TIFF Review: You Are Here

 

 

 
Here is an experiment. Take the name of six colours, write them in random order several times using a coloured pen that does not match the name of the colour. Time yourself reading this list of colours. Write the same list of colours using only black ink and time yourself reading the list. The mind works is strange ways, and has trouble if preconceived associations to familiar things or objects get too close to one another. Daniel Cockburn, a Toronto video artist has just made a wild and crazy jump into features with a film-slash-brain-experiment that wants to perform a witty and colourful brain massage. He wants to play with your cerebellum in the same way that the perception of film works: ‘Persistence of Vision’ as shutters push single frames to form the illusion of movement. We will ignore the contradiction that he mainly shoots on video. Contradictions are what the film is about.

Cockburn wants to expand your consciousness or provide the illusion of expanding your consciousness or expand your consciousness while providing the illusion that he has not. You Are Here. The statement is both a location as well as a confirmation of existence. Different things, really. The red dot that defines your location on the map can be just as much of a misleader as a guide. The meaning of the film goes beyond the dual-nature of the title into something that is both profound and a profoundly funny. It is science. It is art. It is absurd and hilarious sleight-of-hand. It is an ultra lo-fi version of Inception in which the filmmakers might as well be Leonardo Di Caprio and company (in shabbier clothing mind-you) and the audience are simultaneously the beneficiary of planted ideas and the mark of a baffling grift. The TIFF catalogue labels the film as Dr. Seuss meets Samuel Beckett, and I cannot really argue with that. It is an apt a description as you are going to get without telling you much. When it ended after an all too brief 75 minutes, I was upset. I wanted to see how many more times the filmmakers could fold their narrative in upon itself while keeping me in its spell. Riding the wave, before it collapsed. Like any good performer, Cockburn knows to keep the audience wanting more. Or they ran out of money, drugs or the ability to keep a hold of the reigns. I am sure the director will never tell.
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Russel Crowe and Laura Dern in Tenderness Trailer

TendernessMovieStillI was going to ask how a film about a murderous teen starring Russel Crowe and Laura Dern managed to get under my radar but considering the fact that this is directed by John Polson of Swimfan and Hide and Seek, it may not be as surprising.

Tenderness stars Crowe as Detective Cristofuoro, a man without a family who becomes obsessed with trying to figure out if a teen (played by Jon Foster) killed his family and whether he’ll strike again. It’s a bland looking little picture, one I’m surprised managed to attract both Crowe and Dern.

It was shot in 2006, shopped around AFM last year, opened in a few markets but has only recently been picked up by Lionsgate for North American distribution. Doesn’t look promising but Crowe and Dern have me curious to see if this is better than the trailer suggests.

Trailer tucked under the seat!

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Bone Deep Adds Cast

Hayden ChristensenHow does a production company fuck up a project before it even gets off the ground? Simple. You cast two of the most dry, boring and barely skilled actors in the business.

Screen Gems is currently casting a crime thriller titled Bone Deep about a group of criminals whose $20 million heist goes sideways when a hard-boiled detective starts poking around. Directed by John Luessenhop, the film already has Matt Dillon in the role of the detective and now there are reports that Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen have also been cast in the film. Can you say bomb?

Are the folks at the production company that out of touch that they don’t realize the whole they’re digging themselves into? Christensen is a pretty boy with little talent and his good looks are only going to take him so far – especially when you consider he keeps taking roles that don’t necessarily appeal to his tween fangirl demographic – and Paul Walker…well, he’s had it rough. Fast and Furious looks like it’ll be fun but of everything I’ve seen him in outside of the car-love franchise, the only one in which he displays any talent is the surprisingly good Running Scared and even there he’s stretching himself pretty thin.

It matters little, the project doesn’t sound particularly appealing to me, but I find it oddly funny that a company would shoot themselves in the foot quite this badly. Casting either of these guys would be a mistake but casting them both in the same film is critical (and probably box office) suicide.