It’s not been a week since the Toronto International Film Festival left us, and this week’s new releases make it hard for us to move on despite a couple of TIFF premieres leading the way.
We’ll start with Paul Haggis’ In The Valley of Elah, because he’s a good Canadian boy…or is he? It’s interesting to note that in the interviews with him in the weeklies about this film (a “murder mystery” about a soldier going missing after returning from Iraq), he refers to “our president” and says, “We need to evaluate who we are as Americans.” Is he an American now? Or is he just trying to deflect any criticism he could get for not being an American?
Actually, wait, who cares? The Americans can have him. Eye’s Adam Nayman notes in his review of the film, “the obviousness of the plotting, combined with Haggis’ tendency to write in a relentless set-up/pay-off rhythm, hamstrings its dramatic impact.”
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford is definitely this week’s most annoyingly lengthy title to type, and is definitely not as good as Sukiyaki Western Django, which hasn’t been released yet, sadly. As far as films in the current western revival go, though, it’s apparently not too bad. NOW’s John Harkness calls it “at once inspiring and infuriating,” and notes that it has one of our own personal bugbears, unnecessary narration—”an anonymous omniscient narrator tells us in voice-over what’s happening and how the characters feel about it.”
Also out this week: another TIFF film (admittedly from TIFF 2005), Sunflower, and the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, which played this year’s Hot Docs. This week’s festival-free films are Resident Evil Extinction, Sydney White (wow Snow White in a college setting OMG) and Good Luck Chuck. Despite being a mere romantic comedy, Good Luck Chuck appears to have an excess of plot. Dane Cook has an magic penis and Jessica Alba is “hilariously” clumsy? Sounds like it might pip Haggis to that Oscar he’s looking for!