It’s always strange to write a Film Friday column in the week before the Toronto International Film Festival, since by this point it’s hard to think about anything else. We’ll be previewing the festival on Monday, so be sure to check back if you can’t think of anything else, either. In the meantime, have you had a chance to enter our Canadian Retrospective contest? You could win one Canadian Retrospective ticket package containing tickets for six screenings featuring nine Michel Brault films. It closes on Sunday!
Anyway, there are actually many films out this week (as usual), though this week in particular you’re probably way better off saving your money for TIFF tickets.
Probably the release with the heaviest push this week is Balls of Fury, on which NOW’s John Harkness got the jump on us by calling it an “unacknowledged comic remake of Mortal Kombat.” Darn him. That was going to be the whole basis of our paragraph about the film. As it is, we can only note how uncharismatic a lead Dan Fogler is, and how Christopher Walken looks like he’s totally phoning it in. Harkness continues that it’s “occasionally funny,” which always looked like the best anyone could have hoped for.
Alternatively, there’s Death Sentence, which loosely based on the “real” sequel to Death Wish. It features Kevin Bacon as a newcomer to a town where nobody is allowed to dance. So Kevin Bacon kills a lot of people in violent ways. Or something. The Star’s Geoff Pevere calls it “a movie that’s satisfying on the surface but utterly bereft of subliminal charge.”
A similarly strangecall back to the low-budget grindhouse flicks of the 70s is Rob Zombie’s “reimagining” of Halloween. It’s given the exact same Seven-esque filtering and treatment as Death Sentence that’s making every bloody film these days look exactly the same (and NOW got the jump on us again, contemplating that it’s probably been released two months early “so they can release the DVD on Halloween”).
All we have to say is that Halloween does not need a “reimagining.” And specifically not by Rob Zombie. To remake John Carpenter’s trademark cold but skillful direction with the scratchy warmth of the current look of horror is exceedingly depressing, and Rob Zombie’s sympathy for his villains (did anyone else laugh through the endless “Freebird” section of The Devil’s Rejects?) is entirely unsuited. But, oh well.
Also released this week: Greg & Gentillon, a sort of mock-doc abut a couple of guys from Quebec who move to Toronto in search of success on the comedy circuit. Metro’s Norm Wilner says, “it’s conceptually clever, sure, but the movie doesn’t really work.” Perhaps we’ll just stick with watching Flight of the Conchords, then.