Thursday, July 23, 2009

More picks and a semi-retraction

As I type this update I've got the Live Aid DVD box set playing, found it used at Refried Beats yesterday. Loving the Wembley stuff (my hero Paul Weller rocking an entire stadium...wowwowwow) but since all I've seen so far of Philadelphia is Bryan Adams the U.S half is less than stellar so far. Seriously, did every male rock star in 1985 have ginormous hockey hair? Oh, here's Nicholson introducing U2. This could be good...

Right, the fest. Two more programs were (partially?) unveiled today but before I get to those I have to confess I've sort of come around on the issue of Jennifer's Body opening MM. Despite the presence of Megan Fox, whom I'm still not convinced is an actual living, breathing human being and not a s1m0ne-like computer simulacrum created Weird Science-style by wrapping a bra around Michael Bay's head and shoving Maxim photo spreads into a CPU for replication, which hangs an unassailable mainstream cred millstone around the neck of the whole affair despite the inherent coolness of Diablo Cody and thus not exactly in keeping the the renegade nutball spirit of Midnight Madness, I realize that this opener represents an elevation of the MM program in the estimation of the programmers. Jennifer's Body could have been a Special Presentation; shit, Zack & Miri was last year, and as I said before Cody has earned her status as a star of TIFF. But an actual high-profile star vehicle brings press and critical attention the the Midnight Madness program in a way that even, for instance, Borat and his peasant-hauled oxcart arrival in 2006 wouldn't. I guess to some degree this means that MM isn't just for the fringe-dwellers in the festival crowd any more, which is sad, the way a favorite band suddenly going from the clubs to the arenas always hurts, but as long as this isn't a harbringer of future programming trends (I shudder at the thought of MM gaining, say, Bob Weinstein as a primary sponsor), it's actually a good thing.

(Live Aid interjection...okay, July 13 1985 was officially the moment that Bono's self-satisfied messianic impulses leapt into the driver's seat permanently. And may I say again, dude, THAT FUCKING HAIR!!!!!)

Discovery and Vanguard titles hit the website today, there are a few more that range from tempting to gotta-see for me. There's a lot of misery on parade as well, which is always a big turnoff for me. I'm hoping to see some more cool Scandinavian work this year (I've had generally good luck with Icelandic picks over the past three TIFFs) but, and call me narrow-minded if you must, I'm steering clear of dead kids, abusive parents and addiction tales that are promised to be even an iota less cheery than Trainspotting (which is one of my favorite movies, dead baby and all, but I hadn't reached my saturation point on that particular subgenre yet when the movie came out). Which is hard because a quick scan at the summaries for Discovery alone reads like a depressive's diary, half the titles involving one or all three of my no-gos listed above. Samantha Morton, one of my favorite actresses and one of the most luminous screen presences of my generation, is bringing her directorial debut The Unloved to Discovery, but..."the stark portait of a young British girl plucked from her abusive family and thrown into the hands of government care"? Le sigh. I dunno, maybe I'll have to for Morton, but...

So the cool stuff that jumps out at me so far is...Paul and Sandra Fierlinger's My Dog Tulip, because I'm definitely looking to see some cool animation this year; Leon Prudovsky's Five Hours From Paris; J. Blakeson's The Disappearance of Alice Creed, as it stars the amazing Eddie Marsan from Happy Go Lucky and Gemma Arterton from Quantum of Solace, one of the most underrated Bond girls in the entire franchise; The Misfortunates, because drunk rambunctious Belgians sounds like a fun evening; Accident because...ah! I told you Johnny To would be here! Okay, he produced it, but it still counts.

36 days until FanExpo
49 days until TIFF

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