Friday, September 22, 2006

TIFF Wrap-Up in Short.

Probably the best TIFF festival in the past 5 years for me, perhaps since I've been going even...Pub nights were fun. And for some reason I bumped into this couple from Knoxville, TN at what seemed like over a third of the films I was at. Good Q&As from the cast from For Your Consideration, as well as Chris Smith a the Midnight Severance Screening. Also the Del Toro Q&A was one of the most intelligent and passionate ones I've been at since, uh, well the Devil's Backbone Q&A.

Here are all my films, a rating out of 10, and a brief comment. Live links on film titles in the below list go to full reviews I've written. If you are interested in anything that I've not written on, nearly all the below films has been written about by the staff in the sites alphabetical review archives.

Abandoned, The 4 Atmosphere to spare and a winning metaphor, but too repetitive. Would have been a nearly perfect 45 minute film.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane 3 A few points for portraying teens as confused and desperate for attention. The actual film construction leaves a lot to be desired.

Banquet, The 9 Completely recontextualizing Hamlet as a story of unfulfilled love and desire, and told from Gertudes point of view. Perfect Martial Arts scenes complement the epic material. Masterful.

Black Sheep 6 Owes just a little too much to Peter Jacksons Dead Alive, but has almost note perfect comic timing and some great set-pieces.

Brand Upon the Brain! 10 A once-in-a-lifetime experience with Live Orchestra, narrator and foley artists. Still Maddins latest is him at top form, and a worthy 'sequel' to Cowards Bend the Knee.

Cashback 8 Biggest out of the blue surprise for me at the festival this year, early 20's confusion filtered through a realization of the possibilities in the world. A romantic feel good movie for guys.

Crime, Un 8 Here is a film which fully trusts its audience to follow along with an intelligent and complex story with some dark corners and darker emotions. Best of Breed for modern noir.

Election 6 Arch and experimental, the film gets a bit muddled in the middle, but is perhaps the most ambitious HK effort since the 1990s. The opening and closing segments of the film are masterfully brutal and uncompromising.

Election 2 8 Keeping the ambitions of the first one, and having the background out of the way, lets Election 2 flourish. This sequel is more focused and richer.

End of the Line 4 Great opening jump-scare. A muddled plot and inconsistent tone and overall flat aesthetic don't capitalize on the great premise.

Everything's Gone Green 7 A very nice ode to both Vancouver and Canada. A smooth and excellent transition of aspects of Douglas Coupland's novels into a winning screenplay

Exiled 10 Johnny To's action and comedy finest hour. The most fun I had at a festival screening this year

Fido 7 Setting this Zombie Comedy in the 1950s and casting good actors made Fido a surprise of the festival, and Canadian genre cinema.

For Your Consideration 7 Christopher Guests weakest film, but probably still the funniest movie you will see all year. Impressivley, it is 85% improvised.

Fountain, The 9 A movie much simpler than the critics would have you believe. It is emotionally honest and big spectacle of grand ideas. An instant classic worthy of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

HANA 6 For its gentle tone and serious subject matter, the film does run on a bit long. But it is beautiful, intelligent and warm.

Host, The 8 Expectations were high and mostly met. The ability to switch tone and style within the film are signs of a master at work.

Invisible Waves 4 After Last Life in the Universe, this film feels like a retread, and a bad one at that (although it is not without moments of humour and interest). Even Doyle's cinematography is lacking.

Jade Warrior 5 A victim of my own expectations. A smart story which failed to live up to its promise.

King and the Clown 9 A delightful blend of Korean History, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and even shades of a gay melodrama. It perfectly captures the joy of performing is a smart and slickly entertaining way.

Little Children 8 Complex, darkly funny, and timely satire on the current culture in America. Its only flaw is talking down to the audience on occasion.

Macbeth 2 Conceptually interesting, but failed attempt to merge Shakespeare's Macbeth with Aussie crime culture.

Pan's Labyrinth 10 Sublime fairy tale for adults is stylish, smart, and earns every ounce of its emotional (and theologically honest) punch.

Prague 10 As perfect as a crumbling relationship drama can ever be. Flawless direction, brilliant acting, and perfect screenplay.

Princess 7 A film designed to provoke and alienate its core audience. Not necessarily a bad thing, but still hard to watch. You cannot always having things both ways, but this film certainly tries.

Renaissance 5 Gorgeous sci-fi noir is technically flawless, but emotionally inert.

Rescue Dawn 6 Powerful and well acted, but curiously long-winded in parts and stands in the shadow of Aguirre: Wrath of God.

Severance 8 About as perfect as this type of movie can ever get. It plays with horror conventions and slyly pushes the envelope on social commentary inbetween big laughs and gory violence.

Sheitan 6 Loopy and hilariously fun to watch. Vincent Cassel is as whacked out as everything else on display here. Oh, and this has to be the most politically incorrect film at this years festival.

Shortbus 7 A bit obvious in the scripting, but is the first 9/11 hard-core sex feel good movie ever made. And there is something to be said for that.

Slumming 7 A great metaphysical character study with some sublime moments.

Ten Canoes 6 Overly long and slightly redundant (between the subtitles and voice-over narration), this aboriginal cultural document is surprisingly funny and pleasantly vulgar. People are people, regardless of culture.

Time 7 A movie designed to provoke, similar to Little Children or anything by Von Trier, it is as technically and aesthetically skillful as its characters are unlikable.

Wake, The 5 A nice story telling style and script are done in by some pacing issues and curious lack of tension. I still don't know what went wrong with this film.

Woman on the Beach 8 An intelligent and intimate look at how people become attracted and distracted with one another.


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