Sunday, October 4, 2009

First off, I'm pretty sure I've given up on the reviews... yes, yes I have. I've had a rough week, and after heading to Toronto for Nuit Blanche last night, I'm exhausted in every possible way. That said, I had a pretty good time, though my friend and I only got to see around a third of the installations. I found things to be weirdly dispersed throughout the city, but I'm sure a little bit more pre-planning on our part would have helped. The gigantic 'four letter word machine' at city hall was definitely the best thing I saw all night- well, aside from Batman picking small change off of the sidewalk.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Serious Man

It's not often that one gets the opportunity to see the newest offering from genius duo the Coen brothers, a day after the premiere, at nine in the morning. It's also not often that I sleep in, or am late for anything, really. Both of these freak occurrences collided last Monday morning, when A Serious Man, the new Coen brothers flick, was screened during TIFF. My original plan was to wake up at six, get to the theater at seven, and wait in the rush line for two hours to ensure a spot in the theater. Instead, I ended up waking up at quarter to seven and running to the theater in the shoes I used to refer to as my "comfy heels", and making it to the theater around eight. Even though I was 30th in the rush line, the gods smiled upon my meager effort, and I was able to achieve my goal of the entire film festival: to see A Serious Man.
The film itself is, if nothing else, a return to form for the Coens. Taking place in late-sixties era Minnesota, the black comedy revolves around the steadily crumbling life of Larry Gopnik, as he seeks the wisdom and advice of three different Rabbis. The trailer, which I mentioned a few months ago, never alludes to the comedic aspect of the film, though it's evident even within the first few minutes. Every performance is incredibly strong, proving that the Coen's decision to use little-known Yiddish theater actors was for the better. As always, cinematographer and longtime Coen friend Roger Deakins makes full use of the intricate and authentic looking sets. A washed-out, antique colour scheme and sparse photography add to both the sixties setting and to the isolation and abandonment that Larry discovers within himself. The pacing is unconventional, using Larry's quest for an ancient, almost mythical Rabbi to divide the film, and as always, the Coens have their work neatly and cleverly bookended. While it's very possible that it will be completely ignored by the time awards season rolls around, A Serious Man is further proof that whatever it is the Coen brothers have, they've got it in fucking spades.

Monday, September 21, 2009

back, again

I wasn't able to find the time to post before I left for Toronto, so this post seems abrupt and out of place. In any case, I can't really put my experience at TIFF into words, to say that I had a fantastic time would be an understatement. Everything went off without a hitch; I was able to stay at the hostel, which was comfortable and conveniently located, albeit a bit dirty and, well, sketchy. The actual volunteering part was great, I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about the industry. The most interesting people, however, were the ones waiting in lines for the films. I won't go into details, but I will say that I think I was able to make some fairly useful connections within the past week. We'll see what comes of it!
And of course, I saw some incredible films, seven in total (six of which were free!). I plan on reviewing all of them, as well as going into more detail about the festival on here, starting (hopefully) tomorrow!
Tonight, however, I'm off to see a film called Moon, which is playing at the Princess. It's funny how going to the film festival has given me a taste for going to the movies alone.

Friday, September 4, 2009

christmas at the zoo

Silly me. I forgot that tickets went on sale for TIFF early, early today, and missed out on a ticket to A Serious Man. I'm planning on trying to get in via rush ticket, so I figure I'll have to get there around 7am, since the show starts at 9am. After working till 12:30 the night before, that might be a bit of a challenge, but I just have to repeatedly remind myself that it's for the Coens. It's for the Coens. It's for the Coens.

Er, yeah. So since I missed out on that ticket, I searched around the schedule for a while, and ZOMG the new Werner Herzog/David Lynch film is showing! Thrice! I changed my work schedule a bit and I now have, through email confirmation rather than in hand, a ticket to the second showing of My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

guns before butter

It's hard for me to believe that we've already arrived at the first day of September, but here we are. I spent the last few days of August saying goodbye to one of my best friends, who leaves for Toronto tomorrow(ish). Surprisingly, I didn't cry, but I really am going to miss her. I also took a little mini-vacation and went to Toronto with another friend of mine, to see her obsession live in concert. Whilst there I picked up my TIFF loot bag, went to my Ryerson theater training session and bought a couple of tickets to see Chad VanGaalen live! The TIFF related stuff went off without a hitch, so really, I'm in! And I have a hostel booked, all I can do is hope that they don't turn me away. I'm excited for it, but at this point it still feels a bit unreal. Give it a week, I guess.
While I was in Toronto, I did a lot of shopping, but not a lot of buying. That said, I found a heavy grey sweater from Urban Outfitters, a faux pearl necklace and black/gold flower ring from Forever 21 (you have to love the cheap accessories!) and a beautiful faux fur Russian style hat from H&M! And most importantly, I bought Entertainment! by Gang of Four, one of my favourite albums ever, on vinyl, for $10!! I screamed a bit when I saw it.
I still haven't finished my letter for Brazil, but I also still need to get a letter of good health from the doctor, so I still have some time. I'm also hoping to get some painting and drawing done this week. I have a year off, starting just about now, and fuck if I'm going to let it slip by.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dr. Mrs. Vandertramp

Yesterday, I found myself standing at my Pharma Plus post, awaiting customers, and as always, flipping through the nearby magazines. To my delight, I saw that the September issue of Vogue had arrived on Monday, so I practically jumped on the 600+ page behemoth. I was just about to stash it behind the till, when another magazine caught my eye. Harper's Bazaar, which I admittedly haven't bought in years, was glaring back at me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

...and I want my scalps!

First off, getting my tee shirt for TIFF was a success! Well, a success in that I had a friend of mine pick it up for me so that I wouldn't have to show ID, but a success nonetheless! I'm having some troubles finding hostels, since apparently you have to be 18 or older to stay in some of them. And so my birthday strikes again.
In other news, I saw Inglorious Basterds last night! I loved it, of course, and it's probably the best movie of the year thus far. Everyone was fantastic (Brad Pitt was absolutely hilarious), especially Christoph Waltz, who, at the very least, deserves an Oscar for his performance as Hans Landa.That said, when put in terms of Tarantino's work, I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's one thing to look at the movie as separate from his legacy, but it's quite another to compare it to his past work. As much as it felt like a Tarantino film, it also felt subdued. While the outrageous violence, the eclectic music and the quick dialogue were all there, it felt like some of the Tarantino universe was missing. Maybe it's because it was a period piece, and his usual tricks would seem out of place (and maybe even offend, considering the subject matter), but something was missing. Regardless, I'm going to see it again in a week or so, so maybe my opinion will change.

Anyway, I'm spending today catching up on some things, starting others, and just being by myself, finally. I picked up a military style jacket and a lace clutch from H&M on thursday, as well as a cream coloured blouse from Urban Outfitters. I also found Akron/Family's new album, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free for seven bucks (!) and Dan Deacon's Bromst on vinyl for ten bucks (!!), so a good day it was.