Although I always consider cramming in three movies a day while at TIFF it might be the equivalent of cinematic bulimia. For each movie you have to stand in line for about 60-90 minutes to get into the theatre. This is never as bad as it sounds as there are always interesting people to chat with and talk about what other movies and celebrities they have seen. Then you always hope for a question and answer after the film which extends the time. The screenings are at different venues around downtown Toronto so it takes time to get from one showing to the next. Some of the movies are emotionally draining or take some time to properly digest. So I passed on my initial impulse to add a 9 pm film to my schedule today and am glad that I did.
This afternoon I saw The Martian, a space science fiction film starring Matt Damon. It was a “big” picture. And in 3D to boot. It will, no doubt, be a box office favorite. There were some incredibly beautiful visuals of space and the surface of Mars accompanied by swelling French horns and violins. Oh, yes, and synthesized choir voices. Matt Damon is always easy to watch and there were lots of gratuitous moments where he took off his shirt and one scene ( what was the point?) with his bum in it. Within the first fifteen minutes we were subjected to the mother of all storms on Mars – in 3D – Matt’s assumed death, desertion and resurrection and then him doing surgery on himself. At any point was I really worried that he would get home, despite the overwhelming odds? What screenwriter would kill off Matt Damon and leave him to desiccate on Mars? I could appreciate the visual effects but not the continuous flow of brilliant ideas from one character or another to solve the insurmountable odds. I am too pragmatic to do preposterous, I am afraid. 3 stars out of 5 and this was for the visuals.
This evening’s movie was Youth. An exquisite film written and directed by Pablo Sorrentino and shot in Italy. It stars Michael Caine (who at 82 put in an Oscar nomination performance for sure), Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weiss and Jane Fonda (who also had only about ten minutes in the film but they were incredibly well done.) And bonus, the stars were all at the screening and stayed for a question and answer time after the film.
It is really hard to describe this film. It takes place at a holiday spa in the Italian Alps where to old men reflect on their aging, their past and their future. There is an intergenerational contribution and interaction that is quite wonderful. Every shot is set up impeccably. The sound track is phenomenal and integral to the story – Caine’s character is a composer and conductor. It is beautiful to watch. I was mesmerized.
The cast and director got a long standing ovation after the film. Not sure that I have seen that in other TIFF screenings. I will definitely see it again when it is released. There were a lot of vignettes that ended in a statement that I wanted to think about more before it went on to the next.
There was a lot of bare skin, many very close up shots of faces, old and young. I would advise you to see it on a big screen, the bigger the better, as it would be underserviced on Netflix. The final musical scene also needs to be experienced with big sound. I loved this film. My only 5 star film so far.