TUMP @ TiFF Vol 4 [w/ Matt Brown & Matt Price]

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With TIFF over I finally got a chance to sit down with the boys of MaMo for more than the time it takes us to get into the theatre of a film we saw at the TiFF. So sit back and enjoy as I basically hijack an episode of MaMo and ask them to do it with me and Douglas around talking with them.

Thanks for listening and feel free to let us know what you think either through the comments below or email us here.  You can subscribe to the podcast via our RSS or iTunes and now Stitcher.  It would be awesome if you would rate/review us on iTunes (we’ll read your reviews on the show)

TUMP @ TiFF Vol. 3 [w/ Ryan McNeil]

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It’s coming to the end of the festival and we’re going to be doing one more show before Douglas and I depart the land of the Canadia. However, last night we got to sit down (in a very loud diner, so apologies for the audio) with Ryan McNeil of The Matinee as we discuss a bunch of movies we’ve seen over the last few days.

Thanks for listening and feel free to let us know what you think either through the comments below or email us here.  You can subscribe to the podcast via our RSS or iTunes and now Stitcher.  It would be awesome if you would rate/review us on iTunes (we’ll read your reviews on the show)

TIFF Day 6 Report: Politics, Love, Unconventional Life & Attraction of Innocence

It’s as if I brought my Jamaican weather to Toronto today as it was searingly hot outside, which made for a great day inside to watch movies.

THE UNKNOWN KNOWN (dir. Errol Morris)

The Unknown Know

This is not the 9/11 Pentagon tell all. This isn’t a bad thing, it is just a warning for those lovers of things like Fog of War looking for that in this movie, it’s not that. Errol Morris himself after the screening even said, “This is not Fog of War 2… it’s more Tabloid 2″… and I agree.

Donald Rumsfeld is a career politician who has become infamous for being perfectly amazing in public relations and he continues to do so here. In this series of discussions that Rumsfeld has with Morris we follow his discussions of post 9/11, Iraq, Raegan, Cheeney and many other aspects of his career and personal life. They’re all done mostly through a series of memos that he was known for while in politics which many called “snowflakes”. We’re treated to his reading of them as well as a visual representation on screen. The most stark memo is the one the title comes from, discussing the “known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns, and unknown knowns” which we hear read a few times in the film.

More than being informative this is being meditative as somehow Morris is able to capture a sense of Rumsfeld as he talks his career with us as well as he can and we’re just engaged throughout. The way that Morris handles the visuals as well as auditory experience of this conversation is able to hold our attention for the full 100 minutes without waning in any way. Even when at the end of it all we ask ourselves what we learnt and come up with little to nothing then it seem even more masterful the work of Morris.

Grade: ★★★★☆

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIS & HERS (dir. Ned Benson)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

It’s a sprawling romance which is divided into two sides of the story, His and Hers. The filmmaker, Ned Benson, touts the film’s ability to be watched in any order and as such I saw it in the order of Hers and His, After the mysterious death of Eleanor and Connor’s child their relationship gets into a bit of a problem and Eleanor needs space to figure things out. In this time we see how their lives change from being madly in love to something else and struggle to make it on the other side.

What I love so much about this movie is that not only is it dramatically great but it has this sense of memories as opposed to objective voyeuristic filmmaking. There are a few scenes that both Connor and Eleanor share in the film and that is where it shines as you see the blatant separation of his story versus hers and it works. It’s no longer just about their development as an outsiders perspective but rather a very much more internal process.

Grade: ★★★★☆

CHILD OF GOD (dir. James Franco)

Child of God James Franco

This film follows Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) as this wild man lost after he’s removed from his land and had it sold from under him. He spends the rest of the film running around the caves and woods just being and whenever he comes upon someone else it never seems to go well.

In a film where you will be subjected to graphic masturbation, defecation and necrophilia many have to ask what good this film has to offer. It’s a harsh film with little plotting as some would try to forgive it if it were a documentary and we could ask the filmmakers how they actually found this man and why they wanted to highlight him. However, as it was a choice of not something real to find interesting but something fictitious it  feels wrong.

Eventually I stayed for the sake of counting how many walk outs there were from the audience; there were 12. (Am I allowed to give a 0/5?)

Grade: ★☆☆☆☆

MAN OF TAI CHI (dir. Keanu Reeves)

Man of Tai Chi

Action amazingness which is perfectly what I needed at the end of this day. At a festival like this I end up stacking a lot of heavy films. Foreign films where people are just sad and defeated and some that are just obtuse. Man of Tai Chi comes to save the day and provide great entertainment value with some amazingly shot kung fu that I think is way better than many want to give it credit for.

There are certain sequences, even the first training scene, with Tiger and his Master that the camera movement just feels different and engaging. This feels great throughout all the sequences.

Man of Tai Chi‘s story itself is borderline questionable at times, but also simple enough that it doesn’t really break anything too easily. Tiger is brought into this underground fighting ring for some odd reason and Donaka (Keanu Reeves) is his sponsor that seems to be leading him down a path that we’re unsure why he even cares for.

Part of me expected this to be the typical American kung fu film but it reeks of amazing Chinese cinema with not just the setting but being a production of China with very few non Chinese actors or moments. With the exception of Keanu’s scenes I believe everything else was completely Chinese dialogue and while Keanu’s scenes were bad and on the same level of all of his other films when it comes to performance conversations I’m starting more and more to believe that it’s more a case of Keanu giving us what his fans expect – i.e. cheesy cinema moments that we laugh at– than anything else, and I’m okay with that.

Grade: ★★★★☆

TUMP @TIFF Vol 2

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It’s been seven days and we sat down for breakfast with Douglas on the morning of Day eight to talk about our disappointments so far as well as more movies we loved and other topics of discussion.

Thanks for listening and feel free to let us know what you think either through the comments below or email us here.  You can subscribe to the podcast via our RSS or iTunes and now Stitcher.  It would be awesome if you would rate/review us on iTunes (we’ll read your reviews on the show)

TIFF Day 5: Points of Reference & Cinematic Mashups

Today was a light day for me with a couple of films followed by an amazing meet-up with a ton of local cinephiles and TIFF goers at a pub around the corner. It’s nothing but smiles and joy here at TIFF 2013…

THE DOG (dir. Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren)

The Dog TIFF

In 1972 in NYC there was a bank robbery. In 1975 they made a movie about it called Dog Day Afternoon and this film is about the real John Wojtowicz, who was played by Al Pacino in the film from 1975.

Directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren decided to get John on camera discussing his life and his infamy, the problem with that is somewhat the discussions come off as one note for the entire 100 minute runtime. As one of my most anticipated films of the festival I left it completely disappointed and unsure of it all. With this fascinating event in history where we see John and Sal rob this bank in Dog Day Afternoon we get to follow John tell his story before and after the event.

The problem with this film as whole is the bank robbery in itself. It’s become such a iconic moment in film history that as a set of film lovers that Berg and Keraudren are when they eventually get John and his family on camera they barely are able to stray from that point in time that it becomes just a film about how many times they can have John and family discuss the fact that he’s “The Dog” as he says so often. The discussions are never challenging or interesting as while the whole angle of John’s motivations for robbing the bank being for his homosexual lover that wanted to have a sex change, those things are covered in the previous film and just worth a moment’s mention as opposed to a full film’s runtime.

Grade: ★★☆☆☆

THE DOUBLE (dir. Richard Ayoade)

The Double TIFF

Richard Ayoade (Submarine) returns with his adaptation of a novela by Fyodor Dostoevsky about a man who encounters his doppelganger that eventually takes over his life. Just like the novela, Simon James is introduced to James Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) which are polar opposites, Simon is the diligent hardworking brilliant man that can’t get a word in a room while James in the smooth talking guy that barely spends a minute as his desk. We watch as Simon tries to deal with this new version of himself running around in his world.

The film comes off as a cross between Brazil and Dead Ringers as Gilliam and Cronenberg are obvious touchstones for film of this nature. We’re in this office setting of complete repression and control that it’s only when the loveable outgoing Simon James enters it looks anything but just horrendous spaces that people hate.

I adore this movie so much. It’s like a 90 minute ride of crazy as we see the idea of the future being just an automated world and at the same time seeing the overrealised world that feels like the future people thought was going to happen in the 50s and 60s but didn’t – which were things we say in Gilliam’s films — and at the same time it kind of talks about the importance of being an individual and not hiding in the crowd as many do nowadays.

I need to see this movie again…

Grade: ★★★★★