Friday, September 10, 2004

Filmtastic: You Schmooze, you lose

I realise that all I'm doing these days is writing blog posts about my lack of posting, but that's the way it is. The Toronto International Film Festival is on and work's a-calling. Among the celebrities I get to spend ten to fifteen minutes in a hotel room with this week: Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels, Nick Nolte, Maggie Cheung, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joseph Fiennes and Don McKellar.

Aside from the TIFF main site, you may want to check out

Of the 13 or so films I've seen so far, I'd like to recommend two by first-time German directors, because I don't think they'll get the attention they deserve. Here are the hastily-written mini-reviews I had of them in the Post yesterday:

Germany / Directed by Hendrik Holzemann

Young paramedic Crash (Matthias Schweighofer), a loner haunted by the death of his parents in an automobile accident that gave him a brain injury, cruises the streets of Cologne, treating the same group of addicts and drunks every day. After meeting a gorgeous pregnant widow (Jessica Schwarz), literally from his dreams, Crash must make the difficult decision of whether or not to join the emotionally alive or continue to cloister himself in his head. Stylishly shot with a hipster German soundtrack, Off Beat is full of spunk and panache. Rating Three

THE PITCH: Bringing Out the Dead meets Goodbye Lenin.

Screenings: Sept. 11, 9:30 p.m., Varsity; Sept. 13, 9 a.m., Cumberland.


Germany / Directed by Maren Ade

Small-town girl Melanie (Eva Lobau) leaves her parents and long-time boyfriend for a job teaching high school in the big city, where her desperate attempts to make friends and influence students all fail. Lobau is pitch-perfect as that socially inept person we all know, so pathetic and eager it hurts, but just too annoying to befriend. Ade masterfully creates an atmosphere so cringingly awkward it will make you want to hide under your chair. Despite the cop-out ending, a truly original film. Rating Three

THE PITCH: Dangerous Minds meets The Office -- sans humour!

SCREENINGS: Sept. 16, 7 p.m., Cumberland; Sept. 18, 5 p.m., Cumberland.
Yeesh. "Spunk and panache," eh? That's writing on deadline, folks. So yeah, go see those two movies if you're looking for something off the beaten path. These are two filmmakers to watch, I think.


Finally, via Cinetrix, a Detroit News article that claims that 10% of DVDs purchased haven't been watched yet. The best part of the article is this:
One day, when he gets enough time, David Hayes of Detroit says he’ll sit and watch some of the 80-odd DVDs he’s amassed. But for now, he’s too busy with his rap group, the Mountain Climbaz, to sit around and watch movies.
“I keep telling myself, ‘One day you will be able to sit down and watch these,’ and when I do, it’s like I’ll have the ultimate collection,” says Hayes, 30.
Silly as the article is, it's true. My cabinet is full of DVDs I picked up somewhere, but haven't watched yet. Some day I will get around to viewing the entire first season of Lost in Space. But for now, I must concentrate on my hip-hop career as D.J. J. Kelly.

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