Well, I (Lev) am back from another day at TIFF. Rushed down to the Varsity to catch a press screening of Synecdoche, New York (we lied and pretended to be volunteers). I
t was pretty exciting. Really felt like you were in some VIP room. Saw Brian De Palma as well. He looked very strange. Tiny face, huge body, and, well, bad filmmaker (in my opinion), but that's neither here nor there.Actually it's there since here DePalma is a good filmmaker -- or at least an uneven one worth putting up with. You know how I need my annual Carrie fix and you never know when you might hit the delirious heights of a Black Dahlia or Scarface even if that means you have to sit through the rest of the movie. Anywayyyyy, this is Lev's post not mine.
What's more important is Synecdoche, New York. Unfortunately, I'm not a gifted enough writer to properly explain why I believe that the new Charlie Kaufman picture is a masterpiece. For the first hour or so, it's the most outlandish, irreverent insanity I've ever seen. I was rolling in my seat in hysterics. Then it takes a turn and well, I truly can't properly describe the power of the last 30-40 minutes. It's like watching a genius' head put up on the screen for all to see. The amount of ideas to take in is astonishing.Yay! I'm glad to hear genuine enthusiasm in regards to this picture rather than head scratching. I could've lived without Philip Seymour Hoffman as the centerpiece planet with two handfuls of wonderful female actors in his orbit but my Nicolas Cage aversion didn't stop me from digging Kaufman's Adaptation at first.
I was completely engaged though it felt like a long time. But not in a I-Just-Have-To-Get- Through-This-Way, but in that I was completely caught up in the characters' lives; like I'd been with them for a long time. Don't let the hard to spell and pronounce title throw you off, this is one of the best films of the last decade.
Next up Lev took in Sugar from Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson) which is about a young man from the Dominican Republic who wants to play ball in Iowa due to Field of Dreams. What a moviemovie set up... but he didn't like it much.
Decent acting, poorly shot, dull story. It wasn't terrible, but I could have happily gone without seeing it. Unfortunate, because I'm a big Half Nelson fan. The screening was lots of fun, though. There was a huge reserved section and Jason Reitman came in and took a seat, talked on the phone and then left before the movie started. The directors came up and said a few awkward words before the film and there was a Q & A afterwards.You can say that again. Those are the two most common developments at Q & A's though I usually enjoy them anyway (I even gave Q&A awards last year for fun).
Q & A's are really, really, really awkward. It's basically a chance for the audience to either tell the rest of the audience and the filmmakers what the movie was about or to kiss ass.