Monday, September 19, 2016

The last movie. Macbeth and a hat

My last movie at TIFF was Gimme Danger, a doc about Iggy and the Stooges. Iggy is now an elder statesman of crazy rock and speaks very well about his past and the wild music they made. The movie was a bit meh, like almost all my choices this year. It was definitely a movie about the Stooges and not just about Iggy, so there are decades missing, from about 1974 to some time in the early 2000s. Lots of concert footage and lots of interviews with the remaining Stooges (one of whom worked in Silicon Valley for those intervening years) which was great.

Also, lots of old footage from movies or TV, from the news of the day, from stuff I found distracting and irrelevant. So, 6 out of 10 for that, I'm sorry to say!

Sunday we got up early, went downtown and got a bus to Stratford, Ontario, home to a Shakespeare festival. In fact, Stratford seems to be totally supported by Shakespeare. We didn't have time to explore the town much, but there seemed to be antiques shops and places for theatre-goers to eat, and a nice park along the river Avon.

We saw Macbeth. The Sisters were Weird, the ghost was ghostly, the wood walked and the final swordplay was quite excellent.

Me and silver Will Shakespeare
We have lived here on and off since 1986 and this is the first time we've made the trek. They do a bus run from downtown; it takes two hours but it's better than driving and it's not expensive. Maybe next year we'll do it again!

I finished my hat in the first half hour or so of the bus ride down and then was bereft for the rest of the day.

Knitted mostly in movie lineups, two strands of sock yarn on 4.5 mm needles, k2 p1 ribbing around and around. I didn't have a darning needle with me, so I made an I-cord out the top to finish it off. It goes in the box... I have a lot of new hats this season; I'll have to see who wants what.

I think we will be back to normal around here for a bit. Until the next big thing...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Almost the end of TIFF

Since we last spoke, I have seen the following:

Something Wild from 1986. My oh my, it was good. Jonathan Demme was there because he was showing off his latest film and did a great Q&A. I saw it 30 years ago and remembered it as being cool and having a great soundtrack, but I could not have told you anything about the plot. It was just as cool now and the music is indeed amazing! It was a free show, which made it even better. (The plot involves a woman, a man, some lies, some spouse issues, more lies, and a big fight.)

B-Side, a documentary about Elsa Dorfman, a photographer whose favourite camera was a 20x24-inch Polaroid.

She always took two photographs, and let the subject choose which one they wanted. She kept the "B-side," the initially less regarded work that was often better than the A-side! Lovely, lovely movie and I would dash in a minute to a gallery show of her photos.

Kati Kati, a movie from Kenya about a woman who finds herself in a strange place... she learns that she is dead, but can't remember anything about her life. A tad weird, as movies about dead people tend to be, but good!

Burn Your Maps, which you will hear about in the cinemas, I am sure. It has the great Canadian kid, Jacob Tremblay, in it. Family distress, kid acts a bit nuts, dad loses patience, mom and a sidekick take the kid to Mongolia to see goats. A tear-jerker with beautiful scenery (although much of Mongolia is really Alberta).

(So far things are fine, but nothing really jumps out and grabs me. It's been a strange festival that way. Is there a clear frontrunner for the People's Choice award? I wonder...)

Mali Blues, a doc about music in Mali. In the north of the country, Islamic extremists are banning music, wrecking equipment, threatening musicians. This movie shows mainly Fatoumata Diawara, who returned to Mali after years away becoming quite famous, and a few other musicians, talking about their fears for their country.

This is not from the movie but it is a song of Fatoumata's that I like. I have no idea what it is about....

City of Tiny Lights, a noir-ish, London detective story. Lots of swoopy light-swirl night scenes. A bit of Blade-Runner-esque voice-over. A sad teenage story leading to murder and betrayal years later.

This morning was the film I was most looking forward to, Their Finest with Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy. I linked to that story because it shows off quite a bit of the fantastic knitting in the movie! It's a sweet story of plucky English folk winning WWII by making a movie about Dunkirk. Bill Nighy is always a delight (and he gets a fantastic cabled pullover in one scene) and Jeremy Irons has a small but ridiculous part. Gemma Arterton is super as our heroine, and she gets a lot of fine-knit, drab-coloured knitwear. The movie ended up being a bit too sweet, maybe, but it was pretty fun.

One more, tonight, and tomorrow, Macbeth live on stage! Such a busy girl I am.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Three movies already

Despite my good intentions to exercise moderation at this year's TIFF, and despite starting out to buy only a Back Half pass, I have already seen three movies.

Yesterday I went to a free screening of Nightlife. In the schedule, it has a block of an hour and a half, but in fact, they showed the 15-minute show over and over, with a wee break in between. The description didn't say much: psychedelic, hypnotic, botany...

Trees swayed in the dark, fireworks went off, we listened to someone sing "I was born a loser" at different volumes and speeds and levels for 15 minutes (just that one line, not the whole song) and that was that. The filmmaker is also a sculptor and the whole thing was indeed very sculptural and arty and so on. I wonder if anyone found it so "immersive" that they stayed for all four shows. I confess to leaving after one!

Stephen wanted to see Oliver Stone's Snowden. It opens in theatres before the festival even ends, so there was only the big gala last night and one other show today at noon. So we went today, to see a movie in Roy Thomson Hall, home of the symphony orchestra! We got there almost an hour before showtime, standard business at TIFF, and there were already a few hundred people in line! However, before they opened the doors, the line went down the block and around the corner -- we were pretty close to the beginning, considering the building holds a couple of thousand people. We got a fine seat, and it was actually really great to see a film in that huge space.

Oliver Stone was there and said a few words before the movie, but there wasn't a Q&A afterwards. He said he'd been to Russia nine times to talk to Snowden about events, and they'd interviewed and met with everyone they could. It is a bit hard to make a thrilling movie with people sitting at computers, and sitting in a hotel room in Hong Kong, but it was pretty gripping and it makes Snowden's story understandable -- I think a lot of people don't really know the significance of what he did and this sets it out pretty clearly.

When I got out of the theatre, I checked my e-mail. Every day of the festival I get a thing called TIFF Daily, a little e-mail blurb about what's going on, that I don't really read, except for the "enter to win" section! Last year I got two pairs of tickets this way, and today I got a notification that I won my first pair of this year. Blah blah September 10th blah blah. Since we were in the neighbourhood I went and picked up the tickets today, even though I assumed the show was tomorrow. It wasn't till I was almost home that I looked at the schedule and the tickets and the date, and realised I had tickets for a show at 4:45 today! Yikes!

Lucky for me the show was at the theatre near me, and I had time to get a snack and get in another lineup. (Stephen had had enough film-going and I couldn't find another date on half an hour's notice, so I had an extra ticket, which I shoved at some guy in the box office line on my way in.)

It was a bit curious that the people on either side of me in line all knew people involved in the production. In fact, the place was filled with Mom and Dad and friends and neighbours and people with bit parts here and there. This was not really a movie, but three episodes of a TV show, which started out life as a web-based show. It's called nirvanna the band the show and it's hilarious.

Our heroes, Jay and Matt

Stupid, indeed, and I think three episodes might be all I need to see, but so very funny. And the guys are from Toronto, the show is half shot down the block... they even talked about making a film for a festival and how they'd do better at TIFF than at Sundance. Loads of laughs, and with such a friendly audience you can't help but have a good time.

Unless I win more tickets, that's it for me for a few days. I start in earnest on Wednesday.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Update and preview

I have been knitting.

One thing I have been knitting might have to be a secret -- I am waiting for the paperwork! I can, I suppose, tell you that a friend's sister works on props for movies and TV shows filmed here in Toronto, and she needed a teddy bear and a baby blanket to be knitted.

I finally bailed on the blanket because I belatedly remembered that I have injured myself with knitting too much too fast, and thought it would be tempting fate to agree to knit a bit of a blanket, a half-finished blanket and then a very-nearly-finished blanket, all on a deadline. I think another friend of mine will be taking that on.

But I went ahead and did the teddy, and my, it is cute! I cannot find a pattern for exactly what I did on Ravelry. It was a tiny bit like a Red Cross Trauma Teddy! Anyways, maybe I can show you another day, but I do have to sign something with the company. I'm not sure what it is I will be signing, but they are paying me well for my time and I will follow their policy, if I ever learn what their policy is.

(Pro tip: for profitability, knit for the film industry rather than for a local craft show.)

Other knitting has been on hold for a short bit, but since I haven't blogged in ages I can certainly find something to tell you.

I "finished" my big cotton shawl, but I didn't like the third segment and ripped it out again. Now I am once more almost finished. I am was looking for something a bit leafy that I could decrease down to a point, and remembered Birch. A very nice pattern indeed.

I was also working on a cowl in the 'Shrooms coloured yarn someone gave me. But it wasn't speaking to me, so I ripped it out and am turning it into a hat for my TIFF lineup knitting.

And I need lineup knitting because it is film festival time once again! Here I am blogging at home, while Denzel Washington is partying it up downtown. Sheesh. Oh well, maybe we'll run into each other tomorrow or the next day. (My one movie star story: I once saw someone I thought must be John Travolta... till I realized that's what John Travolta looked like 25 years ago. Denzel could probably walk past me on the street and I wouldn't know it.)