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    Entries in documentary (5)

    Sunday
    Oct032010

    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 9

    Last day for me, and 4 feature day!

    It's Kind of a Funny Story
    Is not a side-splitting comedy. It's one of those comedy / drama things. Katharine had no desire to see it based on the ads portraying it as a comedy, but enjoyed the drama parts. Maybe future ads should focus on the drama part for one part of the audience, and hope that Zach Galifianakis draws the other part. It was Katharine's favourite film of the festival, and I quite enjoyed it as well. It's a great date film. My favorite part was a piano cover of the Pixies' There Goes my Mind.

    Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
    A perfect blend of mystery and Kung Fu. The mystery, despite someone else speaking to the contrary, was well executed. If you paid attention, you could have solved the mystery along with the Detective. The Kung Fu, and the final action scene are quite well done, mainly for emphasizing the importance action to the plot rather than having fight scenes and stunts just for the sake of having fights. Worth a viewing, for sure.

    The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical
    Katharine really wanted to see this film, and the Globe and Mail named it pick of the festival. It's a good documentary about kids in the slums of Mumbai performing songs from the Sound of Music in a high class concert hall, and the fact that the kids, despite struggling to perfect their parts, succeed in performing quite well on performance night, makes for a feel good moment (I wanted to applaud). But I saw a couple of great documentaries, so the execution of this one failed to hook me completely. The story is touching, but the film execution wasn't as good as some other documentaries this year. You should see it, but TMN is a good venue.

    Aftershock
    I will gladly rant to you in person about WHY this was my least favourite film of the festival (the main reason being how the film completely botched the payoff scenes near the end of the film, but there were many other issues), but I would have walked out of this film if I wasn't there with Katharine. Highest grossing film in the history of China, but executes horribly in every possible way.

    And that's it. I will try to post some general thoughts on the festival soon.

    L8r
    Paul

    Friday
    Oct012010

    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 7

    A documentary and Katharine's least favourite film of the festival!

    How To Start Your Own Country
    The concept of the film seemed promising: investigate all these micronations in the world. With the exception of two people, most weren't that funny, and the others weren't serious enough, so it failed to go to the extremes it needed to to succeed. It should have either gone full silly - as could have been done with a few more silly micronations - or full serious by looking at Somaliland, Lechtenstein, Tibet, etc, etc and focus on those. By not going to a serious or silly extreme, it can't click with an audience. Not worth a look.

    Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    IFC Films has picked this up, and you MUST see this incredible 3D documentary in theatres when it's released. Documenting the oldest cave paintings known to man, this 3D film makes you feel like you're in the cave. And if liked Grizzlyman and Encounters at the End of the World - other Herzog documentaries - you'll like this one. That said, although I thought it was spectacular, my companion to the film really didn't like it.

    Next up, an alien film!

    L8r
    Paul

    Wednesday
    Sep292010

    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 5

    Day 5 had a half watched film and ANOTHER documentary.

    Everything Must Go
    The Will-Farrell-is-serious-movie this year. Because it started 40 minutes late, I only saw 45 minutes of it. And those 45 minutes were passable, but forgettable. TMN it. Don't see it in theatres.

    The Game of Death
    I went to see this film because of a brief description about how it was an update to the Milgram experiments, which anyone who has taken Psychology 101 knows is about the influence of authority on an individual. In this French documentary, the study is updated to a game show environment with psychologists and sociologists in place to study the results. It was well presented and an interesting concept, and was well executed. The Q&A with the directors after the film yielded some interesting insights, including that there are additional documentaries being made about this new study. Good to see.

    Up next, a triple movie day, including what I thought was the best of the festival.

    L8r
    Paul

    Tuesday
    Sep282010

    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 4

    Day 4 had a documentary and Katharine joining me!

    Into the Wind
    ESPN Films has commissioned a number of films directed by athletes, about athletes, and this film is another in that series. Steve Nash is a co-director of this documentary about the athlete he chose: Terry Fox. As a film that attempts to introduce Terry Fox to Americans, and focuses on the athlete that was Terry Fox - he ran a marathon a day - this film succeeds. It has interviews with family and friends, and has all the famous Terry Fox clips that anyone who grew up in Canada has seen numerous times. But that's the problem with the film for a Canadian audience. If you grew up in Canada, you've seen every major Terry Fix clip available: the foot in the Atlantic in St. John's, swimming with the 10 year old boy who also had an amputated leg, the speech after that events, Scarborough Civic Centre, Nathan Phillip's Square, and the incredibly sad announcement he made about his cancer returning. Evaluating the documentary critically, there is little new here for Canadians. There are excerpts from Fox's journals that I hadn't heard from before, which was neat, but I think American's will be a better audience for this film. I recommend it whenappears in TSN / ESPN. Quick note: Steve Nash arrived at the venue - the Isabel Bader Theatre - by walking down the middle of Charles street, shaking hands and signing autographs as a crowd gathered around him. It was awesome.

    Tamara Drewe
    Quote on what this is about from Basil:

    @pgvildys it's about a bunch of old writers and a young, liberated woman.
    Which was quite accurate. This was a film picked by Katharine, and her first film of this year's festival. I enjoyed it. It was funny, with some dark parts, and the story had some weaknesses. But what helps this film is the incredibly strong cast. Every actor in the film was fantastic in his or her role, and that comes across in every scene. The director participated in a Q&A after the film, and his dry wit made for quite entertaining answers. Actually, all the British actors and directors at this festival were more eloquent in their answers than the North American ones. Wait until TMN, but a decent chick flick or date film.

    Next up, the half eaten film, and some pychological experiments.

    L8r
    Paul

    Monday
    Sep272010

    #TIFF10 Reviews: Day 3

    Today marked the first documentary and a film starring a man named, Gackt.

    Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
    I will say this: David Suzuki is cool. For me, it was cooler that he was in attendance and participated in Q&A after the movie than the movie itself. But the movie is cool too. Quite cool. The film shows excerpts from Suzuki's Legacy Speech (think, 'Last Lecture') and between parts of the speech, information is presented about David Suzuki. The Japanese internments in Canadian history being the most significant moment, but I learned something else from this filme: I think David Suzuki and my father would get along. Suzuki's number one hobby seems to be fishing :). This was also the first of 6 documentaries I would see at TIFF, the most I have seen at a single TIFF. I definitely recommend this film.

    Bunraku
    Over the top CG backdrops with stylized colours and eccentricities. Ron Perlmen was in it, along with Woody Harrelson. There's martial arts and old school fighting too. A Western and Samurai story with no guns. Bright Colours. It's a trippy film, but the bad story, dialog, and with the exception of one scene (a prison fight) bad action. One of the worst films I have seen at TIFF. It was the first time Josh Hartnett had seen the film, and he tried to be nice, but I think he realized it was a bad film. Maybe someone will buy it and ask them to 3Dify the movie. Otherwise this movie will likely bomb horribly. Also, there was a particular gentleman in attendance, but I am still not 100% certain who Gackt is (despite him being more over with the audience than Ron Perlman, Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson combined). Avoid this film.

    Next up is documentary 2, and Katharine's first pick of the fest.

    L8r
    Paul