Published on September 25th, 2012 | by MISTY
Going To The Movies With Rob0bot
Submitted by ROB0BOT
Argo. Looper. Much Ado About Nothing. Cloud Atlas. All star-studded films that played at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to much hype and acclaim. None of which you’ll read about in the following paragraphs. No, this piece is about a handful of films that you probably haven’t heard of but should. They didn’t fly under the radar because the radar was nowhere near them.
John Dies at the End
Based on the novel of the same name, this film takes crazy to a new level. Or maybe just a different plane. You get the feeling that this is from one of those “unfilmable” books and maybe purists would take offense at the mere attempt to make this into a movie. But it works. And if the raucous crowd at the last night of Midnight Madness was any indication, it worked quite well. It’s not exactly surprising though considering the film was helmed by legendary director Don Coscarelli (Bubba Hotep, Beastmaster, Phantasm). The story is a bit of a handful to describe but let’s say it involves two ghoul-fighting slackers, a living psychedelic drug called Soy Sauce and a meat monster. If television’s Supernatural took acid and featured a penis door knob, it would be John Dies at the End.
Pusher is an English-language remake of Nicholas Winding Refn’s cult hit. Remakes are always a risky proposition, especially when they’re of cult films that have spawned two sequels. Director Luis Prieto is also well-aware of making a movie about drugs in the post-Trainspotting world and delivers a few nods in its direction. When asked by festival programmer Colin Geddes about how he came to direct Pusher, Prieto said he declined the offer a few times before he finally agreed. His caveat was that he would be able to make his version. And although he sticks closely to the original script, the new film does take on a life of its own. Where the original had the feel of a street level documentary, this one pushes the hallucinatory angle of its subject. It’s surprisingly slick for its low budget and well worth the price of admission.
No One Lives
From director Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Midnight Meat Train) comes a gore-soaked action horror revenge film. This one takes the “couple menaced by troublemaking hicks” theme and sends it spinning in a totally different and bloody direction. It’s the kind of film doesn’t give you a lot of time to breathe and packs a visceral punch.
The debut from Toronto’s Brandon Cronenberg is a creepy thriller set in a near future in which celebrity worship has reached a disturbing level. Caleb Landry Jones plays Syd March, a technician/salesman at the Lucas Clinic where devoted fans can purchase injections of the viruses that infect their favourite celebrities. Syd also traffics in black market viruses on the side and winds up with a potentially fatal virus harvested from a young starlet (Sarah Gadon) coursing through his veins. It’s thought-provoking to say the least and one of the strongest directorial debuts you’re likely to see this year. Plus its got Malcolm McDowell. Don’t miss it when it hits theatres next month.
Crimes of Mike Recket
The new film from Bruce Sweeney is a low key, micro-budgeted noir procedural with a hint of black humour and a Canadian flavour. Don’t let that scare you off though because the film offers a compelling look at what happens when deception takes over the life of a seemingly normal man. Nicholas Lea (The X Files) plays the title character with understated intensity as he watches his life unravel with surprise. Paul Skrudland as the detective on Mike’s case is also great. One of the highlights of the screening was at the Q&A afterwards when Nicholas Lea described just how low tech the shoot was. When asked about permits, specifically for several scenes outside a Vancouver police station, he said he would just walk into the station, stand around for a few minutes and walk back out in character while the director shot from the sidewalk. And if you watch closely, you’ll see the two man camera crew in the door’s reflection.
ABCs of Death
The idea of 26 short films about death covering every letter of the alphabet is one that runs the risk of becoming either boring, repetitive or just not quite holding up. Fortunately, this film mostly avoids these traps. Featuring the likes of a whole bunch of dudes who have made a many of the coolest horror/gore/crazy films of the past few years, this one delivers. They range from gross to weird to bloody and even if you find yourself not digging one, don’t worry, the maximum run time is five minutes.
Submitted by ROB0BOT