Sunday, August 28, 2011

2009 TIFF Bytes #1

originally published September 13, 2009
Too long for Twitter, too brief for the capsule page, some quick takes on films screened at this year's TIFF:

Jennifer's Body (d. Karen Kusama)
I missed a good chunk of Jennifer's Body's first reel, so I think it would be dubious of me to assign it a star rating; nevertheless, it would have to be a hell of a redeeming opening for me to consider going higher than *. Why is Karen Kusama directing a movie this high-profile after the hard flop of Aeon Flux when Joe Dante's reduced to "Goosebumps"-style kiddie fare after the comparatively-revered Looney Tunes: Back in Action? Kusama again shows a special talent for blurring that fine line between camp and ineptitude (see: step-printed flashbacks to little girls playing with Barbies), and Megan Fox, the sex object from the Uncanny Valley, delivers some lines so sluggishly I felt bad for keeping her up. (Attention tit fiends: the paparazzi captured more skin with their zoom lenses on the set of this film than actually made it onto the screen.) I hope Walter or Ian tackles it in general release--it could really use the new asshole--but in the meantime I recommend Glenn Kenny's take for his articulation of the Diablo Cody Problem. ????/4

My Toxic Baby (d. Min Sook Lee)
This one's a documentary, only 45 minutes long, and scheduled to air on Canadian TV in the coming weeks. It's nightmarish, but not for the same reason it intends. Director and narrator Min Sook Lee is a new mother growing increasingly paranoid about the invisible threats to her daughter; in the film's best sequence, she invites a toy tester into her home to check for lead and soon has him scanning her whole kitchen for traces of the stuff. (Cut to: hubby tearing out the cupboards.) The punchline is that a tox screen reveals her daughter is practically antiseptic, though Lee's closing voiceover suggests she won't be satisfied until the kid's fitted for a Hazmat suit. Setting out to enlighten and inform her fellow parents, Lee instead captured the onset of OCD from the eye of the storm. Also: Pox Parties? Ick. ***/4

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