Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lev All Over. By Way of Toronto

Our young proxy TIFF sampler Lev (pictured left) is resting up today in the midst of the film festival before a four and half hour guerilla journey with Benicio Del Toro tomorrow morning. Perhaps they'll give festival goers an opportunity to stretch their legs in the middle.
Hi again. I'm back from my fifth day of watching movie after movie after movie. To some it may not seem like a lot. There are people who see 40 films, and I've only seen nine so far, but three films in one day is more than enough for me.
I feel Lev's fatigue. When I went to TIFF I tried the 30 film package. I met folks who were seeing more and I didn't envy them so much as wish to gift them with protective goggles. I never knew the eyes could hurt as badly as the ass after lengthy movie sits. But individual constitutions will vary. I suggest the 30 film package if you ever go there. See how much your eyes can take!

But back (to back to back movies) with Lev...
(In order that I saw them)

The Wrestler - Very good. Not quite as great as you may have been reading, and not up to the standard of Aronofsky's last two films. It's main problems lie within a script that is a little too cliche and has some bad dialogue. Thankfully, Aronofsky knows how to direct. He's got some good actors working with him (as he always seems to get). Believe everything you've been hearing about Mickey Rourke, he's really quite superb. B+
Lev also notes that Gus Van Sant was at the screening and that Aronofsky was quite eloquent introducing the film. I can't wait to see this. Looking forward to experiencing Mickey Rourke win renewed respect (I liked him in the 80s and damn but he was terrific in Sin City) ...and to see my girlfriend Marisa Tomei again.
Gigantic - An average, quirky indie starring Paul Dano (who attended the screening) & Zooey Deschanel. The two leads are likeable enough to save a mediocre script and some of the unfortunate plot points are handled nicely. Still, I'm kinda tired of clever, quirky indies. B-

Zift - AHHHHH! What a waste of a movie! I was completely un-engaged. Horrible cinematography (shot on 35mm yet it looks like digital. How do you manage that??). Badly acted, edited, written film that was only 90 something minutes yet felt like three times that. F

The Burning Plain - I wanted to like this. For the first hour I kept on excusing all its faults, but in the end it just exemplified all the bad qualities of Arriaga/Inarritu films. Every plot point and twist if painfully obvious, and unlike Babel there's no Adrianna Barazza here to bring you to tears. C-

Four Nights With Anna
- (pictured above) Very good Polish film about a man obsessed with the girl next door. Feels like a film made in the 70's that would be on Criterion today. One thing I've noticed at TIFF this year is how poorly most movies are shot and edited. So much coverage and so many cuts spoil numerous scenes, especially dialogue scenes. Director Jerzy Skolimowski and DP Adam Sikora shot Four Nights With Anna well, keeping the camera moving, and creating tension by long, suspenseful takes. Great mood and acting. (Atom Egoyan was at the screening) B+/A-
There's a critical roundup on this film over @ GreenCine too for those that are interested in hearing more plaudits.
Acolytes - Crappy Australian horror film. Shot on HD, looked awful. Terrible stylistic choices. Poor acting. Convoluted story. Not recommended. D+
Lev is making me jealous. Why am I in DC instead of Toronto? grrrrr. At least I have NYFF to look forward to which begins... well, any day now -- Monday to be specific. Stay tuned for my posts from the Walter Reade (yes, I'm soon to return to my homeland. Though I might miss the first few days of the critics screenings)

1 comment:

RJ said...

Four nights with Anna now has me intrigued . . .