September 19, 2015

TIFF 15: There Ain’t No Apocalypse Like a Yakuza Apocalypse

Capsule reviews and notes from the Toronto International Film Festival, Saturday September 19th.

Augh. Brain. Clumped. And. Stuck. To. Inside. Of. Skull. But can’t skip a screening and sleep in, because today’s first flick comes from the director of Borgman:

Schneider vs. Bax [Netherlands, Alex van Warmerdam, 3.5] A client assigns two assassins, one a middle-class control freak, the other a drug-snarfling novelist, to kill one other. Another enigmatic van Warmerdam fable about darkness and the bourgeiosie, this one a hitman farce of chance and mischance.

I had this pegged as a 4 throughout, but disappointingly it whiffs its ending.

Lolo [France, Julie Delpy, 4] When his fashion show organizer mom (Julie Delpy) comes home from vacation with a hopelessly uncool new boyfriend, an emotionally arrested young artist schemes to deep-six their relationship. Urbane yet raunchy comedy of Oedipal manners tips the hat to Blake Edwards.

Delpy and her co-star were present for the screening.

Yakuza Apocalypse [Japan, Takashi Miike, 4] Ordinary people start turnng into yakuza vampires, depriving actual gangster of victims to prey on. Spoof of genre-blending and fight film tropes goes beyond gonzo, with a creature wearing a moth-eaten frog mascot suit as the main villain all the other bad guys are afraid of.

Miike was present at the screening, attending TIFF for the first time in fifteen years. I even stayed to hear the Q&A. Fortunately programmer Colin Geddes runs his Q&As by asking key questions himself and leaving little room for audience members to launch into their “this is more of a comment than a question” questions. Miike’s next film will be about people who become human-insect hybrids so they can journey to Mars to fight cockroaches. You know, that old saw.

The Mind’s Eye [US, Joe Begos, 2] Psychokinetics escape a research facility whose megalomaniacal director is performing medical experiments on them. Rough-around-the-edges cover version of Scanners has all of its exploding heads but none of its subversive metaph0rical content.

Very glad to have programmed nothing in the late evening slot. Must try for eight hours sleep, as I saved some of my most anticipated titles for the final day, Sunday. But as I type this: brain. Clumped. To. Inside. Of. Skull.

Have a question about my TIFF capsule reviews? It may be frequently asked. If so, I have already answered it.