Re: Reports from TIFF 2011
Sorry, I meant to come on and post sooner, but I got caught up this week with work.
I saw 5 more movies on Friday and Saturday.Dark Girlshttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1966396/
A documentary about skin color bias among black women that brought to light an issue for me that I didn't even know existed. It seems that black women with darker colored skin are considered inferior in many places to women with lighter colored skin, and this has resulted in many self-esteem and psychological issues developing in women with darker colored skin. It also extends beyond black women - they interviewed a Korean woman who told a similar story about life in Korea. In general, the power struggle that exists in the world has made societies want to be 'whiter' or they view being as close to white as possible as a desirable attribute. The documentary was really interesting, although technically not the best I've seen. It was mostly a 'talking heads' doc which got a bit dry after a while, and they were frequently falling back on the exact same argument/point, but otherwise, a doc worth watching. It will open your eyes to something you may not have realized existed.Violet and Daisyhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1634136/
This was one of the movies I really wanted to see and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend seeking this movie out. It was written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher who won the Oscar for writing Precious in 2009, though this movie is radically different from Precious. Tells the story of two teenage assassins (played by Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan) who take on a hit (James Gandolfini) that is not quite what they expected. I don't want to give too much more away, but the movie is at times very funny, at times violent (but never gory), and at times it will touch your heart. As with any debut directorial effort, there are some things that don't work, but overall, I thought the movie was terrific! I really hope it gets a distributor and doesn't just get banished to DVD. (By the way, I know lots of people like Danny Trejo...he was in this movie for one scene that lasted about 2 minutes. Nothing special and nothing to be excited about.)Death of a Superherohttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1384927/
Another movie I would highly recommend! Tells the story of a teenage kid (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who for the longest time I couldn't place and then later realized he was the kid in Love, Actually) who has fairly advanced cancer. He is also a very talented artist, and uses his art to create a comic world in which he is a superhero fighting against evil as an escape from reality. His parents think he is really depressed and send him to a therapist (played by Andy Serkis in a normal, human role). He also meets a girl and falls for her. Overall, its basically a coming of age story following the kid as he deals with cancer, death, love, etc. The therapy plot plays out a little too close to Good Will Hunting, but it doesn't dominate the movie and so it works ok.Comic-Con, Episode IV: A Fan's Hopehttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605782/
The latest documentary from Morgan Spurlock, this is a must watch for anyone who's ever even been interested in Comic-Con, or in general, for anyone who classifies themselves as a 'fan'. The movie is not trying to do any heavy lifting, its not really trying to make any major social points or anything. Its just a fun doc examining comic-con, what it used to be, what its turned into, and the fans who come out for it. Spurlock focuses on five main 'characters' - two graphic artists trying to break into the industry, a girl who designs costumes based on video games, a guy who owns and operates one of the biggest comic book shops in the US, and a couple who met at comic-con and share a passion for 'fandom'. Spurlock also interviews a number of comic-con regulars including Joss Whedon (who is really funny), Kevin Smith, and others. I'd actually never seen a Spurlock doc before this one, but I'm told by others that this was very unlike his other docs...Spurlock never actually once speaks in the documentary, he lets the characters and the interviews tell the story.Man on Groundhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt2043914/
Not my favorite film, but not completely terrible, this was a South African production trying to use a story to talk about xenophobia in South Africa (fear/dislike of foreigners). The story is about two brothers, both Nigerian, one now living in South Africa, the other in London. The one living in South Africa disappears and his girlfriend asks the other brother to try and find him. I understood the message of the film, but I didn't really like the story. It was very slow and just not well told overall. The direction was also really not great - they were trying to be both artsy and commercial and its tough to meld those two styles together. I'm just not a fan of 3-minute closeup of a guy smoking a cigarette...repeated 4 times throughout the movie. It just seemed like they had a half hour story and they were trying to expand it into a 90 minute movie by adding lots of filler and 'arty' scenes. I wouldn't recommend this one.
So that's it from me. Overall I saw 7 movies, and I would recommend 4 of them, which I guess isn't too bad. I wish I could have seen way more (I saw 20 last year and 15 the year before), but life did not permit. Until next year!