September 07, 2008

TIFF File (Up Up and Away'd)

The stars don't tell the whole story, of course, but for quick reference purposes, here's a rundown of everything I've screened so far @ this year's TIFF, followed by brief commentary:

    • Gigantic (d. Matt Aselton) - **
    • Synecdoche, New York (d. Charlie Kaufman) - ****(?)
    • Adoration (d. Atom Egoyan) - *
    • The Wrestler (d. Darren Aronofsky) - ***1/2
    • Not Quite Hollywood (d. Mark Hartley) - ***
    • Examined Life (d. Astra Taylor) - **1/2
    • Two Legged Horse (d. Samira Makhmalbaf) - **1/2
    • Rachel Getting Married (d. Jonathan Demme) - **
    • 35 Shots (d. Claire Denis) - ***1/2
    • Gomorrah (d. Matteo Garrone) - ***
    • Lorna's Silence (ds. Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne) - ***1/2
    • The Girl from Monaco (d. Anne Fontaine) - **
    • Derrière moi (d. Rafaël Ouellet) - **1/2
    • A Christmas Tale (d. Arnaud Desplechin) - ***
So far I appear to be in the minority on Rachel Getting Married (the praise-by-way-of-Altman comparisons must have Altman turning in his grave) and Lorna's Silence (pretty much said it all in my capsule). On the other hand, I'm slowly coming around to the positive consensus on Cannes Grand Prix winner Gomorrah: its title a play on the Camorra, better known as the Mafia, the picture is about the trickle-down effect that organized crime has had on an industrial Italian city not unlike "The Wire"'s Baltimore. But if "The Wire" too often betrayed its gritty authenticity with platitudes and contrivances (in the show's defense, I think viewers ascribed a documentary realism to it that the creators themselves, telling a modern Greek tragedy, never actively pursued), Gomorrah is told at such a clinical remove that it actually made me feel a little sociopathic for how frequently disengaged I was by it all. And yet, I'm finding it has a half-life greater than almost anything else listed above. Go fig; just wish I could find a way to articulate that paradox.

Feel free to discuss "True Blood" in this thread, by the by; seems to be the non-TIFF highlight of the week. Viva Anna.

27 comments:

Clint said...

Great reading so far, Bill. You going to make it to The Wrestler?

Bill C said...

As a matter of fact, I think I will; the presser for it is tomorrow afternoon, really looking forward to it.

Jefferson said...

With Anna Paquin's exposed thigh right there, why is Stephen Moyer palming his own Dockers?

Bill C said...

I know, man. Big Gay Vampire, I guess.

Saw THE WRESTLER--it's pretty great. Capsulitizing it as we speak.

Berandor said...

Anybody here seen Hurt Locker? I just heard a few good things, but not from a source I trust.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887912/

theoldboy said...

The Wire did what now?

DaveA said...

I'm dying to see the new Kurosawa, which is apparently running at TIFF. That guy is a genius. Bill, will/did you see it?

Bill C said...

Yeah, I was waiting for that (re "The Wire"). I just marathoned the entire series, maybe just so I could talk shit about it.

I think I missed any opp to see the Kurosawa.

Many apologies, this Fest is kicking my ass. I don't know when I'll have the next cap or caps up, hopefully soon.

Bill C said...

Scratch that, my review of THE WRESTLER is now live. Apologies: I didn't have time to write a short capsule.

Rachel said...

So... THE WRESTLER is Evan Rachel Wood's first non-terrible film?

Anonymous said...

Bill, the first Wrestlemania was held in March of 1985, not 1986.

Bill C said...

Fuck. Will fix.

Yes, Rachel, that is correct. Though ironically, she is sort of terrible in it all the same.

Today I saw SYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK, the directorial debut/kamikaze mission of one Charlie Kaufman. It. Is. Fucked.

This was actually a horrible, horrible fucking day for me all around, made palatable by the fact that I saw Emily Watson and Zooey Deschanel topless within the span of about 2 hours.

Jefferson said...

Sorry for the rough road, Bill ... thanks for making the journey on our behalf.

Bill C said...

Aw shit, Jefferson, didn't mean to throw a pity party. But thanks.

Berandor said...

When you say "It. Is. Fucked.", do you mean in a good way?

Also, sad to hear Emily Watson cleared out before Zooey came over. Do they even know of each other, or are you keeping them in the dark?

Carry on now.

BLH said...

Pics?

theoldboy said...

Berandor: I think "**** (?)" is your answer.

Bill C said...

Fucked in a good way, yes. Borderline indescribable, though. Plan to tackle it in a blog piece and finish some other caps just as soon as I can type well again--hand got crushed in a door today.

Jefferson said...

Ouch! Was Lou Lumenick responsible?

Bill C said...

Oh man, that's awful.

I have my own Ebert anecdote, actually, albeit much less eventful: on my way up the aisle to find a seat for THE WRESTLER, a giant hitchhiking thumb jutted out in front of me and it was the Rog, trying to snag my attention. I yanked him into a very sentimental arm-squeeze/handshake that in retrospect was probably too familiar (he smiled, though), but it was my first time seeing him since his various surgeries, and he was also the first familiar face I'd run into in four days of Fest-ing.

His anecdote sadly doesn't surprise me. The Fest was a real prick parade this year.

Bill C said...

P.S.: Those who bemoaned the absence of a CLONE WARS review should check out Alex's take on the film here. It's vintage Jackson.

theoldboy said...

When I read the headline about Lumenick going bugfuck on Honest Ebe, I first thought, considering Lumenick writes his awful reviews for a conservative rag, that it might have been because of that editorial Ebert did about Sarah Palin. I imagined Lumenick approaching Ebert after a screening and exclaiming "YOU BASTARD!" and leaping on him. The actual story is less cinematic, but somehow even more freakishly douchebaggy.

Berandor said...

I'm looking forward to that Kaufman movie now. I hope it won't take two years to get to Germany.

BLH said...

Seeing as Walter did the Dark Knight/Godfather 2 thing, might I be allowed to suggest that Burn After Reading is (or at least feels) as good as Dr. Strangelove on first viewing?

mr b said...

Burn After Reading was great. It fits the plot of the Big Lebowski loosely, with some major happenings occurring at similar places in the movie. Anyone else notice this?

BLH said...

Burn After Reading is self-referential as a whole. There's a traffic-light scene that begins with a sequence of shots recalling No Country for Old Men, and the scene ends with Frances McDormand exclaiming "Oh, for pete's sake!"

Although I'd say the film it reminds of more than any other is The Palm Beach Story.

Bill C said...

Dying to see BURN AFTER READING.

Apropos of nothing, watched THE GODFATHER on Blu-ray today. Breathtakingly beautiful restoration, destined to be panned by idiot home-theatre reviewers because it doesn't shirk from grain or a general '70s patina.

Also, I picked up an allegedly fullscreen release of PARENTS on DVD for $2 and, lo and behold, it's letterboxed. Non-anamorphic, but it blows up nicely with minimal artifacting. Just an FYI to anyone looking for a decent copy (this one's a "Red Carpet Double Feature" from Lionsgate that also has the Ally Sheedy FEAR on it).