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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Overington

My TIFF Experience (Published 21/09/2017)

Well, I've just gotten back from Toronto, and while I had a great time with my Aunt and Uncle and friends over there, I'm here today to tell you all about the films I saw over there, and if there worth seeing once they get a more general release, so ok, here we go :)

Les Affamés (Ravenous) Dir. Robin Aubert

The movie that just won the best Canadian film award, this 'new' take on zombie films is possibly a bit derivative to those who have seen tons of zombie films, but, it's still an entertaining road-trip style movie that has a wide and varied cast of characters, and dark sense of humour, and very surreal atmosphere and cinematography.

While those who are familiar with the George Romero zombie films (which this movie was a tribute to) and the Walking Dead may find this movie a tad of the same of story, on it's own it's very well made, and very entertaining, though the overuse of jump scares does get on my nerves, but there are some great use of chill based scares, and even seems to be self-aware with the jump scares with a joke near the end of the movie that reminded me a lot of Shaun of the Dead

Overall, if you're sick of zombie movies this won't do anything to sway you, but if you love to see any of them like me, then it's defiantly worth a look

Entertainment Factor: 7/10

Originality: 5/10

Artistic Quality: 7/10

Pretentiousness: 3/10

Overall: 8/10

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken

The newest from documentary director and comedian Morgan Spurlock, this movie brings us back to the world of fast-food and American food industries that made him famous in his classic Super Size Me from almost a decade and a half ago

While the original was more about what we're putting in our bodies, this one is more about where our food comes from, with Morgan setting up his own intensive chicken farm and fast food restaurant called 'Holy Chicken' (though as you can imagine, with it being Spurlock's, it's not all as it seems)

While the film does have some resemblance to the Channel 4 documentary mini-series Hugh's Chicken Run with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (which I asked Morgan personally if he'd heard of it, and he said no, so that was probably unintentional) it does got very deep into the mafia that is the American chicken farming industry, and how many family-run, honest chicken farms are under the thumb of companies that could wipe them out in a second for seemingly no reason, and how the was the fast food chains communicate their products to the general public is almost considered to be a new sense of story-telling, but of course, the stories don't always have happy endings there days

Morgan also looks into the misleading qualities of the American Food and Drink Standards Organisation, such as showing the shocking amount of space that a chicken or any farmed animals needs to be considered 'free range' in America, the standard in which the birds are treated even by the most humane farms, and what a chicken sandwich has to go through just to be considered at the best quality in American diners

While if you found Morgan's views in the first film a bit preachy, one-sided and overlorded, this movie does help fix that, and make it seem a little bit lit Morgan's having his own cake and eating it, but it does almost feel like propaganda at times, but, I love Morgan's views, and it's important to note that even he stresses not to take some of the things he puts in his film to seriously, it's not like he's trying to take down the way things are at the moment, he just wants us to be more aware of it

This was defiantly one of the best movie experiences I've had, not the least of which due to having the director at the screening, and having his newly branded fast food on offer for free outside the theatre itself, but as a standalone film, it's still very entertaining and informative

Entertainment Factor: 9/10

Originality: 6/10

Artistic Quality: 6/10

Pretentiousness: 5/10

Overall: 9/10

The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches  Dir. Simon Lavoie

Based off of a supposedly well-loved Canadian novel, this movie is a contender for the most dark, disturbing and depressing film I've ever seen, up there with Guest House Parridiso, A Serbian Film and Meet the Feebles, and while this movie didn't have the same soul-shattering effect on me as those movies, if I watched them all in a row, I'll probably start reaching for the sleeping pills in a week

This movie is unbelievably scummy and bitter, with it's main character being treated cruel on biblical levels (almost literally) with none of the characters showing her any kindness, and the only one who does is treated just as bad (possibly even worse), and that's just the tip of the iceberg in how dark this movie can get

However, with that all said, this movie is actually kind of fascinating, very rarely do you see a movie with so little light and happiness that is almost starts to become entertaining, in a very sick way, to the point where I don't really know how I feel about it overall, either surprised and slightly satisfied with seeing a movie that is so horrifically morose that it could almost be the polar opposite of a movie like Inside Out or any other Disney movie, or horrified and sighted about how exploitive it is, either way, it's certainly not a movie I'll be watching again too, though I may come back to it some time in the future (the very, VERY far future)

The best way I can describe this movie is that it's like a cross between Cinderella and David Lynch's Eraserhead, so if that sounds like a movie you'd be into, then knock yourself out, because if not, this may be a good movie to show at Dignitas

Entertainment Factor: 5/10

Originality: 8/10

Artistic Quality: 7/10

Pretentiousness: 8/10

Overall: 6/10

Sammy Davis Jr.: I Gotta Be Me

The Second documentary I saw at TIFF, and the perfect pick-me up after the last film I saw, this is a documentary and tribute to quite possibly the most talent man who ever lived

This document about the 'one eyed, Jewish negro' (as he liked to call himself, apparently) goes into every aspect of his life and career with care, affection, though thankfully doesn't shy away from some of the darker and more controversial aspects of his life, addressing some in the first few minutes just so that the audience is aware that it's not a fan-boy hero worship

There's not a lot to say other than if you're either a fan of Davis' work, or even don't know a lot about him, then this is a fantastic movie to see, one of my favourites at TIFF

Entertainment Factor: 10/10

Originality: 3/10

Artistic Quality: 5/10

Pretentiousness: 1/10

Overall: 9/10

I Kill Giants  Dir. Anders Walter

Based off the popular Image Comics graphic novel of the same name, I Kill Giants can be best described as a Steven King story meets Mona the Vampire, with a little bit of Nanny McPhee in there

A kids movie (though it pushes the line on being a teen movie very closely) the story follows a little girl who is an outcast (and a little sociopathic) due to believing in giants and thinks that she is the only thing keeping her town in New Jersey from destruction due to her 'work', but as the movie progresses, we find out more about how it's just a defensive mechanism spurred on by a very tragic event in her life

This is a movie that that will tough anyone who felt like the weird kid in school because they were really into fantasy role-play and going out on adventures (so it very nearly made me cry) though it is very unconventional in terms of kids movies, so I'd recommend watching it yourself first if your a parent, just in case, and it's main character can got a bit too far in her ventures, and in come cases does some things that are a bit unforgivable, plus she acts more like an adult than a child a lot of the time, but the twist near the end of the movie does go some ways to explaining it all, and making her actions more understandable, though I'd still keep and eye on her as she grows up, since she's probably one gun shop away from committing a murder throughout the film

Overall, I'd defiantly recommend this movie, and the acting is superb, particular from it's main player and Zoe Saldana, who while being my least favourite in the Guardians line up, does show how great and actress she is in this movie (also, her husband in this movie is Mickey from Doctor Who, for some reason, that was a bit weird). A very heart-filled story that goes a lot of placed that you wouldn't expect it to

Entertainment Factor: 8/10

Originality: 7/10

Artistic Quality: 8/10

Pretentiousness: 3/10

Overall: 9/10

I've loved my first time at TIFF, I'd like to think I saw a big variety of films, and a little bit of everything (though I do regret how I didn't get to see 'The Disaster Artist'), and I look forward to going back again, but now, with that out of the way, and my newest short film under wraps, it's time to get back to some reviews on my YouTube channel :)

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