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Movies: #TIFF18, Toronto International Film Festival
On his 25th anniversary of covering the Toronto film festival, a critic decides he is ready for the quieter side of cinema.
By Jay Stone
(September 5, 2018) - I’ve been going to the Toronto film festival for 25 years, which means I’ve seen maybe 1,000 movies there, interviewed almost as many celebrities, and enjoyed so many all-you-eat shrimp buffets that I believe my liver is now breaded. I’ve sat in hundreds of darkened cinemas and endured millions of feet of film — back when film had feet; hell, back when there was film at all — filtered through modern sound systems that seem to assault your eardrums directly through your eyeholes. When people ask me what I’m looking forward to this year, I tell them I would be grateful to return with the shreds of my hearing intact.
I think it’s a pretty good answer too, given that most of the time I didn’t hear the question.
But you want to know about the films. ...
La La Land is where love and art tangle
Movie review: La La Land
This musical love letter to the movie business, jazz and romance is an intoxicating throwback to the days of dancing among the stars and singing your heart out in the hopes of making it
The Promise not worth keeping
#TIFF16: Critic's Dispatches
A bad old-fashioned historical drama about the Armenian genocide revisits final days of Ottoman Empire while La La Land and few gin and gingers quench artistic thirst
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — They threw a party last night at the Toronto International Film Festival where they served a delicious drink made of gin and ginger ale, and you could have as many as you want.
When I regained consciousness, it was time for The Promise, a bad old-fashioned historical drama in which the troubles of three little people — in this case, an Armenian apothecary (Oscar Isaac), a comely dance teacher (Charlotte Le Bon) and an American journalist (Christian Bale) — don’t amount to a hill of beans when they’re cast across the vast and clichéd canvas of tragedy during the First World War. Fusillades of exposition fly across the screen, capturing our doomed heroes in a crossfire of clunky dialogue, tired movie tropes, and earnest over-acting. Pass the gin and ...
Seeking inspiration in the Big Smoke
#TIFF 16: Critic's Dispatches
Damien Chazelle's La La Land offers a deep breath filled with human notes in an urban landscape where the creative urge is often filtered and conditioned for comfort
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO — The condo tower I’m staying at affords me a view of downtown Toronto’s rooftops: squares and rectangles carving their way into the horizontal blue line of Lake Ontario. Sheer glass and steel boxes topped with trailing steel tubes that allow sealed office buildings to breathe.
It’s a necessity in an urban landscape that denies human scale, and emotionally speaking, all things human. But I didn’t even notice the ambient drone of a thousand HVAC fans whirring away over the Big Smoke until today — until I saw Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and rediscovered what true inspiration really feels like: A deep breath exhaled as song.
Sure, La La Land had already been touted as the big buzz movie at this year’s Toronto ...
Jay Stone picks his TIFF16 ponies
The Toronto International Film Festival offers 400 film titles, two Ryan Gosling movies, a Denis Villeneuve Arrival and if you're lucky, free chips
By Jay Stone
There are many things to look forward to at the Toronto International Film Festival, including that party they have every year to celebrate Canadian cinema where they hand out bags of potato chips and chocolate bars, although this year I hear they’re not having the chocolate bars. But we soldier on. Getting through a film festival requires a certain amount of self-sacrifice.
And oh yes: the films. There are about 400 of them here, and if you play your cards right, you can see a couple of dozen and still have time to pick up enough bags of complimentary potato chips to get you through to lunch, although some chocolate bars would have been a nice addition. You know. For dessert.
Where was I? Right: the films. Here, in no particular order, are some that I’m looking forward to.
A sci-fi film ...