August 26, 2011 End of Summer. One Day, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, We Were Here PLUS TIFF
Hi, this is Daniel Garber at the Movies, for culturalmining.com and CIUT 89.5 FM, looking at high-brow and low-brow movies, indie, cult, foreign, festival, genre and mainstream movies, helping you see movies with good taste, and movies that taste good, and what the difference is.
If you’re listening to this on the radio, that means you’ll have sat through that spectacular lightning and thunderstorm a couple days ago. My hair was standing on end with all the electrical buzz that was in the air.
But, right about now, Toronto is also experiencing a different kind of buzz – the annual excitement, celebrity-spotting, movie gossip, and non-stop chatter that arrives with TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival.
Dir: Lone Sherfig
Emma and Dexter are making out by a fountain right after their graduation party. Dex (Jim Sturgess) is drunk, awkward, cute and preppy, while Emma (Anne Hathaway) is too-tall gawky, with frizzy straight hair and glasses. They wind up in bed together, but after a few missteps and misunderstandings they cancel the sex and end up just snuggling: sleeping together, but not sleeping together.
But there’s something there. Emma has a crush on him, and he loves her. They end up meeting together every July 15th, St Swithin’s day, as their lives take different paths. He becomes an unbelievably unlikeable TV host in flashy clothes, interviewing celebrities he’s ever heard of, and rushing off to the back to snort coke between shoots.
The movie shows the changes in their status, looks and attitudes as they meet on their yearly tryst. Emma ends up with a terrible stand-up comic, while Dex marries a very rich women from a detestable family. When will Dex stop drinking, taking drugs and being a shallow asshole? When will the beautiful, model-like Emma buy contacts, start combing her hair, and realize her true self-worth? And when, if ever, will these two non-lovers come together at last in their pre-determined destiny and perfect lovers?
You wonder what Emma finds appealing in Dex, who’s just a pitiful self-centred drunk for most of the movie, but Jim Sturgess played the part well. Anne Hathaway’s Yorkshire accent was annoying at first but I stopped worrying about it once the plot kicked in. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker, with a story designed to make us happy or sad on cue, but, I dunno… I kinda liked it. It was made by the Danish director Lone Sherfig, so I was expecting something as good as her film An Education, which it wasn’t, but it wasn’t bad.
Dir: Robert Rodrigues
Pregnant stepmom (Jessica Alba) has to stop some nefarious criminals even in her third trimester. Her two stepkids, Rebecca and Cecil, are pesky pranksters who resent her intruding into their lives. “You’re not my mom!” And clueless Dad, a Spy Hunter on a reality show, doesn’t know his own wife is a spy.
Eventually, the kids discover her secret, get taken to spy headquarters, and end up as Spy Kids on their own. Someone’s stealing time and slowing everything down or speeding everything up. It’s up to them, their step-mom, their robot dog Elmo, and the two original spy kids, (who are all grown up now, but still quarreling) to find out his true identity, and stop time from stopping.
Unfortunately it was bit too corny and boring for adults, or even anyone over the age of five. Even the strange smells on the scratch card didn’t add much. Just watch out for #6!
Dir: David Weissman
This is a documentary about San Francisco from the late 70’s until the early nineties. That was the period when the city was transformed from a gay mecca into the epicentre of a worldwide epidemic. I’m speaking about AIDS and HIV, then called the gay plague for the sudden, massive death toll of that community.
This movie is heart-wrenchingly moving because of the way it was made. They found a handful of people who lived there at that time and were somehow involved in that disaster, to tell their own story and that of their friends directly to the camera.
There was no identified virus, and the invisible infection period was unknown. The movie documents, (in the form of snapshots of a close friend of one of the storytellers) the lightning speed from apparent health to visible infection to death over the course of just a few weeks.
No one knew what was going on or what to do about it. Panic set in. The movie shows the quick progression of events — the protests, the medical advances, the set-backs — all told through the eyes of real, sympathetic men and women.
This is a very important, living oral history, illustrated by ample newspaper clips, snapshots and still photos.
Day One and Spy Kids 4 are now playing, We Were Here opens next week, check your local listings. For more information on
This is Daniel Garber at the Movies for CIUT 89.5 FM, and on my web site, Cultural Mining . com.