It’s an interesting week for film, with direct competition between two kinds of films—one that wants to make you feel like a kid again by bludgeoning you with special effects and nostalgic licence, and another that wants to make you feel like a kid again by simply recalling, well, what it was to be a kid.
We refer to the big-screen adaptation of the lets-be-honest-it-was-pretty-terrible-but-now-amusing-in-a-kitsch-way Speed Racer (phew) and the release, finally, of the superb Son of Rambow. We can begin by making it clear that the critics haven’t been kind to Speed Racer at all. NOW‘s Norman Wilner is most descriptive when he notes, “watching it is like having someone vomit a bellyful of Skittles at you for two and a quarter hours”—and this is a guy who admits he “likes the Matrix sequels”!
Sounds like, despite the huge opportunity to make something fun, they’ve ended up with something that attempts to dazzle you so violently that you miss the face that they have no idea what fun is—exactly like those Matrix sequels. Oh, well.
That’s not something that can be said about Garth Jennings, however. We were recently pleased to listen to him sit in for Joe (or was it Adam?) a few weeks ago during Adam & Joe’s Saturday morning radio show for 6music (absolutely worth a listen; the BBC is so great) and he’s exactly as charming a fellow as Son of Rambow would have you believe. We saw it during TIFF, and considered it one of (if not the) best films of the festival, saying, “Jennings succeeds admirably in crafting a nostalgic film about youth where so many others fail, and while it might be a bit too sweet for some, we really can’t see anywhere that he’s gone wrong with what he’s trying to do.”
We still can’t!
What else is up this week? We’ll, there’s David Mamet’s martial arts flick, Redbelt. Sounds completely insane, but then blah blah, film critic joke about “verbal sparring,” blah blah. “Redbelt is hard to take seriously even before it careens into the most ludicrous final reel since Neil LaBute and Nicolas Cage went off the rails of The Wicker Man’s crazy train,” says Eye‘s Jason Anderson, and that makes us more interested in seeing it than we would be if he said it was good!
Oh, and we can’t forget to mention about Wong Kar-wai’s latest, My Blueberry Nights, which stars Norah Jones, of all people. All we can really think to say about it, however, is that we originally thought it was called “My Blueberry Pie.” It put us in the mood for one.
Also on release this week: The Stone Angel, What Happens in Vegas (blah blah, should have stayed, etc., blah blah), The Babysitters, and The Unknown Woman.
In festivals, there’s the Canadian Sport Film Festival, the Contact Photography festival (includes some screenings), and the Ryerson University Film Festival; the Toronto Jewish Film Festival continues.