Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a ton of reviews... all those in the headline plus BANLIEUE 13... couldn't quite figure out how to pop that one in there. Anyway, no need for a drawn out intro! Enjoy!
So, I live in Toronto and the last few days I was lucky enough to get to see some pretty good movies. And I figured I'd give you guys some quick reviews of what I saw.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
I'll make this quick. Yes, this is David Cronenberg's most "mainstream" film but it hardly hurts him or the final product. For those that aren't aware, "Violence" follows an average man named Tom Stall and his family who are one day thrust into the spotlight after Tom commits a seemingly self-defense murder at his diner. Tom instantly becomes a hero in the news media, becoming hounded by reporters and local admirers. One of these admirers is a very disfigured looking Ed Harris who, through a series of events, turns Tom and his family's life upside down. As I watched "A History of Violence", I kept waiting for Cronenberg's trademark weirdness to shine through, but it never does. "Violence" is very reserved in its tone and often creates a very strong "Hitchcockian" theme with its mistaken identity story. Tom Stall's family feels like a real family put on the edge after the things they go through and there's some great performances all around.
It's not a super great film like some critics are praising it to be, and I wouldn't say it's a return to "classic Cronenberg" either, but it's definitely a solid thriller that keeps you involved right to the end. Worth checking out, but maybe not on opening weekend.
TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE
I think most of us could agree that "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a classic, and near impossible to top. I went into this trying not to compare it with "Nightmare", but you just can't ignore the similarities. "Corpse Bride" does not top "Nightmare", by any means, but I think it's still a very solid movie. Stop motion animation is becoming more rare in film these days, and it's nice to see two really great ones coming out so close to one another( the other being Wallace and Gromit). Though "Corpse Bride" takes a few predictable turns here and there, the shadowy atmosphere, kinetic pacing and fantastic voice-acting more than make up for it.
It doesn't top "Nightmare" so don't make the same mistake I did by comparing the two. "Corpse Bride" is still very good in its own right.
The Toronto International Film Festival is always honoured to host some of the most critically acclaimed films of the year and always get a taste of some of the early Oscar contenders. "Evil Aliens" is not one of those films. "Evil Aliens" is such a hideously disgusting, bat shit insane B-movie splatter flick, you can't help but love it to death. The movie follows some welsh farmers, a TV camera crew, and a UFO Geek going head to head with a bunch of Predator-looking aliens. These aliens are hell bent on doing what aliens do best. Impregnating women, anally probing men, and mutilating the cattle. Most of the horror and sci-fi junkies here I'm sure will go nuts keeping track of all the clever film homages/references, which include Aliens, Evil Dead, The Watchmen, Predator, Jaws, Phantasm, and uncountable other flicks you've wasted your life watching. The great strength if "Evil Aliens" is how it takes all its ideas to their absolute extreme. One really funny action scene involved a combine harvester blasting through this........well.....I've said too much already. It's a fantastic audience movie and got a great response at Midnight Madness Saturday night. Check this one out in a theatre if you can.
Think Escape From New York meets Ong-Bak meets The Transporter. It sounds like either an awesome action movie, or a giant fucking mess. The reality is somewhere in between. Paris of the near future has been overrun by crime, so the city has walled in the worst areas. The worst part of the city is Banlieue 13. This flick feels a lot like the Transporter other than Luc Besson's other action movies and it works out fine that way. Once you get past the paper thin story, the action sequences are well designed and tense enough to keep you engrossed. Don't listen to people who say "this is the new Ong-Bak." That's bullshit hype. It's a decent and original enough action movie to keep you involved. Check it out if you're a fan of Luc Besson, John Carpenter, or crazy street acrobatics.
I started out writing a more positive review for this, but when trying to type out a plot description, I realized I couldn't do it. Mark my words right now. Anyone who tells you they can sit through this movie and "understand all of it" is a fucking liar. Believe me. It can't be done.
Jason Statham plays a con-man fresh out of a long stint in the prison; Ray Liotta is a devious casino owner who has some rather unseemly plans for our anti-hero. After that, things get a bit hazy. No scratch that. Things get really, really confusing. Revolver goes from a decent crime movie with promise and becomes this crazy double-crossing convoluted mess. I think I now understand how big a part Matthew Vaughn played in Guy Ritchie's previously successful movies. Compare Vaughn's "Layer Cake" to Ritchie's "Revolver" and I think you'll see what I mean. Plot threads are left intentionally dangling so that we stop the story, 40 minutes later, and have yet another "shocking" revelation given to us, but it's all done very haphazardly.
Revolver would have been a fantastic movie. Seriously. There was a lot of neat stuff here and some really, really well done scenes. But it's just too confusing for the sake of being confusing.
That's all I got for now. If you use this, I'm "BobbyHorsepower". If you don't use this, you're all jerks. All of you.