Sunday, September 07, 2008

TIFF 2008: Day Three

Day three was a good day. I had a mild stomach sickness on day two, but it passed; I got plenty of rest after the previous night's midnight; and the movies were all uniformly interesting (though not uniformly good, unfortunately). Let's dive in:

Sauna (Antti-Jussi Annila) - 7/10

Bleak, existential horror films seem to be the black sheep of the horror community, but I'm a pretty big fan of them. This one, from the director of the much-loathed Jade Warrior, is a good solid one from start to finish. Some have said it too closely resembles the endlessly recycled J-Horror films, but this has an undercurrent of sadness and remorse that is all its own.

Vinyan (Fabrice du Welz) - 9/10

Much to say, but must process...

Pontypool (Bruce McDonald) - 5/10

Despite its initally exciting premise, this bizarre linguistic zombie movie never quite finds a focus. Taking place almost entirely in a radio station in the basement of a church, the film starts well, with the minor and sometimes funny workings of small-town radio giving way to more sinister events. But there's no build, and no time for the actors to find their footing as the world slips into chaos around them. Side note: Stephen McHattie is amazing in this, reminding me of Lance Henriksen before he descended into straight-to-DVD hell. Why isn't this guy given more starring roles?

Deadgirl (Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel) - 5/10

Surely the most instantly controversial film I've ever seen in the Midnight Madness category, and not always in a good way. Two teenagers stumble upon the dead body of a beautiful, naked woman in the basement of an abandoned asylum. Upon realizing that she's not dead (and can't be killed), one of the teens decides to...ahem...take advantage of the situation. If you can't tell, this is definitely not a film for everyone. My wife, normally a pretty serene go-with-it filmgoer has ranted for two days about how much she hates this thing. Some people are going to find it extremely offensive. There's more than meets the eye here, however, and some of it is very interesting, especially what it has to say about the male psyche. But I'll save that for a later review...

Next: Missing dogs, Howard Zinn and Liverpool.

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