If there’s one thing that Torontoist thought when we saw the trailer for District 9, it was “we can’t wait to play that video game; it looks awesome.” It wasn’t until some time later that we put together that the director, Neil Blomkamp, was indeed the director originally attached to direct the (ill-fated) Halo adaptation (and it doesn’t help that there’s a game called Section 8 due out soon, either).
Ignoring its videogameyness for a second, District 9 is a great reason for anyone to go back and watch Blomkamp’s 2005 short, Alive in Joburg—freely available online—on which it is based. Tremendously atmospheric (even if the CGI seems a little dated now) you may consider it good enough that you think there’s no reason to head out and see the full thing. NOW’s Norm Wilner calls it a “sci-fi shooter with no pretensions,” where the “action stuff is pretty great.”
But someone who hates videogames more than anyone has a film out this week too, good old Hayao Miyazaki. It’s exactly the kind of thing video-gameplaying, Japan-obsessed nerds feel, but Torontoist simply can’t stand to see contemporary films dubbed, even (especially?) if they’re Japanese animation. So we’ll have to ignore Ponyo—the latest in Miyazaki’s dire ecological warnings about how humans are earth-destroying scum—until it hits DVD, because a Tina Fey voice role doesn’t make up for Miley Cyrus’s sister as the main character. But if you’ve got kids who are too lazy to read, it’s a Miyazaki, which should speak for itself.
Another director we’ve got a strange sort of interest in releases a film this week—the much less known David MacKenzie. Director of 2003’s ambiguously unsettling Young Adam and 2007’s unambiguously creepy Hallum Foe, he continues his trend of films about disturbed young men except in this one it’s…Ashton Kutcher. Eye’s Kate Carraway says “the love vs money, good vs evil, and especially love vs sex paradigms don’t work out when it’s Kutcher smirking through them. ”
And we can’t get away without mentioning The Time Traveler’s Wife. Expect basically all women to go and see this, apparently, as they’ve all read the book and are ready to be drawn into Eric Bana’s tragic story where he plays a man who is only there some of the time, because the rest of the time he’s the INCREDIBLE HULK and it was his dad who did it to him or something and no one thinks it’s funny when you make the “You wouldn’t like me when I’m Ang Lee” joke. Wait, what was I talking about?
Oh, yeah. For reals though, The Time Traveler’s Wife is all kinds of silly. He can’t control his time travelling, so he just pops back and forth through time, like, randomly or something. He doesn’t ever seem to try to kill Hitler, even. Harrumph.
Also out this week: Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro; Bill Plympton animation Idiots and Angels; Bandslam; and The Goods. And don’t forget the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which opens tonight as detailed in our Daily Planner.