TIFF Day 01: ready, set, action!

I arrived in Toronto after flying over night by flights from LA to Chicago then Chicago to Toronto.  I arrived around 8.30 a.m., I cleared immigration which was completely empty and entered the passenger hall to discover not a person in sight.    I was pondering to myself isn't this peak hour and where had all the people gone.   I immediately tried to get some cash out of a nearby ATM - with no luck, a travelers worst nightmare (the problem was resolved later in the day after anger phone call to my Australia bank), fortunately all my cards work for purchases - so found a taxi after 15 minutes and headed to downtown to the my hostel.

I soon discovered were all the people where, they are sitting in traffic in the freeway.  I had escaped the city of endless traffic jams on freeways (LA) and found myself in another freeway resembling a carpark.  Another hour in traffic and arrived at my hostel, Global Village Backpackers.

Dropped my bags and head the Festival HQ which is a 30 minute walk from the hostel (at least I'll be burning the calories everyday wandering).  Toronto seems to be an easier enough city to navigate and picked up my accreditation and head to the first day of Press & Industry screenings at the Varsity Cinema Complex.

Jennifer's Body (2009), USA, was the perfect choice for me to start my TIFF experience, nothing to complex or dramatic and actually whole lot of fun.  This film already had big wraps on it with the screenplay by Diablo Cody (Juno) and featuring an attractive teen girl (Megan Fox) getting busy with boys and then killing them, lesbian scenes and gory violence is the perfect formula for a teen horror which is accessible to most people under 50.  The film has a few laughs, excellent performance by the cast and solid director by Karyn Kusama.

The best part for anyone reading this blog you don't have to wait long to find this at your local multiplex with the film getting released next week.  The question many festival goers do ask from time to time is how does such a big studio film finds it's way into film festival program when it's on the verge of release, well it's bobbed up in the Midnight Madness program and is looking for hype from the run at TIFF to generate some positive publicity.

The next screening of the day was Creation (2009), UK, the opening night film for TIFF, the dramatic retelling of events that occurred during the writing of 'On the Origins of Species' by Charles Darwin.  As this film is only an hour and half long and Darwin's writing of this revolutionary book took over twenty years to write,you can just imagine that  this a snap shot of key events in his life.  The reality is the majority of the film focuses on Darwin's depression and despair of the death of his daughter, Annie, this seemed to be the key event in the entire film.  Instead of giving us an insight into his incredible life we get the briefest portrayal of the man.   The film is very slow pace and moves at turtles pace through the film sequence.  Creation is a well crafted and excellent attention for detail for the era with an excellent performance by Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin, but it leaves you with no better insight into Charles Darwin.  I will declare that I was extremely tired from flight and the lack of sleep which may have slightly clouded my opinion.

The Wild Hunt (2009), Canada, was interesting film about a group of Live Action Role Players as then head to the hills to be vikings, knights, pixies and fairies - and do battle to escape their nine to five lives.  My biggest issue with this film is the key story revolves around a relationship of two horrible characters who's relationship is on the rocks and evoked no sympathy for their plight.  The journey into this world was fascinating, but the film failed due to the key relationship.

My internet availability is limited - so I am going to have to keep my comments short, but I am take a closer look at some titles during the festival.