Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with El Chivo's latest batch from Toronto! The new Linklater movie, ME & ORSON WELLES in particular sounds like a stand-out and even though Ritchie's ROCKNROLLA appears to be same old Guy Ritchie... well, I like old Guy Ritchie. And if Ghost Town has enough good Ricky Gervais moments to lift it out of big studio comedy mediocrity, then I'll be very happy. Here's El Chivo!
Greetings all! El Chivo back at the end of day two. A relatively relaxed schedule today with only four films. I actually had time to go shopping for food to stock up the hotel and backpack. ME AND ORSON WELLES Richard Linklater has previously earned the right for me to be excited about seeing his films regardless of what they're actually about. Turns out this is from a fiction novel by Robert Kaplow, which was based on a famous photo of Orson Welles and a young man performing together during Welles' 1937 production of Julius Caesar. "That guy playing Orson Welles was genius!" That seemed be the comment coming from nearly everyone's mouth after the screening. It's true. Christian McKay as Welles is the perfect, magnetic magic of an actor playing a role they were born to play. It's no surprise to learn McKay's resume includes various BBC radio projects. Claire Danes was looking mighty nice in person and does an excellent job onscreen as an unashamed, flawed love interest for Zac Efron's character (the "ME" of the title). A small contingent of the Zac Efron fan club was present at this, the World Premiere. Thankfully, they were mostly civil and kept the shrieks to a minimum. Efron isn't great and isn't terrible. He's adequate when his character is actively engaged, but spends a fare amount of time starring somewhat blankly and whatever else is going on as Welles tries to ready the Mercury Theater for opening night. The tone is light throughout, but so too is the overall impression of the film. McKay's portrayal of Welles is one for the film history books, while the rest is charming, but a bit slight. Also, what was going on with the color red being used everywhere, all the time? My TIFF People's Choice Ballot: 3 out of 4.
GHOST TOWN So was it David Koepp's idea when scripting INDY 4 to include the refrigerator or does that fall on George Lucas with the story credit? I never know where to stand on Koepp, so it was at best a mixed, optimistic set of feelings going in. But none of that has anything to do with Ricky Gervais taking the lead in a mainstream film for the first time! Very exciting stuff for all us fans of his. The film has some very funny Ricky moments, of course, and plays the more serious stuff decently. Kristen Fiig, the SNL actress and scene-stealing E! executive from KNOCKED UP is back to once again take over every scene where her doctor character is present. The best parts were of Ricky having a laugh and you can tell Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni are struggling not to lose it. If these were the takes they used, I can't image how many they must've thrown away that were completely ruined by laughter. Misanthropic dentist actually seems like a career Ricky could've pulled off in an alternate life. I must say it did feel odd to see Ricky perform necessary-evil, romantic comedy rituals like being sad in montage and running earnestly after having an epiphany. I still have a crush on Leoni. Slick, effective craftsmanship throughout. My TIFF People's Choice Ballot: 2 out of 4.
ROCKNROLLA What do you say about a new Guy Ritchie film? They're all basically cut from the same mold. To whatever degree you like or dislike his films in general, you'll probably feel the same about this. That said, if you're looking for a film for guys night or just need to pump up the testosterone before a big game or hunting trip or something, ROCKNROLLA is perfect. The cast is huge and the colors, the music, and the London scene all pop more than ever. Tom Wilkinson, Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton and two gay, unstoppable Drago-like Russian thugs really stood out. Tom Wilkinson "owns" London and works to keep the rest of the marginally criminal underground under his thumb, including Gerard Butler and his partner Mumbles (Stinger Bell from THE WIRE). We're instructed that being a proper RockNRolla is to want to combine all the sex, violence, and drugs into one personality and to engage fully in all three. The movie does a damn good job of just that. My TIFF People's Choice Ballot: 3 out of 4. THREE MONKEYS Master filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan returns with this gem about the breakdown of a lower class Turkish family. The drama is Bergman and the visual compositions Hitchcock. Dad gets shit on at work by the upper class, Mom strains to pick up the slack, and the son gets caught in between while dealing with his own young-man angst and motivation issues. How can I make this sound like the near-masterpiece it is? I've heard complaints of slowness, but pay no attention to that. When not shooting faces in beautiful, natural close-up, each wide shot is carefully composed with subtle touches of action in the foreground and background. The inky, dark browns and grays radiate with a sad beauty that sets the tone for the story's high-cost series of lies and deception that send the family unraveling. If you liked 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS and 2 DAYS, you will like this. My TIFF People's Choice Ballot: 4 out of 4. What's up for tomorrow? Danish assassins killing Nazis, Ed Harris directs a western, LeBron James, and the new, improved cut of the City of God director's latest film, Blindness.