The recording artist known as Mims never spoke truer words. Toronto is hot, y’all. Real hot.
The weather forecast for tomorrow in sunny Toronto, Ontario is 90 degrees with about a billion percent humidity, so it is from only the most devoted reaches of our Tomato-strewn hearts that we sludge through the heat to report from the Toronto Film Festival. (Overheard today: “I feel like there’s a warm fog blanketing my skin.” Gross.)
We kicked off Day One of the fest with a handful of good-to-great films (the perfect way to get over the hassle of “missing” press badges and mile-long lines). The (at least kinda) good: Neil Jordan‘s The Brave One; Michael Moore‘s Captain Mike Across America (Alex Vo weighs in on them here). The better: Tony Gilroy‘s Michael Clayton. The great: Amos Gitai‘s Disengagement; Ang Lee‘s Lust, Caution.
Going into the morning’s screening of Lust, Caution, expectations were scattered; what had seemed like a sure contender from the Brokeback Mountain Oscar-winner had been cast into doubt by a few early Venice reviews. Would the period Chinese espionage erotic thriller be too plodding, at a robust 157-minute runtime? Might the NC-17 pic contain too much caution, and not enough lust? Duh-duh-duhhhhhn! (More on the film tomorrow — but Ang Lee fans, rest easy. It plays like a multi-textual epic with a touch of Paul Verhoeven‘s Black Book and a dash of Last Tango in Paris, guided by Lee’s masterly touch.)
Coming out of Lust, Caution (which I recommend staying through the credits for just to hear Alexandre Desplat‘s amazing score) I ran into everyone’s favorite movie critic — Roger Ebert! — accompanied by his lovely wife Chaz and his friendly young nurse. They stopped to chat (I can’t wait for Roger’s observations on the film) and gave RT the infamous Thumbs. Lovely people, those two. It’s their first big festival appearance in a while, after the last Ebertfest. Welcome back, Roger!
Thursday evening was spent undertaking a film festival cram session — namely, trying (mostly in vain) to sort through the week’s schedule. Tomorrow morning will be spent doing the publicist shuffle in no less than four area hotels.
But soon enough, it was time…time to party! Kind of. Made it across town to a Saw IV party and red carpet, where the highlight of my 30 or so minutes spent was either my brief, silly chat with Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman, or watching a gaudily dressed on-camera hostess sidle up to him for an interview, calling him “Davy.” Or maybe it was “Danny.” Definitely not “Darren.”
Stay tuned to our ongoing coverage of the sights, sounds, and smells of the Toronto International Film Festival!