TIFF-Tastic Film Reviews, By the Numbers

If you’ve read my previous posts on the Toronto International Film Festival, you’ll see that, unfortunately, much blood, sweat and tears go into securing tickets to the festival. I was lucky enough to be able to take 3 days of vacation to attend this year’s festival and saw a total of 14 films. There are several package options, including 25, 30 and 50 tickets, which I can hardly imagine. It’s recommended that you get to your films at least 45 minutes early because the lines get really long. While waiting for “Ashes of Time”, the official TIFF survey people came by to get stats on some of us in line. I overheard the two people in front of me say that they had purchased the 50 film package. Holy snow, Batman! One couple even flew in from California for the event – they stay in T.O. for 14 days seeing all 50 movies. The man directly in front of me was from Whitby, Ontario – a Toronto ‘burb – and he pays to spend 11 nights in T.O. and sees 55 movies! I basically knelt down before them in awe.

What this means for those of us who don’t have the bum cartilage to make it throughthis heroic feat is that you literally start your first film around 9am and see movies literally all day through to the “Midnight Madness” film that starts at 11:59pm. Including trasnit time, you likely don’t get home until around 3am and start all over again the next day. By the numbers, that’s no fewer than 5 films a day for 10 days straight. *That*, my fair readers, is dedication. I asked if they had any recollection of the films they’d seen at the end of the 14 days and they shared with me that they write notes after each film and also include a rating from their very own little rating system. In keeping with that spirit, here are my reviews for the amazing (and not so amazing) films I saw at TIFF08.

Rating System:
***** – Excellent/Do not miss
**** – Great/Highly recommended
*** – Good/See it at a matinee
** – Fair/ Rent the DVD
* – Bad/Don’t waste your time or $

1. Dean Spanley – with Peter O’Toole ***
2. $5 a Day – with Christopher Walken ****
3. Wendy and Lucy – with Michelle Williams *
4. Ashes of Time Redux – a Wong Kar Wai film ***
5. Birdsong * – DO NOT SEE THIS FILM! You will feel regret for the rest of the live long day.
6. Is There Anybody There – with Michael Caine ****
7. Easy Virtue – with Jessica Biel and Kristen Scott Thomas *****
8. Pride and Glory – with Edward Norton and Colin Farrel *****
9. Che, Part I – a Steven Soderbergh film with Benicio del Torro ****
10. Zack and Miri Make a Porno – a Kevin Smith film with Seth Rogen *****
11. Il y a Longtemps que Je’Taime – with Kristin Scott Thomas ****
12. Slumdog Millionaire – a Danny Boyle film (kicking ass since 1994!) (Trainspotting) *****
13. Gomorrah **
14. The Wrestler – a Darren Aronofsky film with Mickey Rourke ****

My TIFF08 Experience, By the Numbers
$225: 10-ticket package + 4 additional movies purchased as singles
$64.97: Snacks at 7 of the 14 films (excluding turkey sand hastily scarfed down between shows at Varsity and apple found at bottom of purse)
$21.97: Visine, Tums, moist face towelettes to wipe crust out of eyes, and 79 cent bottle of water
$3.09: Small Diet Coke at ScotiaBank Place
125: # of minutes spent standing in line to a) pick up booklet and order form, b) drop off order form and c) pick up tickets
56: # of minutes spent watching commercials for approved TIFF sponsors and TIFF produced promo
7: # of times I traded tickets after hearing how crappy “that” movie was

To see all my TIFF pictures, click here.

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