TIFF 2013; or how I learned to queue

Prisoners

Prisoners

You may have heard of Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal who star in Prisoners, but you probably haven’t heard of Denis Villeneuve, unless you’re weird like me and enjoy uncomfortable but intelligent Quebec film.Villeneuve is probably most famous for his Oscar nominated Incendies or his docudrama about the École Polytechnique massacre appropriately called Polytechnique.

Prisoners is Villeneuve’s first English-language film, and the first example of…

If you want to make money, go English.

In this film, two families are celebrating Thanksgiving. Their two young daughters go missing… UH OH! You think that’s the events getting bad, you’re mistaken; things go from bad to worse. Gyllenhaal plays the cop searching for the girls; he provides the procedural part of the film. Jackman plays a dad who’s out for revenge; and that’s where the shit hits the fan.

I left the film on a high. The film was masterfully shot and executed, and it will have your heart racing.

The Grand Seduction

The Grand Seduction

Contender number two for the award of

If you want to make money, go English.

The Grand Seduction is a remake of a French Canadian film called, oddly, La grande séduction. The producers figured, “Hey! We’ve got something good here, it’s a pretty universal story, we can make money by letting anglos see it!” Except they thought that in French. The producers got Don McKellar to direct the film, and I couldn’t think of a better reason to see a film.

In The Grand Seduction, a small Newfoundland community has been impoverished for years living on welfare. Murray’s wife moves to town (St. John’s) to work. He feels less of a man and finds himself in the position of needing to bring work back to his community. He realizes that one of the many hurdles is that the harbour1 needs a doctor. Thus begins the grand seduction, making Dr. Lewis fall in love with this small community. Oh, and Gordon Pincent provides much comic relief.

How I Live Now

How I Live Now

Why are teenagers so dumb? That’s what I thought through most of the film. After a nuclear detonation in London, an American teenager is too stupid to get on a plane back to the U.S. because she loves the guy she met a week ago. Why are they outside?!?! Have they not heard of radiation?

Kevin MacDonald’s film is okay. It’s an interesting look at children in a post-apocalyptic world, but my god children are stupid. Also, you hear Kevin MacDonald’s name and you expect a comedy.

Le-Demantelement_reference

Le démantèlement

Jesus Christ, this film is depressing. The director described the film as stories of little ends of the world, you know, but in French. It’s the story of a man and his relationship with his daughters, and a story of a man and his relationship with his world, specifically his farm. Gaby is getting up there in age, his daughters are adults and living in Montreal, he’s living alone with his dog tending to his sheep farm.

The film is beautifully shot, quiet and paced like life on a farm. It’s still as the world collapses. 8 thumbs up!

The Double

The Double

The was expecting to crown Le démantèlement as my “best of,” but then The Double wooed me. Richard Ayoade’s second feature film as director, it was nice to see him return to the role. I, and most, know him mostly as Maurice Moss, the nerdy tech in BBC’s The IT Crowd.

Or maybe you know him as Saboo, a member of the board of shamen on The Mighty Boosh.

Or even as terrible actor Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

Or just him improving…

So what was I saying? Ayoade’s first film Submarine is a charming film in a similar style to Wes Anderson’s films. This new film is a complete departure as The Double is based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel of the same name. Stylistically, it feels like the little brother to Terry Gilliam’s brilliant film Brazil. The Double borrows heavily from Gilliam’s film, and creates a world that somewhat mirrors Gilliam’s. It works extremely well to take the film out of time, but at some points does hurt the film by its obvious “homage.”

The film is funny. It’s damn funny, and Jesse Eisenberg delivers his best performance while Wallace Shawn reprises his role from The Incredibles.

It’s damn good.

  1. It’s a harbour, not a town. []

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