The Party’s Over (TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival) #TIFF14

By Wednesday, September 17, 2014 0 Permalink 0
Welcome to #TIFF14 - Toronto International Film Festival!

Welcome to #TIFF14 – Toronto International Film Festival!

This year, after 16 years of living in Toronto, I finally decided it was time to partake more fully in an event that my adopted city, “Hollywood North,” has become famous for – TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Why did I wait so long? 

TIFF ticket stubs to some of the films I attended

TIFF ticket stubs to some of the movie premiers I attended

MY TIFF DIARY:

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – The clock is ticking and I’m starting to get really nervous that I’ll miss the first TIFF premier I’ve bought tickets for. With some luck, I land a parking spot not too far away from the ticket office,  get in line, try to illicit some sympathy from the volunteers to somehow push me to the head of the line (no luck), finally get a hold of my tickets, and then literally run all the way from King and John to the Elgin/Winter Garden Theatre at Yonge & Queen during this unseasonal heatwave. So much for looking elegant and ravishing for the premier! I arrive panting, and yes, dripping with sweat (sorry), to meet my son – my meticulously blow-dried, hot-ironed straight hair completely stuck to my forehead and curlier than a sheep’s on an ultra-humid day. Oh well, the lights go down during the movie anyways so no one will see me!

And then the magic begins. There he is – up on stage – my favourite actor – in the flesh. He’s a tiny dot (my son and I could only find seats one row from the very back of the theatre since I was so late) but he’s there – in person! Al Pacino: A dream come true! And then, what a movie! “The Humbling” – directed by award winning director Barry Levinson – mesmerizing, with an incredible performance by Mr. Scarface/Michael Corleone himself.

Al Pacino & Greta Gerwig walk the Red Carpet for The Humbling - Source: www.lfpress.com -REUTERS - Fred Thornhill

Al Pacino & Greta Gerwig walk the Red Carpet for The Humbling – Source: www.lfpress.com -REUTERS – Fred Thornhill

Of course along with TIFF there must be enjoyable dinners so off my son, Jory, and I head to the pedestrian mall on King. This is the first time the festival has closed off the street, attracting hordes of very excited people of every kind – locals, tourists, fans, gawkers and curiosity seekers – all wanting a piece of the action. We choose Paese Ristorante for some good Italian grub and refreshing drinks with tables set up on the street reminding us of Lincoln Road, South Beach/Miami. The slogan “This is Your Film Festival” blinks everywhere you look and really signifies what the festival is all about.

Sitting outside, pedestrian mall on King St. West, at Paese

Sitting outside, pedestrian mall on King St. West, at Paese

Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 – Bradley (my hubby) and I head to Gusto on ultra hip Portland St. hoping to get in for dinner as it’s festival time and they don’t take reservations. Lady Luck is on our side and we score a great table. This is a happening place! Vibrant, packed inside and out, laughter filling the air, fun menu, and delightful servers. I have seen a simple, understated menu like theirs before (a stack of papers on a clipboard) and remember that Trattoria Nervosa in Yorkville has the same one. With good reason – Trattoria Nervosa opened Gusto as their sister restaurant. What a great spot for before or after TIFF!

Bradley & I at Gusto 101 Restaurant, Toronto

Bradley & I at Gusto 101 Restaurant, Toronto

Gusto Italian Restaurant's Mafalde ai Funghi - portobello, porcini, oyster mushrooms, truffle,
 cream sauce with gluten-free penne

Gusto Italian Restaurant’s Mafalde ai Funghi – portobello, porcini, oyster mushrooms, truffle,
 cream sauce with gluten-free penne

After dinner we head to comedian Chris Rock’s premier: “Top Five.” While waiting in line outside, the very fashionably dressed (NOT!) Michael Moore passes by. As we enter the theatre, the excitement is palpable; Adam Sandler is spotted in the audience – very cool! Loved the movie and had many laughs although it also has quite a few dramatic elements laced throughout. Other stars appearing in the film were the gorgeous Rosario Dawson, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, and others, with cameos by none other than Adam Sandler himself, Jerry Seinfeld and Whoopie Goldberg. A movie featuring a star-studded cast of comedians, I couldn’t help thinking about Robin Williams and Joan Rivers throughout the evening and the loss that I know is being felt by everyone around the world.

The ultra fashionable film-maker Michael Moore, all dressed up for the festival

The ultra fashionable film-maker Michael Moore, all dressed up for the festival

Adam Sandler attended the premiere of Chris Rock's "Top Five" - here he is at the premier of "Men, Women & Children." Source:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Adam Sandler attended the premier of Chris Rock’s “Top Five” – here he is at the premier of “Men, Women & Children.” – Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Sunday, September 7, 2014 – A double-feature and no time for dinner so popcorn will suffice for Bradley & I. The North American premier of “Time Out of Mind” with Richard Gere and co-star Jena Malone blew me away. Gere plays a homeless man; Jena his estranged daughter; and his performance is riveting. Not only that, but I was within a couple of inches of him as he entered the theatre!

Richard Gere &  Jena Malone, co-stars in "Time Out of Mind" - Source:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Richard Gere & Jena Malone, co-stars in “Time Out of Mind” – Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

After the show we head back outside and Jory takes Bradley’s place for premier #2: “Love & Mercy,” an incredibly moving and true story about The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. A stellar cast graces the screen with John Cusack playing an older Brian ; Paul Dano playing the younger; and the absolutely stunning Elizabeth Banks portraying Melinda, who was responsible for saving Brian’s life and who later became his wife. Paul Giamatti, an excellent actor and another one of my favourites, plays Brian’s very manipulative therapist who you can’t help but despise. What a great surprise it was that Brian & Melinda

Wilson were at the premier – it added such an element of electricity to the film. We felt very fortunate. I was aware of some distinct similarities between “Time Out of Mind” and “Love and Mercy” in that the protagonists in both, although not for the same reasons, hear torturous voices in their heads. It wasn’t surprising, then, to find out that the scripts for both were written by the same screenwriter, Oren Moverman.

John Cusack, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, & John Dano - Source: Toronto Life Magazine -Image: Giordano Ciampini

John Cusack, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, & Paul Dano – Source: Toronto Life Magazine -Image: Giordano Ciampini

Monday, September 8, 2014 – I get down to John & Richmond at 5:30 to engage in what felt like a shady drug deal. To backtrack, my sweet sister-in-law Rena was dying to see a show at TIFF. By today, I was starting to feel like a limp dishrag, tired and worn out. Nevertheless I

was feeling so bad that she had not yet seen a movie at TIFF, that I decided I had to step in and save the day. With tickets sold out to all premiers I went ahead and checked out kijiji and lo and behold someone was selling tickets for Tuesday night. Now here I was, standing on the corner, waiting for the girl in the shocking pink top to show up. Finally she did and we made our exchange: mission accomplished!

I went off to meet Jory at Weslodge, a really trendy gastro-pub featuring Executive Chef Stuart Cameron (formerly of Kultura and Nyood), once again on King West. You can’t miss the big yellow doors to this modern-day high-end saloon replete with animal heads adorning the walls and servers wearing stylish leather shoulder holsters. A really fun place, Weslodge serves up a carnivore’s delight.

The unmistakable big yellow doors of the hip Weslodge Saloon

The unmistakable big yellow doors of the hip Weslodge Saloon

We then moved on to see “99 Homes” with the ever-handsome other/better half of Emma StoneAndrew Garfield – although we almost didn’t recognize him with his full-out, bushy beard. Also in the movie is Michael Shannon who most people know from Boardwalk Empire. Garfield plays, probably the most dramatic role of his career so far and gives a riveting performance.

Andrew Garfield, leading actor in 99 Homes, beard and all - Source: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Andrew Garfield, lead actor in 99 Homes, beard and all – Source: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 – With the illicit “drug deal” tickets, Rena and I head off to one of our favourite restos, Buona Notte (the original is in Montreal – a place I loved & frequented for many years while living in my home city). After some delightful appetizers, white wine and pasta, we get in line at Roy Thomson Hall for Canadian film-maker, David Cronenberg’s, “Map to the Stars” featuring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Mia Waskowska, and a cameo role by Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. May I just say that what we thought was going to be a mild satire was in fact quite the

horror/gruesome flick. Wow (more like Oy Vey)! Scary, creepy, disturbing and gory. Not to say that it wasn’t absolutely amazing, but not something I would ever normally see (at least not since I saw The Exorcist over 25 years ago and have had nightmares about it ever since)! It was cool, however, to have “P” tickets and be so close to the entire cast and crew when they shined the light on them in the loge next to us at the end of the movie.

Buona Notte's Tagliata Di Tonno (Thinly sliced Tuna with Black Olive Tapenade, Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato & Fried Caper) with classic Insalate Mista

Buona Notte’s Tagliata Di Tonno (Thinly sliced Tuna with Black Olive Tapenade, Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato & Fried Caper) with classic Insalate Mista

I happen to love the retro movie murals in the women's washroom of Buona Notte

I happen to love the retro murals in the women’s washroom of Buona Notte

Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 – Unfortunately we (Bradley & I) were unable to attend the last premier we had tickets for, “The Connection” (also

called ‘La French’), with another actor whom I adore, Academy Award-winning (and might I add strikingly gorgeous) Jean DuJardin (The Artist, The Wolf of Wall Street) nor the reservation we booked at the new, uber-trendy restaurant on Adelaide, “Montecito,” owned by Hollywood Director Ivan Reitman, and Master Chef Jonathan Waxman, around the corner from the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Gladly, however, we passed our tickets and coveted Montecito reservation over to our beloved brother- and sister-in-law, Elliott & Rena, who raved about both the movie and the restaurant. Not only that, but they both ended up meeting Jean DuJardin and the director, Cédric Jimenez (yes, of course I’m dying of jealousy!!!).

Jean Dujardin posing with fans at the premier of The Connection - Source: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Jean Dujardin posing with fans at the premier of The Connection – Source: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

My brother-in-law Elliott's text message to me as I suffered at home not seeing the movie, dining at Montecito or meeting the cast of The Connection

My brother-in-law Elliott’s text message to me, and mine back to him, as I suffered, deeply, at home not seeing the movie, not dining at Montecito, nor meeting the cast of The Connection (& I never got my date with Jean DuJardin)!  Lol!!!! I LOVE you guys! xoxoxo

And so ends a magnificent couple of weeks hanging out at TIFF in the heart of Canada’s tinseltown – Toronto. Thankfully, it’s not the only hollywoodesque game in in town. Year-round, celebrities visit our city to partake in film, dance, theatre, movie-making, and many other creative industries. Just a few months ago I was on the corner of York & Adelaide and the entire area was set up as Manhattan for an Adam Sandler (there he is again!) movie.

New York in Toronto. Adam Sandler was here all summer filming his latest movie, "Pixels"

New York in Toronto. Adam Sandler was here all summer filming his latest movie, “Pixels”

What can I say? Guess I’m a little starstruck! Oh well, there are worse things in life???!!!!

Until next time, Hugs & Kisses from The Pomegraddict pomegranate-clipart.png

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *