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TIFF 2011: Day 3

By @johng5150
TIFF 2011: Day 3

Day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival I see The Descendants, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Extraterrestrial and the documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. Here are my first impressions and mini reviews of the films.

The Descendants

Fantastic movie. This is gonna be a big crowd pleaser. George Clooney stars a Hawaiian land baron whose wife is in a boating accident that leaves her in a coma. After finding out that she will never wake up he goes on a quest to tell friends and family about the bad news. He first picks up his oldest daughter from a prep school on a different island. Clooney in this is a horrible father has utterly no clue on how to raise two daughters and rightfully admits it. The movie is very funny. Lots of great one liners that will have people smiling. Mixed with that comedy is a lot of heart. Some very great moments between Clooney and his oldest daughter. Clooney will surely walk away with the Best Actor Oscar come February. The film was directed by Alexander Payne who has made one of my favorite films in Sideways. This film isn’t as good, but it is a terrific follow up.

RATING: 8/10
Martha Marcy May Marlene

Far and away the best film I’ve seen at TIFF this year. This movie is listed as a psychological thriller but make no mistake this is the best horror movie of the year. Very VERY unsettling film about a girl who leaves a cult in upper New York state and tries to assimilate back into normal life with her sister and her new husband. The movie shifts between past and present events, making it murky enough that sometimes you don’t know at which point in time you’re at. But it’s never confusing. John Hawkes plays the leader of the cult and is downright scary. Never losing his cool always remaining calm, you never know when he’s going to burst. He is excellent. Elizabeth Olson (younger sister of the Olson twins) is mesmerizing in the lead role. She wants help but you can tell she just doesn’t know how to ask or she’s either too afraid to. This movie rattled everyone to the bone at my screening. Beautifully shot and edited. This is a must see.

RATING: 9/10
Extraterrestrial

This is the new movie from the director of Timecrimes (which is a phenomenal film by the way). The plot involves a love triangle (or is it a love square?) that is interrupted by an alien invasion. This movie was fun. It had absolutely no aliens in it at all. The film concerns itself with how humans react in dire situations. How they treat each other, themselves. The film asks a lot of questions, like what would you do if you were locked in an apartment with the woman you loved and her boyfriend? If you were threatened by one of her neighbors who knows secrets about you. Very fun, very funny lark of a science fiction film.

RATING: 7/10

extraterrestrial film review

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

The third (and hopefully final) film in the documentary series about the West Memphis Three. If you haven’t followed this story, it’s about 3 teenagers in 1993 who were convicted with the murder of 3 young boys in the woods of Arkansas. No evidence was provided at the trial to link them to the murders. They wore black, listened to heavy metal and dabbled in the Wiccan religion. One was sentenced to death and the others to life in prison. With absolutely no physical evidence to tie them to the murders. The first film was about the trial and getting to know all parties involved whether they were the victims parents or the convicted boys’ families. The second film shifted it’s focus to one of the parents of the victims as possibly being a suspect. This third film presents new evidence showing the 3 teenagers (now men in their mid to late 30’s) could not have possibly committed the murders. It also shows a possibly new suspect in the case.

RATING: 7/10

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory review

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