indieWIRE lowered the landing gear earlier this week for another bout of non-stop ON THE SCENE Toronto, where we’re set up pretty comfortably at our surprisingly okay Towne Inn accommodations. (We insisted on one of the renovated suites this year.)
Here’s my take on some of the films I’ve seen so far:
Baltasar Kormakur’s “Jar City”
An unconventional detective story, “Jar City” follows an aging police detective’s search for a loner’s murderer and covers events spanning thirty years. It explores issues of genetics, family, parental loss, and is a refreshing take on a complex murder mystery by having the plot involve Iceland’s shallow gene pool (Iceland has a population of under 300,000). The film is full of humorous takes on the idiosyncrancies of Icelandic culture, in particular some of the weird Icelandic food choices, such as sheep’s head. Too add, beautiful camerawork and lush, operatic music glides over the gorgeous Icelandic landscape.
Jason Reitman’s “Juno”
An adorable, spunky lead, over the top, quirky dialogue, animated intertitles, along with references to blogs, “Blair Witch Project,” stage moms, fruit flavored condoms, and super short retro track shorts, “Juno” is well acted and has really funny dialogue, but in the end feels like like another paint by numbers indiewood project, with it’s coming of age storyline and the latest indiepop songs, of which come at you at 3-4 minute intervals.
Teenage pregnancy never seemed like so much fun.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s “”No Country for Old Men”
Getting back to the sort of deliberate pacing that the brothers established in “Millers Crossing” and “Barton Fink,” the Coen’s hit one out of the park with this bizarre crime Western about an old school hunter who stumbles upon a ton of drug money and ends up in a deadly head to head with a bizarre, morally vacant Javier Bardem (who will definitely go down as the year’s most memorable film villain). With amazing cinematography by the indisputable Roger Deakins, the film offers a methodical take on the main character’s struggle while also exploring some existential angst by Tommy Lee Jones as the sheriff who struggles to contain the darkness that is encircling him.
Guy Maddin’s “My Winnepeg”
Maddin brings in another hyperkinetic, bombastic project with a terrific imagination as he ponders his hometown, his childhood, and all things dreamlike and real in Winnepeg. For Maddin’s fans this film will feel like his usual style of humor and fast paced unrolling of numerous, sublime mindplays. For the uniniated, it will be be more easily digestible with it’s nice voiceover narration that provides a thread to keep it all together.