Monday, September 17, 2007

TIFF Finale

It was a busy weekend that ended with a bevy of adorable cats and kittens. That's why this final review is up 3 days late.

Friday night I saw Weirdsville. Oddly enough, I didn't realize it was a Canadian production until I was in the theatre. Starring Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley, and directed by Allan Moyle (Pump Up The Volume, Empire Records) it's the story of two stoners and their night that involved drug pushers, a not-quite-dead prostitute girlfriend, satanists, medieval dwarves, hippie millionaires, and sprayable mayonnaise. It was a great way to end the festival.

Dexter (the quite, contemplative one) and Royce (the ideas man) are in debt to a drug pusher. To avoid getting their thumbs cut off, they take a job selling drugs to cover the debt. This is really just to buy time to rip off a safe from a millionaire hippie who is in the hospital. Things go wrong, Royce's girfriend Matilida (Taryn Manning) dies, and they go to bury her at an abandoned drive-in. Here they run into some satanists and the chase is on. Dwarves get involved later, paths cross, hilarity ensues.

It was a fun movie. The production value was quality, especially for a 17 day shoot. There is an undeniable chemistry between Bentley and Speedman. You could honestly believe their friendship was genuine. They were often at the verge of killing one another, but were obviously there for their friend. This chemistry propelled the film through its strange twists and turns.

The Canadian references were subtle enough that they were appreciated by the audience without making the movie unintelligible to a non-Canuck audience. The comedy was universal, and the light-hearted tone of the whole film meant the expected resolution and denouement was acceptable in its context. Definitely a worthwhile viewing.


The fest this year was very good. Solid films throughout, and my selection of films was one of the broader ones I've had.

My Winnipeg - Guy Maddin's trippy black and white homage to getting the hell out of his hometown. Won best Canadian film at the fest.

Chacun Son Cinema - 35 3-minute shorts from some the world's greatest directors about the experience of cinema. Not a one that didn't draw in the audience in its short allotment of time.

Erik Nietzsche The Early Years - Lars Von Trier's struggles with the Danish film school.

American Venus - A woman goes nuts without her guns while visiting us crazy Canadians.

Breakfast with Scot - A gay ex Maple Leaf-cum-broadcaster tries to straighten out his gay quasi-nephew.

Vexille - An ass-kicking future raid of Japan in one of the most visually jaw-dropping animated films I've seen.

Honeydripper - John Sayles serves another multi-course feast of a movie that leaves you feeling satisfied and happy. Blues becomes Rock 'N Roll and saves a bar in 1950's Alabama.

Walk All Over Me - Tricia Helfer and Leelee Sobieski are dominatrixes (dominatricies?) with gangster problems.

Sukiyaki Western Django - Japanese Samurai Spaghetti Western in Japanese-pronounced English from the mind of Takeshi Miike. Weirdly brilliant.

Weirdsville - Two stoners, drug pushers, dead girlfriends, satanists, dwarves, hippies, and lives saved with baby powder.

It was a great time, here's looking forward to TIFF 2008.

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