Wow! What a day. We have seen 12 movies and 8 of them have been World Premieres. “Greta”, “Ullyse & Mona”, “It’s That Time of Year”, “The Accused”, “Mademoiselle de Jocquieres”, “Cities of Last Things”, “Free Solo” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” had never been shown to an audience before. This made the Q & A’s very interesting because the directors & actors are often stunned seeing the final product on the big screen.
It’s finally cold and windy here in Toronto. Our first screening was at 9:30 a.m. Karl graciously drove us to the ElginTheatre so we could spend a little more time in our warm apartment.
“Ben Is Back” was a surprise. I have been stalking this movie for a while because Julia Roberts & Lucas Hedges were attached. The plot summary had been a little ambiguous so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Similar to “Beautiful Boy”, this film is about how drug abuse affects a family. This is more from the mother’s point of view. Writer/director Peter Hedges was in attendance for the Q & A. He was delightful and very excited to be there We believe this movie is definitely on the Oscar track, both for the movie and the performances. I don’t know if enjoy is the right word, but we really think this is a movie to see.
Our Rating for Ben is Back
Fran’s Diner is a Toronto staple, so we walked over to have breakfast. We both enjoyed a scrambled croissant, with hollandaise, mushrooms, avocado, tomato and asparagus & home fries. Then we walked down “Festival Street”. Tried the beef jerky at Lorissa’s No Prep Protein, got another lipstick at the L’Oreal booth. We played Popcorn Trivia and came in second place; hesitation is a killer.
Posted our blog from the TIFF Bell Lightbox so we were first in line for our next movie, “Free Solo”. A documentary about Alex Honnold’s free solo climb of El Capitain in Yosemite National Park. As non-climbers it was fascinating to see the preparation Alex puts into a major climb, the notes he took, practicing different routes and also the support he receives from other climbers. The photographers on the project were also professional climbers. Their reactions to the actual climb were interesting. Directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Alex Honnold and Sanni McCandless (his girlfriend) were in attendance for the Q & A. Quite a few members of the crew were also in the audience. Even though we knew how it ended (Alex was sitting 2 rows in front of us), the scenes of the actual climb had us on the edge of our seats. See this in theaters if you can, I don’t know if a small screen will do it justice.
Our Rating for Free Solo
Free Solo Q & A – TIFF 2018
Surprisingly, the line for our next screening at the Princess of Wales Theatre stretched around a couple of blocks. Since we had assigned seats we decided to not stand in the line, but rather watch for stars outside a nearby restaurant. No real luck.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is writer/director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) newest film. The love story between Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) is beautiful. Their chemistry is palpable. The rest of their story is tragic but at the same time encouraging. The unflinching love and support their families give this young couple is heartwarming. Regina King gives a standout performance. Barry Jenkins, Stephan James, KiKi Layne, Regina King , Colman Domingo and Brian Tyree Henry were in attendance for the Q & A. This movie has Oscar potential.
Our Rating for If Beale Street Could Talk
If Beale Street Could Talk Q & A – TIFF 2018
With a little time before our final screening of the night so we walked over to City Market on Peter Street. There is something about the grocery stores in Toronto that just makes the food look better. After purchasing some cheese we wandered over to the very long line at Scotiabank Theatre.
“Hotel Mumbai” is a very powerful, visceral movie that captures the perspective of the employees and guests of the Taj Hotel during the terrorist attack November 26, 2008. The hotel staff’s devotion to the hotel itself and their guests was a depiction of extraordinary service and courage, that most of hope we have. Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs and Nazanin Boniadi are just a few of the more recognizable faces of an excellent ensemble cast. Director Anthony Maras was in attendance for a Q & A after the film.
Hotel Mumbai Q &A – TIFF 2018