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  • Porcupine Lake

    Porcupine Lake

    TIFF 2017 - Film #16 - Canada

    I blame TIFF.
    I think it has been around so long that it owes favours. It feels it has to show films by certain directors or certain producers, and when it comes to Canadian films, it thinks that it has to show films by those people they know or have promoted. Or maybe there is such a dearth of English Canadian films that they have to show films no matter how terrible. Maybe…

  • Darkest Hour

    Darkest Hour

    ★★★½

    TIFF 2017 - Film #13

    Well done. Darkest Hour is an elevated biopic of the first couple of weeks after Churchill takes over from Chamberlain. War is imminent. France and Belgium have fallen to the Nazis. Then entire British Army is in Calais and Dunkirk with no way out. The British have next to no planes and I don't recall why their navy ships aren't in commission but they seem to be next to useless. The US will not help.…

  • The Third Murder

    The Third Murder

    ★★

    TIFF 2017 - Film #15

    Koreeda fans all around me told me to avoid this one.
    I thought it was because this was a court room drama and they were used to the family relationship films he's known for.
    Yay for me, I thought, because I'm not a huge fan of his relationship films but I love anything in the courtroom.

    Except this.

    What a mess. The first 40 minutes or so are interesting enough, when we are introduced to…

  • Dark River

    Dark River

    ★★

    Ruth Wilson.

    If that name doesn't ring a bell, it is time for you to watch Luther and The Affair or any other project associated with this actor. She is good. She is really good. She couldn't quite save this heavy drama though.

    The problem with Dark River is that it thinks a film with a serious subject has to be about the serious subject and nothing else. It asks us to watch an injured deer walk in the forest…

  • On Chesil Beach

    On Chesil Beach

    ★★½

    TIFF Film #1

    The small story of two young lovers on their honeymoon is quite gripping, especially when it focusses on the honeymoon. Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle are outstanding, the dialogue is spot on, the set is confining even when the two characters walk along an unending beach, and the emotional roller coaster they take us on is as breathtaking as anything I've seen.

    The other half of the film is (questionably unnecessary) back story via flashbacks and while…

  • The Death of Stalin

    The Death of Stalin

    ★★★½

    TIFF Film # 4

    At times absolutely hilarious (looking at you Paddy Considine), the film hovers mostly around the merely amusing. Some scenes approach slapstick, which is not in my funny bone, and some bits are bit long and dull, but it is definitely a film worth seeing. The cast is amazing. I mean the cast is *seriously* amazing. You aren't likely to find a better ensemble piece this year or in the next few years.

  • Graduation

    Graduation

    ★★★★½

    Corruption isn't a concept you grab a sign and protest against. I mean you can if you want, but I think you will be bullshitting. You are exactly this close to corruption yourself. Yes. This close and I say that unabashedly. No matter how moral you are or think you are, you are exactly one-person-you-care-for away from engaging in "I'll owe you" behaviour. You care about someone. Mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, child. You care about someone. You will do…

  • John Wick: Chapter 2

    John Wick: Chapter 2

    On a plane to Europe. Overnight flight. I watched John Wick, the first one, because I've seen it before and I like the idea of watching both back to back on an overnight flight where I know I'm not going to sleep for 2 seconds. I don't want to watch subtitles, cause it's midnight already and well, you know...

    Wow. In a bad way. I played Wolfenstein and Doom before half of you were even born and I'm here to…

  • John Wick

    John Wick

    ★★★½

    Second time around, but only because I was on a plane, a night flight to Europe, and you don't want to watch subtitles in that circumstance. It did the trick. I liked it well enough the first time around, so I knew what to expect (another thing one wants when watching the film at midnight on at the start of a 7 hour flight). I followed it with part 2. What a mistake.

  • London Has Fallen

    London Has Fallen

    ★★

    Here is the reasoning behind selecting this film to watch.

    1. It is Action Friday
    2. We will be in London in 2 weeks
    3. I thought I could come up with some other more interesting motive at the last minute but no, nothing. Total blank. Just 1 and 2.

    It delivered (which is to say that it wasn't great). Some suspense, too many chases (WAY too many chases) and a totally silly and predictable home life for our hero.…

  • The Concert

    The Concert

    ★★★½

    This may have looked strange and avant-garde to the 1960s audience but surely it isn't strange today: 'today' being a world in which Don Hertzfeldt exists. Perhaps less about a concert than a couple (or perhaps the concert is exactly right), the 6 minute film was full of small surprises. I was quite fond of the animation style, and while not quite stick figures à la Don, everything on the screen was minimalist and essential. What really got me was how each character and each prop got its turn to shine. That impressed me quite a bit.

  • The Long, Long Trailer

    The Long, Long Trailer

    ★★½

    It is one of those films that could show up on your tv on Saturday mornings along with Abbot & Costello, Vincent Price, or Andy Hardy - cute, inoffensive, slightly funny and kind of corny.

    Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball are good, indeed they are very good in spots, and even though the film really milks the jokes about pulling a really big trailer behind a car it was surprisingly entertaining for its duration.

    It lacks pizazz, of course, but it is a safe no-brainer for when you really really want to veg.