Sunday, September 18, 2016

TIFF 2016: The Girl With All The Gifts

I thought that The Girl With All The Gifts was based on the novel of the same name by M. R. Carey, but at the screening today I learned that the movie sort of came first. Carey wrote the movie but was unable to get it made, so he turned it into a book. When the book became very successful, he was able to revive the movie project. So it's not surprising that the film is very true to the book (or vice-versa?).

This is a very different take on the zombie genre. As the film begins we see Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a sweet, calm, very bright girl, who is kept in a prison cell, and brought out strapped in a wheelchair under armed guard. We learn that she and a few dozen other kids are infected with the fungus that has caused the usual zombie outbreak, but for some reason they have retained their personalities and intelligence. Well, except when they get a whiff of a nearby uninfected human, so make sure you keep applying that blocker gel!

Glen Close plays Dr Caldwell, who is researching how the fungus infiltrates the brains of its subjects, and she is nearly as eager for brains (for her research, of course!) as "the hungries" are. Gemma Arterton plays the children's teacher, Ms. Justineau, and she and Melanie have a warm relationship that transcends their different assigned teams. When the shit hits the fan (it's a zombie movie, remember?), the healthy humans need to trust Melanie to help them find their way through a world they no longer recognize.

Oh, and in this one, it's the fast zombies.

I really enjoyed this film, as I did the book. Melanie is a lovable little girl, even as she feeds on someone;'s erstwhile pet, and we care about her and at least one of the healthy humans as they try to find their way through a messy new world.

TIFF 2016 Overview

TIFF 2016: The Journey

The Journey stars Timothy Spall as Rev Ian Paisley and Colm Meany as Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness during talks that led to the historic St Andrews Agreement that brought decades of violence in Northern Ireland to an end. From that historical starting point, the film imagines the two establishing a dialogue as they are driven to Edinburgh airport to catch a plane to Belfast. We see them progress from barely exchanging a word to finding they have things in common, from which a little respect starts to sprout. There is humour sprinkled throughout the film, and it gave me some hope that if enemies such as these two could find a way to cooperate to bring peace to their people, maybe some of the world's other long-standing conflicts can also be settled.

TIFF 2016 Overview

Friday, September 16, 2016

TIFF 2016: (re)Assignment

(re)Assignment is a mediocre film in which a plastic surgeon (played by Sigourney Weaver) exacts revenge on a hit man (played by Michelle Rodriguez) by performing gender reassignment surgery on him. Neither Rodriquez' portrayal of a man in the opening scenes, nor the perfect result of the surgery is very believable, and Weaver must have been embarrassed to have to perform from the script she was given. This is better than the 17% Fresh rating it gets on Rotten Tomatoes, but may still be the worst film I've seen this year at TIFF (not sure yet between this and Safari).

TIFF 2016 Overview