Toronto After Dark 2014 Review: Time Lapse

 

Opening with a shot of swirling red paint, which then has tiny flecks of white thrown into the mixture to disturb the surface and complicate the image, Bradley King and B.P. Cooper’s Time Lapse shows just how bloody far you can go with a tiny budget, a great prop and two locations. The script here is a beauty, that finds new ways to look at time travel causality (or rather the dangers of perceived causality) along with the good old genre standby of the ‘big bag of money’ landing in your lap. To prove they are the real deal, the film also diligently delves into trust-issues that develop amongst friends when a morally questionable opportunity in life presents itself.

Would you like to know more…?

Toronto After Dark 2014 Review: Predestination

 

Never do yesterday what you should do tomorrow, reads a sign in the early minutes of The Spierig Brothers’ delightfully loopy new film. Another reads, If at last you don’t succeed never try again. There are many of these twisted bon-mots lifted verbatim from Robert Heinlein’s short story, “All You Zombies” and scattered throughout its film adaptation, Predestination. Here is the thing about time travel movies: much time is in fact spent waiting around for things to catch up, even if it is only for that moment when Doc Brown sends his dog Einstein 60 seconds into the future. It leaves plenty of time to read the signs.

Would you like to know more…?

TIFF 2012: Looper Review

[SPOILER ALERT – It’s excellent. Seriously, though, if you are adverse any advance hints of plot or character in Looper, consider this review peppered with very mild spoilers that make any sort of considered review even possible in this case.]

Empiricist founding father John Locke proposed a curious scenario with of all things, his socks. It goes something like this. If you had a hole in your sock and had to patch it over, you’d probably call it the same sock, more or less. But if you developed another hole, then another, to the point where all the original material of that sock was replaced, would it still be the same sock? Rian Johnson’s fantastic time travel film asks the question, after 30 years of life (and life lessons) are you still you? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are playing Joe, an assassin who kills for the mafia of 2070, even if the present is 2044. Time travel may have been invented somewhere between that span of years, but it was immediately outlawed and then equally immediately co-opted by the mafia as a unique way to dispose of people that they want gone. Send them back to 2044 and have a ‘Looper,’ a member of Joe’s profession, kill and burn the remains effectively destroying the evidence decades before anyone will need to look for it. The catch is that Loopers eventually have to be retired themselves, and are generally retired by themselves, unbeknown by themselves until they see themselves. Keep up with me now, we’re in the in the tall cane. Shockingly, these young assassins generally have a big night on the town after they retire themselves. But, like Logan’s Run or Minority Report, we all apt run in the end when given enough wind of what’s coming. So, when Young-Joe botches the murder Old-Joe, he has a bit of a conundrum. Actually, he has a full blown existential crisis, complicated by the fact that Old-Joe might just be Locke’s over-patched socks. That is to say, is Young-Joe really stepping on his own toes by telling Old-Joe to piss off? Or, going a step further, hunting him down for his mafia masters? From the other side of the equation, consider if you at fifty met yourself at twenty, wouldn’t you want to punch that young twerp in the face?

Would you like to know more…?

Do NOT watch the TimeCrimes Trailer!

This is a plea that goes beyond even normal spoiler warnings. Magnet (the new genre label formed by Magnolia pictures) has put together a domestic trailer for the Spanish science fiction thriller TimeCrimes. The give all the goods in the trailer. Not in the same manner the Quarantine (remake of [*REC]) trailer shows the final sequence of the film buried in an montage, no, this trailer gives you all the mystery in the form of big BOLD intertitles. TimeCrimes is a strange and rewarding viewing experience. It lets the concept runs way ahead of the viewers understanding, then lets the viewer in on things, then run ahead of it again, and so forth. If you watch the film in a full theatre, you’ll hear ‘aha’ and chuckles when people catch up with the game, or the movie pulls a clever turn on expectations. But it seems ludicrous to give many of those elements away in the trailer. And the trailer would be totally fine visually if those intertitles were dropped.

I love the selection of films that Magnet is on board with. They are giving the original Let the Right One In a theatrical release in North America. They are releasing crazy genre stuff like Dianipponjin (deadpan Japanese monster movie) and Mirage Man (Chilean superhero martial arts flick), Olivier Assayas’ Boarding Gate and they just picked up the Thai autistic-martial arts film Chocolate to give it a theatrical push in the land that hates subtitles.

But.

I find the TimeCrimes marketing strategy to be not good. Not good at all.

Thoughts on the film from Fantasia ’08:
TimeCrimes is a nearly impossible film to talk about without spoiling the fun. Suffice it to say that I cannot remember the last time I saw a film that interacts with its audience in such a novel way. It makes you feel smart while watching it because it rewards those paying attention and hand-holds those that are not in the most subtle of ways. In the full house screening it was quite joyful to hear the different grunts and giggles as folks started to comprehend the gears in this particular swiss watch. Timecrimes may not have anything really to say, it actually offers a pretty vicious brand of nihilism which would probably make Michael Haneke crack a grin, but it plays to its strength of solid, solid plotting. It is a puzzle-box film in the best sense of the term and it can play quite confidently in the same sandbox with Memento, Run Lola Run, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, and Primer.

(Thanks to our fine pals over at Quiet Earth for pointing to the trailer so I can warn y’all away from it!)