September 15, 2017

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: All the Cute Girls are Capulets

In the latest edition of our ENnie-winning podcast, Ken and I talk death spirals, summer movies and occult Kashmir.

#TIFF17: The Day All the Films Had Murders In Them

All You Can Eat Buddha (Canada, Ian Lagarde, 4) Prodigious buffet eater at modest Caribbean resort gains spiritual powers after rescuing a mystical octopus. Buñuelian satire of longing, consumption and upheaval.

So many films every year follow the de Sica or Tarkovsky traditions; I always find it refreshing when someone looks to Buñuel.

The Third Murder (Japan, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 4) Attorney defends a capital murder case in which the accused (Koji Yakusho) confessed but keeps changing his story. Goes past the legal procedural elements to question who people are and if we can really ever know why anyone does anything.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Indonesia, Mouly Surya, 3.5) Widow kills a gang of rapist bandits and heads to town with the boss’ head to report the crime. Tale of women versus predatory men mixes agrarian social drama with engagingly staged Leone pastiche.

Birds Without Names (Japan, Kazuya Shiraishi, 4) Young woman who has demoted her pathetic older ex to roommate status embarks on an affair with a married watch company middle-manager. Scabrous relationship noir where the plot is as twisted as the characters’ decisions.

Pyewacket (Canada, Adam MacDonald, 2.5) Girl mad at her mom (Laurie Holden) for moving her to the country performs a ritual to summon an evil spirit. The idea of a verité-style teen drama that turns into a horror flick is kinda cool, but to pay off this would have to escalate sooner and further.

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.