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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Let the TIFF madness begin at midnight

Like whatever

It's been the best of times the worst of times during Midnight Madness at TIFF in the past - from lining up in the frozen cold of September for the *midnight* showing of Underworld - but the good part was having Kate Beckinsale to look at in person. Mickey Rourke "you're the man!" showing up for Spun at the late Uptown Bloor cinema

And now onto 2008 and the recent announcement without further ado:

Down-and-out action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, movies featuring a handful of heroic kids and more than two dozen avant-garde films and videos are among the latest additions to the Toronto International Film Festival bill.

Organizers announced on Wednesday the lineups for three programs: the popular Midnight Madness, the challenging and artistic Wavelengths and the family-friendly Sprockets.

The action- and horror-focused Midnight Madness opens with JCVD (France/Luxembourg/Belgium), starring Van Damme as himself. In director Mabrouk El Mechri's film, Hollywood's faded "Muscles from Brussels" must deal with being an ordinary Joe when caught in the middle of a real-life heist.

The late-night lineup will also include:

The Burrowers (USA) - A recovery troop searching for settlers who have mysteriously disappeared falls prey to the unexpected culprits.
Deadgirl (USA) - The discovery of a naked, presumably dead girl in an abandoned asylum tests the friendship of two teens.
Sexykiller (Spain) - A medical school's attempt to uncover the bloody serial killer within the community leads to victims returning to life.
Detroit Metal City (Japan) - Based on the popular manga, the film follows a bubbly pop musician trying to maintain his own life and woo the girl of his dreams, while maintaining his undercover identity as a death metal rocker.
Not Quite Hollywood (USA/Australia) - A documentary about Australia's maverick filmmakers of the 1970s and 1980s.
Acolytes (Australia) - A trio of high schoolers who decide to blackmail a murder suspect see their scheme go awry.
Chocolate (Thailand) - The director and action choreographer of the martial arts hit Ong-Bak reunite for this film, about a female martial arts savant who decides to collect some long-unpaid debts to help her cancer-stricken mother.
Eden (France) - A sci-fi tale that begins with a man finding himself at the bottom of a cave next to a corpse.
Martyrs (France/Canada) - A woman who, as a child, disappeared for a year seeks vengeance on the family she believes responsible.
Wavelengths will feature 26 films and videos by a host of established and emerging artists, separated into six distinct programs:

Films by Nathaniel Dorsky and Jean-Marie Straub
Lost and Found
Horizontal Boundaries
When It Was Blue
Finally, a quartet of kids films making their world premieres will make up the Sprockets lineup:

Krabat (Germany) - A 17th century-set film based on the Otfried Preuler bestseller about a 14-year-old miller's apprentice who discovers his master is an evil sorcerer involved in the dark arts.
Mia et le Migou (France/Italy) - A young heroine's decision to rescue her trapped father from a construction site brings her into contact with the Migou, a mysterious species who protect an important tree threatened on the same construction site.
The Secret of Moonacre (U.K./Hungary/France) - A 13-year-old orphan set to live with relatives happens upon an ancient curse and embarkes on a quest to undo it.
Sunshine Barry & the Disco Worms (Denmark/Germany) - An earthworm living a dull existence decides to become a disco music star.
The Toronto International Film Festival gets under way Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 13.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

/* Kill the Batman */ - Batman Returns in The Dark Knight

no intentional spoilers

The fully expanded Batman returns in this grim reaper follow-up to the beginning.

In the harsh glory of reality if this is the second of any trilogy this is what George Lucas would call the dark episode.

This movie harkens back to comic conventions - there are definite start and end points of each episode of the movie as if in a graphic novel to keep the audience hanging on - and the descent of the dark knight is grim indeed.

This Gotham City is more realistic - seen in the harsh reality of day.

Director Chris Nolan is afforded the time to let the characters have full conversations on screen - not just the short blurb and keep it moving style of Lucas in his Star Wars - and not just with major characters but between lieutenant and mayor for instance.

Joker is the new nemesis in town seemingly wreaking havoc just for the sake of it making him dangerous and unpredictable. Heath Ledger's in his penultimate role as Joker leaves a lasting impression that beckons the call of award recognition.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Just a slight tinge of the buzz.

Passes are on sale now as you read this - and the prices for the Festival passes have not gone up - and the Festival Lite 30 ticket package is back.

However, gala tickets are going through the roof. Once upon a time to see the films at Roy Thomson Hall were an exorbitant $18 - but this year it seems $43 is the price to see the red carpet and the attending stars. However, you do not have to pay to get in of course if you choose not to. Lining up across the street with the mob is always fun - and did we mention we were in fear for our mortality during the Orlando Bloom walk along the crowd for Elizabethtown while getting crushed against the fence as arms reached across our neck trying to reach out to him? [ he was really pleasant too during Haven] and in full gaze at Kirsten Dunst too?