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Second verse, similar to the first 

***I apologize for the late wrap-up…technical difficulties were encountered on Wednesday and Thursday.***

An older man turned around in his seventh-row seat to face me as I ate my overpriced untoasted bagel from Second Cup, no longer interested in quality breakfast. (Yesterday was popcorn.)

“Were you here yesterday for the Dixie Cows?”

“Oh, ha., ha, haaaaa.” Awkward throat-clear.

“Guess journalists don’t want to get up early.”

“They’re probably dead at this point,” I said. “Plus there’s another screening tonight.”

The film is Breaking and Entering, starring Juliette Binoche, Jude Law and Robin Wright Penn and directed by Anthony Minghella (Closer). Law and Penn have been together for almost a decade, and he’s stepfather to her daughter Bea, a gymnast who can’t sleep and won’t eat. Binoche is the mother of Miro, a teenaged criminal who breaks into Law’s architectural office. (Using the ridiculous yet very filmic trend of parkour, aka jumping around -- they come in from the roof.)

Eventually Binoche and Law meet and have an affair. Both of them are aware of the circumstances of their situation, but neither knows the other has a clue.

It’s a well written and acted piece, with very funny bits, nothing fabulous but great adult entertainment.

A quick coffee break later I am in the dreaded Sutton Place room for the film’s press conference. It’s packed because Jude Law is here, and Binoche plays very well to a European audience, who are well represented in this room too. I get stuck in the very back row where I see MairiAnna Bachynsky, who defected from Live at 5 last year for a Toronto-based entertainment show. She’s back at CTV now, working as a reporter in the field.

The conference is fairly standard, with Minghella commanding most of it (the word “parkour” thankfully does not come up and he says he didn’t know it was a trend when he wrote it). A ripple comes when a Star reporter two seats away from me asks Wright Penn what she thinks of the hotel threatening to fine her husband for smoking during his own conference on Monday.

The moderator cuts him off and a light chorus of boos drifts through the room. Dude is forced to skulk out, the whole thing captured on a nine-camera row of video.

Through it, Wright Penn just looks at him with a tight little smile, never saying anything, never looking away or to anybody else, never reacting.

Right after this is the Dixie Chicks which you well know I am stoked about. The photographers only know one name, even though they’re all taped to the chairs.

“Natalie! Natalie! Natalie!”

Because this topic has been beaten to death, nothing new comes out here -- though Natalie Maines reveals co-dirctor Cecilia Peck was once engaged to her own husband, actor Adrian Pasdar -- but an interesting thing for me was that there is debate among the Chicks about whether this would’ve happened if they were men.

Maines thinks it’s not the point.

Banjo player Emily Robison thinks it is.

“That’s one thing we debate about,” Maines admits.

“People don’t like mouthy women in country music,” says Robison.

The Dixie Chicks face the press corps. (It looks like Martie’s airing out her boobs, but she’s adjusting her microphone.)

And try to make a graceful getaway from the paps.

My final movie of TIFF is Infamous. I show up an hour early -- it’s pouring outside so shopping is not tempting -- and the line is manageable. Seamus O’Regan is a few people behind me, which I don’t realize until I go into one theatre and he goes into another.

Infamous will forever be known as The Other Truman Capote Movie. Capote, too, premiered at TIFF, so this year’s entry of Infamous is more than a little weird. Especially since it features the exact same life passage as the other -- Capote writing about the murders of a farm family and it ruining his life.

The one difference is it alludes to a romance between Capote and killer Perry Smith, which culminates in a kiss, which is whatever.

The movie is fine. I don’t know how to judge it, honestly. Toby Jones and his bad British teeth do a nice Capote. Sandra Bullock borrows Catherine Keener’s wardrobe and hairdo for Harper Lee, and she’s good as always. (I know that is an uncommon opinion, but I don’t care.) Sigourney Weaver and Hope Davis also appear, as does Gwyneth Paltrow in an utterly pointless cameo as a lounge singer. Her voice is as competent and unremarkable as her posture and acting ability. (I’ll admit it didn’t start the film in a good place for me.) The new Bond, Daniel Craig, snarls and sings his way through the movie as Smith.

There’s a weird docu-style tactic used where people in Capote’s life speak about him (the movie is based on the late George Plimpton’s novel Truman Capote) as if they’re being interviewed, but no context or purpose is ever given -- it’s just a cheap way to deliver exposition.

Like Breaking and Entering, it’s well done and not fabulous. In short: meh.

I’d still watch them both on an endless loop before I sat through All the King’s Men again.

That’s it from SmokeTown. See you in a year for more line-standing.


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