Arrived Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival to find things muggy, crowded and typically frantic. Raced to the Scotiabank theaters to catch Ben Affleck’s latest, “Argo,” and promptly waited an hour in line.
Not sure “Argo” is the Oscar-bait some have been thinking, although if they gave out a trophy for acting ensemble — which they really should — it would certainly be a contender. The film is based on the true story of how a CIA agent (Affleck) helped six Americans escape Iran during the late ’70s hostage crisis by pretending they were a film crew. John Goodman and Alan Arkin are hilarious as Hollywood types helping with the scam, and Bryan Cranston is fine as a CIA boss, but none of the roles seem to have enough heft for supporting nominations. Still, a very entertaining movie that should be a real crowd-pleaser.
Then went to the private screening room at the posh Hazelton Hotel to see “Anna Karenina,” which is something of a trip. Director Joe Wright has assembled a film that’s part stage play, part musical (the dancing!), sporadically comic and of course filled with high romantic drama. It can be trying at times but it’s wildly inventive and reminded me of “Moulin Rouge” in its sheer daring. Keira Knightley could get another best actress nomination here, as could Wright, and it should land all sorts of technical nods (the production design is just wild).
This morning I’m talking to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who’s part of the AK love triangle, this afternoon I’ve got Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose “Looper” — a real kick — opened the festival. In between I’ll catch the new Snoop Dogg, oops, Snoop Lion documentary “Reincarnated,” which has big buzz. Yes, another hour in line, I’m sure.