Hello all, just a brief post today outlining the Toronto International Film Festival’s newest additions announced Tuesday afternoon. For reference, you can check out all of The CInema Monster’s post regarding the festival thus far by clicking on TIFF in the main menu at the top of this page. Also, be sure to follow The CInema Monster on Twitter (@cinema_monster) and Facebook for up to the minute festival news, reviews, and Q and A’s. Now, below you’ll find what I feel to be the highlights of this newest batch. If you’d like to check out all the films announced thus far, click here. And in addition to the newly presented galas and special presentations, announced Tuesday afternoon were films in the Contemporary World Cinema, Contemporary World Speakers, Wavelengths, and TIFF Kids categories. You can see the full list of those films here.
Child of God
The latest from actor-turned-filmmaker James Franco is adapted from characteristically tough and violent Cormac McCarthy novel that draws the director’s ambitions into disturbing terrain as it explores the rituals and desperation of the Southern US’s rural poor.
The Face of Love
Five years after the death of her beloved husband Garrett (Ed Harris), Nikki (Annette Bening) meets a man who seems to be his exact double. Ari Posen directs this emotionally thorny drama about how we cope with loss, live in the moment, and ultimately move forward. The film also stars Robin Williams.
Clive Owen and Billy Crudup lead a powerhouse cast — including Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) — as a pair of brothers on opposite sides of the law in Guillaume Canet’s English-language remake of the gritty, 1970s-set crime drama Les liens du sang. The film also stars Zoe Saldana and James Caan.
How I Live Now
Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) stars in this adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s award-winning near-future novel about an American teenager sent to live with her family in Britain on the eve of the Third World War, directed by Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland).
The Wind Rises
This decade-spanning epic from maestro Hayao Miyazaki is his most unique films to date, inspired by the true stories of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one the most beautiful airplanes in history — the famed Zero fighter — and the poet Tatsuo Hori, whose verses are brought to life by the vivid animation of Studio Ghibli.
An unflinching look into a faltering marriage as it evolved from a chance encounter. Blue Valentine doesn’t shy away from the tribulations and although at times it may be difficult to watch, there is no arguing with the authenticity on display here. Featuring a pair of unprecedented performances of unbearable depth and astounding accuracy from its two leads. Blue Valentine is a veritable gaze into the consequences of young love and other uncontrollable emotions. Directed and written by breakthrough visionary Derek Cianfrance. This uncompromising, atypical fairytale is both heartbreaking and enlightening. Blue Valentine is as potent and persuasive as they come and should be viewed with caution. Consider your current emotional state, Blue Valentine should not be taken lightly or inconsiderately trifled with.
Dean (Gosling) is a high school dropout currently working for a New York City moving company. Cindy (Williams) is a pre-med student living at home with her parents and grandmother. Upon meeting by change, both fall in love with one another immediately. Cindy soon discovers she is pregnant and there is a distinct possibility it is from a previously relationship. Regardless, Cindy and Dean rush into marriage. Fast forwarding roughly five years, we now see the evolution of their relationship, their struggles, and the growth of their daughter. Dean currently works as a painter while Cindy is a nurse. As their lives continue to progress, the more they distance from one another and begin to crumble under their youthful, reckless decisions.
Despite a staggering amount of sadness and sacrifice. At times, Blue Valentine is equally as pleasant and rewarding. Trying not to weigh the viewer down with a significant amount of melancholy that is relentlessly constant, as well as boasting a pair of portrayals that are strong enough to bring its viewers to tears. Blue Valentine never loses direction and always keeps its heart beating for all the right reasons. While most films would falter under the restriction of having only two characters carry the story throughout, Blue Valentine always keeps its content fresh and progressive. Cianfrance provides a grounded, realistic entry into a genre that seems to continuously, albeit unsuccessfully shoot for sky and easily lose sight of what really matters, thankfully Blue Valentine is not the norm.
Cianfrance’s direction is near impossible to critique. When you’re able to snag a harrowing tale of utter sadness and regret, let alone a few moments through a lens, you’ve hit your stride. Cianfrance pulls double duty in Blue Valentine as he also scribes the screenplay. The main reason why Blue Valentine succeeds is its faultless attention to detail. This is directly related to Cianfrance’s outstanding script and heart-bursting direction.
However powerful and poignant Cianfrance’s script and direction may be, Blue Valentine would be lost without its two leads. Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as inwardly star-crossed lovers on the verge of catastrophe, Blue Valentine makes the most of its stars remarkable chemistry. Not only undergoing significant changes to their personalities and characteristics. Gosling and Williams outward appearances are shifted to accommodate their roles exhausting demands. While it may not always be pretty to look at. Gosling and Williams construct a formidable, more importantly believable relationship that isn’t your typical “happily ever after.” Gosling beautiful acts the growing frustration in reaction to Williams indifference of their relationship. In summary, It is exceedingly difficult to review their performances separate from one another because they are so connected.
Never hiding the foundations weaknesses and cracks or the fading sparks. Blue Valentine is a realistic romance that will render your insides torn and eyes far from dry.
Blue Valentine: 8 out of 10.
Part two of my doubleheader this weekend at the cinema was the 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Check out the review for the first part of the doubleheader starring Evil Dead.
I was fortunate enough to see Jurassic Park in its IMAX 3D format this past weekend. If that isn’t excessively decadent, I don’t know what is. They certainly spared no expense in re-formatting Jurassic Park in 3D.The theatre was packed and the energy in the room filled my gut with excitement. I swear I regained some faith in humanity when I noticed that parents were bringing their young ones to watch it. Opening their fresh, innocent minds to the wondrous world of cinema, its enough to break your heart. All right, hold on. I may be overdoing it a bit, but come on, it’s Jurassic Park, a classic. To know that it’s still relevant and that generation after generation will be exposed to this masterpiece is gratifying.
Unless you’ve been living under a petrified rock for the last 20 years. You’ll know that Jurassic Park is directed by the inspiring, brilliant, unmatchable Steven Spielberg and features incomparable performances from Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum. With Jurassic Park, Spielberg perhaps squeezes the last drop of wonder and amazement from our planet and presents it in all of its splendour for the masses to see. Its soundtrack is arguably one of the most recognized film scores ever, composed by none other than the supremely talented John Williams. Provoking strong arguments regarding the current state and future of science, the limit of merchandising, and the extinction of manual labour. Jurassic Park is as equally intelligent as it is fantastical.
Dr. Grant (Neill) and Dr. Sattler (Dern) are coaxed into attending a weekend on the island is Isla Nublar by John Hammond (Attenborough), the CEO of InGen. Accompanying them on their journey is Dr. Malcolm (Goldblum) and Donald Gennaro, a lawyer. Once they arrive at the island, it is revealed to them that it is a biological zoo of sorts that houses genetically engineered dinosaurs. The reason for their visit is for Mr. Hammond to obtain endorsements on the safety and reality of his park which is called into question after an employee is killed by one of the dinosaurs. Another of InGen’s employees is bribed into providing a rival company with embryos of the dinosaurs. When the power and security is shut down to retrieve the embryos, the dinosaurs begin to unleash their fury on the park and the visitors.
I honestly take it to heart how my interpretations and understanding of Jurassic Park evolved as I grew. As a kid, the underlying messages and themes don’t really resonate with you, but as you mature, so do your opinions. Jurassic Park deals with some serious topics, such as cloning and merchandising. The scene I feel best exemplifies Jurassic Park’s social and political undertakings is when Malcolm and Hammond discuss the act of discovery. Grant and Sattler also contribute to the conversation, but the back and forth between Malcolm and Hammond is the core. The inclusion of the lawyer I think is elegantly satirical.
It is actually quite miraculous how the 20 year old animatronics still stand up today. The Tyrannosaur never looked better. Grappling with the tour jeep, reeking havoc amongst the park, tearing guests apart, it’s stunning. It’s tough to find a fault in the film. There might be some factual inconsistencies in the design and mechanisms of the animatronic dinosaurs, but they are easy to overlook considering their authentic look and feel. Taking into account the sheer inventiveness and vastness of Jurassic Park, let alone the animatronics and script, it’s easy to appreciate Spielberg’s craft. The originality and intelligence in Spielberg’s direction and Crichton’s novel, on which the film was based, is unmatched.
When the tears begin to trickle down Dern’s face as she stares into the eyes of the sick triceratops, it conjures up deep feelings of resentment and endearment, it chokes you up. The same emotion can be felt when Neill takes his first look at the herds of dinosaurs drinking from a small lake. Their performances reflect the unbearable anxiousness and ferocious excitement that exude from their characters inner child, which is what I feel makes Jurassic Park such a universally understood and cherished film. Everyone wants their hopes and dreams to come to fruition and when we witness it happen to others, it trembles our very bones. Attenborough mirrors this very aspiration at several moments in the film. Goldblum embraces chaos theory and displaces it throughout his performance. Whether he annoys you or makes you chuckle, their is no arguing with his effectiveness.
Jurassic Park has the smarts, looks, and personality. The kind of film you’d take home to show off to your friends, just joking. All kidding aside, Jurassic Park is the perfect potent blend of terror, intrigue, and brilliance.
Jurassic Park IMAX 3D: 10 out of 10.
Also guys, don’t forget to check out the top 10 films of 2012 and the week #3 discussion board!