Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Toronto: Day Five

Walk the Line (US, James Mangold, 135 min. With: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick)

Unembarrassing. But I'm sick to death of these broad-brush biopics; the crisp focus of Capote is so much more satisfying. Here we get Ray all over again, right down to childhood sibling trauma in the Deep South, and the supporting roles are so undernourished and Mangold's direction so formulaic and plodding that large chunks of the movie fade right off the screen. Phoenix starts uncomfortably, and his singing is frequently inadequate; both vocally and dramatically the performance is much better in the lower ranges. Witherspoon's sweetly perky June Carter doesn't have any. And surely this is the least remarkable period of Cash's career? It sure feels like it. C

The Gronh
ölm Method (Spain, Marcelo Piñeyro, 115 min. With: Eduardo Noriega, Najwa Nimri, Natalia Verbeke, Ernesto Alterio)

Arrived half-way through, but quickly got the gist. It's a corporate Survivor, sort of a balloon debate between prospective employees all trying to screw each other over. Reasonably sharp, funny and watchable, which is more than can be said for most Spanish comedies starring Natalia Verbeke, but didn't score any knockout punches from where I was sitting. (B)

River Queen
(NZ/UK, Vincent Ward, 114 min. With: Samantha Morton, Cliff Curtis, Temuera Morrison, Stephen Rea, Kiefer Sutherland)

A troubled production, and you can tell it's choppy, dramatically inert, and the rhythm keeps conking out. Dispenses with most of the minor roles in the first reel, so it's basically Morton going downriver in search of her Maori son, to bursts of glorious choral music. Gave it an hour, then decided it was an occasionally gorgeous shambles and left it at that. (C)

Wassup Rockers
(US, Larry Clark, 111 min. With: Jonathan Velasquez, Francisco Pedrasa, Milton Velasquez, Carlos Velasco)

Seven South Central skater boys squeeze into tight jeans and piss around. I have some time for Clark (particularly Another Day in Paradise) but this starts out wilfully conforming to what his detractors most froth over - the roving camera practically licks its subjects. I have no real problem with Clark being a salacious perv, but I do have a problem with him being a boring one, and the first hour of this is frankly terrible. It improves massively on turning into a kind of knockabout exploitation comedy, but I do wish it had got there sooner. Not a good day. C


execution said...

Hello. Saw some good movies recently. Frailty & Reign of Fire. Have you seen them? From all the criticizing reviews you have it seems like you have a knack for choosing really crappy movies. (I'm a movie/t.v. maniac) My blog is

tim r said...

Hi there. I had some time for Reign of Fire cos it's a bit mad. But I didn't really get Frailty I'm afraid. Seemed gimmicky and portentous to me, and the big twist didn't make much sense.

Sorry if it seems like I'm really hard to please!