Film Festivals

TIFF 2022: The 47th Annual Toronto International Film Festival – Part 3 (The Wrap-Up)

King Street, Toronto. The road is blocked off for several theater premiers, open to the public.

Dateline Toronto. In other posts I talk about the films I saw, the big buzz, the big stars and big awards. Here are some tips from a veteran. Director David Cronenberg famously called Toronto Ontario, Canada the best run big city in North America. He was right then and he’s right now. Here’s some behind the scenes photos (exclusive to Assignment X) with some observations. The gift shop in the TIFF Lightbox film center. Ever notice how many film critics last name starts with an R?               Related: Film Festival: The Scoop on the […]Read On »


Highlights from the 2016 LA FILM FESTIVAL

1) The new venue. Once upon a time the LAFF was in Hollywood. The it was in Westwood next to the UCLA campus. Then it was in the LA LIVE center downtown. All three areas managed to dwarf what was going on around it. In Hollywood it didn’t stick out enough from usual Hollywood goings on. At UCLA film goers were over run by campus dwellers (even though it was during Summer break). At LA LIVE it looked like it had been dropped into some Blade Runner-esque hybrid of LA and Tokyo with some sports championship or pop concert running […]Read On »


The 2015 L.A. Film Festival: Part 2 – The Crusader

NOTE: As a film festival draws to a close I usually try to talk up as many films as possible. This year I’m trying something different, just three films, a horror comedy (THE FINAL GIRLS), a documentary (CAN YOU DIG THIS) and a teen comedy/drama (SEOUL SEARCHING). They have little to nothing in common but collectively speak to the state of indie film circa 2015. Films can do many things; entertain, illuminate and if they’re really clever, educate. CAN YOU DIG THIS does all of the above. This documentary about the urban gardening revolution taking place in South Central LA, […]Read On »


2014 Toronto International Film Festival Wrap Up: Part 3 – The Cold List

Adam Sandler in THE COBBLER | ©2014 Image Entertainment

When they’re good they’re very good, when they’re bad, whew, stand back. Here’s the bottom of the barrel. PART 3: THE COLD LIST AMERICAN HEIST Not all the mannered acting of Adrien Brody can save this misfire that wants to be both MEAN STREETS and THE TOWN. A miscast Hayden Christensen co-stars as Brody’s step brother ex-con trying to go straight and fall back in love with his high school sweetheart (Jordana Brewster). Enter one dimensional bad guys to divide up the brothers and the girlfriend. The bank heist climax shows director Sarik Andreasyan has a certain amount of style, […]Read On »


Exclusive Interview: Fran Kranz on THE LORD OF CATAN – PART 1

Fran Kranz in THE LORD OF CATAN | ©2014 Stuart C. Paul

It isn’t that actor Fran Kranz only works with people he’s met on the projects he’s acted in for Joss Whedon – the TV series DOLLHOUSE and the films CABIN IN THE WOODS and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. In the past year, Kranz has had a recurring role on DALLAS and made several features (more about them later) that have nothing to do with those connections. Then again, he does often work with his fellow DOLLHOUSE alumni. One case in point is the short film THE LORD OF CATAN, which has its Los Angeles public premiere Saturday, May 31 at […]Read On »


Exclusive Interview: THE LORD OF CATAN Writer-Director Stuart C. Paul chats about his short film

Amy Acker in THE LORD OF CATAN | ©2014 Stuart C. Paul

THE LORD OF CATAN is a thirteen-minute film that stars Amy Acker and Fran Kranz as, respectively, Krysta and Todd, an apparently happy couple whose marriage hits the crisis point during a game of SETTLERS OF CATAN. LORD has its East Coast premiere Thursday, May 29, at the New York Shorts Festival at the Landmark Sunshine Theatre inManhattan; actor Kranz will be present at the screening for a Q&A follow-up. The West Coast premiere is two days later at the Los Angeles-based Dances With Films Festival at the Chinese Theatre, where Acker and writer/director/producer Stuart C. Paul will engage in […]Read On »


Film Festival Report: Best Bits from the 2013 AFI FEST

With a deft blend of Hollywood A-list films (Tom Hanks in SAVING MR BANKS, Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY) and odd, out of the way fare (the acclaimed documentary JODOROWSKY’S DUNE, the slapstick comedy AWFUL NICE), the recent AFI FEST 2013 didn’t not disappoint. Held over the course of eight days once again in the heart of Hollywood, AFI took over the Chinese Theater complex on Hollywood Blvd and for the fifth straight year gave away tickets to all the screenings. Headquarters was in the historic Roosevelt Hotel with several floors roped off into an assortment of […]Read On »


Toronto International Film Festival Postscript: Found Footage

With more than 300 films to choose from during the Toronto Film Festival a great deal of planning and luck figure equally into the mix. The best is when you give up on one film and just randomly drop into another screening. Here’s my four happy accidents of 2013 after I ran (nearly) screaming from several films that will remain nameless including a 3-D mountain climbing Australian documentary and a dreary drugs-are-bad drama set in the early 1980s.


Toronto International Film Festival Travel Tips

When you hit a film festival like Sundance it’s all about the films and the snow. Park City is first and foremost a resort town and if you aren’t resorting you’re just chasing films. Toronto’s film festival is different. It’s Canada’s NYC, Chicago and LA all rolled into one. And this time of the year the weather is fine (it only rained for half a day), the attractions plentiful and the denizens super friendly (it’s the only festival I know of where people seem to enjoy waiting in line). So before you plan next year’s visit consider the following…


Toronto International Film Festival Wrap Up: Part 3 – The Cold

THE UNKNOWN KNOWN | ©2013 Weinstein Company

It’s time to conclude what happened at the Toronto International Film Festival by dividing up the films into three categories. So here are the winners, losers and something in-between so just for fun I’ve broken them down into buzz terms, HOT, WARM and COLD. Part 3: THE COLD (BUZZ+CRITICAL REACTION+AUDIENCE COMMENTS) YOU ARE HERE Road trip comedy drama with Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis CONSENSUS: Writer/director Matthew Weiner’s surprising limp big screen debut. The leads are irritating, the plot so-so, the overall effect dull. Maybe Weiner just too tired after obsessing over every MAD MAN detail. Would make a good […]Read On »

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