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Cannibal (2013)
27 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Disturbingly good, 8 September 2013

The movie's title isn't ironic. It isn't a metaphor. Carlos really is a cannibal. If you can get past the (few) scenes you should expect as a result, this film will reward you with layers you didn't expect.

Antonio de la Torre plays an understated Carlos. No surprise he's rather obsessive compulsive - makes for one quirky cannibal. The fact that the film doesn't lead you to how exactly he became a cannibal is fine - leaves lots of room for the imagination to work, and there are enough clues to get you started. He also does the majority of his acting without speaking - something one doesn't see a ton of in North American films, and for this I am grateful to the director and writer.

Olimpia Melinte is also very good and understated in her performance, standing up just fine to Carlos as she turns his world upside down.

Kudos to Manuel Martín Cuenca for playing every note perfectly and brilliant casting. And kudos too to Cameron Bailey for putting this in his must see list for TIFF 2013.

9 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Too clever by half, 7 November 2010

Saw this at the Reel Talk TIFF sneak preview series in Toronto. Guy introducing it suggested it had Oscar buzz. Really? Nothing more than a good, edge of your seat popcorn movie. I might've given it a 7 if I hadn't been overpromised something Oscar worthy...

Anyway - it's kind of a chase movie, with a few good scenes loosely strung together but a storyline that requires significant suspension of disbelief at several points along the way to keep it enjoyable. I suspended my disbelief and went with it but as soon as the lights came up, it all fell apart.

Russell Crowe does his usual Russell Crowe thing and Elizabeth Banks certainly does stretch a bit. There are some rather random characters sprinkled throughout that look like they might matter but end up not mattering very much.It's probably also about 30 minutes longer than it needed to be (made me late for lunch!)

Overall, a passably fun movie but nothing memorable, never mind profound.

Girlfriend (2010)
26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Pulls no punches as it brings together incredibly diverse characters and lays them bare., 13 September 2010

Genuinely touching film about a guy with Down's syndrome who finds himself in a very different kind of love triangle.

Toughest performance may have been by Shannon Woodward who must play a sympathetic, conflicted character as she picks her way through an emotional and ethical minefield. Evan as Evan also put on a brave performance. Subtle yet effective cinematography, great transitions.

None of the writing seemed overwrought, and judging by the QA, Shannon herself had a lot of room to edit the script on the fly.

And the guy who played Russ also managed to bring moments of sympathy to his character despite being a very scary jerk.

A relatively straightforward film that still manages to surprise.

130 out of 241 people found the following review useful:
Phenomenal phlick, 9 September 2008

Saw this last night at TIFF and followed with a "Mavericks" chat with Bigelow tonight. It flips between quiet, drawn out tension and moments of sheer insanity. It skips most of the navel gazing and ... as someone else has already said ... is filmed in a straight-up fictional documentary way that lets you draw your own conclusions without force feeding anything to you.

Special note on the music and sound editing - phenomenal. I'm sure that was a big reason I was completely wired at the end of the movie (it was the 3rd of the day at TIFF, and probably helped me stay awake for the last one).

Another great effort by Bigelow. And I'd never heard of the 3 leads but was glad they went with no-names to tell the story of everyday hero soldiers. Was also nice to be spared the obvious "why are we there ... which idiot sent us here?" questions (cuz yeah... you don't need a movie to find those answers).