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Film

TIFF 2010 Day 8

What’s Wrong with Virginia
Coming of age story of a boy whose mentally ill mother is having an affair with the town sheriff. Semi-autobiographical passion piece from writer/director Dustin Lance Black has a wide range of themes from mental illness to aspirations unrealized. Superb performances from the cast and a captivating, quirky story. 8/10

Writer/director Dustin Lance Black

A Horrible Way to Die
A different perspective of a serial killer story. A little slow to start, but it has a fresh viewpoint, great premise, and good ending. I didn’t like the handheld look, and the film badly needs a proper colour correction. They ought to also give different colour looks to the two different timelines because sometimes it was confusing which part of the story they were telling. There were also some shots where the sky seemed to pulsate (possible resample error). Filmed on a HMC-150 with Brevis adapter, they used long lenses to get a narrower depth of field, and were remarkably successful with that. 6/10

Writer/producer Simon Barrett

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
A detective in 689 A.D. is freed from prison by the Empress to help solve two cases of spontaneous human combustion. A decent action film with interesting fight choreography, but as a detective movie, it is downright ridiculous. There was no chain of deduction, and much of the detecting can be distilled to: “I accuse you of this”… “Yes, I did this”. They also introduced random supernatural elements that the viewer would have no advance knowledge of so would not be able to deduct, yet the detective could. ‘Name of the Rose’ it is not. The subtitle translation was awful, filled with spelling errors, grammatical errors, words of uncommon usage, and I’m sure lots of it was just plain incorrect. Visually rich with spectacular landscapes and special effects, with the exception of the attack deer, which were just bad CG. Treat this as a brainless action flick and you will be much happier. No one from the film was in attendance for the premiere screening. 7/10

The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman
A chop sockey comedy that follows the story of a cleaver forged from the iron of the best battle swords. Each chapter is a story within the story, and has a terrific style and structure. Hilarious in parts, but my biggest complaint is the actor who played the butcher. He played it as a buffoon, he had an annoying voice, and he was always yelling at the top of his lungs. I dreaded every time he was on the screen. The rest of the film was immensely entertaining though. 7/10

Colin Geddes and Director Wuershan

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