I saw 10 more films my last three days in Toronto. The rain and clouds didn't let up so I was happy to snuggle up in the good, the bad, and the rest. The good:
Todd Field's LITTLE CHILDREN. I can't believe Kelly from the Bad News Bears was able to create one of the creepiest performances I have ever seen. Ick but a great piece of acting. What a chilling and yet somehow touching film. I just got chills typing this...
BLINDSIGHT blew me away. Last year, Black Sun, another doc about blindness really got to me. This year BLINDSIGHT did it again. A blind German woman is inspired by Eric Weihenmayer's ascent of Everest and invites him to help her Tibetan students challenge themselves. Their partial ascent doesn't turn out like you would think and becomes about Eastern/Western cultural differences and what these brave young kids can accomplish off the mountain, which by the way is apparently anything.
STARTER FOR TEN was the final in the James McAvoy trifecta. Predictable? Mostly, but entertaining nonetheless. What's impressive about McAvoy is that he is able to range from a quirky freshman here to a doctor in the middle of a civil war in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND. P.S. take note tweens, there's a new heartthrob in town.
BREAKING AND ENTERING is one of those films that is enthralling but you're not quite sure why. Minghella made his mark with The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain...all focused on heightened dramatic circumstances. They are equally dramatic here but more centered on everyday life as opposed to a war, a serial killer, or, oh yeah, a war. What's impressive is that the tension is just as high with mere theft and loss of love and the characters just as enthralling. My admiration for Robin Wright Penn also increases each time I see her on screen.
I only got to see the first hour of NUE PROPRIETE. We've already established how I feel about French film, but even more so, Isabelle Huppert's performances are always stunning. Wish I could have seen the end but I opted to run off to STARTER FOR TEN...not a totally regrettable decision.
Thankfully there are only two here...just a few that did nothing for me. GRIFFIN & PHOENIX has okay acting but a plot twist that made me groan...until the end of the film. THE MISSING STAR led me by the nose all the way, wanting to know more to understand, but alas nothing. Was something lost in the Italian and Chinese translation?
RENAISSANCE was stylistically beautiful but a little long. Not everyone's cup of tea, a stronger plot would help, but graphic novel fans should rejoice. THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY is Michael Ian Black's (Wet Hot American Summer, TV's Ed, Best Week Ever) directorial debut. Despite another American Pie performance by Jason Biggs, the film is moderately funny and well done but somehow seemed bland. SHARKWATER is more of a tv doc but includes incredible footage of man hugging shark and a Greenpeace-type shark rescue effort being chased into international waters at gunpoint. Good stuff. Not a big fan of shark fin soup, I was shocked at the dangerous illegal international trafficking and near extinction it is causing. Damn, just have some Campbell's people!
Our flight home had more turbulence than I have felt in a while. I spent half the flight clutching the arm of the gentleman next to me. Good thing he was a cutie!