Howdy. I just realized that I didn't write anything about the stuff I saw at the Toronto Film Fest back in September. So I'll skim over what I saw. The films I saw at this year's Fest were for the most part, enjoyable. It was definitely an improvement from last year, but it didn't have a crazy small film that I loved as much as WILD ZERO, last year. That said, the Midnight Madness program did have a lot of quality stuff in it. Anyways, here're the films I saw:
Friday the 7th
HOW'S YOUR NEWS?
Ugh. Don't wanna get into this. The half-hour of it that I watched before I walked out, sucked though.
Crazy Japanese film, with zombies, yakuza, samurai action, and big fucking guns. It's a little long, but it's great fun. It's made up of more than 80% action.
Saturday the 8th
A MA SEOUR! (a.k.a. FAT GIRL)
A good first hour and a bit, plus one of the stupidest endings, equals GARBAGE.
ANTINOME and FULLTIME KILLER
ANTINOME, was a three minute French short, that was pretty cool. It was just a bunch of special effects and violence. Nothing spectacular.
FULLTIME KILLER, is the new HK action film, from directors Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai, starring Andy Lau. It ROCKS! One of, if not, To's most enjoyable films that I've seen. Lau steals the show in what has to be one of the most charismatic performances of the year.
Sunday the 9th
ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU
The new film from Shunji Iwai, is a fantastic film about, among other things, teenage alienation, and music's power to heal. It's a little long, but Iwai's last film SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY was too, so I sort of expected it.
WHAT TIME IS IT THERE?
This was one of the slowest, and most pointless films I've ever seen. BLECH!
Monday the 10th
KAIRO (a.k.a. PULSE)
The new film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It's a horror film, about ghosts trying to keep humans from dying, so as not to populate their realm, but rather to trap themselves in their loneliness. It's an absolutely fantastic film, as both horror, and in that it has something to say.
New Lynch. It's loads of fun, but don't expect it to make sense. I wish I knew what to say about it. It won't be one of my 10 favourite films come year's end, but it's certainly a fun afternoon at the cinema.
CLIP CULT VOL. 1and ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V
CLIP CULT was a collection of music videos, from directors like Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze, and Michael Gondry. Some of the videos weren't great, and a lot of them were so similar in their look and feel, that it got a little tiresome. That said, it was well worth it to see six Chris Cunnigham videos on the big screen. Windowlicker especially. "Not your broke ass, nigga!"
ELECTRIC DRAGON, was a disappointment. It was fun, and worth watching, but it had too much fat. Which for a film that's only an hour long, is not a good thing. If it had been maybe twenty minutes shorter, it would have been fantastic. Tadanobu Asano rocks the house in this flic though! The man is super-cool. Tuesday the 11th
No Films. The festival was shutdown.
Wednesday the 12th
CULT CLIP VOL. 1 and ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V
Yeah, I saw them again for the Cunningham videos.
LE FABLEUX DESTIN D'AMELIE POULIN (a.k.a. AMELIE)
I can't say enough good things about this film. I can't wait to see it again. The best film I saw at the festival, and probably of the year.
EAT and THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT
EAT is a new short from Bill Plympton, about people going to a high class restaurant. A lot of fun. A man having his vomit shoved back into his stomach because the restaurant has a "No Vomiting" policy, is only one of the crazy things you'll see if you get a chance to watch the short.
THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT is a joy. It's a black and white, space rock opera. The most original film I saw at the festival. Hopefully it'll get some sort of release. I want it on DVD, that's for sure. It's got a song in it called THE GIRL WITH THE VAGINA MADE OF GLASS. How can it not be great?
Thursday the 13th
LE PACTE DES LOUPS (a.k.a. BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF)
WOOHOO! This movie was soooo much fun. ROCK ASS!!! If I continue to write about it, I'm just going to write more stupid shit like "ROCKTASTIC!". In addition to seeing a great film, I got to sit about six feet away from Vincent Cassel. That was koo.
Friday the 14th
MUSA THE WARRIOR
Well, it was pretty to look at, but all of the battle scenes looked the same, and there wasn't much of a story to it. It's like a rich and less artistic man's SEVEN SAMURAI, in many ways. It's far too long, and the last 20 minutes must be about 75-85% slow motion.
ICHI THE KILLER
The new film from Takashi Miike, starring Tadanobu "The Man" Asano, about an insane masochistic yakuza member and a wimpy, sadistic killer who cries when he gets mad. The film is all about pushing the limits of violence on film. Because of that, it's not a wholly satisfying experience. It's certainly got some interesting and crazy shit in it though. Asano rocks in this too.
Saturday the 15th
ICHI THE KILLER
Yeah, I saw it again. I'm never going to be able to see it in a theatre again, so...
STRUMPET and VACUUMING COMPLETELY NUDE IN PARADISE
Two new made for BBC Television, shot on video shorts, directed by Danny Boyle. STRUMPET was great. Christopher Ecclesteson (sp?) plays an off kilter bloke named Stray Man, who takes in any stray, and writes song lyrics on his walls. One day he saves a young hitchhiker from some asshole truck driver, and takes her home. She likes playing the guitar naked, and while she does, he sings his lyrics. The film goes on from there, as they go go get a record contract, and so on.
VACUUMING COMPLETELY NUDE... isn't as good, but does have some extremely funny moments ("I shagged a slow girl."). It stars Timothy Spall, who's really funny, except for in the end where the film turns to the "dramatic". That's where it lost me, as I was enjoying it as a comedy, and didn't care about Spall, as much as I guess I was supposed to.
A low budget film about German soldiers during WWII, stuck in a bunker. Underneath the bunker, are haunted tunnels. For what it was, it was a moderately enjoyable film. I think it could have been a lot more enjoyable had it been a short though, because everything before its last act, seemed like nothing more than a build-up to it.
END OF FESTIVAL
I didn't see as many films as I had planned to, as I skipped some of them for sleep, and due to their depressing content, that I just didn't feel like watching this week, but the festival was pretty good this year. I enjoyed my time off work more than anything else. It was nice to be able to relax, and watch a bunch of movies.
My top 5 films of the fest would be:
1- LE FABLEUX DESTIN D'AMELIE POULIN
2- LE PACTE DES LOUPS
4- FULLTIME KILLER
5- THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT
Other movies you should see:
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson rule.
Argento directed horror flic. Very cool. "The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92." That's a tagline, I tellz ya!
DEAD OR ALIVE
Takashi Miike rules!
DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS
Takashi Miike rules!
Who rules? That's right. Takashi Miike.
You're probably gonna have to get bootlegs of the last three folks. Sorry.
TV shows you should watch:
I've got to give mad props to SMALLVILLE, the new show on WB, about Clark Kent as a teenager. I just watched the first 2 episodes this afternoon, and what a great fucking show. Watch it, watch it, watch it!!! Don't forget that THE TICK premieres on November 1st. WATCH IT!!!! The first episode is great, so I've got high hopes for the rest of the series.
CDs you should buy:
SOULJACKER - Eels
SOOOOOOOOOOOO FUCKING GOOD!!!! Album of the year. Not released in the US yet. Just in Canada and the UK.
FOR HIM AND THE GIRLS - Hawksley Workman
I saw him perform a couple weeks ago, and the man is a brilliant performer.
HOLIDAY IN THE SUN - Soundtrack
To be released next month, it's the soundtrack of an Olsen Twins movie. Why should you buy it? Because they do a cover of Weezer's "Island in the Sun". That's gonna be so damn funny. And for all of you who get to see Weezer on the second leg of their tour with Tenacious D, I hate you. When I saw them last month, the opener was fucking shite. But speaking of The D.
TENACIOUS D - Tenacious D
K.G. and J.B. will rock your fucking socks off!
That's it for now. Sorry it's so long. I promise to be brief next issue.