TIFF, Schmiff, It’s Still a Friday

When I say For a change, the last Friday is not the Friday before Labor Day, so we get another week’s reprieve before that frame’s traditional Dumping of the Crap. Don’t get too excited; there’s still some weak offerings. But we also get one of the year’s finest genre hybrids, as you’ll see if you read on.

“Bamboo Shoots”: An errant condom is the catalyst for comedy in Chinese director Jian Yi’s political satire, screening at Toronto’s newest independent cinema, the Projection Booth. Phil found it decent enough.

Chasing Madoff“: This documentary recounts financial analyst Harry Markopolos’ dogged, decade-long attempt to expose Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as dull as director Jeff Prosserman makes it seem.

“Colombiana”: Zoe Saldana fires automatic weapons while acting all sultry. Strangely, this is not a spin-off for her character from “The Losers”. No press screening. Can’t be arsed.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark“: Guillermo del Toro remakes the TV-movie that gave him the willies as a child, but adding an extra half-hour of subplots and a buttload of CG doesn’t do the material any favors. Also, director Troy Nixey never figures out how to split the height difference between Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, resulting in some very weird two-shots.

“5 Days of War”: Oh, Renny Harlin, you lovable rogue — trying to get all serious with a story about the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict, without a single superintelligent shark in sight. Andy ain’t buying it, taking particular exception to the multiple accents employed by the cast. In fairness, have you ever heard Renny Harlin speak? This is a man who has no business telling anyone to consult a voice coach.

The Guard“: If you enjoy watching Brendan Gleeson be larger than life, you will fookin’ love him in John Michael McDonagh’s blistering Irish cop comedy, which pairs him with Don Cheadle for some fine anti-buddy action. Seriously, don’t be missing it, it’s grand.

“Ingredients”: I’m pretty sure I caught Robert Bates’ advocacy doc on DVD about six months ago. Wasn’t terribly impressed — it’s got the same hectoring tone as most of the current eco-docs aimed at middlebrow liberal audiences — and it would seem Glenn feels about the same.

Our Idiot Brother“: Paul Rudd sails blissfully through Jesse Peretz’ charming comedy about a naive free spirit who wreaks havoc on his sisters’ relationships. Fine performances all around, actually — I even think Zooey Deschanel’s exasperating wide-eyed hipster persona is meant to be annoying in the context of the film.

There, that’s everything. Guess what I have to do now! If you guessed “more frantic typing”, you are correct! Congratulations!