September 9th, 2019 (TIFF begins)

It is always an exciting time to be living in Toronto when the film festival comes to town.   These days they are closing down King Street (a main east-west throughfare) to allow for walking and booths and food trucks for the TIFF opening.   The Festival started on Thursday and runs through to next Sunday.  There is a buzz in the city, and there are many celebrities at the bars, restaurants and around at the films they are promoting.   I brought youngest son down with me on Saturday to just get a sense of how it is like again.   Last year we went and saw Julia Roberts from afar.   This year we went and just happened upon a gathering spot across the street and west from TIFF Lightbox theatres.   There we saw a commotion and people clamouring for pics.   We arrived to see the following (we missed Willem Dafoe by a few minutes sadly).   We caught Antonio Banderas entering in a hurry.   Then had a picture shared of Rosario Dawson (a favourite of mine) as she entered.   So cool.

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Antonio Banderas at TIFF 2019, in a hurry
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Rosario Dawson at TIFF 2019

I am hoping to get out to see a film or two, but I have nothing scheduled.   Normally I would have poured over the listings and made my choices of films to see.  Not this year.  It will be hit and miss, and rush something that piques my interest, and I am okay with that.

On Crave (I have had my home subscription renewed) so now I have more options going forward.   I watched the Clint Eastwood film, The Mule.  Based upon the true story Leo Sharp in a NY Times article.   The facts are an elderly man, more or less estranged from his family as he was a work-a-holic, or at the very least chose to be away from him, is roped into running drugs as a driver into Chicago.   He has a clean record, a good driver, and never had a ticket.    He ended up being one of the most trusted mules for the Mexican drug cartel.   The cast is good with Eastwood playing Earl Stone, who is a horticulturalist, and creates amazing flowers and plants for which he gets rewards.  With him Dianne Wiest, as his ex-wife, real life daughter Alison Eastwood, playing his daughter, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia and Michael Pena.   The film was more emotionally impactful than I thought it would be.   Primarily I think because Eastwood is reflecting back on himself and his own life, especially with daughter Alison.   The story itself works and you feel for those involved.   Things happen as you would (generally) expect – although not all when it comes to Clint – you’ll know it when you see it.   In the end there is a message and thoughts on life as you look in the rear view mirror.  Somehow I suspect that Clint wouldn’t have made fewer movies.   Something about him makes me think he likes the awards and the body of work and him being regarded as a living legend in film.   Still as he acts with his daughter, there must be pangs of doubt every now and then of the choices made.   Only he would know.

I started watching the series Euphoria on Crave and I immediately reached out to Alison to get her take on it.   The first episode was so raw, and disturbing as you watch these high school aged kids living the life in California.   I wasn’t sure if I could continue at that pace but I am glad that I stuck with it.   The story follows mostly unknown actors to me in high school with the focal point being a young black woman name Rue (played by Zendaya) who is sharp, and funny and engaging, along with being a drug addict who lies and manipulates her way through life.   She has many fellow students around here, who read off like the characterizations in The Breakfast Club.   There is Sports/Athlete guy, and Crazy, and wallflower and others in this group trying to keep up.   The adults are about as mixed up as the kids, maybe more in cases.   They swirl around in a drama that takes new turns and directions.   It culminates in a final episode for Season 1 where, I think, they have pulled together so many of the storylines that it was excellent writing.   It may seem hollow at first, but it stayed with me.   Stories are left hanging and others seem resolved.  But clearly there will be more to come.   This is not easy to watch at times, especially for a parent myself.   I am not naive enough to think that this doesn’t happen around here.   In fact, I would think the opposite is that it likely is all around.   The young tattooed boy (hard to call him a man) who sells the pretzels at the fair, is one enterprising and street smart little dude.   He is scary.   Others too.   I have said many a time that I have no interest in re-starting life and going back to high school.   This series makes that statement all the more true.   Worth catching if you have the stomach for it.

Finally the TIFF films from 2018 Climax was on.   This is a French film that was more racey.  It really though is a study in chaos.   And to that end it fails.   I can’t say that I understood the point.    It seems to be random and strange interactions of people working through an abandoned building.   In truth I didn’t catch this from the very beginning, but I don’t need to.   The only notable I saw was Sofia Boutella of The Mummy and Atomic Blonde.   I can’t say that yelling and screaming and rolling around on the floor elevated her status for me at all.   Consider yourself warned and know that I saved you an hour and a half of your life, to go watch something far more interesting.

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