Saturday, September 17, 2005

Toronto: Day Eight (and goodbye)

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
(UK, Nick Park and Steve Box, 85 min. With (voices): Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Kay, Liz Smith)

C’mon, look at that picture! Who could resist? And it's much better than Chicken Run. B+

Hostel (US, Eli Roth, 95 min. With: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson)

Roth introduced this as a work in progress. He can smooth out the rough spots for as long as he likes, but he’ll be polishing a turd. After the queasy and at least half-promising Cabin Fever, this is breathtakingly unreconstructed – basically Eurotrip with slaughter – and it achieves precisely zero cumulative dread. I half-suspect Roth’s trying to satirise European hostility to Americans by cutting bits off these frat boys, but all the movie ends up saying is “They’re all depraved sex freaks anyway, so who gives a fuck?”. Undiscriminating horror addicts may well lap it up, but you’ll need to really like breasts and torture. D–

Little Fish (Aus, Rowan Woods, 113 min. With: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Martin Henderson, Sam Neill)

Negligible junkie drama, marking the point where I begin to get Really Quite Bored with Cate Blanchett. Conversely, the usually intolerable Weaving is amazing as her former sports-star stepdad. But having sat through Olivier Assayas’s Clean I just couldn’t cope with any more of this stuff. Apparently something happens in the second half. (C–)

Lord of War (US, Andrew Niccol, 122 min. With: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Ian Holm, Eamonn Walker, Ethan Hawke)

I’ll throw this in, even though I shelled out ten good Canadian $ to see it as a putative reprieve from Little Fish. But good Christ, it’s tedious. Credit to Niccol for making a movie about an arms dealer who doesn’t grow a conscience, but did he have to make this one? It’s two hours of statistics and deadpan cynicism, trading off the supposedly witty insight that gun-running is a business like any other, and coming to the earth-shattering conclusion that the US government likes to arm its enemies’ enemies. Cage picks random syllables to shout, and everyone else just looks bored. I did learn that an AK-47 is the same thing as a Kalashnikov. That was it. D

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