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On The Film Army Front: August ’13 Edition

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

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Well, now that TIFF has come to an end, let’s take a trip back to August.

If you can believe it, August was busier than my experience with the Toronto International Film Festival.  At Film Army, I was checking out different programmes hosted by Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox, watching smaller independent fare, as well as getting ready for TIFF while setting up IFFFT coverage – the International Fetish Film Festival Toronto.

It’s great to cover all sorts of bases with my writing.  It truly feels like I get a taste of everything.

The programmes at the Lightbox introduced me to more eclectic foreign movies.  These being the films of Leos Carax and other assorted works brought to audiences by Turkish filmmakers.

It was great to finally see what all the hubbub was about with Carax’s Holy Motors, and it was neat uncovering obscure bizarre oddities from Turkey.  Even if the films weren’t necessarily winners, I could appreciate the fly-on-the-wall takes these projects offered.

A highlight for me was watching Pavan Moondi’s Everyday Is Like Sunday, a little-known mumblecore flick that ran at Toronto’s Carlton Cinema during a fleeting theatrical run.  Moondi’s film had technical flaws as well as running into a couple of unavoidable low-budget hurdles.

But, what really impressed me about Everyday Is Like Sunday is how often I laughed and how frequently I felt for the characters.  There’s a very laid back approach to the free-form story in Moondi’s film, and it helps greatly.  He’s able to grab honest observations and reactions without having to drill his actors for the right touch.  To those who caught this film during it’s blink-or-you’ll-miss-it limited engagement: you witnessed an underdog worth rooting for.

And, then the festival coverage.  When I attended TIFF’s press conference revealing Canadian content featured at this year’s event, it was a fairly exciting experience.  It also helped that the venue was well run and informative to boot.

But, I was equally eager – and nervous – to watch some films at the International Fetish Film Festival.  With these smaller types of festivals, the line separating good taste and inappropriate counterpoints tends to get blurred.  Festivals with this sort of rebellious attitude makes my defense grow, but I always like to be proven wrong.

While the festival did a good job keeping content generally tasteful (at least, judging by the films I saw), the selection wasn’t very good.  I didn’t see anything worthwhile and the only positive point I made about anything I saw was that the music was catchy during one of the shorts.  Uh oh…

All in all, I’m very glad to have tackled all that I snagged.  Here are some links:

HOLY MOLY MOTORS

TIFF 2013′S CANADIAN LINE-UP IS CANUCKARIFFIC

BEING THE POLA OPPOSITE OF A GOOD FILM 

TGIS: THANK GOODNESS IT’S SUNDAY

I TRAVELED TO TURKEY AND ALL I GOT WERE THESE STUMPED SHORTS

MUSIC AND SAFE WORDS GO LIMP AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FETISH FILM FESTIVAL

Also, when you have a moment, click here and vote for me.  I’m in the running for “Digital Personality of the Year” in nextMEDIA’s Digi Awards and I’m slowly creeping up the chart.  You can vote once a day and all it takes is clicking that link and clicking a cute, lil’ green button.  It’s just that easy.  Thanks in advance!

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TIFF 2013: JGL Goes to GTD – Gym, Tan, Direct

September 1, 2013 5 comments

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By: Addison Wylie

If you can bear with Don Jon’s vulgar vocabulary, you may find yourself swept up in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut.  It’s a modern day romance with just the right dash of sweet and salty.

Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a guido with a heart who loves to spend time with his boys, work out, and scope out chicks.  At the end of the day, he likes to come home and watch a lil’ porn.  Y’know, in the same way a mouse would consider seven blocks of monterey jack cheese a “snack”.

Gordon-Levitt’s quirky love story is amusingly crass, but soon becomes a very charming vehicle for the ambitious filmmaker/actor.  He’s also able to pull an adorable yet abrasive performance from Scarlett Johansson and an energetic portrayal from Tony Danza as Jon’s father, who looks as if he would explode if he became anymore frustrated at his son.

Don Jon slowly but surely shifts into more of a serious tone as it faces Jon’s pornographic addiction head-on.  Denial is handled well and none of his gradual weening seems forced or heavy-handed.  It’s not as much fun as the lively first act, but the added weight makes Don Jon into something more than a thumping, intentionally shallow fever dream.  However, during that stylized first act, Don Jon is able to maintain the party without feeling obnoxious.

Don Jon isn’t only a pretty good directorial debut from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  It’s a pretty good movie overall.

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Don Jon has its Canadian premiere at TIFF on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. as well as an encore screening on September 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Can’t make the festival? Catch Don Jon in theatres September 27.

Rating: R
Language: English
Runtime: 90 minutes

Realted Links:

For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.

Check out the Don Jon TIFF page here.

Buy tickets here.

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TIFF: @TIFF_NET
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