I didn’t get to TIFF. Sad to say, and I tried but I just didn’t get there. In the end there were a couple of days that worked, but the expense just couldn’t be justified. Seeing a Gala at Roy Thompson or others were going to run $45-85 a ticket. I couldn’t justify for films that would be in wide release within weeks. So I was on the sidelines, and not willing at this age to take my time and chances on a Rush ticket (going to the window and hoping that there would be a seat for $25 cash).
Not sure if I have said it before, but it is worth repeating that I don’t like Jesse Eisenberg. I didn’t like him in The Social Network, nor Now You See Me and others. He seems to play himself, or he has been very well typecasted as the small-statured, smarmy, arrogant, know-it-all who after a while you just feel like punching in the face. He plays the same character in The Hummingbird Effect. Conversely the typical casting of Alexander Skarsgard has been one of the hunk, good-looking, menacing hero type (see The Legend of Tarzan or True Blood). In this film, he is a balding, geeky, introverted brother to the marketing guy Eisenberg. Salma Hayek rounds out the stars in this film, which on first take you might believe is based on a true story. It is not. The story focuses around a pipeline to be tunnelled from Kansas City through to NYC. It looks like a fibre optic line from what I can tell, and it requires extraordinary efforts to have 10ths of nanoseconds in order for traders to gain an edge and make money. Jesse is getting funding to pay for this tunnel. All the while his boss, and company owner, Hayek, does her best to thwart the efforts of her now former employees. It seems as it is much ado about nothing. Only in America are these efforts made in order to temporarily save fractions of secs before the next technology makes it extinct. Then there exists the hard line under the Appalachian mountains. Who cares? I am not in any way engaged with this film, and do not care about the characters. Skarsgard towers over Eisenberg and it is funny to see them together. They don’t look like brothers and don’t act like it either. In the end, I shrug my shoulders and don’t really care about it.
I re-watched Sophia Coppala’s Marie Antoinette, and my initial assessment from when I first saw this back in 2006 was re-affirmed. I cannot say that I like the retro soundtrack that was put into this film. Bow Wow Wow “I Want Candy” and other songs have been added which try to make this seem more contemporary, but just don’t seem right. The music of the day would seem to be more fitting. Where has Kirsten Dunst gone, now 13 year ago? She was Mary Jane in Spiderman. She landed this role and many others. You will spot others too like Jamie Dornan, and Tom Hardy in this cast. Jason Schwartzman gives a memorable Louis XVI performance but not one in which the doomed King would have liked. He is quiet, not interested in relations nor a relationship with his young wife, and has trouble (most of the film) in consummating the marriage. The scenes of Versailles itself are amazing and a great reminder of all this place is, both then and now. What a symbol of French opulence!! But you can see how the royalty was completely removed from every day life, a theme that I heard matter-of-factly in The King’s Speech where Colin Firth speaks of not having friends and not knowing how the common man (his subjects) actually live. I would like to think that the trial and beheading of Marie Antoinette would get more attention, as it got none here. She started out as an entitled young Austrian girl, who grew up in the Austrian palace of Schonbrunn in Vienna (also a worthy pace to visit) and married at age 14. But she became a symbol of a monarchy who had lost touch and didn’t care for her people. The consequences of that were fatal, but were more implied than shown here.