Thursday, August 23, 2007

Most Anticipated: Midnight Madness

Now that the festival is finally gearing up, it's time to make decisions. There are around 275 films at the festival, and only 30 slots for me to fill, so some tough choices have to be made. My personal method is fairly simple. I start by choosing no more than ten must-sees. Then, I research the films and highlight as many interesting options as possible. I separate those into two piles, which I arbitrarily call first and second tier (because it makes me sound professional). Then, when the actual schedule comes out, I cry for three straight days and randomly insert films as best I can. Or at least that's how it usually feels.

Seriously, the schedule itself is the main reason I don't just choose thirty films and wash my hands of the whole thing. If I chose thirty films right out, there would be absolutely no way to fit them all in. Inevitably, the full schedule frustratingly puts similar films in direct time competition with one another, resulting in at least one or two agonizing decisions each and every year. To fight this, I've found it's best to keep an open mind and take some chances. Skip the film that'll be in every theater in a month and see the small film that'll be lucky to get a DVD release in its home country.

Anyway, most of the people reading this probably know all this, so I'll move on to the Midnight Madness programme.


George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero)
The Mother of Tears (Dario Argento)

Really, do I have to say much? Sure, both will get a theatrical release somewhere down the line, but why pass up the chance to see them with one of the most exciting crowds in the world. It also helps that, despite their spotty records of late, they're still two of the greatest horror directors of all time, and I'll always make time for them.

Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike)

Miike is a TIFF tradition, so I can't miss his latest.

Dainipponjin (Hitoshi Matsumoto)

The wild card of my MM picks. This superhero satire is reportedly very dry and very, very odd, which sounds like the perfect prospect to me.

Also interesting:

All apologies to Colin Geddes, but this year's selection definitely outshines last year's (though The Host was admittedly amazing). Indeed, I'd probably catch all of these if I had the time. Best looking of the rest is Stuart Gordon's Stuck, which looks fairly intense; Wilson Yip's Flash Point (since his SPL in 2005 was tremendously entertaining); and Xavier Gens' Frontieres, which has an intriguingly grungy, political premise.

Next up: Visions. And if anyone has any suggestions or insight regarding the Midnight Madness films, leave a comment. They're always welcome.

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