Friday, July 08, 2005

Picking Movies

There's a lot to choose from when picking films. There was something like 329 films at last year's festival. Below are some ideas for helping to narrow down your choices:

- Choose something that has an actor you like. If you want to see big Hollywood stars, your best bet is probably the gala performances, but these tend to sell out before anything else. Personally, I try to avoid anything with really big stars, because films like that will most likely end up in the local multiplex at some point; why not try seeing something that you'll probably never be able to see anywhere else?

- Choose something by a director or writer you admire.

- Choose a film based on nationality. I typically like to see something Canadian, something British, something French and/or Quebecois, something Scandanavian, something Japanese, and then I fill out the rest with cinema from other countries.

- Choose a film based on genre. I also do this when selecting films; I try to see a comedy, a drama, a documentary, and something animated.

- Choose a film based on its picture in the festival guide. I've done this too; I went to see Quill, a Japanese film about a seeing eye dog, because the picture in the festival guide was of a golden retriever puppy. :-)

- If you want to see something more offbeat, try the Midnight Madness showings. These showings are at 11:59 PM during the festival. Last year they were at the Ryerson Theatre, and included movies such as The Machinist and Saw.

- When the festival is actually on, consult local papers like NOW, Eye, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, or the National Post for reviews. NOW and Eye are usually pretty good, because they give capsule reviews of a lot of movies.

One other minor thing to consider when selecting a movie is the theatre in which it will be shown. Some of the theatres used during the festival are part of modern multiplexes with stadium seating. Others are university theatres or lecture halls. And then there are theatres in between. Most have pretty good sight lines, but I did get burned once last year, when I went to see a French language film at the Royal Ontario Museum theatre. The theatre does not have much of a rake, so if the person in front of you is tall or has a big head, it can obscure your view. Especially of the bottom of the screen, where the subtitles are. :-)


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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