TIFF’s right around the corner, but for some reason that just enables our distrbutors to throw more than a dozen movies onto Toronto’s screens. That’s insane, and yet I’m expected to let you all know what’s what, so here goes …
“Conan the Barbarian”: Marcus Nispel, who gave us the bonehead burly bloodbath that was “Pathfinder”, tackles the original loincloth warrior in a spurtfest that, according to Andrew, does an effective job of crushing its enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women.
“The Corner Shop”: Upinder Raisauda’s homegrown hybrid is, supposedly, both a heist film and a generational comedy — and according to Rad, it makes “Clerks” look polished and self-assured. So, um, no thanks.
“Fright Night“: Craig Gillespie’s 3D remake/update isn’t perfect — it throws out the original’s ingenious premise far too soon, and doesn’t really replace it with anything better — but damn if Colin Farrell isn’t good, and double damn if David Tennant isn’t great. So, yeah.
“Griff the Invisible“: “True Blood” man-candy Ryan Kwanten goes all Defendor in Leon Ford’s ordinary-superhero comedy, which is different from all the other ordinary superhero comedies by being Australian and also being kinda twee. Strong cast, though.
“One Day”: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are ideal partners who spend 20 years getting ready to fall in love, or something. Glenn ain’t buying it.
“Sarah’s Key“: You know the respectable Oscar-bait movies Miramax used to make about the Holocaust? Well, here is another one, and this one has Kristin Scott-Thomas in it.
“Senna”: Ten years after impressing no one with the stylish but empty thriller “The Warrior”, Asif Kapadia reinvents himself as a crackling documentarian with this study of doomed racecar driver Ayrton Senna. Rad finds it a mean machine indeed.
“Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstacy”: I’m not entirely sure any sex comedy needs to be experienced in 3D, let alone a remake of a pretty broad 1991 Hong Kong venture that kicked off a prurient franchise. And yet, here it is.
“Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World”: The first two “Spy Kids” movies were a lot of fun, but Robert Rodriguez’ kiddie films have grown awfully simplistic and self-indulgent since then. This one’s in 3D and smell-o-vision, and it wasn’t screened for the press, so I’m in no hurry, you know?
“Terri“: Most movies about awkward teenagers shy away from the creepy, icky reality of adolescence. Azazel Jacobs’ considered character study does not — and it’s also really funny, with John C. Reilly doing some of his finest work in years as an unreadable guidance counsellor. Go and see.
“Trollhunter”: Andre Ovredal’s found-footage creeper follows three college students stalking a rural myth who discover they’re on the trail of something very real and very dangerous. Yeah, it owes a great deal to “The Blair Witch Project” — for the first five minutes, anyway. And then it goes sprinting off down its own goony path. Andy likes it as much as I do.
“Whirligig“: Who keeps giving Chaz Thorne money? Is there no one else on the East Coast who might be more deserving? Because this wincingly stiff comedy about a maladjusted young man trying to bang his parents’ neighbour is an awful, awful film, and we really don’t need any more of those than we already have.
“You Are Here“: Playful, provocative and entirely unique, Daniel Cockburn’s meta-detective project finally gets a Toronto theatrical release at the Lightbox. I’ll be doing a Q&A with Daniel after the 7:30pm screening tonight, so, um, that’d probably be the best show to catch.
Oh, and I may not have time to mention it, but the Lightbox is also hosting a Saturday matinee screening of “The Rocketeer” this weekend. As it is unlikely to ever play a local theatre again, I would highly recommend you go.