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User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/13 - Lope

Journal by _J_

Lope is a movie about Lope de Vega, an extremely prolific Spanish author and playwright in the time of the Spanish Armada. This was a fun movie that bends historical fact to create a good story.

7/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/12 - The Illusionist

Journal by _J_

The Illusionist is Sylvain Chomet's followup to his Triplets of Belleville. The story of a vaudevillian in a dying business this is a story of loneliness and failure. This depressing content is handled with some lightness and the movie itself is beautifully constructed and painted.

8/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/11 - Bunraku

Journal by _J_

Bunraku is oh so flawed. I think Guy Moshe was trying to ape Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and it didn't work. The style was tedious, the plot was uneven, the editing was weak. Ron Perlman was Ron Perlman; he did the same sort of character he normally does. His character was similar to what he did in I Sell the Dead. Josh Hartnett did a credible job as the Drifter. Demi Moore, Woddy Harrelson and Gackt did credible jobs of their roles. Kevin McKidd was very entertaining has the psychotic Killer 2. But playing psychotic villains always seems fun.

5/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/11 - The Trip

Journal by _J_

The Trip is an improvised comedy starring Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan as themselves touring through fine restaurants in Northern England. It was brilliant. Bitterly sarcastic, these two share the interactions of two people who have been friends for a long time and take pleasure in making eachother laugh. It was a Brilliant movie.

8/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/11 - Armadillo

Journal by _J_

Camp Armadillo is a base for military operations in Afghanistan. This documentary follows a squad of men through a 6 month deployment into a combat situation. Tearful farewells gives way to the dusty, tedious fear of existing in a guerrilla war 1000m from Taliban living among your neighbours. The highlight of the film was a firefight followed by the aftermath.

8/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/10 - A Night for Dying Tigers

Journal by _J_

A Night for Dying Tigers is director Terry Miles' meditation on jaded excesses and troubled interactions of a quartet of siblings. The eldest is about to go off to jail which forms the pretext for an evening of eating, drinking, fucking, hate, and love. There are no innocents in this movie and all the performances are good. Most of the action takes place in the family home - soon to be sold off - which acts as a character in the show. The writing and editing were good, not great, as was the directing. Overall I enjoyed the film but it lacked that final 10% to put it over the top.

7/10.

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/10 - Edge

Journal by _J_

Edge or Kray

WWII was a different war for the Russians. As we eventually found out up to one quarter of the population was killed and the aftermath allowed Stalin's consolidation of power and the expansion of the labour camps of Siberia. It is in a post-war labour camp where Edge takes place. A shell-shocked train engineer and soldier, Ignat, back from the front is given a sinecure in the labour camp where he makes friends and enemies and where he drinks moonshine like the rest. When he discovers and rescues an old train engine he also brings back a young, beautiful German girl who missed the war entirely in the Siberian Taiga. What follows is a social descent into chaos of the society of the camp when Ignat seeks to protect the girl while staving off his own hatred for her German heritage.

It was a good movie, not a great movie.

7/10.

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/10 - Cirkus Columbia

Journal by _J_

Cirkus Columbia is a film by Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic. It is a well balanced tale of a separation and a divorce set against the disintegration of Bosnian society. Contrasting something as deadly as the Bosnian civil war with domestic strife is a tricky prospect and can descend into offensive silliness. Tanovic walks this line with precision expertly mirroring the rising strife between individuals with the rising ethnic tensions. It's always nice when a movie like this has a heart and this one does. My favourite of the festival, so far.

8/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/09 - Legend of the Fist

Journal by _J_

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Andrew Lau, co-director of Infernal Affairs, returns with this followup and homage to Fist of Legend. Donnie Yen takes over the role of Chen Zhen in this action flick set in pre-WWII Shanghai. This movies succumbs to some of the usual PRC themes of "Unity of all China including Taiwan" and "Japanese are Evil" (for good reason). But the movie itself had some bad cgi, soundtrack overdubbing or sync issues and, as is often the case, wire-fighting that was just a little too out there.

I'm still waiting for a Chinese/Hong Kong director to play with the standard Kung-Fu movie themes. This was not that movie.

Overall I enjoyed it but it was not great cinema. It was entertaining enough but the problems I mentioned earlier as well as weak plotting and editing drew me out of the film.

6/10

User Journal

Journal: TIFF 10 - 09/09 - Film Socialisme

Journal by _J_

Film Socialisme is the latest outing for Jean-Luc Godard. I swear this guy is just messing with the audience. The result of superior craftsmanship, Godard loves playing with the camera technology and sound to produce a disjointed sensory assault. I was happy that it ended.

5/10

Movies

Journal: TIFF09/02 Daybreakers

Journal by _J_

Vampires of the future take over human society and relegate them to serve as a food source. As the vampires become more numerous the humans start to run out. It is allegories for resource depletion and dramatization of epidemiology and is more of a speculative fiction movie than horror. As with any well made SF the filmmakers - Spierig brothers Michael and Peter - did a solid job of creating a consistent universe.

8/10

Movies

Journal: TIFF09/02 Backyard

Journal by _J_

Who is killing the women of Juarez, Mexico? A female police captain transfers into the city and makes it her mission to shut down the system of abuse. I have to say that I sympathize with aims of the filmmakers; this sort of violence is too common even in first world countries. That being said the movie was at turns harrowing and thrilling if a little heavy handed. The lead actress - Ana de la Reguera - was an excellent lead.

7/10

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