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11:14 Edgy, Smart, Terrific
Festival. Based on what I'd read, I was expecting some sort of Tarantino rip-off.
Instead I got run over by a very fast, very clever film. Directed by 27 year old Greg Marcks, the film is populated by up and coming young stars including Colin Hanks and Rachael Leigh Cook. It's actually 5 stories that all take place in a small town in middle America at around 11pm on a random night.
Characters keep running into each other and bad bad things happen, but the stories are all strung together in really clever, often darkly funny ways. The dialog is sharp and real, and Marcks has a real skill with his young cast. There are some really excellent performances, especially by Rachael Leigh Cook, who as the trashy Cherie is just the right combination of evil and desperate.
Although even in her trailer park costume she's breathtakingly beautiful! Also look for Ben Foster, who surprised me with a very realistic performance, after something REALLY bad happens to him. Hanks is also good, as is Shawn Hatosy. I was blown away! And the strangest part of the Premiere screening? It finished at exactly 11:14.
Blow Dry (2001)
Really Wonderful "Feel Good" Film
If you give "Blow Dry" a chance, you'll be rewarded with a funny, romantic, warm movie with a positive, hopeful message. It's not preachy or anything like that, but it leaves you with a good feeling. And it's very funny. I've watched it a dozen times and there are still places where I laugh. And I discover new things about it every time. The cast is great, especially Natasha Richardson and Alan
Rickman. Rachel Griffiths is terrific as always. And both Rachael Leigh Cook and Josh Hartnett put in very solid roles as the offspring of competing British Champion hair stylists. 15 years later they're back fighting for the British Hairstying Championship 2000, and there's a lot of history among them. It's a story about family, and hope, and about human companionship and how none
of us can live without it. If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path, with no explosions or car chases, then give this movie a try!
Best film of the 2000 Toronto Film Festival
This movie was a Gala Presentation at the 25th Anniversary Toronto Film Festival. I left the World Premier in stunned silence. The film is a wonderful blend of history and drama based on the life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his relationship with William Wordsworth. Yes, it sounded kind of dry to me too. It's not! The performances are full of passion and energy, especially Linus Roache (Priest) as S.T.C. John Hannah (Sliding Doors), Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown), and Emily Woof (The Full Monty) are also wonderful. The cinematography is stunningly beautiful, mixing a perfectly realized past with images of the present to create a breathtaking view of the poets world. The script is a portrait of a haunted, drug dependant genius and is totally compelling and absolutely authentic. The score is understated and emotional. Julian Temple's visual approach to a highly emotional narrative accentuates the spirit rather than the letter of the time. He manipulates time with a full range of visual effects that seamlessly combine the political and cultural background of 18th century Great Britain with contemporary themes like creativity, addiction and betrayal. A powerful look at the lives of two of the English language's greatest poets, Pandaemonium is one of those rare films that communicates the passions that drive great writers and intellects. Destined to be one of the important films of this new decade!