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TIFF Report Day 3: Childish Depravity, Vampiric Artists, Depression on a Stick & Cannibals Jungle

A rainy day in Toronto started with me at the Bloor Cinema, eating udon noodles in china town and then eventually capping off with South Korean animation and Eli Roth’s latest horror delight.

PALO ALTO (dir. Gia Coppola)

The film based on a series of short stories written by James Franco being adapted by first time filmmaker Gia Coppola takes a look at these surburban tales of teenagers looking for trouble in the abscence of parental guidance. Throughout the film we follow April (Emma Roberts), Fred (Nat Wolff), Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and Emily (Zoe Levin) as they stumble through life going from one decision to the next in a somewhat downward spiral of morality and self worth.

While it’s easy to see the right and the wrong side of the coin that is these children’s decisions, between Fred’s dickish behaviour and Teddy’s lack of managing his supposed friend, we still view it with an earnest sense of emotions because we know these are children and bad decisions is what they make all the while. Once you’re able to believe in this parenting model of not saying anything other than, “time for dinner” after your son comes home from a court hearing where he could’ve gone to Juvenile Detention then you’re ready for the melodic friendship bracelet wearing film that this is.

I, for the most part really enjoyed this movie. The few moments where I wanted to hit these children over the head were many, but at the same time I didn’t feel like they were misplaced moments. This is all to hint at the general lack of parenting that Coppola and Franco see in today’s generation that’s allowed to run wild in a way that they feel they weren’t and their views of what the results of that will be. Girls and teachers, sexual experiences galore and guys doing dumb stuff. One would say that this happens with or without parenting, but the question is to what degree?

Grade: ★★★☆☆

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (dir. Jim Jarmusch)

We’ve all sat through an incalculable amount of vampire films but there’s something that is less than most discussed in the ideas of vampirism and that’s the idea of solitude that comes from eternal life. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a aged old vampire musician who adores the sciences and creativity of life but loathes the people who restrict and dismiss it, who he refers to as zombies. He’s a musician who refuses to be seen by the outside world, as a precaution for being discovered as a never aging being, who’s going through a crisis. This crisis brings his wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton) to him from Algiers to Detroit to console him.

The film’s asset is not just the characters but the mood and the acting that comes with that mood. The love that we see between Adam and Eve — also, what a fun way to pose them as the beginning by naming them Adam and Eve — is a love that seems more than just a regular marriage somehow that has evolved over the centuries into something even more special and alluring than anything seen on screen before.

Many seem to be uncertain of Ava (Mia Wasikowska) in this film but I adored her. While I loved her in Stoker earlier this year this is possibly her most fun role to date and it will be gifd and clipped so much. She plays Eve’s younger sister that crawls under Adam’s skin so much that you love it while hating her so much for being a petulant child.

Otherwise Hiddleston and Swinton just own this movie. Every scene of Hiddleston playing his music, or Swinton mocking his technological feelings are perfect. Also there’s a great cameo performance with Jeffrey Wright and I feel I need to start making a twitter game to make up more versions of his moments because it’s such a fun joke in the film.

Grade: ★★★★☆

THE FAKE (dir. Yeon Sang-ho)

Guys… this movie is depressing as all hell. While waiting in line to go in I noticed a ton of Asian families (father, mother, son and daughter) all in line for this movie. Then within the first ten minutes there’s the use of the words “fuck”, “cunt” and “bitch” about fifteen times including mention of suicide as well as horrible fathers. This movie is tough, and I’m not sure I’d go calling it rewarding anytime soon.

The film follows a poor family in a small town in South Korea that is slated to be flooded out for the purposes of making a dam and one day their supposedly estranged father returns out of nowhere and throws their entire dynamic out of whack. With the mother a participant in this church that’s become a big part of the community and a daughter who’s just been accepted into University. Upon his arrival he has an altercation with the leader of the church which happened because he decided to take away his daughter’s savings, that she had for school, in order to go out gambling and drinking, claiming that she is not supposed to run away from her family even if it is for further development. However, at the same time this begins we see our main character look closer at the leader of this church as he knows that he’s a fake and that this religion is just here to pollute the minds of these poor country folk.

So he begins his war path and when all is said and done I can’t imagine what part of this film doesn’t end poorly. It’s wall to wall depression and while it’s wonderfully executed with some amazingly curious animation styles you’re going to have to find some cute puppy pictures right after to stop yourself from sinking deeper down a hole you my have been teetering on from time to time.

Grade: ★★★★☆


Eli Roth, the horror geek that all horror geeks love to love, is back with a cannibalistic tale deep in the heart of the jungle and I’m not quite sure. Writing this literally 45 minutes after walking out of the screening I had a mixture of tense frightening and general apathetic viewpoints to what many would consider to more meatier parts of the film.

As it relates to the first half of the film wherein Roth is busy trying to set up how and why we have a group of college students even going to the Roth stumbles through stereotypical college caricatures as he normally does attempting to create light comedy while getting us along easily enough. He almost wants a Cabin in the Woods style of chemistry between our main characters, however we end up spending so much time with them before the actual “inferno” that any affable characteristics eventually turned to annoying. From the guy who’s always had his mind on getting high, or the other one who’s really into Justine (Lorenza Izzo) and jumps at the sight of Brad Pitt’s name on a cart (or whatever they call those rickshaw/bike things).

When we get to the last thirty minutes of gore the film picks up in a way I didn’t expect for a movie of this kind to do for me. While I have my misgivings of horror films, and I do quite enjoy Hostel, the gore — while not ready to throwup on the stage repugnant — is well done. There is a moment here or there where I feel it repeats itself in a bad way and could be cut down some but for the most part it keeps it fresh and moving throughout. My only issue is that the main lead up in the section was pretty much telegraphed from the opening five minutes of the film and while it had me ready to cover my eyes, I was relatively certain that I would be safe. Even in this film touted as the goriest thing since… people figured out how to fake blood on screen I guess, the film manages to be digestible by more than they think I feel.

Grade: ★★★☆☆

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Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson

I love movies, I love TV so obviously I blog. You can read all my other ramblings on this and that over at