Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Empire Blogs
Under The Radar

Back to all blogs Comment Now

TIFF 2012: Genre round-up

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 14:00 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
TIFF 2012: Genre round-up

A quick word on the genre titles. TIFF's Midnight Madness strand at the Ryerson theatre – which is a bit of a hike to get back from when it's raining, but worthwhile for the atmosphere – is where Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths premiered and went down a storm. Sadly, some of the other films I saw in this selection didn't really come close. The ultraviolent No One Lives played out like one of the subplots in McDonagh's meta comedy, since it involves serial killers being chased by a serial-killer killer. It reminded me a bit of the Butcher Brothers' FrightFest entry The Thompsons (sequel to The Hamiltons), since it involved a band of outlaws who meet their match, and it was certainly splashy enough to please that film's demographic. The self-consciously “sassy” dialogue drove me a bit nuts however, as it did in the 3D drunken-exorcists horror-comedy Hellbenders, which had a great idea – a kind of defrocked-priests Ghostbusters – but didn't get very far with it.

Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, wasn't in Midnight Madness with Antiviral, having already premiered in Cannes last May. That original berth, in Un Certain Regard, might have done this very witty film a bit of a disservice, since it works better as a queasy social satire than it does as a serious art flick. Antiviral's proximity to the director's father's early work is undeniable, since it concerns a clinic that sells diseases of the rich and famous. Caleb Landry Jones plays Syd March, a salesman there who has been stealing various viruses for the black market, and this section of the film is really quite excellent – very twisted and very Crash, since it unites society's twin obsession with celebrity and schadenfreude. The second half, which involves a murder plot, isn't quite so well defined, however, literally ending in a mystifying, gooey blob of shapeless human flesh.

Taichi Zero was a Venice premiere that shipped over and proved to be one of the populist hits of the festival, a kung fu comedy reminiscent of Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle. Directed by Stephen Fung, it finds a martial-arts prodigy Yung (Yuan Xiaochao), who's been recruited by a fierce army, abandoning his post to learn the secrets of “Chen kung fu”, a peaceful variant of his exhausting fighting style. After finding the village of Chen, Yung is rebuffed, until a chance meeting with the mysterious Master (Tony Leung Ka Fai) reverses his fortunes. The Wild Wild West subplot, about a plan to lay railroad tracks through the village, is a bit messy, and the film ends very suddenly, with a trailer for part two (Taichi Hero). But there are some wonderfully goofy moments here, especially an extended black and white, The Artist-style flashback, and the character introductions are very funny, including a cameo from Andrew Lau, correctly identified as the director of Infernal Affairs.

Certainly not all that popular was Brian De Palma's Passion (pictured), which prompted quite a lot of walkouts from the first press and industry screening and which I enjoyed greatly. From the beginning it promises to be a very stylised chamber piece, along the lines of Paul Schrader's late-80s output (The Comfort Of Strangers, Light Sleeper). Luckily, that misconception is shortlived, and pretty soon we're in standard De Palma territory, with weird sex lives, twin sisters and a juicy murder mystery.

Rachel McAdams plays Christine, an advertising executive who hires the mousey Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) to be her key creative. Isabelle comes up with a concept for an internet ad that goes viral and gets kudos from head office, but Christine takes all the credit, assuring Isabelle that this is standard business practice and that, if their roles were reversed, she would expect Isabelle to do the same. In the meantime, Isabelle is having an affair with Christine's sleazy boyfriend, and the whole bizarre love triangle is being watched by Isabelle's assistant Dani (Karoline Herfurth).

Adapted from Alain Corneau's 2010 film Love Crime (no, me neither), what follows is another garish, perverse and strangely beautiful neo-noir, shot by Jose Luis Alcaine, who did such a sterling job for Almodovar on The Skin I Live In recently. There are red herrings, dream sequences, sudden tilts, lesbian undertones and enough shadows of Venetian blinds to fill the 1940s, but, while the plot might seem to border on self-parody, there are technical flourishes to suggest that, at 72, De Palma is still flexing his imagination. My favourite scene involves a split-screen depiction of the climactic murder, in which one half of the screen is given over to two ballet dancers, seen at a concert Isabelle is attending. Performers on both sides of the screen maintain eye contact with the camera in a bravura sequence that is at once nightmarish and yet, somehow, extremely and unusually satisfying.

Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (439)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Night Visions 2013: The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, We Are What We Are, Big Bad Wolves
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Jodorowsky's Dune, Nightsatan & The Loops Of Doom
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Adjust Your Tracking (or Does Anyone Actually Miss VHS?)
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Fresh Meat, The Colony, Sawney
By Owen Williams

Film4 FrightFest 2013: Sunday and Monday
By Owen Williams

Film4 FrightFest 2013: Thursday and Friday
By Owen Williams

Bloody Cuts In Conversation
By Owen Williams

European Film Awards 2012
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2012: Silje Reinamo and Thale
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2012: Juan Martinez Moreno and Attack of the Werewolves
By Owen Williams


RECENT COMMENTS

Night Visions 2013: Adjust Your Tracking (or Does Anyone Actually Miss VHS?)
"Or don't..."  Owen Williams
Read comment

Aruba 2013: Juan Francisco Pardo Q&A
"Sadece on altı dakika içinde iyi bir görsel hikaye anlatmak önemli beceri ve bel"  skndrdmr
Read comment

Aruba 2013: Opening Gala
"That really amazing."  ommrudraksha
Read comment

2013 IIFF - The Winners
"Hi Simon, Trying to get in touch with you. Hope this works. I enjoyed your piece on Enter t"  matthewpolly
Read comment

Christoph Waltz will win an Oscar
"although its old now :(, of course he was gonna win it :), one of the many idols of why i wanna be a"  SONYA ALALIBO
Read comment

Brisbane International Film Festival: First Report
"I think it is pretty clear the story revolves around The Blacksmith, in The Man With The Iron Fists,"  owenyunfat
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Thanks for the feedback! I hope I didn't give the impression that Cloud Atlas is a write-off; I just"  Damon_Wise
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Hi Damon With regards to Cloud Atlas, I fear that it will face the same problem a"  ChesterCopperpot
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"No worries! I just try to describe things as I see them, and I often forget that, as Empire has grow"  Damon_Wise
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your early reviews from the festivals, and of course, I'm not alway"  pythonlove
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Sundance Part Six: In The Loop
13 comments

Damo's Top Ten Of 2009
9 comments

Basterds Blog
9 comments

The Times BFI London Film Festival Preview
9 comments

Sundance 2010: Four Lions blows everyone away!
8 comments

Sundance 2010: The Killer Inside Me causes outrage!
7 comments

Chris Hewitt Of The Year Award!!!!
7 comments

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
7 comments

The Wrestler
6 comments

Where to see Moon...
6 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (167)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Lists Of Our Lifetime: Empire's 25 Greatest Battles
From smalltime scraps to epic struggles, these are the conflicts that have stunned cinema since 1989

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)