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Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Mini Film Reviews for Day 3

I’m at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, so I thought I’d post some mini reviews of the movies I’ve seen so far. I’m breaking up the posts by the days on which I watched the movies. Descriptions by/from TIFF.net. Reviews are my own rambling opinions.

Love Me Tender

Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is certainly not lacking in inspiration or energy, though she is bound to her family apartment and her cloistered routines. She is a 32-year-old woman with acute agoraphobia. One day, her mother dies and her father deserts her, leaving Seconda to battle her demons and fend for herself. She has sporadic connections with the outside world: a little girl who verbally attacks her from the courtyard and abusive phone messages from Henry (Gilles Privat), a debt collector who threatens action. Preoccupied yet burdened with her own survival, Seconda gets a chance for release when a homely bottle collector named Santo (Antonio Bannò) visits, but she must play her cards right. A maelstrom of circumstances changes everything and, after a lot of determination and gusto, anything is suddenly possible.

My take:

This movie got off to a slow start, as can be expected when your main character is an agoraphobe who won’t leave her home. Once she does leave, though, it gets much more interesting — and a lot funnier. I would have liked a more defined ending, although I can live with what I got. The movie’s saving grace is lead actress Barbara Giordano, who is captivating enough to hold your interest while using simple body language to get big laughs.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Only if you’re an art-house movie lover. I did enjoy the film, but I don’t think it’s one that needs to be seen on the big screen to be enjoyed.

The Giant

Charlotte’s (Odessa Young) life is changed forever when the teenager’s small Georgia town is shaken by the beginning of a series of murders on the same night that her missing boyfriend coincidentally reappears. As an unknown killer on the loose preys on young women over the course of a summer, Charlotte has to navigate this new danger while also struggling to recover from the trauma of her mother’s recent suicide.

My take:

Oh, where to start? The extreme close-ups that had me feeling more like a dermatologist than a moviegoer? The flared-up cinematography that didn’t really allow for much cinematography? The story that was so confusing I still don’t know what parts of the story even happened — the murders? Joe’s return? The blaring sound design that telegraphs a scene change or shift with a deafening crescendo? I kept waiting for something, anything to happen, but nothing ever did.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Hell no. Not unless you’re a film student and want to learn what NOT to do with your first feature-length film. Other than that, this was a waste of almost two hours of my life I can never get back.

Color Out of Space

When an iridescent meteorite plummets from outer space and into the property and foundations of a remote New England estate, a malignant force begins to insidiously permeate the lives of an unassuming family. The effects are gradual — time begins to dilate, nature assumes an otherworldly hue — and all things bright and beautiful eventually mutate and corrupt under its influence. So proceeds this eerie adaptation of the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, one of horror’s most haunting, here presented by the enigmatic South African filmmaker Richard Stanley. … The patriarch of this doomed brood is none other than Nicolas Cage, continuing his recent renaissance as a midnight-movie staple with an increasingly unhinged performance that reliably ricochets among every technique in the Stanislavski playbook. The rest of the ensemble, which includes Joely Richardson and Tommy Chong, play effective foils to Cage’s delirium, but the real star of the show is the alien entity itself. This all-consuming, dispassionate menace manifests itself in a series of grotesque, body-horror, and psychedelic spectacles, worthy of its ineffable literary origins.

My take:

I should have read the short story instead.

Worth seeing in a theater?

Only if you’re a die-hard Nicolas Cage fan or special effects aficionado.

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