Tsumetai nettaigyo (Cold Fish)

COLD FISH is one of the more brutal, provocative, and frankly insane films I’ve ever seen. It’s fantastically, at times nauseatingly violent, yet has an overt humour and deliberate pace that makes it a strange, provocative beast indeed. We’re introduced to a somber family making a go with their small exotic fish store. When their […]

Machete Maidens Unleashed

Another of the clip show docs, brought by the team behind the previous MM flick NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD about the exploitation cinema of Australia. This time we’re introduced to the films from the Philippines, a mix of boobs, bombs and blood that saw independent American exhibitors looking to the Islands for cheap labour and more […]

140 character reviews- 2010

Well, with trying to get as many films in as possible, full (or even capsule) reviews are being delayed.  In the meantime, here’s a sampling of a number of tweets that have been sent out realtime during the first few days of the fest. BALADA TRISTE-It’s as if Hitchcock cast NORTH BY NORTHWEST with homicidal […]

What’s Wrong With Virginia

It’s been mere months since (first time) director Dustin Lance Black picked up a golden, naked-man statue for his script MILK. In that film, we had some extraordinary performances, a great sense of time and place with witty dialogue, complex characters and a strong sense of story. What makes this film so very, very wrong […]

The Trip

THE TRIP’s route to success is simple – get two brilliant improvisers, throw them in a car together as they traipse through the Lake Distract and have them slowly, inevitably get on each other’s nerves. It’s WITHNAIL AND I with actors that could actually get work. Winterbottom allows the two leads to simple be heightened […]

Casino Jack

Kevin Spacey plays felled megalobyist Jack Abramoff in this comedic take on one of the more repulsive American political controversies of the last several years. As the titular jack plays one Aboriginal tribe against another in an effort to gain both financial incentives and political power, he finds himself being challenged by some of those […]

Miral

Full disclosure – Schnable once called me an asshole in front of a crowd of about 1200 people at the Uptown. Now, I haven’t held that against him ’till now, he’s a provocative and often compelling filmmaker, known for his brazen style and strong artistic sense. Which is all the more surprising that he has […]

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

And thus the rehabilitation of Eliot Spitzer as a public figure begins anew, with this well made and engaging documentary about the events surrounding the removal of the Governor of New York from office. Spitzer’s participation in the documentary sets it apart from any type of slash-and-burn piece, but what’s remarkable here is that his […]

Passion Play

It’s usually fun to write bad reviews, coming up with that great bon mot that effectively explains just how putrid this or that given film is. Take the hyperbole at face value – PASSION PLAY isn’t just one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, it’s painful to even recollect and write about afterward. When […]

Another Year

It was about halfway through ANOTHER YEAR that I had one of those rare, sublime cinematic moments, where you feel you’re entirely part of the work on screen, somehow a participant (if passive) of the events transpiring. Quite honestly, I felt almost a voyeur, uncomfortable about what was transpiring, but desperate to somehow make things […]

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

RARE EXPORTS is indeed a very rare thing, a smart, articulate suspense film with genuine chills, yet ostensibly made as a “kids film”. I had one of those truly memorable experiences with this picture – I spent much of it thinking that the one person in the world that needed to see the flick was […]

“SHUTTUP, CRIME!” SUPER premiere photos

Collected here are a slew of photos from tonight’s WORLD PREMIERE of SUPER, including LIV TYLER, RAINN WILSON, ELLEN PAGE, Director JAMES GUNN and MM programmer COLIN GEDDES.

Griff the Invisible

GRIFF joins what seems to be a long line of real-guy-as-super-hero movies, this one having the added cachet of being from exotic Australia. The ingredients are here for a fun film, with our hero falling for a woman who facilitates his heroic deeds by helping create the tools of his arsenal, including a celestial, near […]

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

This is one of those “serious” comedies, an ensemble piece with Zach Galifianakis (after the remarkable success of THE HANGOVER) set in the mental health ward of a hospital. Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is a sixteen year old who’s strung way too tight, checking himself into the ward after feeling suicidal. While his feelings of ennui […]

Never Let Me Go

The film starts as yet another English period piece set in a boarding school. Precocious children are playing, but when a ball rolls over the fence, they are prevented from recovering it. Outside the walls of the school, they are told, is a place full of danger they are not able to tread. When a […]

The Illusionist

It seems somewhat ridiculous, but THE ILLUSIONIST was my introduction to the work of Tati. A French artist that elevated the notion of what it was to be a silent clown in much the same way as Chaplin, his works are surreal, humorous and often sweet glimpses into the abnormality of normal events. This film […]

Jack Goes Boating

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut is a charming, incredibly sweet take on love in the big city. Drawn from a play, the films setting remains reasonably contained in scope, but never feels claustrophobic the way some transitions from stage to screen feel. The chemistry between Hoffman and the always fabulous Amy Ryan is a delight, […]

Black Swan

Owing more to Polanksi than Powell/Pressburger, BLACK SWAN is a sumptuous, at times raunchy, but completely intoxicating take on madness, lust, and the passion of dance. One key to appreciating the scope of Aronovky’s brashness in the film lies, I think, in how he chooses to display the credits at the end of the film. […]

The Legend of Beaver Dam

Screened before FUBAR II as a little “amuse bouche” to whet our appetites, BEAVER DAM is a little gem of film. A horror-musical, the film sets off the classic campfire spooky story, with “stumpy Sam” enlisted as the token scary guy of the tale. When Sam shows up and starts mauling the campers, the kids […]

Fubar II

When it first was announced that FUBAR II was going to open the 2010 Midnight Madness slate, I immediately thought it was a terrible idea. I’d not yet seen the original, but I knew it looked like little more than drunk prattling by a bunch of hicks from out west, a SPINAL TAP without good […]

Jing mo fung wan (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen)

This whack of craziness from Andrew Lau includes some of the greatest genre collisions I’ve ever seen. Starting with a epic First World War set piece, we’re introduced to a band of Chinese heroes that use their chop-socky whims to overtake Germans, after the Europeans have (naturally) fled in a fit of cowardice. This first […]

Bad Faith

A women leaves work only to see a man bleeding to death in an alley way. As if in a trance, she approaches the blood, dipping her hands in the gore. The man is apparently the victim of the Bayonet Killer, a person that is serially hunting through the streets of Gothenberg. As bodies pile […]

Las Marimbas del Infierno (Marimbas from Hell)

I tried so hard to give this a chance, it sounded all so promising. A small, independent mockumentary about a musician that has lost everything save for his beloved instrument, which itself is under threat of repossession by some thugs. Quirky musical moments, joining a traditional instrument to a death Metal band all while exploring […]

Snabba Cash (Easy Money)

First of all, the title SNABBA CASH is just snappy and fun, pedestrian Swedish words made more quirky as heard by English ears. EASY MONEY, the official translation, does provide the requisite irony – nothing’s easy about getting cash in this world, particularly when you’re engaged in the often deadly game of pimping dope. This […]

The Town

A lot has happened to Ben Affleck since winning that Oscar for GOOD WILL HUNTING. Hollywood made an attempt at making him a old school action star, a romantic leading man, even tabloid fodder with the whole Lopez thing. In this latest chapter, Affleck has emerged as a respected filmmaker. After the success behind the […]

A Beginner’s Guide to Endings

Have you heard the one about the neo-Nazi, the Cylon, and the Daily Show correspondent?  The punchline is that in the end it’s all Mr. White’s fault. In this ensemble piece, we have a strange little morality tale involving people much better in their more famous rolls, but still pleasing enough to occupy 90 minutes […]

Daydream Nation

In this genre bending tale, Kat Denning plays a highschool girl that has moved in from out of town, only to find a school full of stoner rejects. Deciding to reinvent herself (basing her new persona on what she claims to be her idol, Monica Lewinsky) she seduces her hunk of an English teacher. To […]

Armadillo

It’s in his eyes that you see a glimpse of genuine shock and fear.  This is not a fear brought on out of weakness; the wound is clearly painful enough to cause distress, but it is not life threatening, not so catastrophic as to cause the mind to distance itself from the gore.  His eyes […]

Last Night

In this sharp, well drawn drama, a married couple find themselves each confronted with private temptations.