I’ve been so blessedly busy with work of late, of the 10 Toronto
International Film Festival tickets I had this year, I only managed
to sit and watch three. However, the tickets did not go to waste, as
I shared the spares with work colleagues so they did get used.
Friday night, in preparation for our film fest Saturday adventure, G
and I opted to host an impromptu TIFF party for two featuring what
else but pizza and Champagne!
when you take a great story, the life of the Greek painter, Doménicos
made famous during his time in Spain as “El Greco”, and place
this story in the hands of an over-wrought director, Yannis
Smaragdis, with a panache for melodrama and ensuring his actors
over-act each and every scene, the result is never good. Such is the
fate of El Greco. This film should be used by film school instructors
to demonstrate the worse in archaic film style, including the
creation of one dimensional characters. Most irritating is the mix of
languages the film uses, it seems everyone in the 16
century could easily speak Greek, Italian, Spanish, English … and
subtitles to boot. It is all too bad as the story of El Greco’s
lifelong relationship and battle with Cardinal Niño de
Guevara, Toledo’s Grand Inquisitor, does make for a good story. To
sum-up, this dreadful film is an embarrassment to have shown at TIFF
and worse, an embarrassment to El Greco’s art. My rating, mainly for the fact Vangelis
did the music, 2 out of 10.
Mori wrote the original story and book back in 2001, which Kenji
Tsuruta then animated. The story is set in an alternative historical
time – vaguely reminiscent of Europe in World War II – and
concerns Kildren, genetically engineered teenagers who never die
until shot down in an air battle. At its core this film examines an
essential truth about life and whether knowing you will live forever,
makes living worth it or not. This theme is explored in simply
gorgeous detail through 122 minutes of magnificent anime. Directed by
the genius of Mamoru Oshii, The Sky Crawlers is one of the most
subtlety perfect movies – in any genre – in a long, long time. It
is, in a word, a masterpiece. My rating, a rare, 10 out of 10.
is Gus Van Sant’s take on and testament to the Columbine shootings
in 1999. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2003, Van Sant shows
us a gaggle of teenagers going about their day, an utterly ordinary
day, except for the machinations of two disturbed boys at the
Portland high school portrayed in the film. The plain ordinariness of
it all and Van Sant’s quiet direction, following the school’s
photographer, the prom couple, the library nerd, makes the horror
that follows at the end of the film even more impactful. Elephant is
a bold, disturbing film that does not moralize what happens but
simply shows us an event stripped of biases. The title could not be
more apt, there is an elephant in every high school in the nation,
and in most cases we don’t even know it’s there. My rating 8 out
I liked Elephant too.
Pizza and Champange sound good! I wonder which vintage?
Elephant and Sky Crawlers sound like excellent movies. That are on my list.