Hump Day Report: Trades ‘n’ TIFF
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
I wasn’t surprised that the Phillies won last night in Washington (8-0) after the trades of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. The Phillies that remained could relax, knowing they are still here, especially the ones like Joe Blanton and Cliff Lee, who were rumored to be on the trading block. Meanwhile, when such a long-term guy like Victorino is dealt, that makes his former teammates understand that they might be expendable and should therefore play better.
There is also the overall feeling that since the Phillies management has raised the white flag for this season, the players don’t have as much pressure on them. It also happened back in 2007 when the Phillies traded Bobby Abreau; that year the Phillies almost came back and made the playoffs, and of course we know what happened in 2008.
I’m not saying the team is going to go on some amazing run, but they will be more fun to watch the rest of the season, and we can finally see if Dom Brown is a prospect or suspect. Fans will have to be content with the Phillies as possible spoilers in the NL East.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is fast approaching (Sept. 6-16) and I am looking forward to my 25th anniversary of covering the event for Atlantic City Weekly. What I love about TIFF is the opportunity to see a vast array of films, from the major star, high profile Oscar-bait films to the most interesting art films from around the globe, to intriguing documentaries and an international collection of horror films and other cinema bizarre selections in the Midnight Madness collection.
This is the time to discover new talent (then unknown Quentin Tarantino was at TIFF in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs) and bask in the glow of superstars selling their movies (George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon have made multiple appearances in the last several years).
But mostly, it is a chance to see movies that want to make us think, laugh, cry and get excited about movies not just as entertainment but as art. I tend to pick my movies to see based on the filmmakers and actors. Here are a few on my must-see list so far.
• The Master — Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie since There Will Be Blood stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as the mysterious leader of a religious cult (inspired by Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard) who takes a wayward man (Joaquin Phoenix) under his wing for potential guidance. The film also stars Amy Adams and Laura Dern.
• Silver Linings Playbook — David O. Russell (Three Kings, The Fighter) directs Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in this emotional and funny family drama about people trying to rebuild their shattered lives. With Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker.
• Free Angela & All Political Prisoners — I lived through the era that this documentary examines, when radical activist Angela Davis made headlines daily for her beliefs and her actions.
• Cloud Atlas — Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix), this time travel/reincarnation drama explores how actions in the past can change the future and how an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. With Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant.
• The Bay — Barry Levinson (Diner, Wag the Dog) returns to his Baltimore roots to do a horror film about the outbreak of a deadly parasite in a small town in Maryland.
• Seven Psychopaths — Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), a struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) becomes involved in the LA criminal underworld after his crazy friends (Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell) kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu.