The Unkindest Week of the Year

878a9403648fd7215d0f6a7067001edeTIFF DEADLINE SIX WORDS SORRY SORRY

As Above, So Below: Scary caverns. Late press screening. Dunno.

The Calling: Surprisingly solid homegrown thriller. With acting.

The Congress: Wish you hadn’t done that, Ari.

Lawrence and Holloman: Two Vancouverites switch lives. Hilarity … ensues?[Glenn]

Life of Crime: Elmore Leonard, moderately twisted. And fun.

Swearnet: The Boys leave the Trailer Park. [Phil]

Also, Ghostbusters is back for a 30th anniversary reissue; I’ll be writing about that later today in my NOW web column. And I’ll see you guys next week, when my brain isn’t leaking out of my ears.

Oh, but keep an eye on NOW’s TIFF site. You never know when we’ll be updating that sucker.

The Final Girl

cover_3352NOW’s TIFF preview issue is on the stands, and it’s my second cover in a row because I’m just not working hard enough, frankly.

Our featured performer is Maika Monroe, who’s poised to rule Midnight Madness with her performances in The Guest and It Follows. And then there are various capsule reviews and my annual festival picks, because that is just what we do.

We also flash back to TIFF 2013 for an interview with Daniel Schechter, whose Life of Crime closed the festival last year and opens in town tomorrow. Symmetry!

Oh, and over at MSN Canada, I talked to Ray Wise about Twin Peaks, Fan Expo and Twitter. That was fun.

The Last of Summer

f2be8a2401a31135f5b0da399c9af01cSure feels like summer’s winding down, doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s because The November Man is opening in theatres today, and isn’t very good. Maybe it’s because this week’s heat wave lasted exactly 23 hours before breaking. Or maybe it’s because I’ve just interviewed Alastair Fothergill about making a documentary about Alaskan brown bears in wintry climes.

Oh, no, I know why it feels like the season’s drawing to a close: Tonight’s my last evening at Harbourfront, presenting the audience’s choice for the final Free Flicks screening: Bridesmaids.

The running time means we’ll be starting a little on the early side – maybe around 8:30 pm? — so be sure to take that into account when you head down.

And do join us. It’s been a fun season, and this should make for a great closer.

We Are All Groot Now

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyGive it up for the weirdos, people.

Guardians of the Galaxy was back atop the box-office charts this weekend, squeezing past Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and If I Stay with $17.6 million to their $16.8 million and $16.4 million, respectively.

(Let’s Be Cops took fourth place with $11 million, which is still pretty freakin’ impressive for that picture.)

Guardians‘ total domestic earnings have topped $251 million, making it the biggest hit of the summer. (Suck it, Trans4merz!) According to BoxOfficeMojo, it’ll blow past Captain America: The Winter Soldier by the end of the week to be the biggest movie of the year.

Isn’t that great? A goofball space opera about a band of lovable misfits who team up to defeat evil defies expectations to become a crowd-pleasing smash? It’s Star Wars all over again!

Which is kind of the point. Way to go, Mr. Gunn.

Meanwhile, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For tanked, opening in eighth place with $6.5 million. It couldn’t even beat The Expendables 3 – one of this summer’s most visible flops – which came in seventh with $6.6 million.

It’s a shame, really. Rocket Raccoon would fit right in with the Basin City crowd.

A Fairly Busy Friday

sin-city-2-dame-kill-for-jessica-albaYeah, great, we just put next week’s TIFF preview package to bed. But I’m still running back and forth to screenings, so you’ll have to settle for six-word reviews again this week.

Are You Here: I was there. It was awful.

Coldwater: Young offender meets older, worse offenders. [And hey, the link works now!]

Finding Fela: Half stage show, half documentary. Meh.

The F Word: A really charming romantic comedy. Honest.

I Dream of Wires: Let us all praise modular synthesizers. [Jose]

If I Stay: Chloe Grace Moretz sighs in limbo. [Rad]

The One I Love: Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Olsen, a twist. [Susan]

Rich Hill: This is real life. It’s grim. [Glenn]

Senoritas: Local filmmaker Lina Rodriguez steps out. [Rad]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: More monochrome mendacity from Frank Miller. [Rad]

To Be Takei: He was Sulu. Now he’s more. [Glenn]

When the Game Stands Tall: God does influence football games, kinda. [Andy]

And there you have it! Oh, and there’s this one other thing — I had the honor of being invited to dinner at my new neighbor Corey Mintz’ place, and he wrote about the evening in this week’s Fed column. It’s my third appearance in the Toronto Star this year … and yes, it feels weird. Anyway, enjoy it.

The Boy Who Loves

Radcliffe coverIn this week’s NOW, I talk to Daniel Radcliffe about growing up and kissing girls in The F Word, a charming romantic comedy which finally opens in Canada tomorrow, nearly a year after premiering at TIFF.

I also talked to Radcliffe’s co-star Zoe Kazan and their director Michael Dowse, because I am thorough. And here is a sidebar of outtakes from the Radcliffe interview, because the guy just gives you so much great stuff.

Really, I have the best job.

Hello Gorgeous

Barbra-Streisand-Fanny-BriceIt is, once again, a Wednesday, and you know the drill: Time to meet me down at Harbourfront for a free movie!

This week, it’s Funny Girl, William Wyler’s 1968 biopic of Fanny Brice, which earned Barbra Streisand an Oscar for Best Actress and pretty much made her a movie star overnight. (Said stardom was very nearly revoked after Hello Dolly! the following year, but she eventually found her equilibrium.)

The feature is a little on the long side, so we’re starting around 8:15 pm; you’ll want to be on time to ensure you get a decent seat, and to see my special guest Virginia Hatfield, who is an actual professional singing person and who will have many things to say about Streisand, musicals and stuff along those lines.

Do come down; they say the rain will blow out well before dark.

What Kind Of God Would Allow This?

letsbecops02Over a slow weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Uncanny Valley held onto the top spot at the North American box office, earning another $28.4 million while Guardians of the Galaxy was close on its heels in second place with $24.7 million.

But when you look at how the week’s new releases fared, well, that gets interesting.

The Expendables III, which everyone would figured would make money even though its core audience has almost certainly seen it by now, opened in fourth place with $16.2 million — beaten by Let’s Be Cops, of all things. The disposable, no-budget premise comedy made $17.7 million to place third, beating both Stallone and the gang and the apparently highly anticipated YA adaptation The Giver, which took fifth place with a downright piddly $12.8 million.

So, bottom line: A movie with two-fifths of the New Girls (neither of whom is the Girl) made more than the movie starring every single male actor who picked up a flamethrower in the 1980s. What does that mean, man? What does that mean?

46

2014-08-06 14.47.37This year marks the 25th anniversary of my first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival as an accredited journalist – not that big a deal, really, since other journalists have been covering it far longer — but the TFCA asked me to write something about my years covering the festival and how it’s changed, for better or worse.

Here you go.

Fun fact: The original title of the piece was “This Stupid Thing I Do: A Quarter-Century of Talking to Famous People”. But I thought that was maybe a bit much.

My other other gig.