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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 15, 2009 at 6:17 AM

At TIFF: Clive Owen and out

A theme I’ve heard consistently this year from fellow press members in line is this: It’s increasingly difficult to see everything you want to see at TIFF. Presumably for budget reasons, the number of press screenings has been cut down (there are far fewer in the evenings, for example, than in previous years), so more films screen on top of each other. And, if you’re doing interviews, that’s more movies you’re missing. Among the films I wish I’d seen here are: Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” (pictured, for which Colin Firth just won an acting award in Venice); Neil Jordan’s fairy tale “Ondine”; Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to “Red Road,” “Fish Tank”; Carlos Saura’s “I, Don Giovanni”; Michael Caine in “Harry Brown”; Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” and many others. Some will make their way to Seattle; some won’t.
singleman.jpg
And I’m luckier than some: I was able to catch a few of TIFF’s best at press screenings in Seattle before I came: “Bright Star,” “An Education,” “The Damned United” (which I don’t think I’ve mentioned here, but is a very entertaining sports film starring the ever-fine Michael Sheen as a soccer manager), “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire.” (My heart goes out to Jane Campion and everyone at the botched press screening here of her beautiful “Bright Star” — the last reel was, inexplicably, upside-down.)
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So what have my favorites been since getting here? Hmm . . .Jason Reitman’s warm, wise “Up in the Air”; the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man,” Frederick Wiseman’s ballet doc “La Danse”; Kristin Scott Thomas’s tour de force performance in “Leaving”; the first 40 minutes of “The Invention of Lying.” And my time in Toronto is pretty much over for 2009; this morning I’m doing a bit of writing, packing my suitcase, interviewing Clive Owen and then heading for the airport. (Owen’s here for “The Boys are Back,” Scott Hicks’ sweet-natured drama about a newly single father. And, after talking to Clive Owen, you may as well just head home, right?)
One last bit of press-conference fun, from Toronto’s Globe and Mail this morning: Ricky Gervais, apparently is meticulous about being on time — so he showed up at 10 on the dot for the “Invention of Lying” press conference, only to find that co-stars Jennifer Garner and Rob Lowe weren’t there yet. The ever-charming Gervais suggested starting without them, and instructed the press, “When they come in, I want you all to look at your watches.” Almost makes you want to go to a press conference, doesn’t it?
Back in Seattle tomorrow; see you then.
(Photos: “A Single Man”; courtesy of TIFF. Clive Owen; AP Photo/Carlo Allegri.)

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