2001 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
September 9


A family day - my step bro got hitched, so was doing the take-a-day-off-to-go-to-a-wedding thing. Here it is day four and I still haven't seen the major mind-bending genius film for this year. Let's hope it's still ahead...

To fill up some review space, I'm including fest films that I waited until after to see, Hollywood product that I knew would be viewable after the fest closed. Let's just say it's good I waited...



From Hell
Directed by: Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes



The festival program book suggested that this film is based on "The Citizen Kane of graphic novels." Now, I'm not sure what that means. Granted, I like to ironically throw around Kane like the rest of them, but I'm pretty sure there was no irony here. Does that mean it's the graphic novel of graphic novels? The one that created the first modern graphic novel? Or perhaps the graphic novel that pissed of the rich and powerful, made the creator a pariah in Hollywood, and would only get world acclaim after the French realized its greatness.

This debate, of course, is far more interesting that the film From Hell. This is yet another Jack the Ripper tale, with a bowler-hatted Depp lusting for a cockney whore who just may be the next victim.

In a strange way, the style of the film mirrors what Baz did in Moulin Rouge, but here it's clear that the crazy Ozzonian simply has more sense with his kinetic style. The sweeping CGI camera moves and frantic pacing seem simply gimmicky, and neither provide a comic-book feel or a sense of exhilaration and mood.
The performances are mediocre at best (why does Heather Graham continue to act? She should have done Rollergirl and left it at that, the peak of her career). Robbie Coltrane's girth makes for some fun, and his accent is a nice authentic foil to the attempts made by the Yanks in the cast. Even Ian Holm seemed to be walking through his part.

This is a film that should probably go back where it came from.

Grade: C-



Training Day
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

"Muthafukah. Muthafukah muthafukah muthafukah muthafukah."

And so, the delicate prose of this film leaps out of the speakers, dancing in one's ears like beautiful music.

"Muthafukah. Muthafukah muthafukah. Shiiiiiit."

Not a bad way to describe this film, actually. Denzel's being Sammy L. Jackson with a total lack of conviction, while pouty Ethan Hawke is the token pansy who's being shown the dark side of being a Narcotics oficer.
This results, basically, in a really crappy day for Ehan's character, having done drugs (and sobered up really quickly), getting drunk, getting shot, shooting several people, saving someone from rape, being kidnapped by latino gangs, etc., etc.

My guess is that the conceit was meant to be that Denzel's a bad guy, and that's fun to watch. Instead, this just adds another to his list of bad film's he's acted in - I'm sure that he's been in more Virtuosity's than he's been in Glory's. Not even worth a rental.

Grade: D+