Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.
Eddie Baroo, Ryan Corr, Aaron Fa’aoso
The film feels Shakespearean for the theme of control over a bike game being similar to fighting for the throne of a Kingdom. While Knuck (Nable) has been in prison, his surrogate son, Mark, nicknamed “Paddo” (Ryan Corr of Hacksaw Ridge) has minded the store.
Paddo has modernized the activities of the club, expanded their enterprise, and brought in new members — all endeavours that threaten Knuck’s position on his return.
Both men are supported and influenced by their equally strong wives, each woman as ambitious for her husband as for herself. Tensions mount when Paddo’s brother, Skink (Josh McConville), creates trouble with drugs. The film examines the issue of brother or blood vs. identity.
The climax is a shoot out but when you think that there can never be a happy ending – there is one with the villain finally to pay his due. A bit difficult at time to follow because of the Aussie accent and the bike lingo, but the visuals are enough to tell the story. A bit violent but the film need to be.
Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival
SNOOT IN THE CITY, 1min, Australia, Animation
Directed by Stephanie Davidson
On the rooftops above a cold, ironclad city, Snoot lives in a nice, warm home. When an intruder invades, his territorial instincts kick in and it’s up to him to protect his home, even if it means going face to face with a giant house-crushing robot.
Review by Kierston Drier:
This one minute comic animation from Australia, directed by Stephanie Davidson, is a simple film that delivers the whole package- a good story, a charming character, a great twist- in less than 60 seconds.
Snoot, our adorable mouse-y creature, just wants a quiet night roasting their bone at home next to their warm furnace. Snoot won’t get it though. A huge monster is on the horizon and headed right towards are quite hero. But Snoot will not have their evening ruined, and fast thinking is required.
What is great about this film, is that the story is well developed, despite the tiny time allotment. Snoot is able to use what they glean in the first few seconds of the movie to great effect later. By utilizing a faulty heating system and their own sheer grit, Snoot can defend their home and their evening from a hideous invader.
Bravo to Stephanie Davidson and her team. They clearly know that most important part of any film is the story! And to deliver one so clear and comical in a compact 60 seconds is a talented feat. Great job team, Snoot in the City is worth a watch, maybe two!
|AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated b Matthew Toffolo:
Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival
A BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE, 7min, Australia, Comedy
Directed by Sam Reiher
This job doesn’t turn out quite as well as hoped for these two loveable, yet useless, thieves.
Review by Kierston Drier:
This Australian comedy from director Sam Reiher will remind you that there are bad days in every profession. Two professional criminals case a local house. Unfortunately, they are so practiced at their work and relaxed with their comical discussions that they forget the most important part of their job- like making sure the house is empty before they walk in to rob it.
This is one of those short, laugh-a-minute films that ties together slap-stick and witty banter. The characters are loveable flawed anti-heroes that you can’t stop watching. Like any good comedy, the stakes slowly mount higher and higher until our heros are undone by their own faulty desires. The best part of this film is waiting to the final joke. The entire film will keep you laughing, but that end punch line is totally worth it!
A classic structure, with a fresh take on a bad day at work, this is a delight little comedy to unwind to at the end of your own long working day.
|AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:
Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.
MIDNIGHT WALK, 4min., Australia, Thriller
Directed by Mathilde Nocquet
Midnight, hidden by sunglasses and a badass vinyl disguise, a mysterious brunette is looking for her victim. Plunged into darkness, a car park is the stage of her next murder.
REVIEW by Kierston Drier:
A highly stylized, hyper-glam look at fashion at any cost, MIDNIGHT WALK is genre-splicing experiments in theatrics. Part comedy, part thriller, part How-To video, our hero, the gorgeous, fashion savvy Midnight, armored in outfit that could be found on any high-end sensationalized fashion-art show prowls and underground garage, following an unsuspecting victim.
Despite large look-at-me visuals, this film has a simple and unstated backdrop, no doubt to accentuate the dramatic and fantastical heroine.
MIDNIGHT WALK has some exceptional scenographic and visual design. It’s genre is completely unto itself, being an exceptionally unique piece with a utterly intoxicating and original voice, it straddles several cinematic areas.
The twist at the end- the goal our murderous fashionesta has for stalking her victim is worth every minute of this bright escape-ist cinematic romp.
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DOWNRIVER (Australia 2015) ***
Directed by Grant Scicluna
Starring: Reef Ireland, Kerry Fox, Robert Taylor
Review by Gilbert Seah
Writer/director Grant Scicluna’s moody suspense drama premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival followed by a screening at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival for its gay content. It is a worthy first effort, though not without flaws rendering Scicluna a new filmmaker to be reckoned with.
The story’s protagonist is teenager James (Reef Ireland). When the film opens, he is just released from juvenile prison. He returns home to mother, Paige (Kerry Fox) hoping to find out the truth about the death of a child. James was sent to prison for it when the death occurred when they were kids. Mother had turned him in. James did not tell the cops about the other kid with him. That kid is now a very nasty grown up, Anthony (Thom Green). The story includes a few other interesting characters, that helps keep the story interesting up to the climax.
Newcomer Reef Ireland plays James, the teen prone to epileptic seizures convincingly. Kerry Fox (SHALLOW GRAVE, AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE) is fine as his mum, and there should more of her in the movies. But Thom Green steals the show as the young and nasty Anthony. Playing a bullying, creepy and plain nasty character, Green also reveals a vulnerable side later on.
The film’s setting is perfect for this kind of plot. The action takes place in the country where a trailer park exists close by. There is a river where the folks go fishing and there are caves and abandoned structures. It is curious why anyone would want to live there unless they have no money and no alternative option. But it is surprising that in such a male chauvinistic environment, almost every young male is gay or has had a gay sexual encounter.
The gay sex scenes are shot mostly in the dark, making the sex appear even more erotic. Cinematographer Laszlo Baranyai does an even better job with the shots in the open. His camera glides across the beautiful murky waters of the river. The country areas outside Melbourne, where the film is shot, never looked more stunning.
But one of the film’s flaws is its muddled narrative. As the film progresses, there are many confusing incidents. Scicluna is found of overlapping dialogue with scenes. One segment has repeated dialogue from the next scene starting before the previous scene goes off. One other scene has Wayne (Robert Taylor) asking James to go fishing and a whole lot of people show up in the boat. James says that he will be gone of 5 minutes and ends up gone forever in an underground structure. As if things cannot get any worse, a lot of the actors mumble their lines, which is hard enough to catch when uttered with an Australian accent.
Despite the film’s flaws, DOWNRIVER is an absorbing film about youth angst. It covers universal issues like redemption, family ties, relationships, friendships and gay sex. It does not skimp on the nastiness which occurs quite a lot in the film.
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