TIFF

Tiff Party Review! Deepwater Horizon After Party [Addison Residence]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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Whenever there are festivals, there are parties. What makes TIFF Parties so special is that there are STARS AND CELEBRITIES. Imagine how much better your life will be if you only get that selfie with that person you see on the movie theatre or at home in your pajamas on Netflix.

We had the pleasure to be invited to the TIFF after party for Deepwater Horizon, a movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson (Penny Lane) and a slew of other actors. It’s about the BP oil rig that exploded in the Gulf and ruined the Gulf of Mexico forever. Anyways, I wasn’t invited to the actual movie, but the after party. I had never been to a TIFF movie after party so it was a must go for me.

How does one even review a party? Let’s get to the essentials:

Bar: Open. It was sponsored by Johnnie Walker and they had Johnnie Walker available. That was a good moment. They didn’t pour too much at a time, so I had to make more trips to the bar than I wanted.

Food: Before the party, I was like .. do I go eat? But then I decided that these parties must have free food, and since a lot of people are from Hollywood, they probably don’t eat anyway so there’ll be plenty of free food. I was right! Food available included:

- beef empanadas (delicious)
– korean fried chicken (it was good, but pieces were too small)
– chicken tacos (chicken was nice, but nothing special)
– grilled cheese (was quite good)
– cheeseburger (the weakest of the bunch)

Overall, the beef empanadas were quite good. It was actually pleasant to see that no matter what party you are at, and how precious people are, when they see free food, its plain to see we are all vultures in the end.

People: Damn, people dressed up! I came from my soccer game so I was wearing shorts, and I was definitely the only person wearing shorts. Most men were dressed in dress shirts and suits while the women all had fancy dresses.

The party seemed to be broken down into three groups of people and they were located in this formation:

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Rich and Famous – These people are rich and famous, had booths and the really famous people had security guards outside the booths. Kate Hudson and Kurt Russell were there, but they were sitting in the booths and mostly mingled amongst themselves. What do really rich people talk about? Probably stocks. Anyways, they didn’t mingle with the peasants.

Industry types – These people were dressed real hard and lingered above just outside the booth, waiting for their golden ticket or trying to be noticed. They were in the industry, but weren’t quite important enough to make the booths. Half were probably waiters in LA but today, they are almost stars because they are at a TIFF after party.

Randos – I was a rando, and the randos were definitely in the middle. They were mostly people who worked for sponsors, won contests or general people who knew someone who knew someone. They also tried to sneak the most photos and the most ravenous for food and drinks. Some people were really happy they were there, but seemed oblivious to the fact that they will never be accepted among the elites.

Anyways, I think I am supposed to say that the party was hosted by Johnnie Walker and the cast was there, which are both true. You can’t really go wrong at a TIFF afterparty, so if you get the chance, definitely go.

TIFF review: Human Resource Manager [Eran Riklis, 2010]

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment

Toronto – As I watched this film, 3 words kept floating to the tip of my tongue. It’s not that Human Resource Manager (HRM) is unoriginal. But the setup and story lends itself to a natural, side-by-side comparison with Little Miss Sunshine. While the latter focuses on character growth through waves and waves of ridiculous scenarios, I find that HRM is a lot about testing one man’s perseverance amidst waves and waves of bull$#!&: how far he will go to “Be a man. Do the right thing”.

The narrative is such that no names are necessary. The HRM of a large bread factory in Jerusalem simply found himself, one day, beset by his boss and the media for the death of a migrant employee during a suicide bombing. Having never even met this worker, and did not even authorize her hiring or termination, the HRM is naturally distant. His instincts tells him that this hot potato landed on HIS plate because the boss is unhappy with him. As a reflex, he wants to do a good job this time to prove himself. Not to mention that one reporter is scrutinizing his every move against an inflated moral code – and if he fails the slandering articles will be all over town. So he delved into this woman’s past, searching for something that he can use to diffuse the situation. Then he realizes the real problem… something had to be done about the body. The custom is to send it back home – in this case, somewhere far in the Eastern bloc. So, the ragtag band of brothers including the vice consul (of whatever country, who’s really the driver of the Jewish consulwoman), the reporter, HRM, and eventually, the dead woman’s son, begins a journey in a 1950s van towards her remote village.

What really struck me throughout the movie was not how the HRM is able to do the right, honorable thing. If he didn’t, there wouldn’t be a story, nor the comedic anecdotes. It is how neglectful everyone has been until this woman is dead. Then, and only then, do they start to compensate – even complete strangers like the HRM will go to great lengths to avoid feeling guilty. The HRM’s daughter even asks: “how come you didn’t know that one of your workers is dead?”. Can you imagine if she cared enough to ask: “how come you didn’t know that one of your workers is starving to death?” That’s the biggest irony in this film. This is also reflected by the fact that the only character whose name we know, is that of the dead woman. No one else really mattered. There is a scene where the son tries desperately to come to terms with her death. While the HRM tries to comfort him, he grew angry at the HRM, who then said, “I’m sick of you people”. I think that’s the punchline of this film. A human resources manager sees what people (himself included) do, and is sickened by it. I feel that the son’s coming-to-age is a cliche that is simply a consequence of the events. I actually like this film, despite the appearance of it being a Little Miss Sunshine clone. The version I saw was unpolished, with conspicuous cuts/edits. But that doesn’t distract much and I believe it’s close enough to a production copy. If you don’t think too much, the comedic elements of the film carry most of the weight throughout, and easily glides you to the end. It’s a little dry – don’t expect Hollywood devices being used.

You can still catch the film: Sunday, 530pm (Scotia Bank theater).

TIFF Review: Modra [Ingrid Veninger, 2010]

Posted on by guestwriter in Movies | 1 Comment

Lina and Leco - Modra

Toronto - On-screen teen romance has always captivated me. I can appreciate the awkward pauses and hesitant first-kisses often brought to life a la film. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Most adults seem to gravitate toward any youthful display of affection. Maybe it’s because our innocence is pretty much obliterated by the time we graduate high school. We grow up. Become adults. At some point, Truth quietly slips out the back door just in time for Lust, Mind-Games and The Future to come barreling in the front. Between speed-dating and long-distance relationships, we forget the simple delights of young love.

Thankfully, director Ingrid Veninger is here to remind us. Her new film Modra is a coming-of-age story that uncovers the essence of teen romance. Set mostly in Slovakia during a week-long vacation, Modra features the seventeen-year-old Lina (Hallie Switzer) who, after an inpromptu break-up with her boyfriend, invites schoolmate and near-stranger Leco (Alexander Gammal) along for the trip. Enter teen angst.

Modra boasts two talented young actors that captivate the audience with their on-screen chemistry and age-appropriate woes. Lina is a young, strong-willed, mature girl who knows what she wants. In contrast, Leco is brooding, shy and immature. Together, they form a very convincing pair. In fact, don’t be surprised if their on-screen exploits have you coveting memories of teen-years past.

The beauty of the film is the dry, almost bland way in which the story is told. There is no fluff. No grand (unrealistic) gestures of love. No glib twenty-something year-old actors with silver-tongued vocabularies. Instead, there are plenty of awkward pauses, immature outbursts and mindless conversations. I, for one, appreciate this approach. It keeps the cheese factor to an all-time low. Having said that, Modra is definitely not lacking in the entertainment department. True, Veninger’s rendition of teenaged life is served straight-up. But she also adds a touch of spice in the form of a romantic rival or two.

Overall, Modra is not your typical coming-of-age story. It’s better. It’s a well thought-out portrayal of teen romance that should appeal to just about anyone – sentimental adults and youthful film buffs alike.

TIFF review: Amazon Falls [Katrin Bowen, 2010]

Posted on by guestwriter in Movies | 4 Comments

Toronto – I have some serious beef with cliché films. Be it comedy, drama or anything in between. I find it bothersome and downright irritating when a producer comes up with some lame-o homage to another overdone stereotype and declares it a movie. I usually approach such movie theatre invites with a polite ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’ attitude. So you can understand my lack of excitement when I popped Amazon Falls into my DVD player and came face-to-face with one of the most notorious movie stereotypes of all: the struggling Hollywood hopeful.

We all know the story: aging B-movie actress grapples with the inevitable demise of her career, while her less-than-glamorous life collapses all around her. Great. But, like it or lump it, I had a job to do. Begrudgingly, I put my biases aside for 90 minutes and watched. As the end-credits rolled, I came to a very startling realization: I liked it. I actually, truthfully liked Amazon Falls.

Thinking back, it’s easy to see why. Produced by first-timer Katrin Bowen, Amazon Falls is a heartbreaking story of Jana, a washed-up forty-year-old actress who spends every waking moment fighting for survival under the harsh L.A. lights. Jana is heartfelt and honest; a role Canadian actress Telek plays with stunning accuracy. Yes; it was predictable. Yes; it was packed to the tits with clichés. But beneath all the stereotypes was a big thumping heart that would not be ignored. It was real. It was raw. It was gritty. That’s something even this jaded cynic can respect.