The first film this morning was a documentary about the threat to our water supply in the US and around the world. Unlike many documentaries this one had a decent budget and a great director. It was very easy on the eyes, beautiful cinematography and a great script. The message however is very frightening. Basically large parts of the US will be without water in the next very few years. There is an increasing population that is totally dependent on the Colorado River Valley for water and the snowpack in the High Sierra mountains. Both are in severe decline as the result of climate change and there is no real alternative source of water. There are similar threats in the US Southeast and Midwest. The worst places are not the US however. The worst are in South Asia dependent on the Himalaya snowpack also in decline and billions of people dependent on it. There are some possible solutions and sources including recycling waste water. The problem with this is the “yuck” factor. No one wants to drink toilet water. So the film makers went to the people who successfully got to pay for filtered tap water and asked them to sell recycled water. This was a very funny part of the film as they came up with possible names for the new product and got Jack Black to help them sell it. The winning name? Porcelain Springs. Funny but serious because we will have to be taking our water from Porcelain Springs before very long. Our water availability is not only declining but we are also polluting what little we have. Erin Brockovitch is still an activist working to save our water and she has a big part in this movie. We were lucky enough to have Erin there at the film for the Q and A and interestingly she looks just like Julia Roberts who plays her in the movie of her name. Great movie with an important message. Everyone needs to see this as we complacently rely that when we turn on our taps we will get as much hot and cold running water as we want. It won’t be like that for much longer.
I still have to see Descendants which is the real George Clooney movie at the Festival. This one does actually have George as a supporting actor but he also directs this one which really stars Ryan Gosling. It is a tightly scripted film about the backroom political action as a Governor (Clooney) runs for the Democratic primary. Gosling is the media guy on Clooney’s team led by Philip Seymour Hoffman and the competition is led by Paul Giamatti both in good supporting roles. There is also a really good performance by Marisa Tomei as the NYTimes reporter covering the race. I would not say this is Oscar material but it does point to how messed up the US political system is and how little it has to do with issues. As a result it is rather depressing but it is smart and tight and over in under 90 minutes. I should note that Woody Allen is of the opinion that no movie can really be sustained beyond 90 minutes and there is some truth to that. There are exceptions, Lawrence of Arabia being one, but there is something magic about 90. This movie is good so I recommend it and if you are a Ryan Gosling fan then I really recommend it. It will not win Oscars however.
After taking a break from hockey to see The Ides of March – directed by George Clooney and starring Ryan Gosling (more about this below) I next saw Goon, a comedic take on The Last Gladiators that I feared would be in really bad taste but which turned out to be insightful and oddly powerful in light of having just been through the Chris Nilan story. This movie is directed by Michael Dowse (FUBAR and FUBAR 2) and written by and starring Jay Baruchel (The Trotsky and Tropic Thunder) promised to be very funny and off centre and it lived up to its promises. The story is actually based on a real life minor league enforcer so it actually has some depth of character and plot (not too deep mind you). I decided to hold it to the standard of Slap Shot – the classic Paul Newman hockey flick and it more than met the challenge. It is now my favourite hockey movie. It will be in theatres shortly and I urge those who loved The Trotsky and Tropic Thunder to go see it. A warning, however, it does not hold back on the violence of the fighting scenes or our baser appetite for fights in hockey and the beer drinking that follows. Oh… if you have not seen The Trotsky or Tropic Thunder – see them as well. Baruchel is crazy brilliant in that order.