Almost a year ago I read a very short (just my speed) novel by a French author named Francois Lelord entitled, “Hector and the Search For Happiness”, mostly because I laughed at the book’s cover. Ok, I’m not that discerning, I get it. I loved it and then discovered that Relativity was making the film version with Simon Pegg, star of “Shaun of the Dead”, “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol”. Full disclosure here, I am a shameless Pegg fan. He, Frost and Edgar Wright can do no wrong but I was a bit skeptical about how he would handle a straight introspective drama. I needn’t had worried. “Hector and the Search For Happiness” is one of those rare films that has the power to find and touch a small corner of a moviegoer’s very substance. Granted the movie probably won’t be the stuff of future film school essays but it’s not supposed to be. Pegg plays a dissillusioned London pyschiatrist who goes on a global trek to discover what makes people happy. The film features an embarrassment-of-riches cast that includes Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Jean Reno and the great Christopher Plummer. Relativity will expand the film on October 3rd.
One of the WTF moments at the Toronto Film Festival this past week was the screening of director Kevin Smith’s gore-a-palooza “Tusk” starring Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment. Long answers a Craig’s List ad in rural Canada (oh right, this doesn’t have disaster written all over it) only to become imprisoned and forced to wear a set of walrus tusks. “I see walrus people”. Open desk drawer, pull out the file that reads “Can You Make This &%^$ Up?”, insert, close the desk drawer. The film’s limited nationwide run is this week.
Australian musician Nick Cave has always been one of the oddest rock legends of them all, and in the music business isn’t that saying something?. Founder of the band The Bad Seeds, Cave has been around modern music for five decades and has spent, wait for it, “20,000 Days On Earth”. The documentary focuses on the singer/songwriter who I maintain is more revered than actually listened to, but he definitely has a devoted following. Fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue and actor Ray Winstone are among the friends featured in the docu.
The other major indie (if that’s even an acceptable phrase) release of the week is Weinstein’s “Tracks”, featuring a purported Oscar worthy performance by Mia Wasikowska as a young woman who, for reasons not specifically spelled out in the movie, embarks on a trek across Western Australia with four camels and a dog. Adam Driver, who yes is in everything this fall, tails along as well. Director John Curran has directed films such as “The Painted Veil” and “Stone”. Watch for excellent reviews.
Other indie releases this week include “The Guest” featuring ex “Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens as a soldier who may not be what he claims, an expansion on “Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, Jazz great Clark Terry primes his 23-year-old student for greatness in “Keep On Keepin’ On”, and a possible expansion on Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in “The Skeleton Twins”. I will update when I receive that information.