Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…
On the third day, the skies opened and rain poured down upon Toronto, washing away the sins of the night before so new ones could be committed in the name of film promotion on Saturday—traditionally, the biggest party night of the festival.
Some publicists probably needed a drink even more than usual after screenings of two films, biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" with Idris Alba as the South African leader and war drama "The Railway Man" with Colin Firth, both suffered projection malfunctions.
As usual, the Sony Pictures Classics dinner at Yorkville’s Crème Brasserie was the first stop for many of the press and industry types looking for a good free meal before switching to a liquid diet.
This year’s soiree promised a reunion of sorts between Harry Potter and Voldemort. Both Daniel Radcliffe, who stars as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in "Kill Your Darlings" and Ralph Fiennes, who directs and appears in his Dickens romance "The Invisible Woman," were in the house. But Radcliffe, who has two other films in town, had to fly off on his broomstick after the briefest of appearances. Meanwhile, he who shall not be named lingered and happily imbibed martinis.
Other notables in attendance included director Jim Jarmusch, his trademark white pompadour in full bloom while in town with his contemporary vampire tale "Only Lovers Left Alive." Joining him were cast members Tom Hiddleston and Anton Yelchin.
Next stop was the Fox Searchlight get-together at Spice Route, a sprawling Asian restaurant awash in famous faces thanks to the studio’s roster of four festival films. Inside the bar was the crew of "12 Years a Slave," the ambitious true-life story of a free 19th-century black man sold into bondage. Those celebrating its status as the Toronto film most likely to be a Oscar best-pic contender included leading man Chiwetel Ejiofor and his plantation owner nemesis Michael Fassbender.
Outside in the courtyard was Tom Wilkinson, taking in some fresh air and eager to talk about his upcoming collaboration with Vince Vaughn in the comedy "Business Trip." He appears in another reality-based Searchlight title, "Belle."
Captain's log: eight fifth graders, one adult, one James Cameron movie.
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