TIFF Day 04: answer to questions

I am right into the swing of the festival at this point and it's time to get some of those burning questions answered - What is Michael Moore new film like? Is The Road at bad as what the rumors are saying?

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), USA, Michael Moore returns with possibly his weakness film in a longtime and one that is very insular with the whole film relating entirely to the USA financial issues.  Capitalism doesn't hang its hat one particular issue of the recent financial crisis but tries to give an overview of what caused it.  Moore is up to his usual tricks - grand standing outside the banks with armored truck offering to take the bail out money back to the people or the crime scene tape outside Wall Street.  They are all the familiar Moore tactics which gain a laugh.  Unfortunately, this subject matter is just too large to hang the smoking gun to one person or group which means Moore uses a scatter gun approach without much success.  The film lacks real issues that will appeal to audiences outside the USA or a great story angle to carry the emotional context of the situation.  Ultimately, this is film is an appeal to the people of the United States of America to act!

Harry Brown (2009), UK, Michael Caine (Harry Brown) as a pensioner going all Death Wish seems like an absurd idea on the surface, but what is served up is brilliant revenge thriller done.  Michael Caine delivers one of his strongest performance as elderly pensioner who decides enough is enough with the local teenagers terrorize the residents of the housing commissions with their endless assaults and harassment.  Harry Brown is introduced as the devoted husband with a gravely ill wife in hospital on her death bed.  Harry Brown appears to be an unremarkable pensioner and we soon learn he was a highly decorated English solider.  His wife dies and the violence pushes Harry Brown to action when he realize the lack of police action.  Harry Brown takes action, obviously with violent conclusion.

The Road (2009), USA, has been highly anticipated film since the novel of the same name.  The film has been dogging by rumors and delays in production.  The rumors had been flying around that the film had lived up to expectations and plenty re-editing had been done.  John Hillcoat has served up an incredible tell of humanity and strength in the face of adversity.  Set in post apocalyptic landscape were we watch a father and son wander the wasteland of cities and towns while avoiding the last remaining human beings who are feeding on each other.  The reasons - how and why the human race find themselves in this situation is never shown nor mentioned.  The Road is human story and bond to survive their situation, by keeping their humanity.  The performance of Viggo Mortenson (The Man) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Boy) will garner them plenty oscar nomination interest in the coming months.  A very enjoyable and moving film that will certainly be heavily nominated when oscar time rolls around next year.

The end of day must be completed with some Midnight Madness and this time around my home country was the feature of tonight's program, The Loved Ones (2009), AUS, finally an Aussie horror film we can be proud of this film has been pitched as part Carrie, Pretty in Pink and Misery.  Sean Byrnes, the director, has develop a horror film that delivers terror, humor and action with a huge serving of violence. But in order for Byrnes to pull this film off he need a couple of brilliant performance by John Brumpton (Eric) and Robin McLeavy (Lola) as the father and daughter killers.  What is a daddy supposed to do to help her rejected daughter by the local high school classmate, Brent (Xavier Samuel).  Brent life hasn't been going to well in recent times dealing with the guilt of his father's death, while he was giving Brent a driving lesson.  The action is well staged and Byrnes choice to mix up the violence with the school dance activities helps building the tension.  This film should leave TIFF with plenty of buzz judging the crowd reaction during the screening and the amount of internet chatter on blogs and twitter comments.