Thursday, September 09, 2004

Go Tiff Yourself (updated)

I'm not going to the Toronto International Film Festival this year. There, I've said it.

It's an unpleasant reality to confront for a big movie nerd like myself. In the last two weeks, I've been evading the issue the way I avoid baseball highlights when the Red Sox are on a losing streak. I kept hoping that maybe my schedule will free up that will allow me to take a five day trip to Toronto (and another week to Ohio and New York in October -- a trip I'm almost certain to take). But as work piled up, TIFF became unfeasible. So I just blocked out the reality that I'll be missing the fest this year, one of my favorite annual events, and barely skimmed through all correspondences/internet postings with TIFF as the subject matter. But now I've recovered. And it still hurts, man, lemme tell you.

That Wong's still-being-recut 2046 will not be screened kinda soothes the pain. (Update: For Wong fanboys and those with an interest in graphics, check out the official 2046 Web site.) But then check out what I'll be missing out on:

Most regrettably, I'll be shucking Kings and Queen, the new autobiographical film from Arnaud Desplechin, the man who made one of the greatest navel-gazing French wankfest of all-time, My Sex Life...Or How I Got Into an Argument (but maybe I'll be able to catch it at NYFF?)...

Next is L'Intrus, by Claire Denis, perhaps the most intriguing filmmaker in the world right now, after...

Olivier Assayas, whose Maggie Cheung-starring Clean will be a painful movie to miss...

Then there's Eros, comprising of three featurettes directed by Wong Kar-wai, Steven Soderbergh, and Michaelangelo Antonioni riffing on the titular theme...

Tomorrow We Move, wherein Chantal Akerman deconstructs the screwball comedy...

3-Iron, from Theater of Cruelty master Kim Ki-Duk, who recently found religion (and is already generating good notices)...

Old Boy, the ultra-violent Cannes sensation...

Other appealing Cannes also-rans playing include The Holy Girl, Nobody Knows, and especially Apichatpong's mysterious Thai flick Tropical Melody...

Two festival buzz items are D'Angelo fave Primer, a supposed head-scratcher, and Depardon's 10th Chamber...

9 Songs, Michael Winterbottom's porn movie, sounds pretty awesome...

And of course the new Ozon, Godard, the Hou, the Jacquot, and the usual Miike and Miike rip-offs, etc., etc., etc.

But more than the movies, nothing really beats comraderie with my fellow movie nerds, all those schlubby guys you see wearing "Ichi the Killer" t-shirts with notebook in tow. Oh, what I wouldn't give for some scintillating discussions about Bruno Dumont's methods (and madness), whether School of Rock merits a 67 or 68 (on the retarded 100 point scale), the size of Vincent Gallo's schlong, the Junior Achievers' collective insanity, and arguments about arguments made in the movie nerd internet discussion group in 2001.

Too bad for all those nerds that they will be missing out on my dandy shirts and smokin' knee-high scarves, but they're probably not missing my predictably enthusiastic responses ("check out that psychological acuity, bro!") to any French relationship flick that offers some ingenue nudity. It's all about the nuanced exploration of paradoxical emotional states, buds.

So I won't be there, but many of my buds will be. And if you're interested in instantaneous (or in some cases, lengthy retrospective) write-ups of the festival, this is your one-stop link source. Check out:

* Mike, who will inevitably deflate your expectations about that movie you've been dying to see, unless that movie also happens to be told backwards or announces the profound theme that dog is god backwards;

* Scott, who will revive some of your hope with with a sure-to-be-superbly-written essay at the end of the fest;

* Waz, who will use the word dialectic at least twice in his insanely rigorous capsules;

* CStults, who will invariably rate movies with titles like Sexual Dependency and Vibrator a grade higher than would you or me (and who would have been the most reliable evaluator of Eros, had he been planning to see, you know, him being a Soderbergh and Wong fanboy and all);

* Missy (great to have you back) will no doubt jot down some insightful words on her popular blog;

* Then there are my two former TIFF roommates: El Chuck shoots out short and sweet capsules, and Erik "Mr. Eccentric" Gregersen may finally revive his dormant site to hype some random Thai cowboy movie or some retro-silent experiment.

* Speaking of dormant sites, here's to hoping V-Mort, whose last movie seen is the dreadful Photos People In Dallas Can See, will finally post some new thoughts;

* Don "Dude from Nickelback" Marks, Private Joker, and the Movie "Mr. 55 movies in 2 1/2 days" Martyr will probably all update quite frequently; the redoubtable Alex Fung will not.

* And finally, when you get a chance to see these movies and need to make sense of them, head over to Theo, whose exhaustive and sharp TIFF reports should be collected and studied by movie nerds in future generations to learn how it's done.

* If you're lucky, you'll get something by Josh Rothkopf in Time Out New York two weeks hence. Dan Owen and Omar Odeh have no sites, and so they are not hyped. And another bud stopped posting his snarky commentary long ago, nor will he have a short in the fest this year. But some random girl in a Baja Fresh on Sunset tells me that the script to Pretty Persuasion is excellent.

Check 'em all out. But anybody who cares probably already does.

Bush's real campaign video

Vote for Bush because he says so, courtesy of the Daily Show (via One Good Move). As usual, it's better than anything produced by the anti-Bush forces.

Didn't bother with Repug convention, but from the coverage I've witnessed, it's like the Stephen Glass Fan Club, a gathering of shameless fabulists trying desperately to mythologize a pathetically poor commander-in-chief and lying about Kerry's record. It almost worked, too...if it weren't for you damn kids and that stoned dog!

Der Ahnold's full of lies...I mean, self-mythologizing fibs that contradict history, Benito Giuliani distorts Kerry's votes time and again, keynote speaker Zig-Zag Miller channeled Atilla the Hun (then Aaron Burr in challenging Chris Matthews to a duel), Pataki did some clever revisionism by spinning Bush's total disregard for the threat Al Qaeda posed pre-9/11 on Clinton, who, uh, at least tried to bomb Bin Laden and mentioned him as a threat on public record.

Pathetic, really, if these lies weren't actually effective, as we learn time and again.

The only thing I saw was about ten minutes of Dubya's speech. Not a bad speech, from what I saw. But where's Osama bin Laden again?