Just in case you needed reminding, Isaac lives. I've been traveling and changing jobs, but I still exist. Most importantly for purposes of the blog, Mrs. Bartender and I spent the past weekend in Toronto for the final days of the Film Festival. Since it had begun a week earlier, most of the big celebs (Clooney, Pitt, etc.) were gone, but we still had a lot of fun. Toronto is a great city (much like New York/Chicago), and it is just booming--construction is everywhere. Sadly, the US dollar's nose dive means that for the first time in 30 years $1 US= $1 Canadian, so the trip was no bargain.
In the span of 24 hours, we went to 5 movies, and here are my brief thoughts:
Weirdsville. This wacky Canadian film involves stoners, satanists, and medieval reenacting midgets. It is bizarre but a lot of fun. It will be coming out in the states in, I believe, November and is worth catching. Taryn Manning is the biggest name in the cast, and the director, producer, and most of the cast was at the screening and took questions afterwards. Don't expect a great movie, but it was certainly enjoyable.
Honeydripper. A John Sayles film about a music joint in Alabama in 1950 starring Danny Glover. Extremely disappointing. Within 10 minutes, I knew exactly where the plot was going (and go it did). There were some good performances (Charles S. Dutton in particular), but I was bored and simply saw nothing impressive in this film. (For the record, I loved Sayles' Lone Star, which I saw a decade ago.)
Then She Found Me. This is Helen Hunt's directorial debut about a 39-year old woman (Hunt) who suddenly becomes divorced, has her adoptive mother die, and is found by her birth mother (Bette Midler). And, of course, she finds a new boyfriend (Colin Firth), and problems arise. And, her doctor is played by Salman Rushdie. Really. The film is well acted but is nothing special. It will, I predict be very popular in South Florida, but the Oscar buzz the film has gotten seems misplaced.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. This film, directed by Sidney Lumet, is hard to describe but was quite good. The always outstanding Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a real estate executive who needs money and enters into a plan with his ne'er do well brother, played by Ethan Hawke. Things do not go well for any of the characters, and the movie in a nonchronological but fascinating (and fairly easy to follow) fashion. Great acting, some vicious scenes, and interesting plot twists.
XXY. An Argentinian film about a boy/girl with an XXY genetic disorder trying to comprehend his/her gender and sexual orientation. This description makes the film sounds more peculiar than it is, and the movie does a fine job exploring the parents' (and particularly the father's) reaction to the situation as well as that of a doctor, his wife, and son from Buenos Aires who come to "help." Quite interesting, and the Mrs. really liked it.
One other nugget from Toronto--the buzz on Atonement (December 7, I believe) was excellent.