Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recommended Listening for Never Let Me Go

Among some of the many new movies you should try to catch (Fubar II, Easy A, The American, I'm Still Here and Machete) you should also check out Never Let Me Go.

Never Let Me Go takes a well worn sci-fi trope and holds it up as a mirror on the human condition. Or perhaps mirror isn't the correct word, because the situation faced by the characters simply magnifies something we all share. I wont spoil the details, although they're getting increasingly impossible to avoid.
(I saw a trailer for Never Let Me Go that just about revealed every single important moment, not to mention critical lines of dialogue....but that's another rant for another day.)

This is beautiful meditative movie that take places over the span of 3 decades. Three friends Ruth, Kathy and Tommy grow up together and confront their uniquely limited destiny.

At the very least it is a heartbreakingly beautiful film, shot with a palette of soft mustard yellows and earthy greens. The setting, a seemingly arrested version of 1950's Britain.

And the cast, well this is mainly Carey Mulligan's film. Watching her piercing gaze made me realize just how much intelligence was missing from her Blogger Barbie role in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Also, Keira Knightley does a fine angry scared girl and Andrew Garfield made me sit up and think, "Who is that guy?" (Answer: The Guy who is the next Peter Parker and now I understand why.)

Anyway, all of this was all just an excuse to suggest if you enjoyed the film, or the book it was based on, there's a terrific discussion with the screenwriter Alex Garland and the original novelist Kazuo Ishiguro at the creative screening magazine podcast. Enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Post TIFF Recap

Howdy! TIFF is done and I'm here to share what has been an extremely busy season of cinema.

So here are some of the highlights from my time at the Toronto International Film Festival. Don't miss 'em when they return.

The Trip
It's the British Odd Couple on a road trip, except that it feels like a documentary and we're in the hands of the subversive director Michael Winterbottom. A relaxed, droll and silly ride, this is highly recommend for fans of Steve Coogan or James Bond. (That will make sense after you see it.)

13 Assassins
From the director of Ichi the Killer comes a classic samurai tale. A Japanese spin on the "one last job" genre. 13 Assassins finds a group of samurais on an impossible mission, to kill the sadistic emperor who is ruining the country. 13 men versus an army. Makes 300 look like the cartoon it was based on.

One of the strongest films I watched and a film that totally caught me off guard. NED is short for Non Educated Delinquent. Set in Glasgow in the 1970s, the movie follows the tale of John. A bright kid with a brother in a bad spot of trouble. Soon he's on the same path, running with the wrong boys and getting shunted into the slow class at school. Think Gommorah meets Lord of the Flies. Very strong stuff, look for it.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog serves up the best 3D experience since Avatar. A lyrical, whimsical trip into the Chauvet Caves of Frances. This made my fest.

You'll be hearing more about this later this fall. But let me just say, this prison drama starring Edward Norton and Robert De Niro is a better movie than the trailer suggests. Will surprise you.


Tough to watch yes, but worth it, not just for Javier Bardem's performance as a struggling father in Barcelona, but also for the unvarnished look at life below the social safety net. A world of street vendors and sweatshops, but it's also populated by real people as director Alejandro González Iñárritu reminds us. A more tightly drawn web than Babel with some haunting set pieces.

Easy Money

From Sweden another look at the criminal underground. Drug runners, the upper and lower class all meet in the middle of this wild ride. A snappy little flick which will no doubt be remade into a movie starring Paul Walker any day now.

Gorbaciòf - The Cashier who Liked Gambling

Il Divo's Toni Servillo knocks it out of the park again playing this sweet and sour little tale of Gorbaciof, a nearly mute prison cashier who falls for the waitress at the local Chinese restaurant. Servillo is a strange cross between a gangster and a clown, but such sadness in those eyes.

Rare Exports

Your new favourite Xmas movie.