The problem with Toronto, beside the fact that we don’t get to go, is that its films and coverage blend in and overlap with that of Venice, Telluride, New York and the general fall season. Not that there isn’t plenty happening there; a few quick links:
Roger Ebert, clearly thrilled to be back out and watching movies, loves "Juno," the second film from "Thank You For Smoking"‘s Jason Reitman: "the dialogue is so quick and funny you feel the actors are performing it on a high-wire."
Sunday morning one of the p.p.’s (prestige pictures) was screened for the first time: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," in which Cate Blanchett revisits the role of the Virgin Queen and makes eyes in the direction of Clive Owen’s Walter Raleigh, of cape-and-mud-puddle fame. It is a highly overwrought historical epic, as is Ang Lee’s curiously static World War II Shanghai-set "Lust, Caution," the latest example of the Motion Picture Association of America’s insanity when it comes to ratings. It should have gotten an R, but "Lust, Caution" has received an NC-17 for three fairly explicit encounters between a young revolutionary (Tang Wei) and her target, a collaborationist flunky (Tony Leung). Otherwise, the caution is overwhelming.
Michael Lerman at indieWIRE finds the Midnight Madness line-up mixed. Of Takashi Miike’s "Sukiyaki Western Django," he writes that the film "fails miserably at keeping the film up to speed." George Romero’s "Diary of the Dead," on the other hand, successfully toggles between being "uproariously crowd-pleasing with its cast of characters and range of deaths and painfully heavy handed with lots of meandering on its mock doc style"; Dario Argento’s "The Mother of Tears" is "what seems like a conscious effort to poke fun at the b-cinema that was being shot while he was making a name for himself… Argento provides the audience with a nearly incomprehensible plot that is secondary to hilarious tropes of cheap filmmaking."
Eric Kohn at The Reeler checks in with Werner Herzog, there with his Antarctica documentary "Encounters at the End of the World": "I have to say that, for the first time in my life as a filmmaker, I was scared, because I had no idea who I was going to meet. There was no scouting. There was no preparation for it, because you only go to Antarctica under special circumstances. I went there to come home with a movie."
Joe Friesen at the Globe and Mail talks to Guy Maddin about his "docu-fantasia" about his home town, "My Winnipeg": "I think it would be hilarious to hold captive a very large audience in a world capital abroad to see a travelogue on Winnipeg… There are so many things specific to Winnipeg in it, but I hope that it’s so specific that it’s universal – that people will begin to see their own hometown materialize before their eyes in Winnipeg."
And Peter Howell at the Toronto Star interviews Lt.-Gen. RomÃ©o Dallaire and Roy Dupuis, the actor who plays him in "Shake Hands With the Devil," the narrative adaptation of Dallaire book of the same name, itself recently made into a documentary.
+ Toronto #5: Great performances, strong stories (RogerEbert.com)
+ Young Canadian actress captures filmgoers’ hearts (Chicago Tribune)
+ Midnight Madness Mixed, With Duds "Sukiyaki," "Frontier(s)," Standouts "Dainipponjin" and "Inside" (indieWIRE)
+ The Iraq war, testy teenagers take Toronto (Boston Globe)
+ Herzog on Ice (The Reeler)
+ His own private Winnipeg (Globe and Mail)
+ Two vs. the devil (Toronto Star)