Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Countdown to TIFF: 2002 in Review

TIFF 2002



2002 was the year that I started to infect my friends with the film festival bug. I was able to share my knowledge in regards to the selection process, theatre locations, type of food and drink to have, etc. While 2001 had it far share of great films, 2002 completely blew it out of the water. The amount of exceptional films was simply staggering. On a personal note, this was also the year when the term “The Whale Riders” officially became a part of the festival lexicon between my friend and I.

While skimming through the program book to make our selections, my friend and I came across a film entitled Whale Rider. The picture in the book was of a young girl on a whale, and the description of the plot did not really peak our interest by any means. Instead we opted for a quirky Canadian film, Le Marais (The Marsh), which was playing at the same time. Even as we watched the director and cast of Whale Rider stroll into the Cumberland, while we stood in line for Le Marais, we were confident that we had made the right choice. It was only after sitting through that “weird goat-boy movie” that we realized we had made a grave mistake. Whale Rider not only turned out to be a phenomenal film but it was also the toast of the festival that year winning the People’s Choice Award for favourite film. We will always regret that decision hence the birth of “The Whale Riders.”

Total Number of Films Watched: 28

My Top 5:

Sweet Sixteen
Punch-Drunk Love
Spirited Away
Better Luck Tomorrow
Bowling for Columbine

Honourable Mention: Talk to Her, Secretary, In America, Dirty Pretty Things, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Blue Car, Phone Booth, The Magdalene Sisters, Laurel Canyon, Sex is Comedy

The Disappointments: Ginostra, Le Marais (The Marsh), Tycoon, Le Neg, Tuck Everlasting



The Whale Riders (aka. I regret passing on these films): Whale Rider, City of God, Far From Heaven, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Frida, Real Women Have Curves, Personal Velocity, Irreversible, Gerry, 8 Mile.

Memorable Moment: It is a tie between seeing P.T. Anderson and Adam Sandler at the Punch-Drunk Love screening and taking in my very first Midnight Madness Screening. When Adam Sandler arrived at the Uptown theatre it was absolute chaos. The media and fans were all trying to get photos of Sandler and ask him questions. The festival volunteers had to form two human chains in order to get the ticket holders into the theatre safely. Fortunately I was at the front of the line so I did not have to endure the madness for too long. Plus I was able to snag front row seats inside the theatre. After seeing Punch-Drunk Love the night before, I had five films lined up for the final day of the festival. It was a long day but I ended it off with a Midnight Madness screening of, a then unknown director, Eli Roth’s film Cabin Fever. I had heard stories about the Midnight Madness screenings before but nothing prepared me for the sheer fun that the experience brought. Cabin Fever may not be a great film, but I definitely had a lot of fun watching it with the Midnight Madness crowd.

Random Star Sightings: P.T. Anderson, Adam Sandler, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Duvall, Hayao Miyazaki, Roger Ebert, Joel Schumacher, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader, Michael Moore, Sergi López, Niki Caro, Kesha Castle-Hughes, Peter Mullan, Lisa Cholodenko, Alessandro Nivola, Samatha Morton, Cliff Curtis, John Cho, Sung Kang, Justin Lin, Catherine Breillat, Chloë Sevigny, Vincent Gallo, David Strathairn, Agnes Bruckner, Philip Noyce

Monday, August 30, 2010

Countdown to TIFF: 2001 in Review

TIFF 2001



As the saying goes “you always remember your first time.” Having just graduated from university, with no job lined up, I decided to do what any unemployed movie lover would do...drop a bunch of money at the Toronto International Film Festival. Okay, it might not have been the most sensible move for a person as cash strapped as I was at the time. Yet I figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just could not pass up. It was a crazy move but ultimately one of the best decisions I have ever made.

As it was my first year at the festival, I leaned a little more towards the star driven films (a common rookie mistake!) As the festival went on it became clear that the smaller films were the ones that left a lasting impression.

Total Number of Films Watched: 25

My Top 5:

In the Bedroom
No Man’s Land
Monsoon Wedding
The Son’s Room
Waking Life

Honourable Mention: The Grey Zone, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise

The Disappointments: The Piano Teacher, Training Day, Enigma


The Whale Riders (a.k.a. I regret passing on these films) : Y Tu Mamá También, Mulholland Drive, Amélie, The Devils Backbone, Lantana

Memorable Moment: September 11, 2001, the moment when the modern world stood still. This was my official “Hollywood Day” at the festival as I had several big budget studio films to see. When the first plane hit the tower I was in line to see John Dahl’s film Joyride. I was not aware of what was going on in the world until I made my way to the Uptown (a wonderful theatre in that is no longer around) for a noon screening of the Johnny Depp film From Hell. As I talked to more and more people in line, a large number of which were Americans, the sense of fear and uncertainty was everywhere. As reports of airports and train stations shutting down started to surface many festival goers had no idea how they were getting back home once the festival was over. Heck, we did not know if the festival was even going to continue. We were advised before the screening started that the festival would be shutting down for the remainder of the day immediately following the From Hell screening. As we sat in the theatre, one man who had a walkman was providing our row with news updates on the latest events. It was only later that night did the news channels report that the film festival would in fact resumed the following day but on a much more sombre note.

Random Star Sightings: I had purchased a festival day pass which meant my chances of seeing famous folk was slim at best. The stars only come out a night for screenings as they are being interviewed by the press all day. Regardless I still got to see the likes of Molly Parker, Atom Egoyan, Antoine Fuqua, Todd Field, Danis Tarnovic, and Tim Blake Nelson.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Countdown to TIFF Starts Monday!


Starting Monday I will be doing an eight-part feature on my experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival (a.k.a. TIFF) over the years. I will be highlighting the best and worst films I have seen, the films that got away, memorable moments, and even a few star sightings. At the end of the feature I will reveal the list of films that I shall be seeing at this year’s film festival.  Let the countdown to TIFF begin!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who Is In Your Acting Dream Team?

Recently Anomalous Material brought together 27 movie bloggers to take part in a Hollywood Fantasy Draft. Over the course of 10 rounds, and several days, each blogger assembled their own film dream team. Below is the team I ended up with after the draft. Although I was near the bottom of the draft order I am very happy with the team I sekected. Now I just need to figure out roles for them all.

The Actors



Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Julianne Moore, Rosemary Dewitt, Denzel Washington, Salma Hayek, Don Cheadle, Charlotte Rampling, and Zooey Deschanel


The Director



Spike Jonze


Starting next Monday each participant will be sharing their movie ideas for their dream cast. Each day a new movie pitch will be featured on both the bloggers main website and the Anomalous Material website. At the end of the three weeks, all the pitches will be collected and featured in a special edition of Pitch the LAMB over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs.



What type of film would you make with this cast? Action flick? Comedy? Drama? Horror? Romance? Etc. Let me know in the comment section.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lip Reading Is Music To Deaf Ears

If I Knew What You Said

Nina (Zoe Sandejas) is the lead singer of a rock band but cannot seem to keep out of trouble. Facing expulsion from school, Nina has no choice but to attend an experimental camp that combines hearing impaired students with regular students. It is at the camp where Nina meets Kiko (Romalito Mallari), a deaf student with a passion for dance. Despite the emotional baggage they both are carrying a genuine friendship is formed between Nina and Kiko. Unfortunately their bond will be put to the test as their individual lives start to spiral out of control.

At first glance Mike Sandejas’ film looks like it might be just another “after school special”-style film about acceptance. Yet as the film progresses you realize that there is much more going on than you initially expected. Sandejas creates realistic and well-rounded characters in Nina and Kiko. Zoe Sandejas and Romalito Mallari provide strong enough performances to make their characters believable.

If I Knew What You Said does tug at your heart a few times but it never goes overboard. There are rarely any moments in the film that feel false or forced. Granted the film wraps up a little too sweet for my liking, but really that was a minor complaint as the rest of the film had me hooked far more than I ever expected it would.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Marketing Monday

I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix

Borat-style publicity stunt? Or true life story? Either way this film is now on my “to see” list



Freakonomics

My wife absolutely loved this book. I am very curious to see how the book will translate on screen. Having six documentary filmmakers working on different segments is very intriguing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TADFF Review: Rubber

Rubber

If I was to tell you a week ago that the most thought provoking film at the entire Toronto After Dark Festival would be a film about a “killer tire” you would probably have laughed. Well, the festival officially wrapped on Friday and I have to say that the one of the best films I saw during the week was an extremely smart B-movie about a killer tire named Robert.

One day a rubber tire, Robert, awakens to the wonders of the world. At first Robert struggles to get, and remain, upwardly mobile. Robert soon learns that he has the ability to destroy insects and plastic bottles by simply rolling over them. As Robert becomes more self-aware he begins to blowup objects with his mind. Drunk with power Robert hits the open road destroying everything in his path.

Despite what you may hear, or even think, Rubber is nothing like you could ever imagine it to be. There are so many layers to the film that some of you will be leaving the theatre scratching your head trying to process it all. This is the type of film demands multiple viewings. The film not only breaks the “fourth wall” by repeating talking to the audience, but it also deconstructs what it is like to be a modern day movie watcher.


Similar to Funny Games, Rubber is not only a commentary on the “Hollywood machine” but the movie watchers who support it. In short, it proves that people will pay to watch anything these days…even a film about a killer tire. What makes Rubber work so well is that it delivers its commentary through a lot of humour and absurdity. The opening moments alone hilariously set the stage for what is to come. Director Quentin Dupieux has a key character give a great monologue on how all great films have major elements that happen for “no reason” at all. This line of thought is played out to delicious effect for the entire length of the film. The first time you see Rubber, you will need to go out for a drink afterwards to process everything that you witnessed. Though after you think about it some more, you will want to run back into the theatre and immediately watch it all over again. Rubber is an immensely rewarding film that is far smarter than you would expect.

Grade: A+

TADFF Review: Heartless

Heartless

From birth, Jamie Morgan (Jim Strugess) has had to cope with having a large heart-shaped birthmark on his face. Jamie’s disfigurement has left him feeling ostracized from the general population leaving him only comfortable communicating with his family. When a local street gang attacks him and his mother in their East London neighbourhood, Jamie is determined to get revenge. While the police search for the teenagers they believe are responsible, Jamie knows that his attackers were not teens but actual demons. As he seeks out these demons, Jamie’s journey leads him to a mysterious man, Papa B (Joseph Mawle), who promises to grant Jamie the one thing his heart really desires. The only catch is that Jamie must do a favour for him in return. Jamie soon finds out that one’s desires are often the most dangerous demons of all.

Heartless is a tough film to review as each person’s response to it will be different depending on how you decipher the film. Although the film had several interesting themes woven throughout, I could not help but feel rather disappointed overall. I just did not love it the way others I spoke to did. I think one of the main problems I had is that the film did not go in the direction I was hoping it would. The film starts off with a nice creepy feel to it. The whole notion of a demon gang patrolling the streets of East London was intriguing. Unfortunately the film takes so many sharp turns that the whole is not as satisfying as the parts. The minute you start to warm up to an idea, the deal with the devil angle for example, the film quickly jumps to a whole new realm. Nothing is ever truly resolved.


Director Philip Ridley has proven, with his wonderful film The Reflecting Skin, that can handle darkly off-beat material. Heartless is a psychological horror with strong elements from children’s fables such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, etc. Yet the pieces never add up. Philip Ridley mashes-up so many different genre conventions that the first half of the film is rather incoherent. By time the film ends you appreciate what Ridley is attempting to achieve with the film even though he is not successful.

The one saving grace to the film is the performances by the cast; most notably the work of Jim Strugess, Timothy Spall, and Eddie Marsan. Jim Strugess is great in the lead role, he skillfully conveys Jamie’s uneasiness with the world around him. Timothy Spall is simply brilliant in his brief time on screen. I wish Ridley had a few more scenes with Spall scattered throughout the film. Since Spall is such an integral part of understanding the story more of his presence would have been a plus. Similar to Timothy Spall, Eddie Marsan is another actor who makes the most of his brief time on screen. His role as the “Weapon’s Man” provides one of the few genuinely funny moments in the film. As I mentioned before, I was disappointed in the film overall but I seemed to be in the minority. Heartless strives to be many things at all once, and yet does not fully explore any of them.

Grade: C

Friday, August 20, 2010

TADFF: Daily Picks August 20, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available at the Bloor Cinema for Rubber):

7:00 pm – Rubber. Easily one of the most buzzed about films at the fest. Tickets are selling fast for this one.



9:45 pm - The Human Centipede. Tickets are sold out online. Rush line is the only way you can score last minute tickets.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TADFF Review: Centurion

Centurion

Set in Britain in AD 117, The Roman Empire is at war with savages known as Picts. The Picts refuse to submit to Roman rule, and plan to destroy any Roman that crosses their path. Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), the sole survivor of a Picts’ raid on a Roman frontier fort, finds himself leading a small group Ninth Legion soldiers. The Ninth Legion was once a fearsome band of Roman soldiers until they were ambushed by the Picts. After their general (Dominic West) was captured, and the majority of the men slaughter, Dias was entrusted with the task of leading and six remaining Ninth Legion soldiers home. Yet their quest home is riddled with danger as the Picts’ leader, Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), has made it his personal mission to hunt down the remaining members of the Ninth Legion at all cost. Dias and his band of soldiers must navigate through unfamiliar terrain, and evade the Picts’ expert tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko), in order to reach Roman soil before it is too late.

Normally a film with this much blood and carnage would hold my interest on the most basic, and primal, level. Unfortunately the relentless amount of decapitations was not enough to keep my eyelids from closing down a few times throughout Centurion. Now I am fully aware that the unusually large amount of softball that I have played in the last couple of days may have factored into my weary state. Yet Centurion, of all the films at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, should have been the jolt of adrenaline that my body needed. Sadly, the repetitive nature of the film only added to the dullness of the overall production. The film pretty much follows the same formula throughout: The Romans talk a big game, get their asses handed to them by the Picts, then run into the woods looking for a safe place to hide. Add in some beautiful scenery and that is pretty much the film in a nutshell,


Centurion was high on my “to see list” as it stars Michael Fassbender and was directed by Neil Marshall. After his brilliant work in films such as Hunger and Fish Tank (my review to come soon), not to mention his role in Inglourious Basterds, Michel Fassbender is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors. He brings so much vigor to every role he plays. Fassbender’s talents are wasted in this film. He is not giving much to work with at all as Neil Marshall spends more time on the action scenes than he does crafting a solid plot. Although Marshall’s previous films Dog Soldiers and Doomsday were entertaining, neither really showcased his talents fully the way The Descent did. I was hoping that Centurion would be Marshall’s best film yet but it ended up being his weakest one to date. The only thing I will say in Neil Marshall’s favour is that he always incorporates strong female characters into his film. Olga Kurylenko, who you may remember from Quantum of Solace, is the real bright spot of the film. Not only is she a fearsome warrior but she is also one of the few characters who actually has an interesting back-story. Granted, her life is summarized in two or three lines but at least it is something. Most of the other characters are rather indistinguishable from each other.

Since the bloody action is always at the forefront, Marshall never provides enough character development to bring any depth to all the carnage. At the beginning the Romans are portrayed as good and the Picts are viewed as bad…but is really the case? Both sides have committed great sins against each other. As the film goes on, it becomes increasingly tough to care for either side. Centurion tries hard to follow in the footsteps of the many sword and sandal films that came before it. Yet, at the end of the day, Centurion is nothing more than a mindless action film that is fairly easy to fall asleep to.

Grade: D

TADFF: Daily Picks August 19, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online, or at the Bloor Cinema):

7:00 pm - Black Death (featuring Sean Bean)



9: 45 pm - I Spit on Your Grave (tickets are selling fast, may be sold out by the afternoon. Arrive to the theatre early if you want to get last minute tickets)

TADFF Review: The Last Exorcism

The Last Exorcism

During question and answer period of The Last Exorcism screening director Eli Roth, who produced the film, stated that he is drawn to films where the real discussion begins once the films ends. This perfectly encapsulates The Last Exorcism. The film may not make you jump out of your seats, but you will be thinking about The Last Exorcism long after it is over.

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) has been preaching the gospel since the age of 10. Immensely charismatic, Cotton knows all the right things to say to both his congregation and the various people he encounters on the street. Despite not believing the religious jargon he spews, Cotton continues to preach in order to take care of his wife and child. After a young boy is killed during an exorcism procedure, Cotton Marcus becomes determined to expose just how fake exorcisms really are. Cotton enlists a documentary film crew to follow him while he “performs” one last exorcism. Picking a letter at random, Cotton heads to a small town in Louisiana to conduct an exorcism on Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell). Nell’s father Louis (Louis Herthum) is convinced his daughter is possessed but Cotton is not so easily swayed. The deeper Cotton delves into Nell’s predicament the more dangerous things become for Cotton and his film crew. Is Nell really possessed by evil forces? Or is there a greater mystery afoot?


Similar to The Blair Witch Project, The Last Exorcism is all about the audience creating the horror in their minds. The film does not aim to shock via excessive gore or elaborate deaths. This type of film spends time creating the right atmosphere, which impacts the viewer much more than merely splashing the screen with blood. Telling the tale through the eyes of the documentary camera man is both a benefit and a disadvantage for the film’s director, Daniel Stamm. On one hand Stamm is able to create the claustrophobic and creepy atmosphere that only having viewpoint provides. Unfortunately, the fact that some of the moments are “edited” takes the audience out of the story at the wrong moments. For example, when Cotton is conducting his exorcism the film constantly jumps back and forth between scenes of the exorcism and scenes where Cotton is explaining the tricks of the trade. While the section is very amusing, the audience cannot help but question when did the documentary crew have time to splice those scenes together? Especially since the audience is led to believe that the events are being documented as they happen.

Still, despite the minor flaws, there is a lot to likeabout The Last Exorcism. The performances from both Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell are outstanding. While Cotton is as fraudulent as the exorcisms he wants to expose, Fabian’s portrayal of Cotton is by no means a gimmick. Fabian brings a nicely layered performance that will have you laughing along with Cotton just as much as you fear for his safety. Cotton’s scenes with Nell go from sweet to chilling in a blink of an eye. Ashley Bell does a great job of making Nell both the victim and the aggressor. There is a great scene in the film where Nell is sitting on the bed all innocent looking while Cotton checks up on her. Then, just before the door closes, she delivers this slow evil grin to the camera that sends shivers down the audience’s spine. It should also be noted that there were no special effects used for Nell’s scenes. Every disturbing body contortion is 100% Bell. The Last Exorcism is a film that succeeds because it harkens back to more minimalist horror films. The type of tales where the scariest aspects are the things that the audience creates in their own mind.

Grade: A-


Stars in attendance: Producer Eli Roth and actors Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell held a question and answer session after the screening.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TADFF: Daily Picks August 18, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online, or at the Bloor Cinema):


7:00 pm - Centurion




9:45 pm – Heartless

TADFF Review: High School

High School

Henry (Matt Bush) is an honour roll student who has always played by the rules. His pal Travis (Sean Marquette), on the other hand, is a stoner whose future is as cloudy as the marijuana he enhales. Travis convinces Henry to let loose and try some weed just one time. Unfortunately for the boys, they get high the night before the school principle, Gordon (Michael Chiklis), announces that he will be taken a harsh stance on drugs. On the day of the final exams, every student will have to take part in mandatory drug testing. Anyone student who fails the test will be immediately expelled. Fearing that his application to MIT is in jeopardy, Henry decides to go along with Travis’ crazy plan to get the whole school high via the PTA bake sale. If the whole school fails the drug screening than the results will be deemed inadmissible. In order to get enough drugs to affect the students and staff, Travis and Henry must steal some of the most potent marijuana on earth from a local drug dealer, the unstable Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody).

At the time of screening, High School still did not have a distributor attached. Which I find rather odd since this is a film that will appeal to both stoners and non-stoners alike. High School is a blend of Superbad mixed with Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and sprinkled with a dash of Ferris Buellers Day Off. I understand that some people may fear that their children will get “bad ideas” from the film, but the film does not break any new ground. Director John Stalberg’s film is more of a buddy comedy than it is a pro-marijuana film. In fact, it shows the horrors of marijuana more than anything else. Henry and Travis’ plan gets increasing complicated as everything spirals out of control.

The fun in High School comes from watch Henry and Travis trying to outsmart everyone from Principle Gordon to rival straight “A” student Sebastain (Adhir Kaylan), while having Psycho Ed breathing down their necks. Matt Bush does a wonderful job as Henry, he really holds his own against the star-studded supporting cast. Both Bush and Marquette, who is like a young John Belushi, help to keep the pacing brisk and the laughs flowing. Credit must be given to the exceptional supporting cast. Michael Chiklis, who is unrecognizable in the film, is hilarious as the school principle who is determined to cleanse the school of drugs at all cost. It is Chiklis’ Gordon and Brody’s Psycho Ed who have some of the best lines in the film. The rest of the supporting players, including Colin Hanks, Yeardley Smith, Andrew Wilson, Mykelti Williamson, and Michael Vartan provide enough additional laughs that none of the characters ever feel out of place. While High School may not bring anything unique to the teen comedy genre, it offers up enough laughs that makes it well worth the trip back to school.

Grade: B

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TADFF: Daily Picks August 17, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online or at the Bloor Cinema):

7:00 pm - Phobia 2



9:45 pm – All About Evil (starring Natasha Lyonne)

TADFF Review: RoboGeisha

RoboGeisha

Noboru Iguchi’s RoboGeshia focuses on two sisters whose feud is played out to epic proportions. Yoshie (Aya Kiguchi) has always look up to her older sister, Kikue (Hitomi Hasebe), with loving affection. The same cannot be said for Kikue, a beautiful Geisha who wishes that life had brought her a different baby sister. When a young wealthy industrialist, Hikaru Kageno (Takumi Saitô), takes an interest in Yoshie, the tension between the sisters intensifies. Neither sister knows what dangers await them in Kageno’s factory. Hikaru Kageno is quietly building an army of robot geishas to take over the world.

Rarely has sibling rivalry been taken to such over-the-top extremes. If you are looking for a gripping story with a coherent plot, let me take this opportunity to remind you that the film is called RoboGeisha! This is film is by no means a good, from a plot point of view, but you will have a great time watching it. RoboGeisha is one of those films that you need to see with a group of people, preferably with a few beers in hand. RoboGeisha has so many hilarious, and often head-scratching moments, that all you can do is sit back and watch the madness unfold. Characters will often state the obvious to situartions where no verbalization is really need. For example, a man may yell: ”I have been cut in by a hand” right after...you guessed it...being sliced by RoboGeisha’s hand.

RoboGeisha is the type of film where a person can fire off eighty rounds from a gun and still not hit their target. Everything in the film is gleefully outrages. Weapons are stored in the most unorthodox places. Chances are good you will have never seen a film that incorporates the 80’s “robot” style of dance into a fight scene. Nor will you have viewed a film where characters have an “ass sword fight.” RoboGeisha is B-movie absurdity at its finest. Again, RoboGeisha will not play well if you view it alone; this is the type of film that you really need an audience to share in the outlandishness of it all.

Grade: C+

Monday, August 16, 2010

TADFF: Daily Picks August 16, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online or at the Bloor Cinema for Alien vs Ninja):


7:00 pm - The Last Exorcism. The film’s producer, horror director Eli Roth, will be in attendance for the screening. Roth will apparently be holding a question and answer session.  The screening is currently sold out but a rush line (i.e. your chance to get last minute tickets) will be conducted at the theatre. You will need to arrive early in order to get into the rust line.





9:45 pm – Alien vs Ninja

TADFF Review: Cargo

Cargo

In the 23rd Century Earth is uninhabitable and the majority of civilians live in space stations. With both disease and terrorism running rampant, it seems the only safe place left to live is the planet Rhea. Laura Portmann (Anna Katharina Schwabroh), a young medic, longs to go to Rhea so that she can be reunited with her sister. In order to save up enough money to travel to Rhea, Laura takes an 8-month position on a ship that is transporting construction material to Sector 42. Laura and the rest of the ship’s small crew soon realize that they are not alone, and whatever lurks in the shadows is killing them off one by one.

Cargo is the first feature length science fiction film to be made in Switzerland. The film took eight years to make and the budget was a paltry two million dollars. The fascinating thing about Cargo is that, despite the miniscule budget, the film looks far better than a lot of big budget productions. Sure there are scenes here and there that were clearly computer generated, but the overall product is amazingly slick and stylish. While the premise of the film may sound a lot like the film Alien, Cargo is far more a kin to Duncan Jones’ Moon. The film is more of a cerebral thriller that will have you second guessing who the real heroes are in life.

Director Ivan Engler takes his time to build up the tension, by time the film kicks into high gear you have a great grasp of both the character and the world they inhabit. It was very important that Engler found actors who had enough chemistry to convey the uneasy relationship between Laura and Samuel Decker (Martin Rapold), the air marshal assigned to the ship. Schwabroh and Rapold sizzle on screen as they both gave great performances. Their interactions not only raised the romantic tension in the film, but the overall suspense as well. Similar to Portmann, you are not quite sure what Decker’s motives are in the beginning. Even when things begin to unfold you are constantly questioning who Portmann can really trust? For a film that only cost two million dollars to make, Cargo is far more intelligent and suspenseful than most of the more costly films you see in theatres today.

Grade: A-/B+

Sunday, August 15, 2010

TADFF: Daily Picks August 15, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online or at the Bloor Cinema):



4:15 pm - Cargo







7:00 pm - Robogeisha







9:45 pm High School (featuring Adrien Brody)






Check back here in the next few days for mini reviews of each film.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

TADFF Review: The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu

The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu


You know that you are in for a fun night when men in zombie makeup are joining the ticket holders line and the audience receives cardboard "sea monster" masks to wear on their way into the theatre. Welcome to the Toronto After Dark Film Festival folks...and it's only the first night! As I mentioned in an earlier post, the opening featured was Henry Saine's debut film The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu.

The film is the tale of Jeff (Kyle Davis), a bored office worker whose life seems to be going nowhere fast. Upon arriving home one day Jeff discovers that he is the last living decent of the famous H.P. Lovecraft. To his astonishment, Jeff is put in charge of keeping an ancient relic out of the hands of the evil Star Spawn (Ethan Wilde). If Star Spawn succeeds in acquiring the relic, he will unleash the greatest evil the world has ever seen. In order to complete his quest , Jeff, along his comic book loving buddies Charlie (Devin McGinn) and Paul (Barak Hardley), must find the one person who may hold the key to defeating Star Spawn...the reclusive Captain Olaf (Gregg Lawrence).

Using a mix of comic book style flash animation and old-time prosthetics The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu aims to achieve a lot on a rather small budget. Instead of trying to honour H.P. Lovecraft with a true horror film, director Henry Saine and writer Devin McGinn smartly opt for the comedic route. This allows The Last Lovecraft to tackle H.P. Lovecraft without upsetting his dedicated fan base. The film's main goal is to entertain and nothing more, and on that level it succeeds. The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu is a fun romp that will have you laughing out loud on occasion. The film is not as consistently funny as it could have been. Partly due to the sloppiness of the script. Some scenes are left hanging, or are awkwardly insert, for no real reason at all. These moments probably would not have been as noticeable had the editing been much smoother. I understand that the cast and crew did the best they could with the funds available; but more attention to detail would have gone a long way. Also, while I enjoyed the acting work done by Devin McGinn and Barak Hardley, I was slightly disappointed with Klye Davis' performance. Davis never sold the typical loser-turned-hero character the way he should have. Kyle Davis did not show enough range in his delivery of lines and he did not sell the lines when he needed to most (i.e. the heroic moments). He let the supporting players steal the movie at every corner. I will say that the effects and the sea monsters makeup were quite good for this type of film. Especially when you consider how small the budget was for the whole production. The visuals really helped to keep the audience's attention throughout. The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu may not be a great film but, when all is said and done, it is a fun one. I just wish that the jokes had hit the mark more often than they actually did.

Grade: C

Stars in attendance: Director Henry Saine and actors Kyle Davis, Devin McGinn, Martin Starr, and Edmund Lupinski held a question and answer session after the screening.

TADFF: Daily Picks August 14, 2010

Here are your daily picks for today's Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings (Tickets are still available online or at the Bloor Cinema):


4:15pm - SHORTS AFTER DARK
Shorts After Dark features 10 absolutely mind-blowing new horror, sci-fi, action, and cult short films from around the world, including a number of international award winners. A major highlight is the World Premiere of legendary special effects makeup artist Greg Nicotero’s much anticipated short film the United Monster Talent Agency.


7:00 pm - Doghouse *




9:45 pm - Evil in the Time of Heroes (featuring Billy Zane!) *




* - People who show up to the screenings in Zombie costumes get in at a reduced price of $8

Friday, August 13, 2010

Toronto’s Week of Darkness Starts Tonight!


Just a friendly reminder for all those who will be in the Toronto area this week. The Toronto After Dark Film Festival officially kicks into gear tonight. The festival will run from Friday August 13th to Friday August 20th . 17 films will be featured at the festival; with the opening night film being Henry Saine’s The Last Lovecraft (see trailer below). Ticket information and showtimes are available on the festivals website.





Check back here in the next few days for my mini review of The Last Lovecraft.

Freedom Is Having No Rental Fees



Nothing like free stuff to start the weekend off right! I received an email last night from the folks at Cinema Clock, I believe it is called Movie Clock in the U.S., stating that I won a free DVD copy of Roman Polanski’s film, The Ghost Writer. The film was on my rental list but I will be scratching it off the list shortly. Best of all, I can now put those extra few bucks towards the Toronto After Dark Festival this weekend. To quote The Simpsons “everything is coming up Milhouse!” Now if you will excuse me, I need to go and camp out in front of the mailbox.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Versatility Provides More Time For Procrastination


I was planning to do a review today but there is a bit of housekeeping that I have being meaning to take care of for sometime now. A little over a month ago Yojimbo at Let’s Not Talk About Movies selected me as one of the recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award. The award was given for my contributions to both this blog and The LAMB. At the time of Yojimbo’s post I was busy trying to prepare to go on vacation. I informed Yojimbo that I would “pay if forward” when I returned and now, although long overdue, is the time to stay true to my word.

For those who have not come across this award before, the Versatile Blogger Award is an acknowledgment that a blogger give to other blog writers as a sign of appreciation for all their hard work. If you happen to follow several movie blogs then you will be familiar with this award as many have received this honour at some point. Still, do not confuse this with one of those participation ribbons you get in Elementary School. You know, the one where you get a prize just for showing up to events day. As much as blogging is an individual venture for many, it is always nice to be recognized by your peers. Regardless of whether you have one reader or hundreds it is good to know someone is interested in your thoughts.

As with all awards there are stipulations attached to receiving it:

Thank the person who gave you this award

Thanks again to Yojimbo of Lets Not Talk About Movies for considering me as one of his recipients for this. My apologies for the really late follow-up but I opted to take your advice and “pay it forward” when I had something meaningful to say. Instead of just rushing to get something posted for the sake of posting.

Share 7 things about yourself

1. Ketchup Chips are my kryptonite
2. I considered it classy to show up to a Japanese film festival wearing a Beverly Hills Cop t-shirt…classy!
3. I have an unhealthy obsession with fantasy sports pools, especially hockey ones.
4. Some kids collect stamps, cards, etc. When I was younger I collected Toronto Star film reviews…weird, I know.
5. I am 100% certain that The Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Dolphins will all win championships within the next four years (either in real life or video game format)
6. I have seen more action movies starring Tae-bo guru Billy Blanks, and Jalal Merhi than I care to admit.
7. Everything in life can be linked back to either an episode of The Simpsons or Seinfeld.

Pass the award along to 10 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reasons!

Instead of following the rules completely I would like to use this forum to say thank you to a few fellow blog sites. While there are a slew of great blogs that I follow, or have recently discovered, I wanted to keep the list specific to eight blogs that have influenced my blogging experience greatly up to this point. (Note: these are not in any particular order)

Movie Mobsters: Heather and her team of movie loving writers offer up a wide a range of movie content to a very interactive readership on a daily basis. In short, this is my ideal vision for what I would like Big Thoughts From A Small Mind to evolve into one day. It has been the goal since day one...it will happen eventually. I have always been a fan of the way newspapers, and many influential movie sites, work with a core team of movie reviewers. It not only allows for more insight into a film, but it also provides the reader with more than one perspective to choose from.

The Dark of the Matinee: I have had the pleasure of meeting the infamous Mad Hatter - when you win that many Lammy Awards you get the “infamous” attached to your name - in person at the Toronto Movie Bloggers Pub Night (which he invited me to). From The Dark of the Matinee I learned that blogging is not just about your own thoughts, it is really a community thing. I think Hatter is one example of how to foster the group aspect of movie blogging. He is constantly promoting other blogs while still finding time to deliver detailed criticisms in his reviews and podcasts on a daily basis.

The LAMB: Continuing the embracing of community point from above, it is only fitting that I list The LAMB in this post. Created by Fletch, the man behind the equally community inducing Blog Cabins, The LAMB has helped me to discover tons of fantastic blogs. Sites that motivated me to keep this crazy little movie space going. From The LAMB I have learned that helping others get their blogs noticed is often more rewarding than doing my on blog.

You Talking To Me?: Mike Lippert brings the perfect blend of honesty and intelligence to the world of movie criticism. Mike’s posts always reaffirm my belief that a blogger should never be afraid to state his/her opinion. The thing I have taken from You Talking To Me? is that it is better to be honest than to follow the crowd. This is why I have no fear in stating my opinions on particular films, directors, actors, etc. regardless of whether it goes against popular opinion. I am always open about what I have, and have not seen, no matter how embarrassing some may deem it.

Encore’s World of Film & T.V.: I am always amazed by bloggers who are able to post substantial content everyday on their sites. Regardless of the subject matter, Andrew always offers up slew of content. Encore's World of Film & T.V. has taught me that the best way to build readership is to provide engaging content on a daily basis.

Between the Seats: Edgar’s blog has probably had the biggest influence on my blogging experience. It was the one I read the most when this blog was moving from music to more film related content. I have always liked the way he mixes his reviews of foreign fare with his big budget productions. Plus, it was in one of Edgar’s post that sparked the idea of doing the LAMB Acting School series over at The LAMB. Many assume the idea came as a result of the pre-existing LAMBs in the Director’s Chair feature, but that was only part of it. Between the Seats is the one who laid down the inception for the Acting School so to speak.

Movies Kick Ass: This is another one of the blogs I found myself drawn to for its mix of independent and studio content. Although we do not always see eye to eye on certain films, Jose always finds a way to make me look at a film in a different light. Movies Kick Ass has taught me that even if your readers disagree with you; it is important that they understand, and respect, how you arrived at your opinion.

Anomalous Material: Whether it is providing reviews, how to tips for bloggers, or conducting tournaments, Anomalous Material is always thinking on a large scale. It is all about the content on this site, and there is much of it to choose from. Chances are you will come across something that peaks your interest regardless of your personal movie taste. Heck, even I have picked up a few useful tips from the sites current month long blogging tutorial.

Four of Them: This site constantly makes me laugh. Simple as that. It is the witty, and at times quirky, humour that makes Four of Them’s reviews and post such a delightful read. Four of Them serves as a frequent reminder that film blogging does not have to be serious stuff all the time. If you are not having fun doing it then what is the point?

Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

Will do!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If Only I Opted To Cop Out When I Had The Chance

Cop Out

I have always lived by the motto that “I want to see every movie though some more than others”. It is time for me to rethink this phrase after sitting through Cop Out. The worst movie I have seen so far this year. I cannot even talk about the film without getting angry. My rage is at both the movie and myself for watching it in the first place. I had a feeling it was going to be bad...I just did not expect this bad.

The plot revolves around two cops Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan), partners for over nine years. Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married soon and he cannot afford to cover the lavish wedding she has planned. Jimmy refuses to let Ava’s new stepdad (Jason Lee) cover the cost of the wedding, and opts to sell a cherished baseball card as a last resort. Unfortunately for Jimmy the card is stolen by a two bit criminal, Dave (Sean William Scott), and eventually ends up in the hands of a gangster named Poh Boy (Guillermo Díaz). As luck would have it, Poh Boy is the mastermind behind a cellphone racket that Jimmy and Paul are trying to bring down.

There is also a subplots involving an abducted woman, two rival cops (Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody), and Jimmy’s wife (Rashida Jones) who may be cheating. None of which, like the movie itself, really warrant any real discussion. The film is just awful on so many levels. I cannot even call Cop Out the poor-man’s version of Lethal Weapon or Beverly Hills Cop which are both heavy influences on this film. This is more like the poor-man’s version of Rush Hour 3 minus the cultural differences. Somehow Tracy Morgan manages to be even more annoying than Chris Tucker was in that film. I had my fill of Morgan after the interrogation scene...which was in the first fifteen minutes of the film! To be honest, I would have rather preferred Jason Lee in the Tracy Morgan role, as he provided the only real laugh in the whole film. Plus he seemed to have actual chemistry with Bruce Willis.


Speaking of Bruce Willis, he never lets himself be engulfed by the silliness of the film. Even his comedic lines are delivered in his rigid tough guy tone. He is as dull as that guy at the company office party who only wants to talk your ear off about the time he wore mismatched socks to work. Seriously, Willis displayed more comedic chops in Live Free or Die Hard than he does in this film. I was waiting for the moment where Willis looked at his watch and asked the director, Kevin Smith, when this trash would be over. Sadly that scene never arrived.

I cannot fathom how Kevin Smith could have made a film this awful given the talent he has in regards to comedy. I have heard many people try and justify the film by pointing out that Smith did not actually write this film. How does that make it any better? Regardless of whether he wrote the film or not, he was the one calling the shots behind the camera. Now I have been a long time Kevin Smith fan and have defended him on more than one occasion in various movie discussions. Yet there is no defending this film. The action scenes in this film, as well as the editing, are horrendous. I could not understand how such a big budget film could have action sequences that were this dull and cheap looking.

While Cop Out will not stop Kevin Smith’s career from moving forward, it definitely signals a low point in his canon of work. Still at the end of the day, I only have myself to blame. The warning signs were there and I foolishly ignored them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

That Chloe Is Such A Tease...

Chloe

Atom Egoyan is often on the receiveing end of a lot of blogger’s tongue lashings. I am not sure why he strikes up so much venom in some people. Egoyan is a skilled director who has made some very good films over the years. I feel it has to do with the way critics, especially here in Canada, tend to fawn over him a little more than they do David Cronenberg. Despite his accolades even Atom Egoyan can stumble every now and then. I would not call Chloe a major misstep, as there are many good moments in the film, but it does not reach the level of intrigue it really should.

Chloe is a remake of the 2003 French film, Nathalie, which starred Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, and Gérard Depardieu. In Atom Egoyan’s version of the tale, Catherine (Julianne Moore) suspects that her husband David (Liam Neeson) is cheating. Unable to shake her suspicions, Catherine hires a prostitute, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to see if David will succumb to temptation. Soon Chloe is providing Catherine with regular updates of her encounters with David. As the two women spend more time together, Catherine becomes increasingly more aroused by the sordid details of Chloe’s reports.

It has been over a week now since I watched Chloe and I must admit I am still on the fence about it. There are elements I thought worked very well in the film, but there are times where the film does not live up to its potential. Despite making a film with all the trappings of a salacious Fatal Attraction-style tale, Atom Egoyan never seems comfortable with fully committing to the genre. There is a great scene in the film where Amanda Seyfried’s Chloe, on the brink of tears, stops and gives a chilling look directly into camera. The look clearly says that the gloves are off and all hell is about to break loose. Instead of capatilizing on this scene, Egoyan pulls back the tension and tries to make the film more artsy than thriller. Unfortunately the more he tries to avoid the conventional route, the deeper within it he actually falls. Atom Egoyan’s uneasiness is most evident in the final act of the film. It is at this point where the director backs himself into a corner with no other choice but to go the traditional Hollywood style ending. The ending of the film is sloppy and almost laughable. It is hard to believe that any of the characters would end up in the state they are in by time the final scene hits.


I think it would have been wiser for Egoyan to go with a completely different path in regards to the way the film plays out. I understand that he is remaking another person’s work, but he should have taken more liberties with the script if he wanted to make a serious character study. Instead of turning the ending into a straight thriller, he could have found another way highlight the consequences of desire and betrayal. The interesting thing is that for the first two-thirds of Chloe, Egoyan really seems to understand what is driving all of his characters. Catherine is disgust by the thought of her husband cheating, but she is also turned on by the youthful recklessness of it all. She feels abandoned by all the men in her life and wonders how she ended up in this state. The relationship between Chloe and Catherine is intriguing because both women are having their different needs met. Chloe thinks she is getting the love that has evaded her, partly due to her line of work, for so long.

Personally, I found Chloe to be the real victim in the tale. She is the only one I actually felt something for by the end. A large reason for this is the great work that Amanda Seyfried does in the film. Instead of making Chloe a deranged character, Seyfried brings a human element to every one of Chloe’s actions. Her scene with Julianne Moore are what really keep the film interesting; they play off each other so well that it I wanted to see their relationship develop far more than it actually does. Liam Neeson is good in the film though his character is fairly stunted overall.

If the film had to be graded on the first two acts then I would highly recommend it. Unfortunately the last half really derails the overall film. At best I would have to give Chloe a mild recommendation as the potential was there. I just wish Atom Egoyan had been more daring and confident in regards to his direction this time around.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Movie Marketing Monday

Burlesque

A small town girl gets wooed by the glitz and glamour of performing on stage while wearing next to nothing. Yep, I instantly thought of the film Showgirls when I read the premise. Burlesque, like the dance itself, is aiming for a classier production than Showgirls’ stripper fare. After seeing the trailer though, the film feels more like a bigger budget Coyote Ugly than it is does Cabaret.





Jackass 3D

When the boys from Jackass are incorporating the 3D technology you know it is time for the whole 3D movement to call it quits. I hope you like your vomit in 3D...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mr. Nobody Is Always Remembering Somebody

Mr. Nobody

For all those who thought Inception was the biggest mind trip of the summer let me introduce you to Mr. Nobody. Easily one of the most mind-bending films you will see all year, Mr. Nobody takes the whole concept of existence, thoughts, dreams, true love, etc. to a whole new level. In many was Inception, is a nice warm up to Mr. Nobody as some of the ideas in that film are prevalent in here as well.

Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) wakes up one morning to discover that he is not the same 34 year-old man he was when he went to sleep. The year is now 2092 and, at age 117, Nemo is the oldest living mortal in a futuristic world where nobody can die. As the world watches Nemo Nobody’s last days play out on television, Nemo spends his final hours reflecting on the key moments of his life. One of those life altering events surrounds the separation of his parents (Rhys Ifans and Natasha Little). Whichever parent Nemo chooses to live with will have major impact on his future relationships with three distinct women. There is Anna (Diane Kruger) who may, or may not, be his true soul mate; Elise (Sarah Polley) who is haunted by a lost love; and Jean (Linh Dan Pham) the one whose love Nemo may not fully reciprocate. Each choice in Nemo’s life comes with its own pros and cons; so in order to dictate his future Nemo will need to learn how to change the past.

Written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, Mr. Nobody is a film where the lines between reality and fiction are often blurred. Is Nemo telling us the whole truth? Can he remember what the truth is anymore? Does truth even exist in a world that is changeable? These are just a few of the numerous questions that will cross your mind when viewing the film. If you are hoping that Dormael’s complex script will provide answers then you will be disappointed. Jaco Van Dormael is only interested in planting the questions in your mind and providing you with the tools to formulate your own answers. The script incorporates references to almost every school of thought known to man. This includes such things as string theory, the butterfly effect, the Big Crunch, entropy, etc. Needless to say Mr. Nobody is a film that begs for repeat viewing in order to grasp all the various philosophical and scientific thoughts that are in play.


Mr. Nobody is far from a linear tale. It bounces back and forth between time and in and out of alternate realities. Yet despite all of the craziness the film still remains quite captivating. At its heart, Mr. Nobody is essentially about love and the random moments in life that might not be so random. A lot of credit must go to the cast who help maintain a certain level of calm amongst all of the eccentricities that surround the film.

Jared Leto does a wonderful job as both the 34 and 117 year-old versions of Nemo Nobody. Frankly I cannot remember the last time Leto showed off his range as an actor this well. I would also like to highlight the exceptional work of both Toby Regbo and Juno Temple. They practically steal the film while playing 16 year-old Nemo and 15 year-old Anna respectively. So much of the film relies on the audience believing in Nemo and Anna’s relationship at this age; and neither actor disappoints.

If there is one complaint to make about Mr. Nobody it is that Jaco Van Dormael spends too much time on the teenage years of Nemo’s life. The pacing of the film really slows down in the middle as Dormael seems to hit the same note, regarding Nemo and Anna’s teenage romance, repeatedly. Dormael clearly establishes that both characters really love each other at that age, so it is perplexing why he would keeping going over this point when there is so much else going on in the film? Still, despite the slow middle section, Mr. Nobody is one of the films that will stick with you long after it is done. The film is challenging, confusing, witty, mesmerizing and definitely original. Mr. Nobody is one of the better, if not most maddening, films you will see this year.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

She Is In A League I Refuse To Play In.

She’s Out of My League

We have all been there at some point. We see an extremely attractive person walking arm-in-arm with someone who, in our eyes, does not come close to matching them in the realm of beauty/handsomeness. The odd pairing causes us to question how on earth did the two individuals get together in the first place? Now just because the question has crossed our mind does not necessarily mean it is right to think this way. Nor does it justify making a hapless feature length film on the subject.

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is your average nice guy who is unlucky in the love department. Although he has a good stable of friends, Kirk always seems to be on the losing end of every situation. Even Kirk’s own family would rather go on vacation with his ex-girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane), and her new boyfriend rather than with Kirk. Things begin to look up for Kirk when he meets and begins to date Molly (Alice Eve). Can Kirk and Molly’s budding relationship survive the constant inquires from family members and friends who cannot fathom why a girl like Molly would be interested in Kirk in the first place?

She’s Out of My League is an inept romantic comedy whose concept is solely based around one repetitive joke. The problem is the joke is not really that funny to begin with. Sure we may smirk the first time someone remarks that Molly is out of Kirk’s league. Yet it becomes rather tedious by time the film reaches the end of the first act.


Once the joke wears out its welcome it is up to the characters to keep things moving. This is where the most glaring flaw of the movie can be found. It is obvious to us that Molly is in a different level than Kirk. Unfortunately the first half of the film barely gives us any indication on why she would put up with Kirk at all. In fact, there is not much we really learn about Molly at all. Besides the fact that she comes from a well off family, and the little tidbit about her job aspirations, Molly is a rather vapid character. There is nothing significant or memorable about her at all. She is not complicated enough to really connect with us on that “she embodies every woman” level. Nor is she engaging, or quirky, enough to come across as loveable.

Molly is pretty much the eye candy of the film and nothing more. When Molly finally reveals her reasons for choosing Kirk it comes off as very shallow instead of endearing. Regardless of the premise, a romantic comedy can only be successful if we find both of the main characters interesting and charismatic. Jay Baruchel tries really hard to keep the film a float. He makes his character easy for us to identify with while still trying to keep the pacing going. Ultimately though, the lack of depth in regards to Molly’s character, and the bland supporting cast on the whole, lets Baruchel’s efforts down.

She’s Out of My League may offer the odd laugh here and there but, unless you are the type of person who loves to here the same joke told over and over, it is not enough to even warrant a rental.