My experiences with the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) though my camera lens:
1. …why thank you, Toronto; 2. The beautiful skyline of Toronto outside the Visa Screening Room (Elgin Theater); 3. The cast on stage for Boogie Nights: Live Read; 4. Jason Sudeikis signing autographs before Boogie Nights: Live Read; 5. Me and Asghar Farhadi, director of the Oscar-winning film A Separation and TIFF selection The Past; 6. The audience in the Princess of Wales theater for HateshipLoveship;7. The crowd on the streets awaiting the celebrity arrivals for 12 Years a Slave; 8. Post-screening panel of Hateship Loveshipwith Kristen Wiig, director, cast and crew.
My Day 2 continued with a film screening that was kinda of ticket package filler, a movie I didn’t really have any intention of seeing but decided to take a chance on it and a special event that I just couldn’t wait for.
Ever seen Kristen Wiig made us all sit up and take notice after the huge popularity of Bridesmaids, I have been following her to see where her film career would take her. I caught a screening of her recent film Girl Most Likelyat TIFF 2012 which was solid and satisfying but was nothing beyoud what we have seen from her in the past creatively, and now, Hateship Loveship which touted itself as another solid film, but one that would have Wiig extend herself in a more dramatic role.
Adapted from Canadian writer Alice Murnro’s short story Hateship Friendship Loveship Courtship Marriage, the story follows a socially-inept, unsophisticated caretaker-housekeeper Johanna who falls victim to a cruel prank involving carried out by Sabitha (Haille Steinfeld), the teenage daughter of her employer (Nick Nolte). Though there is seemingly a certainty of devastating consequences for Johanna, this situation allows her to open up, create a life for herself, and touch the people around her.
The movie revolves around the journey of Johanna. Wiig takes on the role of the soft-spoken, barely smiling Johanna in stride; her face remained blank, her mouth tight in a line. She is the embodiment of homely, wearing frumpy, unflattering clothing, no makeup, and dull, lifeless hair. Even with this, there wasn’t enough of this character for me in action or in words to give her dimension. Guy Pearce, who plays Ken the drug-addicted, irresponsible father of Sabitha who unexpectedly gets pulled into the prank, was good enough but had to also make due with a role that wasn’t craved out with enough care. I will say that there are some laughs (a certain make-out sesh with a bathroom mirror comes to mind) and cries (you just can’t help but feel sorry for Johanna at times) that sometimes make this unbelievable story worthwhile. My Grade: B-
—> Interesting highlights from the post-screening Q&A with the director and Kristen Wiig:
When it was pointed out that this is a departure from her usual comedic roles, Wiig commented that she always wants to do drama and that people are surprised when they hear that
As the movie is based on Alice Munro’s short story “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” which is set decades earlier in Canada, the director discussed how they had to update movie to be more modern… including adding email.
This was a productive weekend for me where movie watching was concerned as I decided to started on my Must Watch List of newly released films this winter. I watched the first three on my list - the smaller, relatively unknown independent films Loosies and Answers to Nothing as well as the much buzzed about independent film Shame (review for this one to come).
Don’t see: Answers to Nothing (starring Dane Cook, Julie Benz, Elizabeth Mitchell, Zach Gilford) - The premise is much like that of the Oscar-winning film Crash, a number of strangers in Los Angeles are interconnected and their resulting connections bring up issues of race, societal responses to crime, morality of the police, husband-wife dynamics, and social tensions. Though unlike Crash, these connections between characters lack meaning and depth and therefore have no real impact on each other. Stories which may have some potential if they were explored further, including a recovering addict and her wheel chair bound brother preparing for the LA marathon and a man suffering with tramatic stress over the violent death of his wife, are pushed a side for the main been there, done that storyline of a husband and wife whose relationship is marred with infidelity and childlessness. I love Dane Cook, as a comedian (and I don’t even like stand-up comedy like that) and overall star of some of my fantasies, and Elizabeth Mitchell was one of the best characters on LOST but paired together, the two did not work for me.
Do see: Loosies (starring Peter Facinelli, Jamie Alexander) - I have to give it up to Peter Facinelli who wrote and produced this film, I really liked it. Named after the slang for cigarettes, this film wasn’t anything flashy or even very intricate but it was a pretty good movie of a New York pickpocket and slight casanova who discovers he is also a soon-to-be father when a one-night stand tracks him down. We as the audience discover there is more to him than meets the eye. I’ve always felt that Peter Facinelli had a charm to him that he always conveys onscreen and his pairing with newcomer Jamie Alexander is great to watch.
Thank you, EW for always publishing movie calendars as a guide what is soon to hit theaters. And thank you Comcast OnDemand for your “trailers & reviews” tab so I can then proceed to watch trailers for said movies. As you can tell, I live for movies. Here’s the list of those soon to be released movies for the winter season that I’m most excited about with emphasis on all things independent.
Answers to Nothing: a collection of intertwining stories about lost souls throughout Los Angeles who search for meaning and redemption. Gotta say I’m intrigued to see Dane Cook in a dramatic role.