TIFF 2016 Movie Review: VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY (Germany 2016)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

voyage_of_time_lifes_journey_poster VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY (Germany 2016) **
Directed by Terence Malick

Starring: Cate Blanchett

Review by Gilbert Seah

From the director of THE TREE OF LIFE, this film has Malick at his most personal, which might not be a film for everyone.

Many segments will only make sense to Malick. The film is reported to be a years-in-the-making ode to the wonder of creation. The wildly ambitious Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, according to Malick, leads the audience on a temporal trip through the history of the universe.

The film begins with light and darkness and explosions interpreted to be the birth of stars and the evolution of life on Earth. The film is then set in the inky depths of the oceans, where incandescent creatures float in the darkness.

The poetic narration written by Malick is voiced by Cate Blanchett. But not all the segments are original.

Some like the funnel of thousands of small fish devoured by other bigger fish and diving birds have been shown on Disnyeworld films. Also warning: the soundtrack is crisp clear. Anyone eating popcorn can be heard. I had to tell the person behind me to stop eating!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVyWObJY9FQ

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: SADAKO VS KAYAKO (Japan 2016)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

sadako_v_kayako_poster.jpgSADAKO VS KAYAKO (Japan 2016) **
Directed by Kôji Shiraishi

Starring: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa |

Review by Gilbert Seah

Two iconic Japanese ghosts are thrown into the ring for a grudge match that’s the ultimate spectral showdown.

A more appropriate title would be THE RING VS THE GRUDGE. University students Yuri (Mizuki Yamamoto) and Natsumi (Aimi Satsukawa) buy an old VCR in order to transfer their home videos to DVD, but when Natsumi watches the dusty old tape found in the machine, she realizes she may have fallen victim to the curse that their urban-legends professor Morishige (Masahiro Komoto) is obsessed with.

Meanwhile, high-schooler Suzuka (Tina Tamashiro) is having dreams about a mysterious house down the street from her new home. Though warned not to enter the house lest she be killed by the Saeki family curse, she is soon drawn inside by the resident ghosts, Kayako and her son, Toshio.

The film is SADAKO VS KAYAKO. But the film does not turn out as well as it sounds. I am not a fan of mash-ups like BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN or COWBOYS VS ALIENS. They turn out too silly and never achieve much, the only exception being the excellent Japanese classic KING KONG VS GODZILLA.

Sadako exists mainly as hair coming out of the TV or video tape so a confrontation of hair against a white crawly ghoul might not amount to much.

Director Shiraishi spends too much time setting the stage for the fight and when it finally occurs, it is a disappointment.

See this only if you must!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyLA6nfPvRo

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: HUNTING FLIES (Norway 2016) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

hunting_flies_poster.jpg
HUNTING FLIES (Norway 2016) ***
Directed by Izer Aliu

Starring: Burhan Amiti

Review by Gilbert Seah

Not the typical Norwegian film, HUNTING FLIES is totally set in a village in Macedonia. Izer Aliu’s first film takes a look at a way ethnic differences could be solved, though it is a sought of simplified look. As the film begins, the ostensible hero, veteran teacher Ghani, is pleading with his school’s new principal to keep him on staff.

A recent change in government means that the new group in power will likely fire the school’s old administration and bring in their own people, regardless of their experience, as sinecures for the ethic group that got them elected. This ethnic rivalry is keenly felt by the students in Ghani’s class, who are constantly at one another’s throats.

While Ghani struggles to create common ground between the two factions, the newly appointed teachers are more than happy to stay outside the classroom, smoking, gossiping, and smacking kids upside the head when they get unruly.

Ghani decides to keep the children after school, way into the night to make sure they come to peace with each other. Aliu is a first time director and it shows.

His ambitious film is rough in parts and the logic does not really rub off to the audience. But he does elicit fantastic performances from the cast of 10 children of non-professional actors. Watching the children is the highlight of the film.

According to the director, when the auditioning for the 10 children in the village, 11 showed up and it was a difficult decision to decide which one would not get the part.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv7QfRBxGzo

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

after_the_storm_poster.jpg
AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016) ***
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Yôko Maki, Taiyô Yoshizawa

Review by Gilbert Seah

AFTER THE STORM is Kore-da at his mildest ilmmaking. Don’t expect the drama of LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON or the imagination of AFTER LIFE his two best films. Yet AFTER THE STORM is not without its pleasures.

On the surface it is a simple film, a kind look at a loser. Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a failed writer, a third-rate detective, and a hardened gambler. As the film’s title seems to suggest, the salient moments of his life have already passed before the beginning of the story.

He won an important literary award when he was young, but his promising career vanished into thin air. Now, his father has died and his wife has left him. He adores his young son, but seems resigned to his position on the sidelines of the boy’s life.

One night, when a typhoon strikes, the broken family is forced to spend the night together at Ryota’s mother’s home. The ensuing interaction that is both bittersweet and tender forms the film’s highlight. “I never want to grow up to be like you.”, the son says. “I will always love them. They are my family.”

The father says at one point. Great performances here not only from Abe but from Kirin Kiki as Ryota’s mother, who is so funny she steals every scene she is in.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwJcIoFuhto

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

 

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: Tereddut (Clair-obscur) (2016)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

clair_obscur_poster.jpgCLAIR-OBSCUR (Turkey/Germany/Poland/France 2016) **
Directed by Yesim Ustaoglu

Starring: Mehmet Kurtulus, Metin Akdülger, Okan Yalabik

Review by Gilbert Seah

A female director’s film about two females. So expect a lot of feminine perspective to be presented in the story told. Turk director Yesim Ustaoglu offers a parallel study of two women — a psychiatrist with a long-time live-in partner and a wife in a conservative, nearly tyrannical household — in this study of the possibilities and limitations that exist for women in Turkey today.

A third through the film, their paths cross as the psychiatrist treats the other after a catastrophe.

Ustaoglu’s film clearly intends to show women’s hardships in terms of two different imprisonments of the two women. She succeeds in her tale of Elmas, the young abused new wife, but fails in the second tale of the psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist comes along as too smart and her arguments against her husband does not really feel genuine, as her husband could also feel himself used by her, as she did have an affair before the quarrel.

A mixed bag of emotions in this film, though the visuals are arresting.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEpIzcHVPfo

 

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: PLANETARIUM (France/Belgium 2016)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

planetarium_poster.jpgPLANETARIUM (France/Belgium 2016) **
Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski

Starring: Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger

Review by Gilbert Seah

PLANETARIUM is beautifully shot period piece on the lives of two sisters who care too much for each other.

The setting is Paris in the 1930s, where two sisters, American spiritualists Laura (Natalie Portman) and Kate Barlow (Lily-Rose Depp), are winding up a world tour. Seemingly adept at communicating with the dead, the women are somewhat less experienced with the business of the living.

Nevertheless, their astonishing exhibit of apparently supernatural powers piques the interest of powerful French film producer André Korben (Emmanuel Salinger), who retains their strange talents for his wildly ambitious new film project. Laura and Kate are soon swept up in a scheme that, fusing art and the occult, portends a dark shadow soon to be cast over all of Europe.

The film is better than it sounds.

Portman inhabits her role similar to the one she did in her directorial debut A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS. But director Zlotoskski’s film feels very detached and one can hardly feel sympathetic for the sisters or even for the film producer. All pretty things aside, the film is quite the bore.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV3k-L10A2M

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: CARRIE PILBY (USA 2016) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

carrie_pilby_poster.jpgCARRIE PILBY (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Susan Johnson

Starring: Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne

Review by Gilbert Seah

Being too smart might be detrimental to ones life. Based on Caren Lissner’s best-selling 2003 novel, CARRIE PILBY is a story of a awkward teen who graduated Harvard at the age of 19 and lives in a small NYC apartment paid for by her London-based father (Gabriel Byrne).

Carrie (Bel Powley) has no job, no purpose and no friends because she actively dislikes just about everyone (rating them “morally and intellectually unacceptable”) as only a teenager can.

Her one regular contact is her dad’s therapist friend, Dr. Petrov (Nathan Lane in rare role of an unfaithful straight man), who after a fruitless series of weekly visits finally sets Carrie some homework: a five-point plan to get her life together. As they say, nothing goes as planned. The plan results in her life turned more upside down. Johnson’s film takes half the film to get its footing.

The first half is really annoying with Carrie spurting out too much clever dialogue and the script getting too smug for tis own good. It treats its audience as simple folk that need a twist in every segment or needing a punch line after a dialogue.

The film gets more tolerable in the second half even turning to winning when Carrie finally gives up on the plan.

Part coming-of-age, part father/daughter relationship and part romance, CARRIE PILBY is a chick flick that finally rises, like is character at the end.

Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.

Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com