Sightseers

This film was originally reviewed as part of our coverage of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

We’re all going on a summer holiday – ★★★★

The latest film from Ben Wheatley (alas no relation) returns to the black-as-night humour showcased in his feature debut Down Terrace while sprinkling in a few of the sickos that featured in so well in last year’s Kill List.

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What Richard Did

This is a guest review by Darragh McGrath, follow him on Twitter here. Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

What Richard Did TIFF 2012 review - Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Starring Jack Reynor as Richard Karlsen.

Those Celtic cubs – ★★★★½

[TIFF listing]

Director: Lenny Abrahamson  //  Country: Ireland  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime: 87 minutes  //  Rating: PG  //  Principal Cast: Jack Reynor, Róisín Murphy, Sam Keeley, Lars Mikkelsen  //  Screenplay: Lenny Abrahamson

With his third film, Lenny Abrahamson moves from the margins of Irish society to its centre and once again finds plenty of rot and waste beneath the surface.

Having previously explored the heroin wasteland of inner-city Dublin in Adam and Paul (2004) and the isolation and abandonment of rural Ireland in the acclaimed Garage (2007), What Richard Did centres on the titular character and his life amongst his upper-middle class family and peers into Dublin’s D4 area. Richard Karlsen is young, popular and has life all figured out at the age of eighteen; his family dote on him, his friends and rugby teammates look up to and admire him and he’s got his fair share of female attention to choose from in his final summer before starting college. The fact that he picks up his team-mate Conor’s girlfriend as his latest conquest is what leads this film down its dark road and is the first sign of the self-destructive nature of these Celtic cubs.

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TIFF Day 5 – To the Wonder

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

Not quite a tree of life – ★★★½

[TIFF listing]

Director: Terrence Malick  //  Country: USA  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English, French, Russian, Italian, Spanish  //  Runtime: 112 minutes  //  Principal Cast: Javier Bardem, Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams  //  Screenplay: Terrence Malick

How the hell do you go about reviewing a Terrence Malick film? That’s actually a serious question. The traditional structure we like to follow here at Spooool – nice soft welcome and intro, plot details, chat about what works and what doesn’t, quick summary – doesn’t really apply to his films.

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TIFF Day 5 – Sightseers

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

We’re all going on a summer holiday – ★★★★

[TIFF listing]

Director: Ben Wheatley  //  Country: United Kingdom  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime: 89 minutes  //  Rating: 18A  //  Principal Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies, Jonathan Aris, Richard Glover, Monica Dolan  //  Screenplay: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram

The latest film from Ben Wheatley (alas no relation) returns to the black-as-night humour showcased in his feature debut Down Terrace while sprinkling in a few of the sickos that featured in so well in last year’s Kill List.

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TIFF Day 4 – Byzantium

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

Time for new blood – ★★★

[TIFF listing]

Director: Neil Jordan  //  Countries: United Kingdom / Ireland  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime: 118 minutes  //  Principal Cast: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, Kate Ashfield, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Uri Gavriel, Thure Lindhardt  //  Screenplay: Moira Buffini

A quick prediction. No review of Byzantium, the new Neil Jordan vampire film, will be filed without reference to Stephanie Myers’ Twilight series or Jordan’s 1994 Pitt/Cruise/Banderas film Interview with the Vampire. If a reviewer somehow fails to mention either of these film, then chances are an eager sub-editor will remedy the situation and stick in a reference somewhere.

With the enduring popularity of the Twilight films, there is still a lot of money to be in vampires. Byzantium sees director Neil Jordan returning to the vampire genre for the first time in 18 years since Interview with the Vampire.

Not as easy as it looks… Hmmm…

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TIFF Day 4 – The Sessions

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

The diving bell and the 40-year-old virgin – ★★★½

Director: Ben Lewin  //  Country: USA  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime: 95 minutes  //  Rating:14A  //  Principal Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy  //  Screenplay: Ben Lewin

The Sessions (previously known as The Surrogate, but changed due to similarities with the Bruce Willis action film from a few years ago) is based on the real-life story of polio-sufferer Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a devout Catholic who goes on a quest to lose his virginity. The film is based on a newspaper article that O’Brien, a poet and writer, had published – “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate“.

O’Brien has full body sensations but is unable to move his body below the neck, meaning getting the ride is proving difficult. He seeks the counsel of a Berkeley hippie priest played by William H. Macy and decides to enlist the help of Cheryl, a sex surrogate (a therapist who works with a patient by initiating a sexual relationship) played by Helen Hunt.

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TIFF Day 4 – The Central Park Five

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

It does matter if you’re black or white – ★★★★★

[TIFF listing]

Directors: Ken Burns, David McMahon, Sarah Burns  //  Country: USA  //  Year: 2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime: 119 minutes 

Ken Burns is best-known as a history documentary-maker and the man who pioneered the method of slowly zooming in on or panning across a photograph or illustration in order to create a sense of movement. For his latest film he teams up with his daughter Sarah and producer/director David McMahon to share the sensational story of a miscarriage of justice which saw five male teenagers – from black and Hispanic communities in harlem – serve between six and 13 years in prison for the alleged rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park.

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TIFF Day 3 – Everyday

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

Every day seems a little a longer… – ★★★★

[TIFF listing]

Director: Michael Winterbottom  //  Country: United Kingdom  //  Year:2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime:94 minutes  //  Principal Cast: Shirley Henderson, John Simm, Shaun Kirk, Katrina Kirk, Stephanie Kirk, Robert Kirk  //  Screenplay: Laurence Coriat, Michael Winterbottom

Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday is not going to be for everyone. The man responsible for an incredibly diverse twenty features in twenty years (24 Hour Party People, 9 Songs, The Killer Inside Me and The Trip to name but a few) has put together a slow, thought-provoking film which sets out to explore how a family exists and survives when a parent goes to prison.

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TIFF Day 2 – Imogene

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

Kristen Don’t - ★½

[TIFF listing]

Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman  //  Country: USA  //  2012  //  Language: English  //  Runtime:103 minutes  //  Principal Cast: Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Kristen Wiig

Husband and wife team Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s fourth directorial feature (American Splendor being the splash-making debut with The Nanny Diaries and The Extra Man being the more forgettable follow-ups) tries to tackle the story of Imogene (Kristen Wiig), a failed play-write in her late thirties who fakes a suicide attempt in order to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend.

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TIFF Day 1 – Jason Reitman’s live script reading of “American Beauty”

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

8 actors and a plastic bag – ★★★★★

While most of the attention of the watching media was focused on the opening gala screening of Looper at Roy Thomson Hall, those of us present in Ryerson University’s theatre were treated to a much more unique evening’s entertainment.

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TIFF 2012 – A look ahead

Read all our TIFF 2012 coverage here.

| o | – It’s TIFF 2012 time!

 

I finished up at my job at the tail end of July and we all (@dunnez, @oheag2 and previously @parallellevision) moved out of our lovely old house on Toronto’s Davenport Road. Since then I have spent time faffing about with my family, camping in Canada’s wondrous Algonquin Park and travelling around the eastern side of the US. Usually you do all those things and then go back to your homeland, but since Christmas when I formulated this plan I knew I had to base my exit strategy from Toronto around one thing – TIFF.

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