TIFF Film Review: “All I See Is You”

It’s so. Damn. Good. Arguably scarier than The Autopsy of Jane Doe. In order of importance, these are the revelations this movie bestowed upon me: Blake Lively can act and there is no such thing as happily ever afters in long-term relationships. all-i-see-is-you-review-blake-lively.jpg

Here’s the skinny: a blind woman (Lively) is married to a super loving, attentive husband (Jason Clarke) in a very happy, mutually nurturing marriage. Then, against all odds, a surgery comes up that offers Lively her sight back. After it goes without a hitch, she’s now reminded of the temptations that come with sight–and so is her husband. Fearing the worst, his attentive nature begins to morph into fear-mongering insecurity while his spouse’s newfound sight leads her to forsake their marriage in the most damning way possible, justifying his fears in their entirety. And those aren’t even the major spoilers.

The kicker of the whole thing is, both characters do very, very wrong things. Things that are inexcusable; unforgivable. But they’re both equal in the badness, so much so that the only thing making me root for Clarke is that I see where he’s coming from, being a guy and all. It’s that little of a line tipping the scale between picking sides in this haunting movie about relationship degradation. It’s really, REALLY upsetting, and not in a Nicholas Sparks way. It’s too real–the characters, the choices, the plot. It hits too close to home way more consistently than it has any right to, to the point where I felt emotionally violated by the time the credits rolled. Although that’s probably because of the shitty ambiguous non-ending (the wrath of Una). Hell, if it weren’t for that ending, the beautiful surrealist imagery, sound design, exceptional acting and nightmare-inducing narrative could’ve scored this movie a legendary ten out of ten. For now, All I See Is You will have to settle for a well-deserved almost-perfect.

9/10

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TIFF Film Review: “Brain On Fire”

Chloe Grace Moretz does a good job for a change in this lengthy drama about a girl losing her mind to encephalitis. It’s a true story, to boot.brainonfire_05

Here’s the scoop: if you’ve ever wanted to watch a twenty-one year old New York Post writer go insane because of a wicked mental condition, this is the movie to fill the void. Featuring plate-smashing, screaming, comatose drooling and plenty of seizures, it’s just cringe after frown after teeth-gnash after wince.

To this movie’s credit, no matter how… tame (?) the main story might be considering how long it runs and how little it escalates, all the main actors are great. Absolutely great. Trinity from The Matrix and Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit are in this, for crying out loud.

7/10

TIFF Film Review: “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”

You want spooks? This one’s got ’em in spades.janedoeposter.jpg

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a pants-shitter unlike any other this year. Filled with forty-five minutes of nonstop, gruesome morgue body-splicing and another forty five of psychological trauma, this one ain’t for the faint of heart. Those afraid of internal organ slicing, steer clear.

Without spoiling anything, it’s a father-and-son horror flick that breaks some pretty standard genre conventions, making it a LOT more tense than, say, Lights Out which is predictable from start to finish. Safety’s not an option in this movie–and the angle for the madness revealed to be the cause by the end of the flick is an interesting twist on an already spine-chilling hour and a half.

Pros:
-Utterly brutal morgue content
-Tight, clever script
-Great actors
-Fantastic horror genre convention overturns
-Genuinely tense

Cons:
-Almost pissed myself

While it wasn’t quite scary enough to give me nightmares or even follow me out of the theatre, it’s easily the strongest horror movie that I’ve seen this year. So, when it rolls into cinemas come December, get ready for a hell of an autopsy.

9/10

TIFF Film Review: “City of Tiny Lights”

Riz Ahmed is the glue that holds this pretty solid Brit-noir flick together, the entire thing hinging on his mad acting chops. He handles that pressure well.

That and the interesting flashback side story are the good aspects of City of Tiny Lights.city-of-tiny-lights-riz-ahmed The bad are the shoehorned, convenience-laden plot and painstakingly poorly-shot action. The former means that every time Riz’s private detective needs to find a clue, someone conveniently dies or reveals the path for him, minimizing any work he’d actually need to do to solve the case. And the latter, well, it’s inexcusable. All the action is shaky-cam ridden, motion-blur hazed garbage deliberately designed to hide that the actors can’t throw down for shit. It looks awful. Not to mention the camera randomly zooms in on people during routine over-the-shoulder shots and it’s the most obnoxiously distracting stylization choice I could never have imagined.

In the end, as stated above, Ahmed ultimately carries the flick with flying colors–but the plot is sloppy at best and the action middle-school grade amateur at worst.

7/10