Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We've Got Madness

So the Midnight Madness press release is out and I can assess how well I guessed the films. The answer: poorly. Very, very poorly. Frankly, I sucked.

It's not really my fault. A lot of the films chosen this year are fairly under the radar, which is a good thing, though it does frustrate the amateur prognosticator. This year, despite the presence of two big Hollywood films (Jennifer's Body and Daybreakers) Midnight Madness seems even more low-key than usual, which makes me happy, as that's always more fun. Here are the choices, with commentary:

  • Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama) - To quote Stephen Colbert: I CALLED IT!! Yeah! Of course, a blind octogenarian who'd never heard of Midnight Madness could've called this one. I most likely won't be seeing this one, but it should definitely be a hot ticket.
  • A Town Called Panic (Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar) - I CALLED IT!! Strange Belgian animation based on a cult animated television series. The clips I've caught of the show on YouTube haven't exactly wowed me, but I might have to give it a shot anyway.
  • Bitch Slap (Rick Jacobson) - AKA, the most popular movie in Midnight Madness history. A boob-tastic boob-tacular that looks so ridiculously tacky it's not even funny. Or maybe it is. Regardless, this will be Roger Ebert's favorite film of the festival, without a doubt. Bonus points for the sheer kick of seeing that title in the relatively austere online film list.
  • Daybreakers (Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig) - I'm no fan of their last film, the excruciating Undead (think Night of the Living Dead, but now with 90% more pointless bitching), but this one looks like a big step up, at least visually. The trailer gleams with glistening cityscapes and seems filled to the point of bursting with visual panache. Could be fun.
  • George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (George A. Romero) - I CALLED IT!! A follow-up of sorts to his previous zombie flick, the deeply frustrating Diary of the Dead, this is yet another variation on his beloved zombie themes. The well might be getting dry on the whole zombie thing, but this one at least sounds promising. I'm not as excited as I was for Diary, but Romero's still a horror god, so I might have to give it a chance.
  • The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne) - More teenage blood and angst, this time from Australia. The press release describes it as a cross between Pretty in Pink and Misery, which does sound intriguing.
  • Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (Tony Jaa) - AKA, Tony Jaa's last-ditch effort to redeem his reputation after breaking down while making this movie and running away to live in the jungle for months on end. Seriously, if you haven't read about the Ong Bak 2 saga, I highly recommend pulling up this short article and taking the whole thing in. It's fascinating stuff. As for the movie, it's been seen for months by several folks around the internet, and it's fairly well liked. I'm sure watching it with an enthusiastic crowd will elevate the experience exponentially.
  • [Rec] 2 (Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza) - A first-person horror film follow-up to [Rec], a film I have yet to see, but which gets consistently high praise. This is the serious horror film to beat at this year's festival, no doubt.
  • Solomon Kane (Michael J. Bassett) - A pulpy action extravaganza, or at least that's how TIFF is selling it. It's something of a wild card, since it seems to be off the radar of just about every one of my usual news sources. Could be the find of the festival, or it could be a slightly better Van Helsing. We'll see...
  • Symbol (Hitoshi Matsumoto) - I CALLED IT!! Matsumoto's follow-up to Dainipponjin won a slot in the MM program and it sounds awesomely strange. The teaser caused more than a few people to scratch their heads and wonder aloud if Matsumoto was losing it. I love it, but a lot of people didn't. Check it out here to form your own opinion (trust me, it's not spoiler-ish in the least). One of my must-sees of the festival.
And that's it. I said in my last post that I hoped I'd hit three or four of the ten and I was dead-on. It definitely looks like a diverse selection this year, much more so than the last two. Should be a fun September.

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