The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are many, but in my particular TIFF-centric case, the main benefit is having enough energy to actually go to a whole bunch of movies the next day – Saturday, the peak of opening weekend insanity.
Skipping the undoubtedly great screening of Baskin on Saturday was a bummer, but it allowed me to have a four-movie day on Saturday. No complaints!
I started the day with the Canadian-est film I’ll probably see in a good long while, the delightfully charming coming of age story Sleeping Giant, about a trio of boys whose families spend the summer at the same lake near Thunder Bay. The film totally nails the small town Ontario vibe, the Canadian summer cottage vibe, the being-an-awkward-teenager vibe, and manages to be both hilarious and really touching all at once. The film (which played Critics Week in Cannes before TIFF) actually elicited a round of applause from the press & industry audience I was sitting with. That’s how good it is.
Next up I went to one of my most hotly anticipated titles of the year, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster. I sat with a couple of pals who weren’t familiar with his previous films, so before I say anything about The Lobster let me deliver this PSA for anyone who enjoys strange, smart, surreal movies:
***Run, don’t walk, to your nearest international cinema outlet and get yourself a copy of Dogtooth to watch immediately! In fact, just watch this trailer RIGHT NOW.***
His next film, Alps, is also pretty great.
Anyway, The Lobster delivered the what-the-fuck-ness that I’ve come to expect from Lanthimos, but it was a bit too long, almost like two movies sandwiched into one in a way that only half worked. I loved the first half. With a few tweaks, that could have been the whole film.
My goal after The Lobster was to see a highly recommended Lebanese film, Very Big Shot, but I didn’t make it in time, so I opted for the next available thing because I saw a friend in line and wanted to hang out with him for a bit. Usually, when I gamble on films that I know nothing about at TIFF, I come out a winner. Unfortunately, that clearly doesn’t apply to Hollywood films starring Shia LeBeouf. I doubt that I’ll see a worse film than Man Down this year. it was sincerely one of the cheapest, most emotionally manipulative, needlessly convoluted films full of lame and predictable “twists” that I’ve seen in a very long time. I often see films that I feel “meh” about. I rarely see films that fill me with rage that burns with the fire of a thousand suns (see: Titus, Requiem for a Dream). But honestly, those other films are all masterpieces compared to this piece of garbage.
I managed to pack those three films into my day so efficiently that I actually had time to relax for a while and even eat some dinner with Colin before Hardcore, which was the sort of insane movie that would have kept me awake even if I hadn’t had a great night’s sleep. It’s like a POV version of Crank, but even crazier. That Sharlto Copley is pretty hilarious!