More from our man in Toronto…

Martin Carter, who lectures on the film studies course at Sheffield Hallam University,has kindly been blogging for us from the Toronto film festival. Here is is second dispatch:

Festival film-going can be exhausting; once you’ve picked your films you need to check you can get to them after factoring in waiting to get into the theatre (you are recommended to get there one hour before showtime and queue – even if you have a ticket) and then there is the travel between venues to consider. Time to eat and drink has to be very flexible. So if you plan to see three films per day you don’t have a great deal of time for much else. I’ve mostly kept to two movies a day, the one day that attended three was a marathon exercise that I won’t repeat!

Queuing has its pros and cons; you can get into some wonderful conversations with fellow queuers and exchange opinions on films and experiences from the festival, along with which screen stars you might have glimpsed. However, even amongst a population as polite and considerate as Canadians, there are always line jumpers trying to slide in ahead of everyone once the queue finally moves. The good mannered natives seem reluctant to admonish such offenders but my British sense of queue protocol has led me to take issue when someone suddenly appears in front of me – I’m polite but firm, and they always slink off to the rear of the queue. I then have Canadians congratulating me on taking a stand!

As fas as films go, there have been a few duds such as normally reliable Mick Jackson’s Denial is a disappointing account of the libel case between American academic Deborah Lipstadt and British historian David Irving over his denial of the Holocaust in his books on Hitler. Rachel Weisz gives a one-note performance throughout that just grates leaving Tom Wilkinson as her barrister and Timithy Spall as Irving to keep you interested. Lipstadt is depicted as a Yank who doesn’t understand “how we do things here” and is talked down to by a bunch of posh British lawyers and so spends most of her time jogging around London tourist attractions. I was half expecting her to come out with a line like “Enough of you Limeys already!” She didn’t, but she came close.

Similarly Martin Koolhoven’s Dutch gothic western, Brimstone, is a relentlessly grim affair in which Dakota Fanning is pursued across America by a vengeful preacher played by Guy Pearce. The film piles on the violence and degradation with no real purpose but the despair is briefly lifted by a hilariously embarrassing cameo from Kit Harington as an outlaw gunslinger showing he is most definitely not the King of the West!!!

There have however been far better movies such as Jackie and Manchester By The Sea, I have posted comments on both of them on my Showroom blog.

I promise to talk about some better movies in my next missive!

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