Sunday, 28 September 2008

Toronto After Dark Film Festival - Full Line Up Announced!

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The second announcement from The Toronto After Dark Film Festival has us seeing stars - and not from kicks to the head! The remaining 8 films have many familiar names gracing the screen including Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane, Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli on "Heroes"), Anna Walton, Devon Aoki, Dominic Monaghan, John Malkovich, Dave Foley, Judd Nelson, Jason Mewes, Robert Wagner and Shea Whigham. All of the actors listed are in one (or more if it's Ron Perlman) of the six US titles that have been announced. International titles make up the final two films including the UK film where partying goes to the extreme in Donkey Punch and Thai thriller 4bia.

Speaking of 4bia (or phonetically: Phobia), out of the new bunch this is one of the films that got me jumping with glee, a thriller from Thailand that is 4 segments all exploring fears. Duo directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom who brought us one of the scariest movies of them all, Alone / Faet (Feature Film winner from Toronto After Dark 2007) are going solo and each directing a segment making up 2 of the 4 parts of this film. Looking for more thrills and chills? Home Movie might be your slice of pie with its unnerving tone as it tells the tale of two uncanny kids.

Another films that really piqued my interest is Mutant Chronicles, which has gone on and off the radar for ages which makes it all the more thrilling to have the opportunity to see this fantastical futurist film starring genre favourites Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki and Anna Walton.

Zombie fans can rejoice with the addition of Kevin Tenney's Brain Dead, which not only brings zombies but also one line wonders which could very well be the best lines of the festival. Only time will tell! Nothing is like taking a stab at the unknown, which is my impression of South of Heaven listed as a crime comedy but appears beyond description. It's highly yet simply stylized bizarre looking film almost like a comic turned into a play turned into a film, which in it of itself makes me curious and if that isn't enough it stars Shea Whigham from All the Real Girls. Sign me up!

If you are looking for a laugh there are not one but two comedy-centric films including Netherbeast Incorporated, which brings the underworld in tune with your everyday office setting. Or you can check out ZomCom I Sell the Dead, the Closing Night Gala that is sure to close of the festival in stitches.

The fun doesn't stop with the feature films! Canada After Dark will show Canadian shorts throughout the festival in front of feature films. Shorts from around the world get their own spotlight with Shorts After Dark - international shorts with have something for everyone.

Find all the box office and ticketing information here. More happiness for zombies with zombie prices for the zombie night screenings of Trailer Park of Terror and Kevin Tenney's Brain Dead - get a discount ticket price when you show up as a zombie for these screenings. New for 2008 is the 6-pack deal of 6 tickets for $54 - sweet! Want to have it all? You can! VIP passes are still available (as of Sept 28/08) for $119 which gets you into all the screenings and all the parties.

Now, more about the films! Details for the 8 titles are below, including links to trailers (with spoiler warnings), links to their TADFF site pages, IMDb pages and official film sites if available.

4bia / Phobia / See prang
Writers/Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun (Alone / Faet, Shutter <2004>), Paween Purikitpanya (Body #19), Youngyooth Thongkonthun (Maid / Jaew) and Parkpoom Wongpoom (Alone / Faet, Shutter <2004>)
Thailand
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Has some mild spoilers throughout

Donkey Punch
Dir: Oliver Blackburn
Cast: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Nichola Burley, Julian Morris
UK
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until the halfway point

Home Movie
Dir: Christopher Denham
Cast: Adrian Pasdar, Cady McClain, Amber Joy Williams, Austin Williams
USA
TADFF Page, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until the halfway point, disturbing images throughout

I Sell the Dead
Writer/Dir: Glenn McQuaid
Cast: Ron Perlman, Dominic Monaghan, Brenda Cooney, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm, John Speredakos, Eileen Colgan
USA
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free for the first two thirds, although even after watching it a few times I can barely tell what it's about so maybe it's really all spoiler free

Kevin Tenney's Brain Dead
Dir: Kevin Tenney (Witchboard, Night of the Demons)
Cast: Joshua Benton, Sarah Grant Brendecke, David Crane, Andy Forrest, Elizabeth Lambert
USA
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free but is pretty gory! Best one-lines for sure.

Mutant Chronicles
Dir: Simon Hunter (Lighthouse / Dead of Night)
Cast: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Anna Walton, John Malkovich
USA
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free

Netherbeast Incorporated
Dir: Dean Matthew Ronalds
Cast: Darrell Hammond, Dave Foley, Judd Nelson, Jason Mewes, Robert Wagner, Amy Davidson, Steve Burns
USA
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free

South of Heaven
Writer/Dir: J.L. Vara
Cast: Shea Whigham, Aaron Nee, Diora Baird, Lena Gwendolyn Hill
USA
TADFF Page, Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 runs from October 17-24/08 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Film Reviews - Vietnam

Bi, Don't Bi Afraid *
Owl and the Sparrow /Cú và chim se sẻ
Pearls of the Far East *
Rebel, The
Saigon Electric *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - The Netherlands

Alexander *
Another Perfect World
Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, The *
Face / Visage *
Human Centipede (First Sequence), The
Katia's Sister / Het Zusje van Katia
Misfortunates, The / De helaasheid der dingen *
Saint / Sint
Tokyo Sonata / Tôkyô sonata *
Wolfsbergen

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Singapore

4:30
18 Grams of Love
Feet Unbound
Perth
Singapore Dreaming

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Luxembourg

Don't Look Back / Ne te retourne pas *
JCVD *
Shadow of the Vampire *
Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche *
Universalove *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Hungary

Man from London, The / A Londoni férfi
Secret of Moonarce, The *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Iceland

Good Heart, The *
White Night Wedding / Brúðguminn

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Malaysia

Flower in the Pocket
Love Conquers All

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Finland

Arn: The Knight Templar *
Disco and the Atomic War *
Freetime Machos *
Into Eternity *
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale *
Sauna
Steam of Life / Miesten vuoro

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Belgium

barons, Les / The Barons *
Don't Look Back / Ne te retourne pas *
Face / Visage *
JCVD *
journée de la jupe, La / Skirt Day *
Misfortunates, The / De helaasheid der dingen *
Mr. Nobody *
Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche *
Triage *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Republic of Macedonia

I Am From Titov Veles
Shadows *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Bulgaria

Corridor #8
Shadows *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Argentina

And Soon the Darkness (2010) *
Empty Nest / El Nido vacío*
León, La*
Peddler, The
RiseUp *
XXY*

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Austria

David Wants to Fly *
Forever Never Anywhere
Love Comes Lately *
Universalove *

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Algeria

Dernier Maquis*

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Film Reviews - Greece

Eden à l'Ouest / Eden Is West *
Evil in The Time of Heroes / To kako - Stin epohi ton iroon
Strella: A Woman's Way
Tale 52 / Istoria 52

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Friday, 26 September 2008

Film Fan Fridays for Friday September 26, 2008!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday September 26, 2008! We have a whopping nine releases this week, with three beingfeature film directorial debuts. That's a lot for one week, and they include Clark Gregg (Choke), George C. Wolfe (Nights in Rodanthe) and Steven Sebring (Patti Smith: Dream of Life). Interesting that the films span both limited and wide releases.

In limited release this week we have documentary on rocker, poet and activist Patti Smith: Dream of Life, two crime thrillers: Shoot on Sight which has a political tone and Tell No One a French film that looks more on the mysterious side of things.

In wide release this week we have a mixed bag, Choke based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), The Lucky Ones with follows the road trip of 3 soldiers who have returned from war. Sticking with the war theme is Miracle at St. Anna which is set in WWII. If you are feeling like a bit of romance, this week you are in luck as we have Nights in Rodanthe or if some action is more your style we have the heavily promoted Eagle Eye finally coming to the screen.

We also have a few re-releases including The Life of Brian and a newly restored version of the classic 1972 The Godfather.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch


Abilities Arts Festival
Disabilities arts organization, promoting inclusiveness and and diversity
Film Forum Schedule
September 27 - October 10, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Commffest
Community Film Festival
September 26 - 28, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Pomegranate Film Festival

September 25 - 28, 2008, at the Armenian Youth Centre, 20 Hallcrown Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Student Shorts Film Festival 2008
September 26- 27, 2008, at The Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday September 26, 2008 Releases

Choke
Writer/Dir: Clark Gregg - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Angelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henke
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free until 2/3 through

Eagle Eye
Dir: D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Taking Lives, The Salton Sea)
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis
USA
Official Film Site(autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 1a is spoiler free

The Lucky Ones
Dir: Neil Burger (The Illusionist)
Cast: Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Spoiler free for first third, then tons of spoilers

Miracle at St. Anna
Dir: Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Inside Man, Malcolm X)
Cast: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Valentina Cervi
USA/Italy
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by 1/3rd of the way through

Nights at Rodanthe
Dir: George C. Wolfe - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Christopher Meloni
USA/Australia
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free for first half

Patti Smith: Dream of Life
Dir: Steven Sebring - feature film directorial debut
Documentary on Patti Smith
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Shoot on Sight
Dir: Jag Mundhra (Provoked: A True Story, Bawandar)
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Greta Scacchi, Om Puri, Brian Cox, Laila Rouass, Sadie Frost, Tolga Safer, Gulshan Grover
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free until 2/3 of the way through

Tell No One / Ne le dis à personne
Writer/Dir: Guillaume Canet (Mon idole)
Cast: François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Nathalie Baye
France
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free for first third, includes some disturbing images

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of September 26, 2008**

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

TIFF'08 Coverage

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The Anticipation - Pre-Festival Coverage
June 28, 2008 - TIFF'08: Venue, Dates & Pass Info
June 30, 2008 - TIFF'08: Film Titles Released
July 3, 2008 - TIFF'08: Six Special Presentations Announced
July 7, 2008 - TIFF'08: Packages on Sale with VISA
July 11, 2008 - TIFF'08: More Titles Released - Gala, Special Presentation, Masters and CWC
July 14, 2008 - TIFF Packages on Sale
July 15, 2008 - 23 Canadian Features added to TIFF'08
July 18, 2008 - 5 Titles added to TIFF Line Up
July 21, 2008 - TIFF'08 Short Cuts Canada, Canada Open Vault and Jury Members
July 23, 2008 - TIFF'08 Midnight Madness Films Announced!
July 28, 2008 - Toront Film Festivals September to December 2008
July 29, 2008 - Docs to Rock You! 26 Documentary Titles Added
August 6, 2008 - Checking out the AMC Yonge & Dundas
August 6, 2008 - Spanish-Language and Asian Titles Added to TIFF'08 Line Up
August 13, 2008 - Gala and Special Presentation titles added to TIFF'08 Lineup
August 15, 2008 - 9 Discovery, 6 Vanguard, 5 Visions titles announced for TIFF'08, Plus Future Projections
August 19, 2008 - Looking for the TIFF'08 line up?
August 23, 1008 - TIFF'08 Premium Tickets - Roy Thomson Hall and Elgin
August 25, 2008 - TIFF'08 - Tickets - where and when?
August 26, 2008 - TIFF'08 - Scheduling Considerations and First Film Selections
August 26, 2008 - Not sure how to fill out the TIFF'08 forms?
August 26, 2008 - Pre-fest Vlog #1
August 27,2008 - First picks for TIFF'08
August 28, 2008 - TIFF'08 - Pass/Program/Package Pick up and Drop Off
August 29,2008 - Box #9
August 29, 2008 - (Video) - TIFF'08 Advance Lottery - Box #9 wins!
August 31, 2008 - TIFF'08 Pre-Fest Vlog#2 - Picking Up Your Pass Order
September 1, 2008 - My Week in Film
September 2, 2008 - TIFF'08 Pre-Fest Vlog#3 - Tickets Picked Up/The Board/Offsale vs Rush
September 3, 2008 - TIFF'08 Pre-Fest Vlog#4 - What to Expect here at Movie Moxie

The Experience - Day by Day
Day 1 - Thursday September 4, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 2 - Friday September 5, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 3 - Saturday September 6, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 4 - Sunday September 7, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 5 - Monday September 8, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 6 - Tuesday September 9, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 7 - Wednesday September 10, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 8 - Thursday September 11, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 9 - Friday September 12, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 10 - Saturday September 13, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog

The Films - Reviews
A Film with Me in It
Achillles and the Tortoise
All Around Us
Ashes of Time Redux
Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, The
C'est pas moi, je le jure / It's not me, I Swear!
Chocolate
Dernier Maquis
Derrière moi / Behind Me
Detroit Metal City
Dungeon Masters, The
Eden Log
Empty Nest
Every Little Step
Fear Me Not / Den du frygter
It Might Get Loud
JCVD
Katia's Sister / Het Zusje van Katia
Kisses
Martyrs
Ocean Flame
One Week
Patrik 1,5 / Patrik, Age 1.5
Pontypool
Radio Love
Real Shaolin, The
Sauna
Secret of Moonarce, The
Sky Crawlers, The
Still Walking / Aruitemo aruitemo
Tale 52 / Istoria 52
Toronto Stories
Tokyo Sonata
24 City / Er Shi Si Cheng Ji
Un été sans point ni coup sûr / A No-Hit No-Run Summer
Universalove
Vacation
White Night Wedding / Brúðguminn
Winds of September

They Were Here! Videos of Intros and Q&A's
Antti-Jussi Annila: Selection from Q&A for Sauna
Lance Daly: Selection from Kisses Q&A
Hirokazu Kore-eda: Selection from Still Walking Introduction
Baltasar Kormákur: Selection from White Night Wedding Q&A
Kiyoshi Kurasawa: Selection from Tokyo Sonata Introduction
Pascal Laugier: Selections from Martyrs Intro and Q&A
Alexander Sebastien Lee and Orion: Selections from The Real Shaolin Intro and Q&A
Sook-Yin Lee, David Weaver and Aaron Woodley: Selections from Toronto Stories Intro and Q&A
Toshio Lee: Selections from Detroit Metal City Intro and Q&A
Tom Shu-Yu Lin: Selections from Winds of September Introduction and Q&A
Bruce McDonald: Selections from Pontypool Q&A
Prachya Pinkaew: Chocolate Intro and Q&A
Franck Vestiel: Eden Log Introduction

The Applause - Aftermath
TIFF Awards
Wrap Up

You Had Your Say - Polls!
Are You Attending TIFF This Year?
Did you get most of your picks?
How Many Films Are You Seeing at TIFF'08?
What is Your Favourite Program at TIFF?
What is your Favourite TIFF Venue?
Have you walked out of a film this year at TIFF?
Have you gone or are you planning on going to the free events at Yonge & Dundas Square?
What Brings you to TIFF?
How Full Have the Theatres Been for TIFF?
Are you TIFF'ed Out?
Where Do You Like to Sit?
How early do you line up?
Overall, my TIFF'08 Experience Was….

Fellow Festival Goers and TIFF'08 Resource Sites: 1st Thursday, According to Dave, Coffee and Celluloid, Crunchy Squirrel Goes to Toronto, The Culturepin, Daily Film Dose, Dark Side of the Matinee, Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind, The Evening Class, The GATEkeeper, globeandmail.com: TIFF 2008, Hana Dreaming, KINOVISION, La Vie Nouvelle de LKF a 08 TIFF,Last Night with Riviera, Movie and a Mutiny, Movie Martyr, Moviepie Musings, My Freakin Film Page, The Original Concept, The Pagan Agenda, Parabola, Paul Gvildys' Blog, Row Three at TIFF, TIFF Midnight Madness Blog, TIFF Official Site, TIFF Official Site Blogs, TIFF Talk, TIFFReviews Flickr Group, TIFFReviews YouTube Group, TIFFReviews.com, TOfilmfest (searchable film lists), Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow, Toronto Screen Shots, Twitch Film, Twitch TIFF Trailer Park, VeryFrank's foggy filmic notions

That's all for TIFF'08 folks! I hope you had a great time, I know I did!

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 ran from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

TIFF'08 Wrap Up

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I don't normally do straight-up top 5, 10's or lists by roles category, however this year I was asked for Faves for the 2008 Festvial from TIFFreviews.com and felt compelled to comply and also share my selections:
Best Film - JCVD
Best Actor - Ulrich Thomsen in Fear Me Not / Den du frygter
Best Actress - Carina Caputo in Derrière moi / Behind Me
Best Direction - Rafaël Ouellet for Derrière moi / Behind Me
Best Screenplay - A Film with Me in It
Want to have your say? Fill out a ballot over here at the TIFFReviews.com Awards.

Now back to your regularly schedulled Movie Moxie Festival Wrap Up.

Overall Stand out Films: C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's not me, I Swear!, Derrière moi / Behind Me, Eden Log, Every Little Step, Fear Me Not / Den du frygter, JCVD, Kisses, The Real Shaolin, The Sky Crawlers, Still Walking / Aruitemo aruitemo, Patrik 1,5 / Patrik, Age 1.5, Pontypool and White Night Wedding / Brúðguminn

Artistic works of wonder: Ashes of Time Redux, Eden Log and The Sky Crawlers

They made my cry dangnabit!: Every Little Step

Standing Ovations (only one this year): C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's not me, I Swear!

Favourite Program: Tie between Midnight Madness and Vanguard, both have extremely strong programming this year.

Best Experience: The energy in the room during the Chocolate and JCVD screenings

Funnest collective experience: Noting how many pirates were in the crowd for the collective anti-piracy 'Arggggggg!'. It wasn't as heartfelt this year though.

Best Q&A's: Chocolate, Detroit Metal City, The Real Shaolin, Tokyo Sonata, White Night Wedding / Brúðguminn

Weirdest repeated Q&A question: No question but long winded praise for the films - which is lovely in it's own way.

Still has me thinking: Dernier Maquis, One Week and Martyrs

The weird and bizarre: Sauna and Tale 52 / Istoria 52

Most impressive first feature: Winds of September

Weirdest reoccurance: Out of the films I picked, without noticing it at all I picked 5 Japanese family dramas: Still Walking / Aruitemo aruitemo, Achillles and the Tortoise, All Around Us, Toyko Sonata and Vacation

Fullest Screenings: JCVD and Chocolate

Funny moments:
-At the JCVD Midnight Madness screening, the line for the gents washroom was substantially longer than for the ladies. What a feat!
-I was one of the very few women in The Dungeon Masters screening

Wish I hadn't missed: First screenings with people from the films present including Ashes of Time Redux (Wong Kar Wai) and It Might Get Loud (Jimmy Page!). Also, so many films, but I hoped to get more Canadian films on my roster especially those from the Canada First! program. Alas, there is always next year!

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The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 ran from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

TIFF'08 Day 10 - Saturday September 13, 2008

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Last film of TIFF at the AMC. I wonder if I'll miss it? One great thing about the AMC is that I found regardless of the theatre size or layout I could always find a good seat right before the show - a very important thing! I didn't spend a lot of time in lines this year, opting for either relaxing until the house was open or dashing in from another screening. Day 10 was a pretty awesome day filled with 5 enjoyable films. Only 2 of the filmmakers were in attendance, which isn't bad for the last day of the festival and they were both great Q&A's. Want to hear all about Day 10? Check out my Day 10 Vlog!

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World
Dir: Weijun Chen
Documentary
UK/The Netherlands/Denmark

Reason to See: Sounded like an interesting documentary!

What an astonishing feat to run a restaurant that seats 5,000 diners, has 1000 employees including 300 chefs. The film shows many events that the restaurent hosts as well as focusing on the owner and various members of the staff whom come from different backgrounds and social levels. That is one of the strong themes to the film: success, wealth and social status. The importance on achieving these things is felt very strongly throughout the film. There were lots of interesting stories and great moments, but I think it would have benefitted to have a stronger over arching story told to hold it all together. Also, there were some queasy reactions from audience members regarding food preparation so keep that in mind if you are going to check it out.


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The one and only one screening I went to at the Cumberland for TIFF'08 was on Day 10, the venue was barely used for public screenings.

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Chocolate director Prachya Pinkaew (centre)

Chocolate
Dir: Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, The Protector/ Tom yum goong)
Cast: Jija Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabanjong, Ammara Siripong
Thailand

Reason to See: Martial arts action flick with a female protagonist from the director of Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior? That's essential viewing folks!

Chocolate was one of the highest anticpated films to see this year. I wave very close to going to the Midnight screening of the film but knowing it was the closing night of the festival I had a feeling I might not make it. Turns out the afternoon screening felt just as crazy as a midnight one with what felt like every seat in the house taken (I was in the front row, centre and the entire row was full) and cheers, hollars and applause throughout the film during the action sequences. I knew it would be high flying, kneecap smashing fun and it sure did deliver. It was fantastic to see a woman kick some major butt in an action film and I was very impressed by Jija Yanin performance.

My only concern was I really hope no one got hurt during the filming, but the trailer (shows the basic premise and lots of the action shots) does indicate no stunt double and real injuries.

Highlights from the Introduction and Q&A with director Prachya Pinkaew:
-They found Jija Yanin as a Tae Kwan Do instructor, she trained for 3 years for this film and is 23 years old.
-Director Prachya Pinkaew is producing Ong Bak 2 which Tony Jaa is directing and starring in.
-See Video selections from the Chocolate Intro and Q&A here

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Eden Log director Franck Vestiel

Eden Log
Dir: Franck Vestiel
Cast: Clovis Cornillac
France

Reason to See: I'll go to any SciFi at TIFF. I specifically saved this for the last day so I would have it to look forward to (along with Chocolate)

I love the look and feel of Eden Log, a film where the view spends a lot of time in the dark - visually and storywise. When the light does shine we are treated to a world of blue, black, white and silver which is beautiful. The film is highly drentched in the world of science fiction but we are let into this world very slowly and often left to fill in the blanks ourselves, which I loved. Visually stunning with strong performance this was one of my favourties of the festival.

Highlights from Intro and Q&A with director Franck Vestiel:
-selections of the film were shot in a quarry
-at times there was a huge temperature difference between the actor and the outside temperature
-at one point it was thought to do the film with no dialogue
-there were mixed feelings from the audience, some felt it was too video game like (I disagree)
-the film was concurrently shot in French and English (festival showed French version)
-it has been picked up for US distribution by Magnet
-see the Introduction to the Eden Log screening here

The Secret of Moonacre
Dir: Gabor Csupo
Cast: Dakota Blue Richards, Ioan Gruffudd, Natascha McElhone, Juliet Stevenson, Tim Curry
UK/Hungary/France

Reason to See: This falls under my 'try something new this year' category. Going to a family film was definitely a new festival experience!

Well, this certainly was trying something new for me as I don't normally go to family/kids films and it was one of the few audiences where I didn't feel amongs my peers. But I became charmed over by them and by the film. It's was exciting to see a fantasy based film with a young female protagonist (Dakota Blue Richards from The Golden Compass) in this tale or adventure and magic. It is a film that I would have loved to see as a child but even as an adult it brought a smile to my face.

See also: The Secret of Moonacre DVD Review

All Around Us
Dir: Ryosuke Hashiguchi
Cast: Tae Kimura, Lily Franky, Mitsuko Baisyo, Susumu Terajima, Akira Emoto
Japan

Reason to See: This was the only thing in the timeslot that interested me and I needed to get one more film in. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get through it as it was a late screening on the final night.

This year at TIFF was a year of seeing Japanese family dramas and All Around Us is one of the five that I saw and it was beautiful. I was most than slightly hesistant to see a 2 1/2 hr film up til just about midnight on the final day but I'm so glad that I did. Their is a beautiful sense of personal intimacy shown in this film that follows a couple throughout many years of thier lives. They don't always seem to like each other a lot, but they sure do know each other. It feels like it should be bittersweet, but it is much sweeter than than. It was the perfect film to close the festival with, I'm sure glad I saw it.

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One of the odder product placements, the TIFF popcorn and water for sale... on wheels!

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, 22 September 2008

TIFF'08 Day 9 - Friday September 12, 2008

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I spend the majority of the day at the Varsity, which is unusual for the fest so far as most films I've seen have been at Scotiabank or AMC. One nice thing about the Varsity is there are a fair number of places to get food & coffee/tea and there is also an Indigo close. Unfortunately it's a venue that has a lot of lines ups ending up outside - good thing it wasn't too rainy! For more on Day 9 you can check out my Vlog from Day 9.

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Empty Nest actor Ines Efron and director Daniel Burman

Empty Nest / El Nido vacío
Dir: Daniel Burman
Cast: Oscar Martínez, Cecilia Roth, Arturo Goetz, Inés Efron, Eugenia Capizzano
Argentina/Spain/France/Italy

Reason to See: I actually mistook this film for Radio Love which I saw on Day 8. Sometimes that happens when you are looking at hundreds of titles - good thing it only happened once!

Following the lives of a couple after their daughter has flow the coop, Empty Nest shows us the blending inner and outer worlds of Leonardo played by Oscar Martínez. I found such a duality in the film as it deals with change and maturing but always retains whimsical notions. There is also magical realism at play, which I took literally and therefore sometimes left confused. But, I rolled with it as I wanted to see where the journey would lead. Overall, it didn't quite resonate with me but it did have a unique storytelling style.

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Martyrs director Pascal Laugier

Martyrs
Dir: Pascal Laugier
Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Begin, Robert Toupin
France/Canada

Reason to See: I wasn't very interested in seeing this as it seem to be a huge over the top violent film a la Hostel and such. Then I saw this article over at Twitch by Todd Brown which stated : "...you could argue that Martyrs is an anti-exploitation exploitation film". That got me interested.

I think Martyrs easily qualifies as the most disturbing film of the festival, a woman fainted at the screening I attended and during the midnight showing one girl apparently 'lost her popcorn'. It was the film I was most hesitant about seeing due to the violence and depiction of traumatic events. I was pleasantly surprized to see that it was not a film that just shows violence for violence sake but comments to the effects of violence as well as possible motivations. Don't get me wrong, a lot of it is sick and twisted and extremely hard to watch. But, it also makes philosophical points and delves into darker side of human nature and all the while serves as a phenomenal horror film. Quite a feat.

Highlights of Q&A with director Pascal Laugier:
-even the director himself says he has a hard time watching the film
-if the film does not effect you in some way, it isn't doing it's job
-apparently at the Midnight showing of the film an audience member felt the need to 'educate' the audience by mentioning Michael Heneke. Pascal Laugier said during this screening that Martyrs is like an anti-Funny Games
-See video selections from Martyrs Intro and Q&A

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Universalove director Thomas Woschitz

Universalove
Dir: Thomas Woschitz
Cast: Anica Dobra, Daniel Plier, Sascha Migge, Erom Cordeiro, Kyoichi Komoto
Austria/Luxembourg

Reason to See: Universalove looked avant garde and it's also an exploration of love, given that I often go for heavier films I thought this would be a good way to fit in some balance.

Set in various cites around the globe Universalove is a visually stunning film with a beautiful texture. The stories it follows were different than I had anticipated thinking that as an exploration of the themes of love but many were tragic. Going with the intention to see something a lighter and uplifting didn't quite work out, but it was a refreshing change of pace to see a film that was experimental and challenged assumptions.

Highlights of Q&A with director Thomas Woschitz:
-the film and soundtrack by Naked Lunch were created together, not separately
-the film had 24 shooting days between December 2007 and March 2008, every city had 4 days of prep and 4 days of shooting
-it was shot on Super 16

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Pontypool director Bruce McDonald

Pontypool
Dir: Bruce McDonald (Highway 61, Roadkill, Hard Core Logo)
Cast: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak
Canada

Reason to See: Bruce McDonald horror film in small town Ontario. It was a must see from the moment I heard about it.

Fantastic film, one of my favourites of the festival by far. Pontypool is a smart-minded, rough around the edges, all out think tank of a horror film. Fantastic performances from the entire cast although I did particularly enjoy Stephen McHattie's gritty yet earnest portrayal of local DJ Grant Mazzy. I dare not say more, and if you are sensitive to spoilers I'd recommend not reading up on the film as it is very plot heavy. If you are a fan of horror films with a strong story, you will love Pontypool. I know I did.

See a selection from Pontypool Q&A here

Achilles and the Tortoise
Dir: Takeshi Kitano (Takeshis', Glory to the Filmmaker!)
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Kanako Higuchi, Yurei Yangi, Kumiko Aso, Akira Nakao, Reo Yoshioka
Japan

Reason to See: Seeing Takeshi Kitano's 2 previous films in this trilogy in the yesteryears of TIFF I couldn't pass up the opportunity to finish the journey I had begun.

Trying to describe a film by Takeshi Kitano normally feels like an exercise in futility as all the ones I've seen had a strong non sensical nature to them. I was surprized to find that Achilles and the Tortoise has a strong narrative to it. I had a mixed reaction to this as I don't mind one bit landing in the world of the bizarre and sometimes I'm more comfortable there then somewhere where things make sense. In this film, we journey through the life of trying artist Machisu. It's a fascinating exploration into what art is, whose opinion about art matters, why we create it and what it brings or takes from us. The paintings featured in the film are artwork from Takeshi Kitano himself.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

My Week in Film

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As promised, My Week in Film returns and I'm trying something different turning this weekly post into a Vlog. Let me know what you think!

Topics Discussed, Notes, Links and Corrections:
-TIFF Coverage still in process, 4 posts to go
-My List of 101 Films to See (I only have 13 to go, list hasn't been updated in a while), it's a subset of my 101 things in 1001 days list which will end December 1, 2008
-I'm hoping to find The Killer, possibly through YesAsia
-[REC] at the Bloor as a part of Rue Morgue's Cinemacbre Movie Night, ran into Bob there (check out his [REC] review)
-Quarantine ([REC] remake) is scheduled for an October 10, 2008 release
-Fantastic Fest films that were online streamed: I Think We're Alone Now, La Crème, Rojo Red, Kingz and Treevenge (disturbing images)
-When I say 'ping factor' I meant bandwidth
-Upcoming viewing: A Sunday in Kigali (2007 Genie winner for best adapted screenplay) and High School Musical. From this week's regular releases I may check out SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO again or possibly Appoloosa.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008:
-Check out the Toronto After Dark Film Festival site
-My pre-festival coverage of the 8 announced films is here, including links to trailers and spoiler notations
-Let the Right One In is scheduled to be the Opening Night Gala
-The short film Treevenge has added to the line up
-Check out this vid of festival founder and director Adam Lopez filling in the [REC] crowd on what to expect this year. The remaining films will be unveiled Wednesday September 24, 2008

What was your week in film like?

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The huge line for [REC] at the Bloor

Recent and soon to be seen films:
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Recent purchases - got all three with change back from at $20 - woohoo!
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Please note: unless otherwise specified, any events discussed were or will be in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Getting hyped for Toronto After Dark at the [REC] screening

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Check out this vid of Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez as he gets the [REC] crowd all ready for this years Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Eight of the features have already been announced, and we are only days away from hearing the what the remaining films are. Who is ready for brains?

Films mentioned: Trailer Park of Terror, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Tokyo Gore Police, Let the Right One In and short film Treevenge.

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 runs from October 17-24/08 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

[REC]

Dirs: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Pablo Rosso, Javier Botet, Carlos Lasarte, Maria Lanau, Vicente Gil
Spain, release date TBD

Seen: September 18, 2008 at the Bloor as part of Rue Morgue Cinemacabre Movie Night

Reason to see: I've been hearing rave reviews about this film for ages and it is not likely to get a regular release so I jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen.

Wow, this was well worth seeing in the theatre which I knew would be the case considering the viral marketing that was a trailer showing the audience reaction. [REC] fells like a fresh take on the classic horror genre even though they don't reinvent the wheel or anything but the take you on one smooth ride of scares. It works so well in building suspense and allows the audiences imagination run wild. Scary as all get out, I was jumping and giggling throughout the film. A must see for horror fans.

Warnings: Violence, gore and a lot of shaky cam

[REC] has an American remake called Quarantine slotted to be released October 10, 2008. I'd highly recommend seeing the original.

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll buy it
I'd recommend it to all horror fans

Lots of preshow including trivia & giveaways, Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 trailer and announcement about the festival and vintage trailers: Shocker, Night Breed and Billy Jack.

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2008

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Sunday, 21 September 2008

TIFF'08 Day 8 - Thursday September 11, 2008

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Day 8 was another great day at the festival, and for the four films I saw all of the filmmakers were in attendance - I love that! There was also a fair amount of running around between theatres and one really tight turn around due to a lengthy Q&A. Want to hear all about Day 8? Check out the TIFF'08 Vlog for Day 8.

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Sauna director Antti-Jussi Annila

Sauna
Dir: Antti-Jussi Annila (Jade Warrior)
Cast: Ville Virtanen, Tommi Eronen, Viktor Klimenko, Sonja Petäjäjärvi
Finland

Reason to See: The picture in the program book was what hooked me. It looked like a combination between Gladiator and Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor.

Beautiful and dark horror drama, Sauna takes us back to 1595 to follow a group as they define the Russian/Finnish border. It's amazing that the atmosphere of the period created is so rich, you can feel the weariness of the length of the journey, you wonder about any odd sound or blurred image, everything feels so full and so creepy. It is one of the scarier films I saw at the festival although the tension and horror is achieved in a paced, graceful manner. That being said I certainly jumped in my seat a few times. It also was more than just a scarefest, as it pondered questions about life, change and relationships. All in all an amazing feat.

The majority of the Q&A with director Antti-Jussi Annila makes references to specific plot points and theme therefore it would be a spoiler to share. He did respond to an audience comment regarding the translation and subtitles, which you can see here.

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Winds of September director Tom Shu-Yu Lin

Winds of September
Dir: Tom Shu-Yu Lin
Cast: Rhydian Vaughan, Chang Chieh, Wang Bo-Chieh, Sheng Wei-Nian
Taiwan

Reason to See: The program picture was again the reason that got me out to the film as well as the fact that in Toronto we don't see many films from Taiwan in regular release.

Beautiful coming of age film set in Taiwan following nine students through a year of high school. Delightful in moments of fun and full of vigor but also tactful with more serious issues that deftly shows how the world changes as we gather more and more experiences. I loved seeing all the different relationships between the group of friends, it really captured that dynamic very well. Quite a gem.

Highlights from the introduction and Q&A with director Tom Shu-Yu Lin:
-A lot of people from the audience moved to sit in the front seats during the Q&A - always a good sign!
-About 80% of the film is autobiographical in terms of content
- The film A Brighter Summer Day / Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian (Edward Yang) is the film that made Tom Shu-Yu Lin want to become a filmmaker
- The credits are really long as he included each and every extras name in the credits
-I was surprized to find out that the Taiwan films are stuggling in the market in Taiwan due to the huge amount of competition from Western films
-see video selections of the introduction and Q&A here

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The Dungeon Masters editor Christine Khalafi and director Keven McAlester

The Dungeon Masters
Dir: Keven McAlester
Documentary on D&D Dungeon Masters
USA

Reason to See: I always want to see films on gaming, being a gamer myself.

The Dungeon Masters focuses on three Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) Dungeon Masters whom have played the role-playing game for many years. It's interesting to see that the paper, pencil & dice style game is still alive and well. I find it odd that the most consistent thing people say about the film seems to be that it doesn't make fun of the people that play. It that really what people were expecting? During the Q&A it was noted that the film is an opportunity for non gamers to see what this world is like, but I had hoped for more that that from the film. There were so many things that I had wished they had covered, like showing people play or what the dynamic and community of a group of gamers is like - however that wouldn't be possible as the focus is on three DMs (which I always hear GM in my head as in Game Master), whom of course, don't play together as they run their own campaigns. It also would have been interested to see more on the contrast of their role in the game as a leadership role, and what is different about that in their day to day life. We do get to see a lot of their day to day life, mostly surrounding struggles with the exception of when they are gaming or go to conventions. I really wanted more from this film. I look forward to the day where a gamer makes a gaming film!

Highlights from Q&A with director Keven McAlester and editor Christine Khalafi:
-the three Dungeon Masters depicted in the film have not seen it yet, as it was finished only days before it screened at the festival
-they talked to about 30 people when trying to choose the subjects for the film, and ended up choosing the first three people they spoke to
-shooting started in May 2006 and the it was shot in three large sections
-they toyed with the idea of a narrator but one of the dungeon masters explained aspects of the game so well so they went with that
-there was general commentary from audience & filmmaker regarding how playing D&D is not that much different than other hobbies like being a collector or participating in fantasy football

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Tokyo Sonata director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (centre)

Tokyo Sonata
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cast: Teruyuki Dagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Haruka Igawa, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki
Japan/The Netherlands/Hong Kong/China

Reason to See: I hadn't yet see any of Kiyoshi Kurosawa films yet and wanted to see what this would bring!

Wow, what a lovely and heart wrenching film Tokyo Sonata is. It is a family drama with parents and two sons and follows them through their trials and tribulations of daily life. Sounds so simple but its beauty is in the complexity of actions, reactions and inactions that effect the family as a whole. It shows a vast emotional range and is sensitive as well as tough, and there sure were some tough moments. I was very impressed by this film and look forward to exploring more of Kiyoshi Kurosawa filmography.

Highlights from Intro and Q&A with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
-with reference to previous films being all horror films, Kiyoshi Kurosawa said that he always adds an element of hope to his films but found that with the horror films people didn't usually see this
-during the introduction he mentioned to the audience he hoped they could relate on one of the four characters and during the Q&A someone asked him whom he related to the most. He said it was a good question and that no one had asked it before, his response was he relates to all of the characters to different aspects of himself
-many of the questions were content related so I can't share them here but I have to say I was very impressed by all of the eloquent answers Kiyoshi Kurosawa provided. One of the best Q&A's of the festival
-see a video selection of the introduction here

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Packed house for Tokyo Sonata

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012