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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is this really ten thousand dollars worth in damages?

Well statistics finally caught up with me and I was involved in an accident a major highway. The story is short and rather ordinary. Jeep fails to stop and then rear my Jetta which then hits the Saab in front me which then hits the Minivan in front of it. Everyone got out of their vehicles uninjured. In an ironic twist of fate, the woman driving the Saab was 30 weeks pregnant and somewhat distressed. In the end though, the jeep, my jetta and the saab were all towed. For the past two weeks, I have been driving a rental Civic at some other insurance company's expense. Now I get to drive it for a bit longer as Ms. Greta Jetta gets a $10 000 makeover. All this is a result of a night out to the last film I was to have seen at the Toronto Film Festival. How anti-climatic was this end.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A List Stars

At this year's Toronto Film Festival, I have already seen more stars in two days than in all the days I spent at last year's film festival. I am seeing the same number of films but this year, the movies all seem to be more mainstream. Is mainstream a bad thing?

Well I guess it depends on why you want to see the movies. Sure some of the films seen here may never to show anywhere else. Either lack of interest, inability to find a distributor, perhaps some are so awful, they do belong in a straight to DVD pile. Others are hidden gems lost forever.

However, seeing Stranger than Fiction was a mainstream film that was worth the price of its A-List stars: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman. A few words of introduction and some improv humour followed by a really enjoyable, darkly comic and romantic movie. It reaffirmed my belief that TIFF is the film festival that is most accessible to the public. Today's screening of The Last Kiss, with a screenplay by Paul Haggis echoed this sentiment.

In direct contrast is the Post-modern life of my Aunt. Captivating acting by the lead but the story line meandered. The perspective of the story was allegedly from that of her nephew yet the boy makes appearance only the start and end of the film. Add in a "moon" fantasy sequence that left most people scratching their heads and jarring change in the tone of the film from romantic comedy to greek tragedy to get a thoroughly disjointed movie. Yet, I do think it was worth watching if only of the delightful performance of Chow Yuen Fat.

And so I await the coming 6 films left to view at this year's TIFF with great anticipation for each movie holds new promise.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Yes, just like that Staples commercial says, it is that most wonderful time of the year....the start of fall. The air gets crisp, the leaves change colour, the harvest comes in and the film festival in TO gets the whole season off to wonder start. I love movies. Not just the artsy type too, although my family and friends would probably defer. Going to TIFF is for me like a food tour of Singapore. The choices are wide and varied and never a disappointment.

There is also something to please everyone's palette. This year is no exception. An opera based on a ancient Hindu text, a documentary on a landscape photographer, a film noir cartoon feature. What about the stars you say? Well, yes sometimes festivals are measured by the number of stars who attend or rather by the parties they attend. Although I don't go out of my way to see them, it is rather fun to run into one or two as they prowl the city.

And the food of course. Nothing like being downtown to get back to some of my favourite restaurants. Recently, someone commented on how well I knew the restaurants, theatres, shops, etc of the city. This despite the fact that I have not lived in Toronto for more than 10 years. However, each time I make the trip back, it is like going home again.