TIFF 2013: My first three days at the Toronto film fest
I’m not sure there’s been another first-timer at the Toronto International Film Festival whose name has garnered as many head turns as my debut weekend has seen.
OK, that’s a straight-up lie (Benedict Cumberbatch for instance, who practically had to fight off fans on the red carpet), but when your parent—film journalist Ian Caddell—has attended the festival for 15-plus years in a row, your last name draws some attention.
Although being measured up to someone who was extremely popular isn’t always comfortable, it definitely didn’t hurt having people around who constantly wanted to help. With that, here are a couple of observations from the first couple days of losing my TIFF virginity.
• Art of the Steal is the Canadian Italian Job. So much so that I want to ruin some plot points to state my case, but I won’t. I’ll just say that while the whole premise may be a bit out there, but the cast (Kurt Russell and Canadian Jay Baruchel, in particular) is charming enough to pull it off.
• Steve McQueen, Michael Fassbender, and company are going to sweep the Academy Awards with 12 Years a Slave, the period drama based around real events. It’s early, sure, but Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, Love Actually) seems destined for best actor.
• Jason Reitman’s Labor Day (yes, the spelling of "labor" bugs me too) is built around the strength of its stellar cast, headed by an incredible Kate Winslet.
• Don’t watch Prisoners if you’re a parent. Well, do, because it’s a fine piece of cinema, but you’ve been warned.
• Paul Dano can fucking act. He’s villainous in both Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave and pulls it off to the point where you forget that he was that kid in Little Miss Sunshine. Not to mention Ruby Sparks.
• Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox is not for the impatient, but, man, is it beautiful.
• Ron Howard’s doc Made in America, about Jay-Z’s Philly festival by the same name, although a little contrived, is well worth seeing. (There’s something PG-rated about a former drug dealer going to the top of his old roof and stating, “This has got to be illegal.”). Interview subjects like Miike Snow, Odd Future, and Santigold make sure of that. Plus, try not getting chills when the ending hits.
Heard around the festival
• “Don’t ask Hans Zimmer anything; he’ll talk for hours.”
• “I thought a BJ was coming.”—a media member talking about another journalist complimenting Steve McQueen on 12 Years a Slave.
• “Are we talking about politics still?”—Prisoners star Jake Gyllenhaal when asked, “What about those snakes?”
• “That’s not the worst I’ve heard.”—12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor on a journalist’s pronunciation of his name.