ANDPOP’s resident movie goer, Jordan Appugliesi, will be living at theatres for the next 10 days for the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, just to bring you tips, tricks, and his thoughts on the festival’s films — and to enjoy some movies. Jordan is here to share with us the good, bad and the in between of the festival this year — fuelled by a few Venti coffees.
I never thought I would see the day when a film starring both Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, two of the most charming actors, would be a taxing experience.
Mr. Right wastes such a wonderful pairing — and makes it nearly unenjoyable. Mr. Right is a romantic action-comedy starring Kendrick and Rockwell as immediate boyfriend and girlfriends. Martha (Kendrick) is jilted from a break-up and rebounds with Rockwell who plays Mr. Right — a man with a secret. Surprise! He’s a hitman. Admittedly, Mr. Right is at times fun – it uses their comedic talents right and has moments of pure joy (no film starring Sam Rockwell is complete with a scene with him dancing) but by the end it’s completely grating and limp — and feels like something you’d begrudgingly watch on Netflix, alone on a Saturday night.
The Danish Girl
Director Tom Hooper’s (Les Miserables, The King’s Speech) The Danish Girl tells the incredible story of famous artist and transgender pioneer Lile Elbe. Redmayne plays Lili in the film about her life with fellow artist Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander).
I’m not sure Hooper and Redmayne are effective in their attempt at telling Elbe’s story. Hooper is restrained and safely handles the subject matter, maybe finally listening to criticisms of his work (there are only, like, 5 close ups!!), and the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at over it’s 120 minutes. With that said, the narrative is muddled; Elbe’s story of transition is historic and yet it lacks focus here and seems almost insignificant. The film seems more focused (or too evenly split) on Wegener’s role in Elbe’s life. However, Vikander is sensational as Gerda Wegener, Elbe’s partner, and puts the cherry-on-top of her outstanding year. From Ex-Machina to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to The Danish Girl — how did we watch movies before Alicia Vikander? Unfortunately, Hooper focuses a lot on Wegener’s role in Elbe’s transition and it overshadows the story at the center of the film and Redmayne’s performance.
Redmayne’s performance as Lile Elbe is strong — as expected — but he’s out shined by Vikander and I’m a little unsure as to what he is trying to convey as Elbe. It’s not that Redmayne isn’t convincing — he is and at times he is transcendent and handles the role with such care — but the safe presentation of this story holds it and him back from being truly outstanding.
Our Brand Is Crisis
Based on the documentary of the same name, the film focuses on a failing South American presidential candidate that hires Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock), an all-star campaign strategist fresh out of her own retirement and ready to battle. David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) directs Bullock and her stellar supporting cast that includes Billy Bob Thorton and Anthony Mackie.
More like Our Brand Is A Mess! (I’m here all week). , Green tries to include his indie-brand originality here, as he did with Pineapple Express, to make this political-romp pop — but it doesn’t. Tonally it’s a mess and it’s pacing is all over the place; some scenes feel ripped out of some broad comedy and it doesn’t work and when it tries for sentimentally. It misses the mark. The film works best when it has Bullock sparring with her team or against her opponent played by Billy Bob Thornton, but that doesn’t happen enough. The film is ultimately saved by its cast, especially Bullock who turns in another impressive performance as Jane “Calamity” Bodine.