Matt got up early to see Christopher Plummer in Remember. Director Atom Egoyan appealed specifically for a spoiler-free review, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.
Desierto: Described to me as a deranged serial killer stalking Mexican immigrants trying to sneak across the border, I was hooked. And a little worried. Jonas Cuaron (yes, son of Alfonso) directs Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the killer), Gael Garcia Bernal (the immigrant), and the vast and unforgiving desert (a third and equally important character) toward a very tense and thrilling and relentless chase movie. I liked that Bernal’s character isn’t a traditional hero. He’s good, he’s bad, he’s human. Either way, he doesn’t deserve to be slaughtered in the desert. This movie is all about the chase – the philosophy is up to you. A really solid effort.
Our friend Courtney Small at Cinema Axis has all kids of dedicated TIFF reviews, but I’m directing you to one in particular: Room. Room is the film I’m most miffed about missing at TIFF. I read and enjoyed the book and have heard that Brie Larson’s performance is star-making (and it’s about time she’s recognized). She plays a woman who was abducted and kept captive in a windowless room by her abuser for years, where she conceived and gave birth. This child has never seen anything beyond the Room, but this doesn’t stop his mother from plotting their escape. But what will happen to them as they try to become reintroduced to the big bad world?
EDIT: An extra screening was added last minute, and I got my butt into a seat! My own review is coming soon.
You might also drop in on Dan from A Tale of Two Dans. He got to see another one I was sad to miss, Youth. Starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, you know you’re in for a treat.
The Family Fang: Jason Bateman is a little hit or miss with his movies, but I ended up liking this quite a bit. It’s got a strong premise: performance artist parents (Christopher Walken is the dad!) rope their kids (Jason Bateman, Nicole Kidman) into a childhood of pranks and skits. As soon as they’re old enough to get out of there, they do, and the relationship is strained because the art suffers. Then suddenly, the parents go missing. The cops presume them dead but the kids are convinced it’s just another prank. Or is it? Unravelling the mystery is not really the point. The point is a very real and interesting dynamic between neglected siblings (“They fuck you up, your mom and dad”) . If you keep that in mind, you’ll probably quite enjoy this slow-burner. It’s a drama with some funny parts, warns Jason Bateman: not Bad Words. Not his usual stuff. There are a lot of layers here, more than meets the eye. I read the book a while back and now I think I’ll have to re-read it just to hear it in Walken’s voice. During the Q&A, Jason Bateman made a fangirl out of himself, fawning over his hero, Christopher Walken, and likened editing anything with him in it to “killing babies”, as everything of Walken’s is “painfully usable.” Both men were charming, and Bateman clearly proud of his work. As he should be.