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Old 09-14-2013, 02:27 AM   #81
chris_sc77 chris_sc77 is offline
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Rush - I can't praise this movie enough. Obviously Ron Howard is one of the best directors at reproducing historical drama, as Apollo 13 or Frost/Nixon have proven. Add to that the amazing story of 1976 Formula One, and this is one of my favorite films of all time. As a F1 fan, I knew every single scene before it happened, and yet I was on the edge of my seat for the whole film. 10/10

Joe - Does ultra-violent American neo-realism make sense? Nick Cage and the kid from Tree of Life and a bunch of non-actors are all fascinating. Be warned, there are some disturbingly violent (almost on par with Noe or Miike films) scenes. The story is a slice of filthy Americana far removed from the pretty, thin and rich Hollywood portrait of the country. 8.5/10

That's the only one's I've seen so far this year. Usually I go to more, but its such a hassle to line up for hours and take time off work etc. I tried to get tickets for "A Touch of Sin" but it was sold out.
Very excited for Joe. Sounds excellent. Rush is something I will be waiting to see on blu.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:13 AM   #82
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I attended the first five days of the festival.

TIFF Ranking and Grades [2013]

1. The Double - A+
2. Under the Skin - A+
3. 12 Years a Slave - A
4. The F Word - A
5. Night Moves - A-
6. Can a Song Save Your Life? - A-
7. Tim's Vermeer - A-
8. Only Lovers Left Alive - A-
9. Philomena - A-
10. Horns - B+
11. Don Jon - B+
12. Bad Words - B+
13. The Green Inferno - B+
14. Enemy - B+
15. Labor Day - B
16. The Railway Man - B
17. The Invisible Woman - B
18. OCULUS - C+
19. The Station - C
20. The Fifth Estate - C
21. All Cheerleaders Die - C
22. You Are Here - C-
----
23. In Conversation With...Spike Jonze - ✓
___
Absolutely PISSED I missed Palo Alto and Joe which I probably could have done by skipping two mehhhh films.
Clementine: You're not a stalker, or anything, right?
Joel: I'm not a stalker. YOU'RE the one that talked to me, remember?
Clementine: That is the oldest trick in the stalker book.
Joel: Really? There's a stalker book? Great, I gotta read that one.

~ Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #83
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...a few more quick reviews

[Show spoiler]THE STRANGE LITTLE CAT--This is perhaps the freshest film I've seen at the fest this year, especially in terms of its film language. It's a simple story--or, perhaps more accurately, scenario--of a German middle-class family preparing a meal together in their apartment as some guests arrive, while the household animals and disturbances from neighbors intervene. This film was prepared in a film workshop overseen by retired master Bela Tarr--but, to his credit, the film is not in his style but realizes the "room with family as moving sculpture" ambitions of its director. It's a fairly gentle film (and checks in at a decidely un-Tarr running time of ~75 minutes), but highly bold in its use of Bresson-ian techniques, with much of the "action" represented by sound effects outside the frame, and many pivotal images (including close-ups of faces) framed such that they are oddly cut-off. The sense of humor here is a bit like Bunuel, but with more avant-garde film language. The director and producer appear to be identical twins, and speak in the same sing-song cadence, yielding a highly memorable Q+A. We'll definitely be hearing more from them. 4.5/5

MOEBIUS--Kim Ki-duk follows up his comeback film Pieta with this, his most graphic exploration of violence, madness, sex, and catharsis (both physical and spiritual) to date. If you've seen his earlier work, you know that's saying a lot. I don't want to tell you anything about the plot, other than these two things: something highly shocking sets things off within the first five minutes; the story is told without any spoken words (but with a very active sound design). Again, warning: HIGHLY GRAPHIC. One of the most extreme films I've seen in 15 years of attending this festival, both in its images and its ideas. 4/5

BASTARDS--The new Claire Denis film is her darkest since the controversial Trouble Every Day. As with most of her work, the story is presented as a non-linear puzzle of sorts, so I won't construct it for you here. But the main character is a hardened 50-something man who left his family business and fortune behind to live as a sailor; he returns to Paris to deal with a family crisis involving his sister and niece, and is having an affair with a single mother living upstairs from his bare, temporary apartment. A business mogul embroiled in major legal and moral scandals also factors heavily into the plot. This is a depressing film with disturbing sexual content, but those are the only things that should serve as disclaimers. Claire Denis is my favorite filmmaker working today, and this is not her best work, but it is yet another brilliantly made film that broadens and expands her filmography in intriguing ways. 4.25/5

OUR SUNHI--The new Hong Sang-soo film concerns three men, all three involved professionally or academically with film, and all three obsessed with Sunhi, herself a self-obsessed film student and aspiring filmmaker. As in every Hong film, everyone eats and drinks too much, and as the soju flows, bickering and secrets emerge. This film specifically focuses on conversation, and how people repeat ideas and phrases from person to person verbatim, convinced that they're saying something new and original. Therefore, it takes about 30 of the film's 90 minutes to see the plan that's at work and to start to absorb the humor, which builds steadily as the film proceeds. As such, it's not the most accessible introduction to Hong's work--for that, I'd suggest last year's Isabelle Huppert-starring In Another Country. But for fans, this is another fine expression of Hong's deadpan sensibility and penchant for skewering the male ego. 3.75/5


Did you see Moebius on Friday? I was there too. Knew nothing about it going in so my jaw dropped after that first 5 minutes. I think it was great to see that with an audience because of the reactions. Definitely one of the most demented films I've ever seen and those sex scenes were so bizarre. Never seen anything quite like Moebius. And unforgettable experience to say the least.
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:38 PM   #84
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7 more reviews...

THE STATION--Tell me if the concept behind this Austrian midnight movie sounds familiar: at a remote, snowbound scientific-research outpost, a rugged, cynical, hard-drinking scientist and a small team of colleagues face terror as a strange new life form attacks his dog, and then turns its attention to the scientists. Yeah: this movie would be great if The Thing didn't exist; it's fairly well-produced and has effective thrills. But original it ain't, and it definitely raises the question "at what point does homage cross over into rip-off?" 2.5/5

BLUE RUIN--This mixture of dark comedy and thrills has been compared to The Coen Brothers' Blood Simple, and is perfectly worthy of such high praise, even if it doesn't feel quite as virtuosic (nor as stylized) as that seminal film. As Blue Ruin opens we meet a bearded man who lives in Delaware out of his wreck of a car, his face a portrait of anguish. When he gets word that a man from his past is being released from prison, he drives down to Virginia, hellbent on revenge for events ten years in his past. But to the degree that he has a plan, things go less than perfectly, and a cycle of violence begins to spiral out of control. This artful low-budget genre film debuted at Cannes, which is interesting--it feels more like a SXSW film, albeit a very, very good one. Director/cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier directed the bloody horror-comedy Murder Party some years ago; this is a much more grim and realistic film. The Weinstein Co has purchased this, and it should get the strong release it deserves. 4.25/5

THE MILITANT--Every film I've seen from Uruguay has been excellent, and this evocatively shot film was no exception. A reticent, awkward leftist leaves a student strike in Montevideo upon learning his father has died. Upon reaching the small town in which he grew up, he encounters nothing but problems: a long line of creditors owed substantial debts by his late father; his father's mistress, who still wants the family to support her and her family; and a group of local students trying to mount a strike of their owed, mired by their own ineptitude. This may sound like a heavy drama, but it's actually a mixture of arty drama and comedy that has a special tone defying easy description. Producer Lisandro Alonso's imprint is felt a bit here--as with his austere and divisive masterpiece Liverpool, the film concerns a quiet loner on a journey home, with a drastic change in tone late in the film--but this work is a lighter affair in comparison. Bonus points for an original soundtrack that has elements of post-punk, psych, and doom. I recommend seeking it out, as with the other films from Uruguay I've seen--Whisky, Gigante, and A Useful Life (the last two both shot by this film's cinematographer, Arauco Hernández Holz). 4.5/5

WHY DON'T YOU PLAY IN HELL--Sion Sono's latest boasts an exceptional first and final 20 minutes, but at 126 minutes it's far too long for what it is. The story revolves around a group of young wannabe filmmakers calling themselves The F**k Bombers, who encounter real violence on the streets and film it as entertainment. As they grow from teens to adults, they happen on two battling clans of yakuza; the leader of one wants to revive the acting career of his daughter, a childhood commercial star, and the F**k Bombers start filming the yakuza war with his enthusiastic participation. The madcap, kitchen-sink mentality of this film seems like an attempt to make a film similar to House (aka Hausu), a film I absolutely love. But this film is way sillier than House, not to mention too self-aware. There's plenty of hilarity and gore here, not to mention some fun concepts, but there's also 40 minutes of padding that, if cut, could easily cut this into a great film. 3.25/5

BLIND DETECTIVE--Johnnie To's latest is billed as a comedy/romance/thriller, but that's a bit like saying Austin Powers is a romantic spy film. This is a very, very broad slapstick comedy, and probably not one that will play well to North American audiences, especially in its very un-PC portrayal of its blind central character and, well, everyone else. There are moments when this film hearkens back to classic screwball comedies, but overall it was a miss for me. I'm a fan of To's gangster films, and have enjoyed the notes of comedy in his work, but when comedy is front and center it felt like two hours gorging on cotton candy. Good-spirited performances, great locations, and a fast pace keep things agreeably entertaining, but this film is quickly fading from my memory. 2.75/5

WE ARE THE BEST--Lukas Moodysson alternates between light, warm films and incredibly dark and transgressive works. This adaptation of his wife's graphic novel about a group of girls in 1982 Sweden who find purpose in punk rock harkens back to the tone of his early films Show Me Love (aka F***ing Åmål) and Together, which is a good thing. It's a minor work, but a very satisfying coming-of-age story with a lot of insight into friendship. And, to its credit, it knows the punk scene and period details well, and it's not unrealistic in its portrayal of kids' initial musical abilities. 4/5

THE SACRAMENT--Ti West directed House of The Devil, one of my favorite indie horror films of the last 10 years. In casting AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Kentucker Audley, this literal-cult thriller also becomes a reunion of sorts of the casts of two of my favorite films of the last year: Sun Don't Shine and You're Next. As such, I went in with too-high expectations that weren't met. But once I shed those expectations, I enjoyed this film, especially its last 30 minutes, which have a very well-rendered payoff. As a fashion photographer (Audley) becomes increasingly worried about his sister, who’s joined a communal family as a means to escape her problems with addiction, he invites a Vice crew (including cameraman Swanberg) to visit the commune with him. There we meet his sister (Seimetz) and a diverse, seemingly harmonious cluster of family members who swear they made the right decision in shedding their belongings to live together with their new “Father.” The narrative here borrows heavily from the real-life stories of The Source Family and, especially, Jonestown. It would be hard to match the excellent documentaries made about those cults, and this film doesn't; but as a fictional riff on those true-life horrors, it's perfectly fine. 3/5
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spanky87 View Post
[/spoiler]

Did you see Moebius on Friday? I was there too. Knew nothing about it going in so my jaw dropped after that first 5 minutes. I think it was great to see that with an audience because of the reactions. Definitely one of the most demented films I've ever seen and those sex scenes were so bizarre. Never seen anything quite like Moebius. And unforgettable experience to say the least.
Yeah, I was at that screening! The audience was evenly split between walk-outs, stunned silence, and demented laughter. What a film!
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:15 AM   #86
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today's viewings...

JOE--The new film starring Nicolas Cage from David Gordon Green. Green seems to be entering a third phase in his career where he combines the working-class indie drama of his early films (George Washington, All the Real Girls) with the star power and genre acumen of his 2nd phase (best exemplified by Pineapple Express). Here Cage stars as the manager of a rural work crew who, possibly illegally, slowly kill trees in forests with a poison spray so the landowners can declare the forests dead and legally turn the land over to other uses. He takes a 15-year-old kid under his wing, but becomes embroiled in the kid's severe problems with his drunk, combative dad--at the same time as Joe faces problems with the local cops and a drunken adversary of his own. Honestly, other people hyped this one to me too much. There's a lot to like here, with a half-dozen or so exceptional scenes and a mixture of good acting from Cage with some wilding-out that can be added to the Nicolas Cage insanity supercuts on youtube. But what I call the "Winter's Bone factor" is very much in effect here, too... the portrait of southern working-class rural people is just a little too cliched to the point that it's bordering on the offensive. This despite there also being some amazing performances from some non-professional actors. Worth seeing, with some amazing moments, and some of you will love this, but to me it's 3.5/5

STOP THE POUNDING HEART--Now this film I loved, and it served as a counterbalance of sorts to the qualms I raised in my review of Joe. Here we have a mesmerizing, nonjudgmental look at rural Texan Christians. We follow primarily a family who raise goats and sell dairy products at farmers markets, and another who herd cattle and are active in rodeo culture. Many of the characters are home schooled, are interested in Confederate history, and have decidedly anti-feminist leanings, and while you get the sense that the filmmaker does not agree with these views, the film simply observes and lets the audience have their own reaction. The film is a hybrid of fiction and documentary, with the non-professional cast playing "characters" that are both named after themselves and live lives based on their own. As such, most people watching it cold would assume it's a documentary--and a very beautiful, if not particularly dramatic one. If you're an admirer of the films Sweetgrass, Silent Light, and/or The Ross Brothers' 45365, run don't walk! 4.5/5

STRAY DOGS--The latest film from Tsai Ming-liang, which will be enough said for some. For his entire career Tsai has been filming the same lead actor, Lee Kang-sheng, who has a stoney face and a stoic nature. This ongoing project dates back to Rebels of the Neon God in 1992 and now involves 10 features and several shorts, ranking alongside Truffaut's Antoine Doinel films and the 7 Up documentary series as one of the great extended projects in film history. Each film can be viewed on its own terms, but they become even richer when you watch several. It's been a few years since Tsai has made one that's a nice stand-along entertainment (and that may be a stretch, given that his films are ultra-slow and painterly), so if you haven't seen any of his films, I'd recommend checking out 2003's Goodbye, Dragon Inn to see if you're intrigued or just bored. But if you're already a fan, this will be well worth checking out. It has one of the more destitute and painful narratives in Tsai's career, punctuated by a few moments of humor (doing for cabbages what The Wayward Cloud did for watermelons). It is also, I believe, Tsai's first film shot on video, and I'm happy to report his masterful compositional sense remains not just intact, but exceptionally strong. But again, the uninitiated should start elsewhere. 4/5
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:00 PM   #87
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The award winners from TIFF (as found on the Toronto Star website)

Blackberry People’s Choice Award
Overall: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave
First runner-up: Stephen Frears’ Philomena
Second runner-up: Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners

Documentary: Jehane Noujaim’s The Square
First runner-up: Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey!
Second runner-up: Leanne Pooley’s Beyond the Edge

Midnight Madness: Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
First runner-up: Mike Flanagan’s Oculus
Second runner-up: Alex de la Iglesia’s Witching & *****ing

Prize of the International Critics (Fipresci Prize)
Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida in the Special Presentations category
Claudia Sainte-Luce’s The Amazing Catfish in the Discovery Program, which spotlights feature films by new and emerging directors

City of Toronto and Canada Goose award for Best Canadian Feature Film
Alan Zweig’s When Jews were Funny

Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film
Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver’s Asphalt Watches

YouTube Award for Best Canadian Short Film
Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg’s Noah
[Show spoiler]


Netpac Award for World or International Asian Film
Anup Singh’s Qissa
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:26 AM   #88
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Under the Skin *****
Blue is the Warmest Color ****1/2
Cold Eyes ****1/2
The Wind Rises ****1/2
Young and Beautiful ****
Tom at the Farm ****
Enemy ****
Going Away ****
Dallas Buyers Club ****
Joe ****
August: Osage County ****
Child of God ****
Life of Crime ****
Moebius ****
I Am Yours ***1/2
Hotell ***1/2
Palo Alto ***1/2
Only Lovers Left Alive ***1/2
Tracks ***1/2
Kill Your Darlings ***1/2
Art of the Steal ***1/2
Horns ***
Cannibal ***
All Cheerleaders Die **1/2
Abuse of Weakness **1/2
Strange Color of Your Body's Tears **1/2
Felony **1/2
Proxy **
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby N/A
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:14 AM   #89
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My 2013 TIFF viewing:
12 Years a Slave *****
Gravity ****1/2
The Great Beauty ****1/2
The Wind Rises ****1/2
Cold Eyes ***1/2
Jodorowsky's Dune ***1/2
The Lunchbox ***
Why Don't You Play in Hell? ***
Young & Beautiful ***
Brazilian Western **1/2
Beyond the Edge **
Night Moves **
Only Lovers Left Alive **
This is Sanlitun 1/2
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:11 PM   #90
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What I saw:

The F Word - Loved it. Went to see it because my old prof had written it, and despite my sleeve of horror movie posters, I'm a connoisseur of romantic comedies. This didn't disappoint - fun and charming throughout with a great cast and realistic characters. Funny aside - about 20 minutes into the movie, there was a scene that seemed very familiar. I thought back to an assignment we had back in that class where we had to write a few pages of coverage for a draft of a script that 'his friend wrote'. I dug out the old files after the movie and while the title had changed, the characters were all the same. I found it pretty funny that the first draft of a script I read for school turned into a pretty amazing film 7 years later.

Gravity - Good, though I don't think I'd call it great. My dad, along with most of the other people in the theatre seemed to absolutely love it, but I couldn't go that far. It looks incredible throughout, and some of the scenes are very tense, but the actual story left a bit to be desired - a little too much bad luck for my tastes. I half expected
[Show spoiler]a shark fin to show up once Bullock made it back to earth.


The Green Inferno - Very much an Eli Roth movie - make of that what you will. I actually really liked the vibe of the movie as it very much had a 'these people are f'ed...what can they possibly do' feeling. The ending fell a bit flat for for me, and the first 15 minutes were terrible (featuring one of the worst actors I've ever seen). All in all though, I did enjoy it for what it was. It's no Cabin Fever, but it'll probably have more long term appeal for me than either of the Hostel movies.

The Sacrament - I've liked Ti West's latest features quite a bit, but felt the complete opposite about his segments in VHS and ABCs of Death. This kept up the trend in that I enjoyed it quite a bit. The worst thing I can say about it is that it's so incredibly similar to the events of Jonestown. I understand that was the point, but I would've liked to see a bit more creativity. Still, it's worth seeing, especially if you're a fan. The cast is great and like most of West's stuff, the tone of the movie is what draws you in.

All Cheerleaders Die - This was fun for what it was. The people I was with didn't like it that much, but I found it to be pretty clever and mostly a good time. It's nothing special, and doesn't touch the greatness of May, but if you like Lucky McKee's stuff, you'll probably enjoy this. Bring on a sequel.

Under The Skin - This was a weird experience. The shot composition and soundtrack were fantastic throughout, but I wasn't really liking the story as I watched the movie. That said, when it ended, I thought to myself that I actually enjoyed the experience. Very weird in that the movie seemed to be more than a sum of its parts. While not my favourite movie of the festival, this is the movie I most want to see again, similar to Lords of Salem in 2012. Also, Scarlett Johansson is a babe.

The Station - Pretty bad. The first 20 or 30 minutes were interesting, but the scientists figure out what's happening comically fast and it turns into a generic creature feature. The last 2/3 of the film were pretty boring and the ending had me rolling my eyes. None of the characters, save for the dog, were very likeable.

All in all, an OK year for me. Had ticket to Witching & *****ing, but was unable to go at the last minute. Also really wanted to see Almost Human - heard some really good things - but my schedule didn't allow for it.

Last edited by CM Matty; 09-19-2013 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:11 AM   #91
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I've updated the original post with the list of award winners from Roar (thanks for posting those!) as well as my reviews of 23 new features I saw at TIFF.

I saw 35 new features in all (in additional to 3 of the free revival screenings) and may post a few more reviews as time allows.

TIFF is exhausting, so I'm looking forward to catching up on sleep and reading, but it's always a bit of a sad feeling going home. Already looking forward to next year (not to mention SXSW 2014--a nice way to mark the midpoint between now and TIFF '14)!
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:26 PM   #92
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Thanks for all these great reviews guys, wish I could have done the experience again as last years past but money did not allow for it.

I did however make it out to two showings on the final Saturday. Seen Joe which I really enjoyed a lot. I did not know anything about this movie going in and the first half of the movie I was still trying to figure out what exactly is the point of the movie, however I was interested to see where it was all going and what it would lead up to, and I was quite happy with the ending.

The 2nd film I seen was Starred Up, about a young offender transferred to an adult maximum security prison, incarcerated along with his father, who sort of runs the place amongst the other inmates in there, and the father and son clash. Very gritty and at times disturbing, but overall a great film.

Both films I'd give 4.5 / 5 to.

Wishing I had been able to see Moebius with a crowd, and also wanted to see Oculus, but I figure my chances of seeing Oculus after the fest for a lot less coin would be highly doable.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:47 PM   #93
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Oculus should be out sometime in March/April. FilmDistrict is intending it to be the next Insidious and a similar date to that film would make sense.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #94
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I want to go badly, but none of my family members or friends love movies as much as I do. I don't know that I would enjoy it as much by myself.

Last edited by banjo!; 09-17-2013 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:29 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjo! View Post
I want to go badly, but none of my family members or friends love movies as much as I do. I don't know that I would enjoy it as much by myself.
TIFF is a sweet experience by yourself! No doubt it's fun to have someone you know going with you, but the potential for making friends while there is tremendous. Since so much of your time is spent waiting in lines to get in, you end up chatting with your line partners a lot. I've made a lot of connections over the years, and gained friends that I like meeting up with.
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