Monday, 20 October 2014

St. Vincent

For today I thought I'd do another summary of a film I saw at TIFF.  It will also give me a chance to talk about a film that isn't Whiplash, because I feel like I do that a lot.  (but seriously, if you have a chance to go see it, please do.  The soundtrack came out a few weeks ago and it is addictive.)

Today I want to focus on the film St. Vincent and the awesomeness that is Bill Murray.  I only cried a handful of times at the festival but two of those times it was caused by the man pictured below.


I saw a lot of really good films this year and St. Vincent is definitely within my top five.  It opened in select theatres on October 10th but opens everywhere else on October 24th.  I urge you to go see this film.

Those of you who read my blog, know that I'm very much into British comedy/England in general so I'm bummed I didn't get to go to the premiere and see Chris O'Dawd from the IT Crowd.  He's always funny in interviews, but add to that Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray and I bet the Q&As were hilarious.  I am grateful that I managed to rearrange my schedule and was able to see St. Vincent the next day.

While slightly predictable, St. Vincent is an enjoyable film that, as the Los Angeles Times states, is "Impossible not to love."  Totally agree.  Bill Murray shines as the cantankerous Vincent.  A character who is a stark contrast to the lovely man I saw the previous day (see below for my recount of Bill Murray day)

Melissa McCarthy was also great in this movie but the other stand out performance is from newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Vincent's neighbour Oliver.   Oliver is polite child, who takes a liking to his grumpy neighbour and helps us all see past Vincent's grumpy exterior.  The movie was funny, heart-warming, and I had tears in my eyes by the end.

Go check out the website for more information and while you're there, take the time to Saint Yourself. Here is mine.  You have the option of adding different filters, borders, and stickers.  I didn't select a border but I chose to be pals with Vincent's beloved cat Felix.


Friday September 5th was pronounced Bill Murray Day in Toronto.  As celebration, three Bill Murray films were screened at the Bell Lightbox.  These screenings were free, first come first served, and included: Stripes, Groundhog Day, and Ghostbusters.  

Fun fact about me: Ghostbusters is one of my favourite movies.  (Remember when Arthur and I went as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer for Halloween?)  I found it a little overwhelming to be watching it on a big screen and paired with the fact that I knew Bill Murray was meandering around backstage....well, let's just say more than a few tear drops fell from my eyes. 
Bill Murray, Ivan Reitman, and Mitch Glazer did a pretty lengthy Q&A session after the Ghostbusters screening but for the first 5-10 minutes all I could hear was my brain yelling, "OH MY GOD, IT'S BILL MURRAY"

See this man right here?  I touched him and it was incredible (in a non-creepy way).  Actually just being in his presence was incredible and for the duration of the Q&A session he felt like me own personal life-coach/therapist.

He was asked a few questions about his personal philosophies and what it was like to be him.  His responses on his outlook on life were inspirational, and actually just what I needed to hear at that moment (issues were happening at work and even though it was my day off, I was having a hard time letting go... well, at least until I heard Mr. Murray's sage advice on being happy).

All around, my 2014 TIFF experience was fantastic and I'll definitely be sharing more with you over the next couple of weeks.  Bill Murray day and St. Vincent were definitely some of my favourite experiences from this years festival.

Alex & Arthur

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday Five Fave - October 10th, 2014

I carry around a lot of junk in my purse, so I'm not sure a clear portion is the best option for me.  However, this purse is adorable.

Sherilyn Fenn

So I met this beauty (my girl crush) in August at the Toronto FanExpo.  She's still super gorgeous and incredibly sweet.

I'll write more about my encounter in a future post because I was able to catch an awesome Q&A panel with Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, and Ray Wise. 

Hey, did we all hear about Twin Peaks 2016?  So, excited!

Dinosaur Rolling Pin by Vatek Rolling Pins

Hello Shanghai Cruz Purse by Kate Spade

The Enchiridion by CuteCraftsEtc

Alex & Arthur

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Well, it's been a month since TIFF and I've finally recovered.  I wasn't able to take the week off from work which meant I had to try to cram movies in between working/meetings.  Even without the week off, I was able to see a total of 22 films (I was basically the walking dead by the end of the festival)

People always ask me to provide feedback on movies that I've seen at the festival, specifically which ones do I think are Oscar-worthy.  I do, but I also try to explain that my likes and dislikes at the festival are even more subjective than usual.  

First, I don't see all the movies at the festival.  There were over 300 films at the 2014 festival and I saw 22.  The movies that I select are either films that I don't think I'll get to see outside of the festival, films made by actors/directors that I like, or films that catch my fancy in the program book.  I usually try to see at least one film from each program and try to catch a special presentation.  The chances that I see all potential Oscar contenders are slim.

Second, I'm seeing a lot of movies in a compressed period of time.  At least one movie a day but there are times when I'm watching four a day...which is A LOT and exhausting.  My movie enjoyment can be impacted by how tired I am, if I've been able to eat at some point, if I've been waiting in line in horrible weather, etc.  Also, it's impossible not to compare films.  I saw the movie I liked the most and the one I hated on the exact same day.  Perhaps if I didn't see my favourite movie earlier on, I would have appreciated the second film more.

Having said that, over the next couple of weeks I'd still like to share some feedback on the films I saw and highlight my favourites.


That favourite I mentioned above?  Well this is it.
Whiplash is about a drummer named Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) who enrols in a prestigious music-school and the volatile relationship he has with his demanding music instructor, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons).

This film is in no means perfect.  There were a few points in the story that had me cringing but whatever faults this film has are overshadowed by what it does right.  It's a fast-paced exciting drama that showcasing amazing performances by Teller and Simmons.  And don't even get me starting on the drumming.  During the Q&A session, it was revealed that Teller did most of his own drumming (I'm impressed).

 After the film, J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, and the director Damien Chazelle spent some time chatting and taking selfies with fans (I'm too self-conscious to ask for a selfie/photo). 

J.K. Simmons is such a lovely man.

This is a charming man right here.  I say 'man' because I did google Miles Teller immediately after leaving the theatre to ensure my new found celebrity crush wasn't inappropriate/creepy.  (He's 27 so we're good)  

He's really nice, very good looking, and a pretty talent actor/drummer.  I may have swooned a little bit during our chat...

Look who else stopped by congratulate the cast and crew.  (He also gave me a high five...not sure if that's another reason for his visit but I'm going to assume it is)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


As it's Tuesday, here are two movies I'm hoping to catch this year at TIFF.

St. Vincent

As part of the TIFF festivities, September 5th has been declared Bill Murray Day.  This is a free, first come first served event at the Bell Lightbox.  Throughout the day, three Bill Murray films will be shown: Stripes, Groundhog Day, and Ghostbusters.   

Later that day, the premiere of his new film St. Vincent is showing across the street.  St. Vince is about a cantankerous, cash-strapped, loose-living retiree (Bill Murray) who become an unlikely role model for his twelve-year-old neighbour.  Chris O'Dowd is also in this film <3...hopefully he shows up to the premiere.  
 Men, Women & Children

This film is from Jason Reitman and follows a group of teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, communication, self-image, and love lives.  Going to see a Reitman film at TIFF is worth it for the Q&As alone.  

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Exciting day in the world of the Toronto International Film Festival.  This morning on the way to work, I stopped by the Tiff Lightbox to pick up the 2014 film schedule.  So when I get home tonight I'll try to plot out which movies I can see and when....and ultimately be disappointed when I realize that two movies I really want to see are playing at the same time (happens every year!).

When I first starting posting about my film festival experience, I chose Tuesday as the day for the sole purpose that Tuesday and TIFF both start with a "t" but luckily, it's also the day when most of the announcements happen.

As it's Tuesday, here are another two films I'm looking forward to seeing at the festival this year:

Red Alert

It is a short, 9-minute film about a young auburn-haired girl who panics when she finds out that redheads may become extinct in the future.  It sounds adorable.
It was directed by a Canadian named Barry Avrich whose documentary credits include: The Last Mogul (05), Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky (12), and Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story (13)

I believe it's part of the Short Cuts Canada Program but I can't figure out which one.

Escobar: Paradise Lost  

This film is about a surfer from Canada named Nick who meets the woman of his dreams while in Colombia. The woman, Maria, is busy campaigning for her politician uncle, who turns out to be Pablo Escobar. Nick soon finds himself in a world of extravagance, corruption and bloodshed.

I have to admit, I'm on the fence about this film.  It's definitely a movie I'd like to see but outside of the festival setting I'd wait so that I could watch it at home.   So why is it on my list? Three words: Benicio Del Toro

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