Monday was a big day at TIFF. The regular Toronto folk are back working their 9-5 jobs and the whole city seemed to get busier and you know what that means. Yep, I started to get grumpy. More on that later.
My first film today didn’t start until 3pm so I had a chance to catch up on some sleep, watch some sports highlights online and basically get caught up in the world. Things begin down at the very fancy Princess of Wales Theatre for the Impossible. Now before I tell you about the film, I had a pleasurable experience while waiting in line. No, they weren’t handing out free pizza like they did at the Bell Lightbox. (Did I not mention that the other day? Yeah, Pizza Nova was handing out hot fresh slices on the way out of my film there. Not just a cheese slice either. Chicken, spinach and pesto. Friggin’ delicious.) So, I’m standing in line for my film at P.O.W. Theatre, (that’s an inappropriate acronym for a movie theatre) and this couple behind starts getting into a domestic argument. I’m thinking to myself, Yes!, and I was wishing I had some popcorn or chips to snack on while I eavesdropped. The girl is complaining about being thirsty and here is the play by play: By the way, I was texting myself what was being said just so I could share it with you.
Girl: I don’t understand why we have to stand in line. It’s a movie. If we have to wait an hour for it to start, just let us wait in our seat. I’m thirsty.
Guy: Well, go get a drink somewhere. They probably have to let people out from the previous film. There’s a lot of movies playing.
Girl: I know, but still… What’s should I drink?
Guy: I don’t know. What do you want? There’s got to be a store around here. Go take a look around the corner.
The girl walks away and comes back 5 minutes later.
Girl: There’s nothing over there.
Guy: Well, there a Starbucks over there and a Tim Horton’s.
Girl: I don’t want something hot. I’m thirsty.
Guy: People drink hot things when they’re thirsty.
Girl: No they don’t.
Guy: Sure they do. Do you really think Tim Horton’s is that busy and not one person is in there because they’re thirsty?
Girl: They’re there for coffee because of the caffeine.
Guy: I disagree.
Girl: Well, you’re wrong.
Guy: Can we talk about something else? I’m done talking about this. I’m not interested anymore.
A minute goes by and the girl walks away.
Guy: Where are you going?
Girl: (yells) To go get a drink!
She comes back with an iced coffee 10 minutes later.
Guy: You better drink that quick because the line is moving.
Girl: It’s too cold to drink really fast.
Guy: Guess you should have gotten something hot.
Girl: Fuck off.
I wanted to high five that guy. Fantastic stuff.
Back to the Impossible. This film is a true story and reenacts the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck Thailand on Boxing Day and the effect it had on one family. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts are the parents of three young boys who decide to spend Christmas away from the snow and you get to know the family members on the flight. The film breezes through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Boxing Day is when the terror begins. The family is in the resort pool, when the wind picks up and out of nowhere the ocean swallows the beach resort. What follows is a pretty intense disaster scene with destruction, mayhem and death. It’s outstanding. When it calms, you find that the family has been separated and the film takes you on a journey with them as they try to find one another. Here’s what I will say about the Impossible: the first act is good, the second act is awesome and the third act is all schmaltz. The theatre was sobbing uncontrollably towards the end and I wanted another tsunami to hit, but overall it was enjoyable. Naomi Watts does bring to life one of the most grotesque and disturbing leg wounds in the history of cinema too. Everyone loves a good leg wound.
My second film of the day was Berberian Sound Studio. This film takes place in Italy in the 70’s. It’s about a British sound engineer, played by Toby Jones, hired by an Italian producer to do the mixing on a new horror movie. Never having dealt with screams and horrors on film, the sound engineer slowly but surely starts to lose his grip on reality. For me, it sounded like a kickass premise. It did lose me a couple of times though. There were moments where I had no idea what was going on. About two thirds into the movie Toby Jones started speaking fluent Italian without much time having passed in the film. Huh? Maybe it was a style choice. The movie is very loud and it definitely helps get the insanity across. There are definitely some creepy elements in this and I really do think it would appeal to fans of 70’s Italian horror cinema.
I should mention the grumpy part now. I understand that the volunteers are there just to do their jobs. I get it. They make the festival happen and they want everyone to have an enjoyable time. My problem is that they become robots and just say the same thing to everyone. So, I’m in line and up ahead there was a guy making sure people had their tickets ready. He’s trying to make sure that the line moves fast. So, I get my ticket out and am holding it in my hand. As I pass this guy, he taps my should and says ‘Have your ticket ready, please.’ I held it up to his face and said ‘Yeah, I’ve been to a movie before.’ In retrospect, it was uncalled for, but there’s something about certain people that just get under my skin. For instance, my Mom. Seriously, what’s her deal? I’m kidding. Seriously, Mom. I’m kidding.
The last film of the day for me was the world premiere of Rob Zombie’s new movie, the Lords of Salem. Rob and his wife were there and that was pretty exciting for me because I’m a fan of his music. I haven’t liked all of his previous movies, but I will say that he’s a pretty creative guy. The Lords of Salem is about Heidi, a rock radio dj in Salem, Mass., who receives a wooden box containing a record from a band called the Lords. When the vinyl is played on the air it awakens images of Salem’s violent past. Witches sacrificing newborns, dancing naked around fire and being burned alive at the stake. Is Heidi going mad or have these witches come back for revenge. Throughout the first half, I was trying to think where this was all going as we kept getting jump scares of witches in Heidi’s apartment and the hallway outside and a mysterious room down the hall. Some of them were pretty effective as I was terrified. Then the movie switches gears and becomes really fucking obnoxious. Loud sinister music combined with flashes of bright images and devil dwarves and masturbating demons and evil landlords. Wait….what? Yeah. Obnoxious is the best word I can use for this movie.
Big day Tuesday. Four more films including earthquakes, possessed children and hitmen!