Tag Archives: Isabella Rossellini

Incredibles 2

Taking up pretty much where the last film left off, Bob, Helen, and the whole Incredible family are in hot water for the havoc they’ve been wreaking while saving the world, and even the super hero witness protection program is folding. Luckily, a rich benefactor named Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and his genius-inventor sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), step in with a plan to bring supers out of hiding and back into the light.

To do that, they need Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to don her tights to pull some major super hero moves while Mr. Incredible stays home to be Mr. Dad to daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), son Dash, and baby Jack Jack, who is just starting to come into his own powers. MV5BNTZhODcwN2EtYWI3ZS00NGU1LTlkYWEtMzgzNmY0MGViYmI0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzc1MTQ5MTI@._V1_Mr. Incredible is feeling more like Mr. Second Banana being relegated to the side lines, but Pixar is famous for doing a protagonist switcheroo for its sequels: Finding Nemo became Finding Dory, Monsters University was about Mike instead of Sully, and Cars 2 followed Mater rather than Lightning McQueen. I think it’s a great idea, in 2018, to give Elastigirl top billing (even if it’s still the 60s in the Incredibles’ universe), but I wish they had kept that messaging consistent enough not to have her waist be about the same size as her neck, or to have her fighting crime in thigh-high pleather high-heeled boots that would have Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman blushing.

Other than those qualms, Incredibles 2 (they dropped the The!) is a pretty fun ride. It feels less emotionally complex than some of Pixar’s most beloved offerings, and Matt thought Elastigirl’s new kickbutt attitude came at the expense of a real character arc for her. But Incredibles 2 is full of giggles. There were a lot of kids in the audience around us (some of them in adorably muscled Mr. Incredible cosplay), and they laughed at the most unusual, nonsensical times (not just the fart stuff!), which made me grin as well.

Baby Jack Jack is not a new character but the sequel finds him in the process of discovering his new powers, which both thrills and terrifies his proud and exhausted dad. Jack’s powers include but are in no way limited to: combustion, levitation, duplication, and laser eyes! The more ridiculous his powers, the funnier it plays. He’s a baby AND he’s a weapon of mass destruction! Imagine having to babysit that!

Incredibles 2 isn’t quite as incredible as its predecessor but it’s got some really cool set pieces (planes, trains, and incredimobiles!), and both the old guard and new friends are fun to spend time with. Most of all though, I have to say the animation itself was spectacular. You can see the wrinkles in Mr. Incredible’s linen shirt. That’s how specific and crisp the animation is – what a discernible difference 14 years makes! Incredibles 2 is a visual delight and has massive appeal for the whole family, whether you’re super or just really, really great.

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TIFF 2015: Closet Monster

closet monster 2

The world premiere of Closet Monster, which screened on Sunday as part of TIFF’s Discovery program, was a heart-wrenching experience and I don’t just mean the film itself. Director Stephen Dunn wept openly when asked whether his first feature film was auto-biographical in any way and recounted the story of a hate crime that happened in the Newfoundland town that he grew up in and the fear of his own sexuality that it instilled in him.

Described by the TIFF website as “a coming-of-age (and out-of-the-closet) story”, this small Canadian drama is as much about living with trauma as it is about coming out. Oscar (Connor Jessup) witnessed a brutal hate crime growing up similar to the one¬†described by Dunn¬†and the memory has haunted him ever since. As he is terrified to discover that he himself may be gay, every sexual impulse triggers graphic flashbacks of the incident. His crisis comes to a head when a cute male Montrealer shows up in town for the summer.

Closet Monster is not a perfect film. Most of the problems seem to come from Dunn’s inexperience as a feature filmmaker. A plot device involving a talking hamster (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) is needlessly bizarre and goes nowhere. I found this easy to forgive though given the director’s obvious passion for the project. I got the sense that making even a single cut from material that he was so close to would wound him deeply.

There’s plenty to admire. Oscar’s anxiety about being true to himself is beautifully depicted, both through conventional drama and surreal fantasy sequences. And Jessup, who impressed me at the Festival three years ago in another small Canadian film called Blackbird, continues to be a young actor to watch out for.

Closet Monster isn’t always easy to watch but it is mostly very effective and moving and, if you’re up for it, I hope you’ll seek it out.