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TIFF Roundup 9/16 - Review Of Geoffrey Fletcher's "Violet & Daisy" + "Winnie" & "Random" Debut

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 16, 2011 at 4:52AM

Your Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)daily for September 16th...
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Your Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)daily for September 16th...

First, last night, Oscar-winning Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher's directorial debut, Violet & Daisy made its world premiere at the TIFF. And, so far, surprisingly, I've only seen 1 review of the film (although there may be others my Google search didn't turn up), and it's from Variety.

In short, the writer seems lukewarm about it; unsure of what to make of it, praising supporting performances from Danny Trejo and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, but summing up the entire affair as implausible and ludicrous, calling attention to Fletcher's "first-time filmmaker impulses."

Here's a sample:

With realism out the window, the rules of this imaginary world take some time to absorb, since one's instinct is to keep young ladies as far away from heavy artillery as possible. When they're not blasting bad guys, Violet and Daisy play patty-cake and behave like girls half their age (their getaway car is a tricycle, which suggests perhaps the roles were written for even younger actresses). Holding their guns like Hong Kong action stars, the pair kill without remorse or motive, other than to buy the latest dresses from their teenybopper idol, Barbie Sunday -- at least, that's the reason they accept the assignment that preoccupies them for the rest of the film. After "Hanna," which blended its own surreality with a fairly complex portrait of a child groomed to kill, "Violet & Daisy" feels radically disconnected from recognizable human behavior.

The writer also praised the film's production values given its budget.

So, not a strong recommendation. It's a film we're watching for here on S&A. And when any of us gets an opportunity to see it, we will.

Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel star, with James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Danny Trejo supporting, in what has been described as a “Thelma and Louise meets Superbad meets Pulp Fiction” story.

Ronan and Bledel play a pair of teenage assassins lured into what is supposed to be just another quick and easy job, only to find complications as the man they’re supposed to kill is not who they expected.

Second, tonight will be the international premiere of Jennifer Hudson's long-awaited Winnie Mandela biopic, Winnie, at TIFF. The trailer for the biopic, starring Jennifer Hudson as the titular character, and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela, was met with much ridicule and derision when we unveiled it last fall, to the chagrin of its producers, and maybe to the real Winnie Mandela as well, given her well-documented objections to the production of the film in early 2010, for which she was not consulted at all.

I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this one, and I'm really looking forward to what critics say about it after the screening. So I'll be waking up tomorrow hoping to read some reviews. Worth noting is that in TIFF director Cameron Bailey's daily picks of films to see at the festival, he doesn't mention Winnie as one of his selections for today. Do with that piece of info what you will (the video of Bailey's September 16th picks is embedded at the bottom of this post).

He does, however, mention another film we've highlighted on S&A; Titled Random, the film is scheduled to debut at today as well. Directed by Debbie Tucker Green, the film stars Nadine Marshall, Daniel Kaluuya (mentioned on this site last year as one of the UK's young black stars of tomorrow), Jay Byrd, and Louis Mahoney.

I'm curious about this one, after seeing its trailer about a month ago... it looks like a combo documentary, stage and feature narrative, used to tell the story of 24 hours in the life of a Black British woman on the day her younger brother is killed in a random act of violence. Bailey calls it "kaleidoscopic, monologue-driven portrait."

No idea where it'll play after TIFF, but it's also on our watch list.

And that's your TIFF roundup for today.

Watch Cameron Bailey's 9/16 picks below:

This article is related to: Film Festival


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