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    Saturday
    Sep242011

    #TIFF11 Day 5

    Hockey and cancer. Not in that order.

    50 / 50 - 4 / 5
    A film about a young man who gets cancer, and how he and the people around him deal with it, I liked this film. Te acting is great - Angelica Huston is spot on - and JGL and Seth Rogen do a good job as well. The eyebrows on JGL were a bit too thick for someone going through chemo, but that's a minor point. I think this film will play well when it comes out in theaters. I would very much like to hear what young people who have had or currently have cancer thought about this film. I would think it's fairly accurate, since the writer more or less based this on his own experiences.

    Goon - 5 / 5
    For me, this was a perfect movie. The comedy, storytelling, acting, writing, camera work, pacing... everything was perfect. Sean William Scott pulls off a likable non-Stiffler like role, and Liev Schrieber performs a perfect east coast accent. The build through the film, including a tease in the middle of the final hockey game leads to one of my favourite film shots of all time, as the characters emerge from the penalty box before they duke it out. That scene, with the wide shot, and the slow zoom out is perfectly set up and framed, with the right amount of time spent moving to the center of the ice. I applauded that scene alone, but it wouldn't have worked without a great build up and conclusion. See this film when it comes out.

    Next up, a vampire movie without fangs, and a biopic on a Brazilian footballer.

    Friday
    Sep232011

    #TIFF11 Day 4

    Canadiana, zombies, and a weird horror film.

    Edwin Boyd - 3 / 5
    Following the life of a Canadian bank robber, this film was really two separate films. It's slick, and has some cool moments. I think if they had shortened the first part, the film would have flowed better. I always find it weird when a number of characters aren't introduced until well into a film, and shortening the first part would have helped. It was interesting to see what bank robbers might have been like, especially the celebrity status of one like Edwin Boyd.

    Juan of the Dead - 4.5 / 5
    A Cuban Zombie film. This film was just cool. The comedy, writing, action, and zombie effects were spot on. The homage to Ghostbusters was also a nice touch, and the "dance" scene was easily a highlight with everyone. I would have given this film a 5 / 5, but not getting George A. Romero to play the George A. Romero type character takes it down that small .5. It's the best zombie film since Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. Easily.

    The Incident - 1.5 / 5
    Remember how I said midnight madness films are hit or miss? This was defninitely a miss. Hoping for an escape from danger kind of film,I instead got a film of gross violence for violence sake, with a weird twist. Supposedly people fainted during the final scene of the film, resulting in an ambulance being called.

    Up next, another cancer movie and my favorutie film of the festival.

    Thursday
    Sep222011

    #TIFF11 Day 3

    Docs and aliens... almost.

    Pink Ribbons Inc. - 2 / 5
    Base on the book of the same name, this documentary aimed to let people know that charity marketing (like the Pink Ribbon labels) are mainly a business, and that the money isn't being used the way you think it is. I think this is an informative important message, but I think the presentation of it is flawed. Yes, cancer sucks, and isn't pretty, but positivity (while being realistic) is still a good thing. Throw in editing that doesn't really work - unlike Into the Abyss, which edits quite nicely - and I think a lot is lost. The theatre was fill of people cheering throughout the film, and who gave it a standing ovation at the end, but it was not deserving, in my opinion.

    Extraterrestrial - 3.5 / 5
    The alien films without aliens, this film was Spain was mentioned to be a comedy, and had it's moments, but with an unlikeable main character, I didn't fully buy into it. That said, the funny moments, and the concept behind it kept in interesting. I sat directly behind the director, and he was as big a fan of it as anyone else in attendance. He was funnier in the introduction to the film, and in the Q&A after the film than the film was, which gives the film and extra .5 in my rating.

    Next up, some Canadian content, a Cuban Zombie film, and a faint inducing midnight madness.

    Wednesday
    Sep212011

    #TIFF11 Day 2

    This was my longest day of TIFF 11, and it ended up having not one, but two documentaries.

    Into The Abyss - 4 / 5
    Herzog documentaries always seem tobe popular at TIFF. My favourite Herzog doc is Encounters at the End of the World, and I thought 3D Caves of Forgotten Dreams was cool too, but this film is a bit more internal. Focusing mainly on interviews with two young men who committed a horrific crime, with one serving a life sentence, and the other sentenced to death. The film is powerful, although I think he needed more time with the young men to get a better view of what happened.

    A Letter to Momo - 2 / 5
    My only Sprockets (now TIFF Kids I think) film of the festival, this was a animated film from Japan, focusing on a young girl and her widowed mother moving back to the island of her youth. While trying to come to grips with changes in her life, she is assigned some guardian angels to watch over her mom and her. It's well animated, but it's too similar to things like Spirited Away and about 8 years too late. And some of the edits, in particular during the climax, seem sudden, with key scenes missing. Not the best film, but enough redeeming factors that it's ok.

    Comic-Con: Episode 4 - A Fan's Hope - 4 / 5
    Forget Bradgelina, forget Ryan and George, for me, Stan Lee was the celebrity to see this year for me. And having visited Comic-Con this year, this was the only MUST see of the festival. It's difficult to review, as watching the film brought back many memories of SDCC, but focusing on a few stories, and some great interviews made it an enjoyable film. That said, Morgan Spurlock tries to focus on the idea of where are the comics to be found underneath all the stuff mainstream media covers, but fails to interview Mark Evanier, who runs many of the comic related panels during the SDCC. This missed interview takes a lot away from the film for me, but it was still quite fun.

    You're Next - 4.5 / 5
    Midnight Madness can be hit or miss. Ong-bak was fantastic, but Ong-bak 2 was horrendous. You're Next plays perfectly for a midnight madness horror / thriller audience, with the right amount of humor, violence, good writing, and especially knowing it's audience. Many times you could feel anticipation in the audience building, before being let down, and then shocked at another turn. And the climax of the film contained mutiple reasons to cheer the creators. Not for the squeamish, but quite fun. Bonus points for the blender.

    Next up, a doc that angered me in unintended ways, and an alien movie without aliens.

    Tuesday
    Sep202011

    #TIFF11 Day 1

    My first day of TIFF 11 contained one movie, but I got to see a movie largely driven by one actor.

    The Hunter - 2.5 / 5
    The film spends a lot of time on Willem Dafoe's character, roaming the woods, and laying traps. I wonder how much of the trapping and hunting is accurate. He's hunting a Tasmanian Tiger, which does not spin around very fast. I thought most of the film was pretty good, especially Dafoe's acting, but the movie falls apart at the ending which seemed kind of rushed, and the CG Tasmanian Tiger near the end - presumedly since the archival footage they show earlier in the film might have been of the last living Tiger - is so cheaply done that it takes away from the film. Yes, the focus is on the man played by Dafoe, but since the scene with the Tiger is so important, a poorly generated fake Tiger is no good.

    Next, my longest day of the festival this year.