September 10, 2017

#TIFF17: Weird Miracles and Former Zombies

I Kill Giants (UK, Anders Walter, 2.5) Teen RPG fan with a chip on her shoulder resists the friendship of a new arrival in school and the concerns of its psychologist (Zoe Saldana) to continue her mission laying traps for the giants she believes are about to attack her seaside town. I loved the portrayal of the nerd experience from a girl’s s perspective, but the script withholds the true nature of the protagonist’s problem until the end, even though it’s told entirely from her POV--a massive cheat.

Also starring Imogen Poots and the Call of Cthulhu Creature Companion.

Treatment of the hobby remains positive even as it flirts with the Trouble Distinguishing Fantasy From Reality trope,

The Lodgers (Ireland, Brian O’Malley, 2.5) When a twin brother and sister turn eighteen in their damp, decaying manor, she determines to escape the terrible fate the watery shades of their ancestors have laid out for them. Evocative, but lacks the ruthlessness of great horror and an adherence to its own ghost logic.

Good Favour  (Ireland, Rebecca Daly, 4) Young man with wound in his side stumbles from the woods into a Hutterite-style faith community, which takes him in. Richly imagistic, ambiguous religious allegory.

If I’m recommending a film that can rightly be described as Bressonian, you know it’s gotta be strong, because that is not my metier.

(Metier is French for “jam”, right?)

The Cured  (Ireland, David Freyne, 4) Four years after the outbreak, a man cured of the zombie virus is taken in by his dead brother’s wife (Ellen Page.)  A social problem drama  / political thriller that just happens to revolve around cannibal virus victims.

Ellen Page is now the official famous person I can say I saw at the fest. And evacuated a theater with, as the fire alarm went off mid-screening, sending the house of 1,100 out onto the sidewalk for 20 minutes right at the third act break. (The Ryerson Theater, part of a university campus, is notorious for this.) They did restart the film at the point of interuption, which is now a thing you can easily do in the age of digital projection.

Capsule review boilerplate: Ratings are out of 5. I’ll be collecting these reviews in order of preference in a master post the Monday after the fest. Films shown on the festival circuit will appear in theaters, disc and/or streaming over the next year plus. If you’ve heard of a film showing at TIFF, I’m probably waiting to see it during its upcoming conventional release, instead favoring choices that don’t have distribution and might not reappear.