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Toronto Fest: Day 1


Welcome to the inaugural Toronto Report, brought to you by the fine folks at JoBlo's Movie Emporium, Scott Weinberg Inc., and the Children's Television Workshop. (Today's report is sponsored by the letter "J" and the number "6".)

After only 1.5 days in Toronto, I can claim to have A) enjoyed a nice long chat with Roger Ebert, B) seen several solid movies, and C) had passionate sex with Charlize Theron. (Just because I "claim" it, that doesn't make it true.) But enough non-humorous intro-blather; we both know why you're here: You want movie scoops, and I got a solid fistful for you insatiable film freekz.


KISS KISS, BANG, BANG is film noir mixed with your favorite childhood coloring book and splashed with nice shot of vodka-spiked fruit-punch. Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. star as a seriously mismatched pair of unwitting crime-stoppers. Downey's a petty crook mistaken for an aspiring actor, while Kilmer's a former private dick who now works as a Hollywood consultant. Together the duo come across a few dead bodies, and spend the next 90-some minutes getting in way over their heads as a bunch of west coast kooks get in the way. First-time directorial effort from action-flick scribe Shane Black, KKBB is a self-aware, self-referential, and frequently self-mocking little proto-noir, and it's a flick this movie geek had a pretty good time with. Solid laughs, offbeat chemistry between the leads, a few bits of ass-kickery, and the stunningly cute Michelle Monaghan in a variety of sexy outfits. Fun flick for the fellas, period.


And speaking of guy movies, the testosterone-y Cronenberg flick A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is dark, stark, and dangerous to know. Viggo ("Don't call me Strider") Mortensen delivers one phenomenal performance in this tale of sudden violence, latent lifestyles, and unpleasant gunplay. Toss in a fantastic performance by the marvelous Maria Bello (who, yes, does get nekkid) and a background gallery that includes Ed Harris, William Hurt, and the young Ashton Holmes, and you're looking at a deviously good time at the movies. No, it's not in the Cronenberg Classic canon like THE FLY, THE DEAD ZONE or VIDEODROME, but hell, how many flicks are? Despite its frequent and ferocious violence and a few steamy sex scenes, this might just be Cronenberg's most "mainstream" movie to date -- but it's still not a movie you'll want to see with your parents ... or your kids.


Gotta take a second to hand it to Steven Soderbergh; this is a guy who makes huge money-makin' popcorn flicks like OCEAN'S ELEVEN -- and then heads back to Artsy Indiesville to make movies like FULL FRONTAL and his latest, the oddly-named BUBBLE. It's a low-key and dry (but not dull) slice of Americana in which two doll-factory workers wander through their dreary lives -- until young Rose lands a position painting doll-faces. To say much more about the "meat" of the plot would rob you of the surprises, but suffice to say that something unpleasant happens, which spins BUBBLE off into a sort of FARGO-esque tale. Starring nobody you've ever heard of and clocking in at about 80 minutes, it's one that'll split the Soderbergh fans right down the middle -- but you can put me on the "pro" side of that argument.


Segueing for no good reason into the land of the French, we have Danis Tanovic's L'ENFER, which translates into "The Inferno," and no it's not a horror flick. Fresh off the accolades earned on his debut film, NO MAN'S LAND, and using an old screenplay by the late, great Kryzstof Kyslowski, Tanovic spins a yarn about three estranged sisters, their miserable love lives, and the horrid childhood secret that they share. Very artsy and a little fartsy, but more than a little compelling anyway. Plus, c'mon, it stars Emmanule Beart, and if that's not enough of a reason to see a movie, then I don't know what is. (And if you have to ask if she bares those boobies, then you obviously have not seen enough of Ms. Beart's other movies.)


Our final flick this visit is one that I'm officially naming the Arrow in the Head special. It's a joyously nasty splatter flick from the director of RAZOR BLADE SMILE; it's one of the goriest flicks I've seen since Peter Jackson introduced the working end of a lawn-mower to an army of slobbering zombies; and it's called EVIL ALIENS. Director Jake West is clearly having one blood-soaked ball with this movie about alien invasions, impregnations, disembowelings, and the single nastiest anal probe you ever will see. (Or want to see!) I'm going on record here: EVIL ALIENS will delight just about any self-respecting gorehound out there, and it's a movie that had me clapping my hands in childlike glee at the overwhelmingly enjoyable splat-o-rama. This one's funny, fast, and furiously ferocious -- and I cannot wait to own a copy on DVD. Now all we have to do is see who'll pick the thing up for distribution. (C'mon, Lions Gate! This is your bread & butter!)

And with that I must log off, since I've been awake for 25 consecutive hours, I've eaten nothing but Big Macs, and I have to go meet Charlize at the hotel bar.

Source: JoBlo.com



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