In the pantheon of scary movies with tool-or weapon-themed titles (Rope, Knife In The Water, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, Hatchet, Driller Killer, Nail Gun Massacre) we may now add Harpoon (Rating: A+), a lost-at-sea drama with two young men and a woman whose yacht runs adrift along with the social niceties, all accompanied by a sardonic voice-over from Brett (Fleabag) Gelman..
Our reviewer Thom Ernst, who says even non-horror fans should check it out, says this is a film aligned with the black humour of Blood Simple or Shallow Grave than traditional horror.
Scary + Funny is a good recipe for The Addams Family (C-plus) cartoonist Charles Addams fictional family of macabre aristocrats, who were introduced in The New Yorker in 1938, before becoming a popular sixties’ sitcom. The current incarnation is an animated film aimed at kids, which says reviewer Jim Slotek, suggests the influence of Hotel Transylvania, upping the morality lessons and kid appeal at the expense of the “whimsical grimness” of the original.
Technical novelty is the main draw of Gemini Man (C-minus) an action film that features Will Smith as a government assassin who finds himself being hunted by a clone of himself, almost thirty years his junior. The gimmick here is that the young assassin, named Junior for easy identification, is an entirely digital creation, created from film clips of Smith from his early career. Reviewer Liam Lacey says that, while Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) is a great director, Gemini Man suffers from a trite script and a high-frame rate and digital effects that emphasize its artificiality. The best part of the advance screening was a surprise visit by director, Ang Lee. Our Bonne Laufer Krebs has an interview with the director, who talked about what he calls his most ambitious and technically-challenging film to date.
Natailie Portman is an astronaut who goes to space and returns deflated in Lucy In The Sky (C) and a hot fling with another astronaut played by Jon Hamm can’t save her. Reviewer Kim Hughes reports that the ever-watchable Portman can’t make this study of a woman’s psychic unravelling compelling.
And this week through Oct. 20, Toronto has its annual Rendezvous With Madness festival, a multi-media event focusing on mental health and culture. We talk with chief programmer Geoff Pevere about his own recent diagnosis and the films that explore mental health issues from around the world.
Have a great Thanksgiving weekend.