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Here's Garbageman33's Second Batch Of TIFF '12 Capsule Reviews!

Nordling here.

I don't care what Garbageman33 says - I'm still stoked for BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO. That trailer creeped the hell out of me.  But here are some more capsule reviews from our resident Hefty Trash Bag connoisseur -

In this Paraguayan film, a film-obsessed teenager agrees to cart 7 boxes of undisclosed content through a crowded marketplace in exchange for $100. All so he can buy a cellphone that has a video camera on it. Of course, lots of nefarious characters want to get their hands on whatever’s inside the boxes, so he has to go on the run, through the narrow, maze-like streets. The film introduces a lot of vivid characters, one of which is the marketplace itself. And the action sequences are shot in a kinetic, snappy way that disguise the fact that they obviously didn’t have much of a budget to work with. So, instead of car chases, we get hand cart chases. It all makes for a pretty fun ride.
Grade: B
In the directorial debut from the writer of The Kids Are Alright, Mark Ruffalo plays a recovering sex addict tentatively entering a relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow under the watchful eye of his sponsor, Tim Robbins. Are you snickering right now? Because the film portrays sex addiction as a very real thing, not just something to fall back on when you get caught cheating. Which is not to say there aren’t any laughs in the film. It’s actually quite funny. And touching. I just wish it didn’t follow the standard addiction recovery formula quite so closely. Also, a note to Hollywood casting directors: If there’s a part that’s clearly been written for Jonah Hill and you can’t get Jonah Hill, don’t just cast Josh Gad. Josh Gad is not Jonah Hill.
Grade: B
Another day, another infuriating documentary. In this case, it’s about the child molestation scandal in the Catholic church. The director, Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) starts with a single priest at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin and gradually expands the story, implicating the entire institution in the process, all the way to the Vatican. I understand the reason for doing it, but I prefer the intimate focus rather than the conspiracy angle. It becomes a lot less personal when it’s about an institution instead of a specific group of victims and priests. In fact, at that point, it becomes less about child sex abuse and more about the powerful taking advantage of the weak, which applies to a lot of different things. I’m sure that was the point. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Grade: C+
In this thriller, a British sound engineer (Toby Jones) who typically works on nature documentaries is summoned to Italy to provide spooky noises for a lurid horror flick by a flamboyant Dario Argento-like director. Once he starts stabbing watermelons and recording screams, he slowly loses his grip on reality. The one interesting thing about the film is that we never see the horror film he’s working on, we only hear it. But that’s about it. Nothing else happens. We’re supposed to feel what the main character is feeling, but unless he’s feeling incredible boredom, it didn’t work the way it was supposed to. Critics all seem to love the film. They talk about the intricacies, subtext and influences. It’s the same way music critics talk about The Dirty Projectors. To which I say, “Fuck you, nobody likes The Dirty Projectors”.
Grade: C-
In this Chinese flick, a young soldier is sent to a remote village to learn their top-secret martial arts style known as tai chi. Just one problem, they don’t teach the style to outsiders. But through the non-stop beatings he endures at the hands (and feet) of everyone from old men to young children, he starts to pick up their moves. Eventually, he becomes the villagers’ best chance of defending their homes against a railroad that threatens to roll right through their village, by way of a crazy steam-punk machine. Just imagine Kung Fu Hustle fused with Scott Pilgrim, with a bunch of other comic book and Japanese manga references thrown in for good measure. It’s as much fun as it sounds, with so much onscreen eye candy (graphics, supers, etc) that you’re bound to miss some of it. Bring on the sequel, Tai Chi Hero (as in, from zero to hero).
Grade: B
In this drama, a crotchety old weird guy (Frank Langella) commissions a struggling young artist (Wes Bentley) to do a series of increasingly bizarre tasks, like videotaping a sunset, an art tour and children playing on a jungle gym. But why? It’s all a big mystery. For about 12 minutes. Then, anyone with half a brain will figure it out. 60 minutes later, the director finally gets around to telling us what we already know. Gee, thanks pal. Honestly, I’m not sure who this film is for. Dummies, perhaps. Or maybe people who are so into art that they enjoy watching films that are more like paintings (lots of immaculately framed shots in which absolutely nothing happens). Yes, I know the guy is a first-time director, but did no one think to tell him that you’re allowed to move the camera once in a while?
Grade: D+
The latest film from Ben Wheatley (Kill List) follows a couple who, after dating for only a few months, decides to take an RV tour of the idyllic British countryside. Along the way, they learn things about each other they never knew. For one thing, they both really enjoy killing people. It’s like Badlands or Bonnie and Clyde, but played for laughs. Really, really dark laughs. This is one of those films where you root for the characters to succeed, even as they do horrible, awful things. The film was shot on location in all the places the couple visits, from pencil museums to caverns. So, as the director said during the Q&A, you could take the Sightseers tour. But without all the murdering. And what fun would that be?
Grade: B+

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 15, 2012, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Tai Chi 0

    by SonOfChiba

    The more I read about this the more hopeful I get. When does it hit the West?

  • Sept. 15, 2012, 8:06 a.m. CST

    No, fuck you! I love Dirty Projectors.

    by Frat Boy

    You fucking twat!

  • Sept. 15, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST

    'Sightseers' actually sounds interesting, in a whacked-out way.

    by Bill C.

    You just had to mention 'Badlands,' didn't you? :P And I just can't help thinking '7 Boxes' sounds like a foot-based 'Premium Rush,' only serious, but that's me. I'm somewhat drowsy right now.

  • Sept. 15, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST

    I love The Dirty Projectors so fuck you you fucking fuck.

    by DanielPlainviewOnVacationInBoston

  • Sept. 15, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Sex addiction

    by HarveyManfrenjenson

    is one of the stupidest concepts ever created. Of course the mental health field is riddled with stupid concepts, but they really out-stupided themselves with this one. Bear in mind that the current "definition" of addiction (insofar as anyone in the mental health racket can agree on one) is something like "continuing a behavior despite negative consequences". (The older definitions, which involved things like withdrawal symptoms and acclimation, have been tossed out the window since they can't be applied to many of the behaviors that society would like to label as "addictive"). To the idiots who make their living by treating "sex addicts", I have one question: Have you managed to partake of sex and love without ever suffering negative consequences? If so, what fucking planet do you come from?