Amid all the glittery gore of HBO’s True Blood and the Twilight series,along comes a high brow vampire movie that demands to be taken seriously. If you want your vampire tales with naked Swedish actors or rival werewolf clans you should forget about this one. Hell,it’s from Neil Jordan,the director of The Crying Game and Michael Collins among many,so my initial reaction was that it might falter under the burden of its own seriousness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The story focuses on a mother/daughter duo who stole their creation as vampires from an all male order and have been living on the lam for the past 200 years. Thematically weighty,it plays as a study on the subjugation of women and the tyranny of class distinctions. The lead performances are all strong,and credit is due for the unique creation myth it portrays along with a uniquely simple take on how vampires achieve their meals. The movie plays as a nice balance between present day drama and the gradually unfolded history of the two women. I highly recommend this one for anyone who likes vampire stories but is put off by the tawdriness and triviality of the shows now dominating this species of horror.
I went into this one expecting a train wreck. Famous writer/director makes Shakespeare as black snd white movie,in his own home,with his actor pals. And the play chosen wouldn’t rate for me among the Bard’s best. But,this was one of the films that sold in a sluggish TIFF market,so I was intrigued…and I have to confess a soft spot for Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion. Much to my surprise,this movie is quite good. It’s managed with a light touch,being a comedy,but without the burden of too much affect or pretense. The play plays itself,and Whedon shoots it in contemporary dress with a bright and playful style. Fillion appears late as the chief constable,and hams it up –maybe even more than he does for his current series Castle. Still sounds like it should be terrible,and yet it’s not.
Following the exploits of two aging Australian champion surfers,this movie literally immerses you in their wild second careers as hunters of the biggest waves. Well shot and totally gripping to watch,the film is an extended version of the TV series on the air in Australia. The 3D is quite a good addition to the experience and is better than a novelty in this context. Fans of the show will love this ride on the waves,and newcomers will find them amusing hosts on a crazy journey to tempt their fates on massive breakers. It’s a lot of macho bravado to be sure,but it’s absolutely entertaining fun as well.
This film has all the elements of an epic Asian martial arts movie –except the final half of the story. Despite a good narrative set up and lots of decent effects,the film ends abruptly and runs a trailer for the second installment. Evidently,the producers ran out of cash. I liked the characters and the grand battle it was framing,but the movie hits a cliff and none of that potential is delivered. It seems unlikely this ploy will win audiences over. I would guess most will feel cheated by that and not feel so friendly about having to pay a second time to see the rest of the story.
One of the more enjoyable films I’ve seen at TIFF this year. The too clever for itself script escapesfrom its hipster limits through a stellar cast –Woody Harrelson,Christopher Walken,Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell. They simply light up the screen and pull you into the wild premise. Farrell,a screenwriter,is researching a movie about psychopaths,and gets pulled into a scheme to kidnap a gangster’s prized lap dog. As things spiral out of control the writer has to face down his best buddy who turns out to be the biggest psychopath of them all. Violent,off-beat but very charming,this movie will get lots of attention and probably lots of business.
Profane and inconsistent,this 3D horror comedy has lots of potential in its premise and set up but ultimately cannot pay it off. There are actors you recognize and some good sequences,particularly with the action,but it quickly gets thin and tedious. Both the horror and the comedy fall short of what the premise offers. In the end,it is entertaining but unlikely to draw much interest commercially or among genre fans.
This movie is Boogie Nights set in Mumbai. Gritty and uneven,the story puts you in the midst of two brothers who make porn in a climate where such things are very illegal. The younger of the two dreams of making real movies. Thus,he begins to steal from his brother to finance his pet project. Of course,it features a girl he believes to be virtuous and right for the part of his heroine. And,of course,she is lying to him. The precarious house of cards comes down. And things end badly for all involved.