public on September 6 at 9am. I will try to buy what galas and other screenings that I want, and whatever I don't get - I will rush. I successfully rushed a lot of movies the last two years, so it should be ok. And the schedule looks quite good.

Weekday Date Time Movie Location Ticket
Thursday 10-Sep 21:30 LONDON ROAD Elgin Theatre
Friday 11-Sep 21:30 THE MARTIAN Roy Thomson Hall
Saturday 12-Sep 15:30 ABOUT RAY Princess of Wales Yes
Saturday 12-Sep 18:15 THE DANISH GIRL Princess of Wales
Saturday 12-Sep 21:30 LEGEND Roy Thomson Hall
Sunday 13-Sep 11:00 LEGEND Elgin Theatre
Sunday 13-Sep 12:00 THE DANISH GIRL Roy Thomson Hall
Sunday 13-Sep 15:45 EQUALS Princess of Wales Yes
Sunday 13-Sep 21:30 FREEHELD Roy Thomson Hall
Monday 14-Sep 21:00 BLACK MASS Elgin Theatre
Tuesday 15-Sep 19:15 Downriver Scotiabank Theatre
Wednesday 16-Sep 19:15 Heroes Reborn Scotiabank Theatre
Thursday 17-Sep 21:30 DISORDER Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Friday 18-Sep 21:30 STONEWALL Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Saturday 19-Sep 12:30 Desde Alla Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday 19-Sep 15:15 THE DANISH GIRL Princess of Wales
Saturday 19-Sep 21:15 LEGEND Princess of Wales
Sunday 20-Sep 18:00 LONDON ROAD The Bloor Hot Docs

Some of the movies' screenings overlap, so I won't see them all, but still I am excited. I won't be able to see The Danish Girl on the first day, which is a bummer, but I hope to catch it later. I am still not sure if I should watch Heroes Reborn as they are coming quite soon on cable, plus it is not the first screening, so I might end up skipping that.

For now this is my schedule and what I plan to do. Some days will be quite intense, but thankfully those fall onto weekend. (Some movies show up more than once in my schedule but it is only for my reference. I plan to see each movie only once.)

Whatever I don't get to see at TIFF, will either hit movie theatres later this year or will be screened at TIFF Lightbox after the festival.

I am supper pumped. Are you?

TIFF 2013 - Kill Your Darlings

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 Kill Your Darlings Movie Poster

"Kill Your Darlings" is a 2013 American biographical drama film written by Austin Bunn and directed by John Krokidas. The story is about the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation (Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac), their interactions, and the killing in Riverside Park in Manhattan, New York City.

My luck was back today as I got to see Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe. The start time was at 6.30om at Roy Thompson Hall. Seeing as yesterday the rush line was enormous for August: Osage County I didn’t really have much hope.

I arrived at the venue at 4.50pm and was surprised to see that the line was tiny. There were about 30-35 people ahead of me. It must have been the heat. Today was a crazy weather - almost +35C and high humidity. I doubted that I would be able to stay in the heat for so long to get a ticket.

Surprisingly, it was not that bad and I did have an umbrella with me. I met a nice teenaged boy from Ukraine with whom we talked about the movies and life and Canada.

The line started to slowly move around 6.25pm. At 6.50pm we were almost at the front of the line, and the movie was rolling credits. We were among the last 8 people to be admitted! I was lucky again!

We missed a couple of minutes of the movie though. It was also the venue with the tightest security I have seen at TIFF. We were directed all the way to the box office and then to the mezzanine with an insane amount of staff at each step, directing us where to stand and walk in one line. That was pretty strange after being left to our own devices at other venues the moment we got inside. Maybe it was so, because of some other events going at the venue (like a drinks/buffet for the sponsors at the terrace - but maybe it was unrelated).

I loved the movie. It was brilliantly shot and very emotional. The way some memories scenes unfolded through back motions and a bit surreal (in terms of very contemporary sounding music - contemporary for our age, that is) was mesmerizing. Daniel was amazing. I forgot that he used to play Harry Potter and was a British actor. All I saw was Allen Ginsberg.

I loved the emotions and how every character had his own demons to fight. How they wanted to make changes and were experimenting with everything, trying to define the norm. It was all about booze, smoke/drugs, sex and writing. They surely had fun.

I would love to see it again.

Also, not really recommended for anyone under 18, as there were quite a lot of racy themes.

There were no Q&As at the end, although the whole cast was sitting in the audience! The beam was light was directed at them after the credits started to roll and they all stood up. (Daniel is so adorably short!) I would have loved to have Q&As with them, but seeing as they were sitting at the balcony and not below, it was obvious that there would be none.

I think it is pretty cool that they stayed to watch the movie though. I honestly didn’t stay till the end of the credits, so I am not sure if anything happened afterwards.

That is the last time I was rushing the ticket this year. I am going to see three more movies (Blind Detective, Cold Eyes and Violette) but I have the tickets for all of them.

Stay tuned!

 

TIFF 2013 - Dom Hemingway

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 9, 2013

 

"Dom Hemingway" is a 2013 British-American black comedy–crime drama film directed and written by Richard Shepard.

I bought the ticket for Dom Hemingway knowing almost zero about the movie. Only thing I knew was that Jude Law was in it. And that was enough for me.

The venue was Princess of Wales and I was lucky to buy the ticket beforehand. I arrived there around 9.25pm (the movie started at 10pm). The line for ticket holders was UNBELIEVABLE. I mean it was my first time going for a movie with a ticket, but rush line compared to that is tiny.

We were told that people at the rush line probably won’t get any tickets. I wondered at that because I managed to get to see The Fifth Estate and 12 Years A Slave that were more high profile (in the regard of the buzz) and tickets for Dom Hemingway were available no prob…

The line started to move around 9.35pm. It was moving pretty fast, which is a good thing, since I was almost at the end of line (almost 2 blocks away from the theatre, so I had no idea what was going on at the red carpet, but I knew that Jude Law would be there). Seeing as I was almost at the end of the line, I got my place at the balcony. But it was OK.

The movie was presented by the producer, Richard Sheppard, and the whole cast. After the movie there were Q&As for about 15-20 mins. Everyone was joking and Jude Law was very funny and charming.

I can’t say I liked the movie a lot. It is an odd black comedy type of movie about an ex-con Dom Hemingway, who comes out of jail aster spending 12 years there. He tries to get back his money, his life, get in touch with his estranged daughter. There is a lot of swearing, vulgar jokes and randomness. The movie is funny, but if it weren’t for Jude Law, I would have never gone to watch that. Just not my thing. But Jude is really good, really believable and funny.

I liked Q&As. One of the things that I remember was when somebody asked how Jude prepared for the role and he said that he did nothing, ate lasagna for dinner, ice cream, whiskey, and was being lazy.

There is a bit of nudity in the movie. We got the view of naked Jude several time. Nothing obscene, but definitely not for kids :)

Another funny thing was when Madalina Ghenea said that Jude pushed her into the pool (during the pool scene) but she doesn’t really know how to swim, but she survived. She was very beautiful and wore a red dress, very similar to the one she wore in the movie.

Richard E. Grant was also in the movie and he was hilarious as a sidekick/partner to Dom.

Definitely a nice movie, but I wouldn’t put it one the must watch list, unless you are a hardcore Jude Law fan, because that man’s acting is great.

TIFF 2013 - Only Lovers Left Alive

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 7, 2013 "Only Lovers Left Alive" is a 2013 internationally co-produced vampire film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, and starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi, and John Hurt.

 

I arrived to the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema around 10:40am (the movie time was 12:15pm). I intended to arrive earlier, but I underestimated the distance. For some reason I thought it is an intersection with Yonge. Go me.

I got into the rush line. It was pretty short compared to the lines for The Fifth Estate and 12 Years A Slave. It was pretty quiet. Maybe because it was raining quite a bit.

At 12pm the line was not moving. And nobody was telling us how many people are ahead or how many tickets there might be. Compared to other screenings I went to, the volunteers here were few and not very talkative. Maybe it was the rain.

At 12:10pm the line moved a bit. Then a bit. It was moving very slowly. At 12:20pm somebody said that the movie had started (which doesn’t make sense because they wouldn’t be keeping people in the line then). Then 5 minutes later somebody said that they were going to start shortly.

There were few people ahead of me, when we heard that they would let 5 more people inside (they were letting in people in fives) and that was it.

I was lucky to be that 5th person in the line.

I got inside the theater when the movie was on already, but barely missed anything. I think they let in another 5 people after me, because I saw more people coming in later. But it was definitely not the whole rush line (compared to two other galas). And this was not even a premiere! I think there were about 30 people ahead of me in the line. So I estimate that there were about 40 rush tickets sold.

But I can only guess, since nobody told us how many people were in the line.

The movie was a visual and musical delight. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton played vampires, a married couple, Adam and Eve. They were beautiful in their Yin/Yang harmony, a pair of glamoury and artistic hippies with fangs. The story is quite simple. It is less of a story and more of a painting, where you want to watch every detail for hours. Mia Wasikowska was Ava, Eve’s younger sister. She was adorable. John Hurt played an old vampire (hinted to be Shakespeare himself).

It was an odd but pretty movie, a very soft one, with no sex, no biting, no violence. It was so different from any other vampire movie that I have seen that I want to give Jim Jarmusch an Oscar only for creating his own folklore about vampires.

Acting was brilliant. It looked as if Tom and Tilda were not playing vampires, but rather themselves, being as deep, thoughtful, intelligent and lithe as they are in real life.

There was only one scene in which both of them were naked (nothing graphic though) - both of them are so thin! And Tilda is over 50! And she looks amazing!

 

I want that movie. I want to watch it again.

The movie was shot in Detroit, Colon and Tangier. The scenery was amazing. Every single frame is worth capturing.

I didn’t expect that there would be Q&A afterwards, since it was not a premiere and there were very few people, no paps and no buzz. But I was wrong! Jim Jarmusch, Anton Yelchin (who plays Adam’s friend) and Tom Hiddleston were there!

Oh my god. I still can’t believe I saw Tom Hiddleston! He is as charming and as polite in real life as everyone says he is. Anton was adorable. And Jim was freaking hilarious. He joked about Tom, saying that they, the producers, do not really care about how nice/not nice the actors are, so far they can do their job. He laughed and said that Tom is a very nice guy. All while Tom was looking down and being all adorably abashed about it.

There were quite a few questions from the audience (compared to the gala of "12 Years A Slave" where there were no questions from the viewers, only a couple from the host). Somebody asked Tom how it was to work with Tilda and he said that it was amazing. Compared their work to dancing. It was quite lovely (he sounded so adorable).

I was sitting at the far back, but I did manage to take a picture of all of them at the podium. They were also broadcasting the image to the screen. Which was very good because I could see them, compared to 12 Years A Slave (again), where I could see almost nothing from my balcony seat.

When the Q&As were done, I left, because I didn’t want to fight my way to the front to have another look at Tom (I am still wondering if he is as tall as he looks like on screen). People were very nice though, no rabid fangirls. Everyone was leaving (as if we didn’t have the freaking LOKI in the room, but seeing as it was a bit different movie from The Avengers, some people might have not seen it), I saw only a couple of people go closer to the cast and the producer, but I think only because they were already at the front.

It was quite lovely. And seeing Tom Hiddleston made me really happy! :) A photographer was snapping shots right behind my seat all through Q&As, so I am sure we all will see the pictures of my left ear from it on tumblr.

This movie is very much worth seeing. And also this also answers another questions - if it is worth going to any screening but galas/premium. Yes and yes.

And I can’t believe I got lucky again! Woohoo! Hopefully my luck holds through the rest of TIFF.

Happy movie watching!

TIFF 2013 - 12 Years A Slave

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 6, 2013

 

"12 Years A Slave" kicked off today at 6pm (in fact it started almost an hour later) at Princess of Wales theatre. I got there around 5pm in the hopes of if not getting a ticket, but at least seeing Benedict Cumberbatch.

I was in the line. The weather was nice and much warmer compared to yesterday. The line was on John street, so once again I had no view of the red carpet. And the fans’ screams were deafened by some techno music playing at the venue right behind us.

The line was not moving by 6pm. I was told that there were about 110 people before me. The chances of getting in were estimated as 50/50.

By 6.30pm the line was moving pretty fast, I got my token (as well as two lovely ladies ahead of me) and we were told that Brad Pitt was inside, as well as Benedict (I was watching twitter and live feeds meanwhile, so I was aware of it), and we might actually see them.

Then we queued briefly before the entrance. The lovely TIFF lady in blue dress said that we were all very lucky, because the whole line was getting in! And there were about 50 people after me! Wow!

We rushed inside, got our tickets, and were walking up the stairs to the balcony, as we heard some fan screams outside. One of the girls ahead of me rushed to the window and moaned that it was Benedict. I didn’t see him outside the window and I was on my way up. :(

 

The film has started by the time I got into my seat, but I didn’t miss anything. It was around 7pm, I believe.

12 Years A Slave is a very powerful movie based on true story. The acting of every single one of the cast members was flawless. I am absolutely sure that this movie will be nominated for best actor, best actress and best movie and probably director as well.

It is a very moving story, quite graphic (not overly so though) sometimes. I kept my eyes covered at some violent parts (e.g., slaves were abused) - couldn’t really watch it. It was really vivid. Couple of funny parts. The audience reacted quite strongly to beatings and emotional moments. The funniest reaction was probably when Brad Pitt’s character said that he was not “from these lands” but from Canada. People clapped.

By the end of the movie a couple of ladies were sniffling behind me. I can totally understand it, because it was a very, very emotional scene.

The end of the movie was met by huge wave of applause. Then we applauded again after the credits. When the producer came into the stage there was a standing ovation. Then rest of the cast came out (except for Ben) and got their round of applause.

No idea why they call it Q&A though if there were only 2-3 quite boring and predictable questions and only a couple of people talked. Brad Pitt was there. I admit of not being his hugest fan (or any fan at all) and I was pretty far at the balcony, so I could barely see him. The only thing that I remember him saying is that if it was his last movie, he is fine with it, meaning that it is a great movie. (Sorry don’t really remember his exact words.) And the producer said they were not actors but artists. Which is really true.

Benedict was quite lovely in his role of Mister Ford. Period drama suit him. Thank goodness, he is one of the good guys. Somehow I was not really surprised, although I found it funny: Benedict and Brad - good guys, Michael Fassbender - a bad guy. No surprise here, eh? ;)

I am amazed at my luck of getting tickets to two very anticipated and hot premieres. I am a bit sad that I didn’t see Benedict. He didn’t stay for Q&A afterwards and he would not be in Toronto for August: Osage County premiere on Monday.

Probably that was my only chance to see the man (since he is not coming to Toronto for Crimson Peak shooting next year - but the fact that it is Hiddleston who steps into his shoes is quite extraordinary) but I am still more happy about getting in to see the movie.

Although next time I might do the opposite - stalk red carpet and watch movies later after world premiere. Because each gala ticket at TIFF costs $45. Ouch.

Tomorrow I plan to rush for Only Lovers Left Alive. Hopefully will get in with no problem, since it is not a gala. I have a ticket for gala opening for Don Hemingway on Sunday (although I am honestly not sure I want to see it). I will attempt to get a rush ticket for August: Osage County on Monday and Kill Your Darlings on Tuesday. I have a gala ticket for Cold Eyes next Friday and Violette (which is not a premiere) next Saturday.

Hopefully I will get to see all those too! Stay tuned! :D

TIFF 2013 - The Fifth Estate Premiere

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved

“Courage is contagious”

 

I admit I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I have two reasons for that. (Although it is almost one and the same.)

One. I was lucky to get a rush ticket for “The Fifth Estate”.

Two. The movie itself.

Let me start with how I got the ticket. It is my second TIFF and the first time I rushed a ticket. I have never done that before. I tried to google it, I asked around. People kept saying quite opposite things: some said I should be there at least 30 minutes early, others - no less than 3 hours for a gala. Some people said that there would be only 35-40 tickets, others - over a hundred.

I was confused. So this is my experience, hope somebody would find it helpful.

I live near Elgin theatre, so after work I rushed home and then was at the venue at 5pm - one and a half hours before the start. There were two screenings at one location: “The Fifth Estate” at 6.30pm and “Blue is The Warmest Colour” at 7pm. (I wanted to see both movies, but Estate was my priority.)

The rush line started at BMO on Yonge and then turned the corner to Queen street. When I arrived there, there was a pretty long line and I felt a bit sad, because I thought there was NO way everyone would get in.

The line was for both movies. Surprisingly, almost everyone around me wanted to see Blue and not Estate. (I really hope I will catch that movie later.)

One of TIFF staff members did a count (twice). First, around the time I came. Second, around 6pm. By the second count we were told that there are about 85 people ahead of us for “The Fifth Estate” and about 30 - for “Blue Is The Warmest Colour”. It seemed like the odds were against me, but we were told that it almost impossible to predict the amount of tickets that would be released.

Around 10-15 minutes after 6pm the queue started to move. At 6.30pm we rounded the corner to Yonge street. People around me were saying that the movie must have started already. Others were saying that it was the first premiere, so they would probably delay it.

Then one of the volunteers called everyone for Estate to move forward and queue closer to the theatre, where we were given tokens and then literary ran to the ticket office.

Meanwhile there was a red carpet and paparazzi waiting for the celebrities. I didn’t expect Benedict to show up because there was another screening at Roy Thompson Hall at 8pm that he seemed most probably to want to attend. And as far as I know he never showed up at Elgin. It is difficult to say who did for Estate, besides the producer.

I was in the line to the box office and I had a very slim view of the entrance. Flashes were going off - somebody must have arrived. I admit at complete ignorance. I didn’t recognize anyone who was walking through - they might have been for the second movie. I believe the Estate cast was only at RTH.

There was a nice elder gentleman in the line beside me. He asked me if I was there for The Fifth Estate. He asked me if I knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was and if I saw Sherlock. He said he really enjoyed Sherlock. And then asked me if I had seen Benedict in some other series/movies. I admit I was so distracted and excited about the whole buzz and being almost there that I didn’t get what he was talking about. And only later I realized that he might have been talking about Hawking. I am not sure though. Too bad I didn’t have chance to talk more to that gentleman. I always enjoy discussing Sherlock with everyone.

That gentleman also seemed to be an experienced TIFF goer, because while I was being all excited and confused about the crowd of people who were rushing to get the tickets, he managed to squeeze to the box window and get the ticket before me and a couple of people ahead of me. I hope he enjoyed the movie as much as I did :)

I got my ticket for $45 (adult price for galas) and rushed inside. I guess we all were lucky because the movie started later. They showed a short video devoted to Roger Ebert (late film critic) and then the movie producer talked briefly about “The Fifth Estate”. The movie started at 7pm.

I admit I couldn’t believe my luck until the movie started. I was so happy (and still am!) that I was so lucky to get a ticket!

Now the movie itself. (Not really spoilers, but watch out nevertheless.)

I have heard about Wikileaks, but I didn’t know anything about Julian Assange. This is what I liked to do the most - go and see a movie/play or start watching a TV show knowing nothing about it beforehand. I liked to be surprised. I hate spoilers.

I did see the trailer, but that was it.

To put it simply, I loved the movie. Benedict is quite brilliant as Assange, he doesn’t even sound as himself! Except for one scene at the bar, where he did sound mostly like himself. Otherwise everything from accent to the voice pitch and gestures was really different.

At some point I even forgot that he was not naturally blond - he looked so authentic.

Quite a few lovely jokes in the movie, the ending seemed to be open, but it is to be expected since the story is still going on. Several tearful moments - great acting from everyone. I admit that I didn’t know whom I sympathized with the most.

I think the best thing about this movie is that they are not pointing fingers. They are showing this story from both sides and there is no black or white. Julian seems to be the good guy, but his actions bring consequences that hurt other good people, who have families and children, who are innocent. And vice verse.

The ending is perfect, because nothing is definite. And part of the responsibility for deciding what is truth or what is not is put on the viewers.

It was a real treat. I encourage everyone to watch it. Benedict is amazing as Assange, and I really hope he gets some reward for playing him.

 

I saw a couple of photos of the man from RTH posted to twitter - looks like people had fun there. Hope some of you got the chance to see the man or/and the movie. I didn’t expect to see Benedict himself, I focused on seeing the movie and I am really glad I went to Elgin and not to RTH. I will try to rush tickets for other movies on my must watch list. Hopefully I get lucky again, but The Fifth Estate was my priority and I am so happy that I got in!

Good luck, everyone, and have fun!