Monday, 24 October 2011

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 Day 4: Sunday October 23, 2011


Day 4 at Toronto After Dark Film Festival was the second of the back to back 4 screening days and wow, it felt like a long one but it's all worth it as it started and ending with big bangs and audience pleasing films from the dark comedy Some Guy Who Kills People and the dark romance/drama vampire flick Midnight Son which I have been waiting ages to watch. Not only am I glad that the film has shown now because I got to see it and it was awesome, but the additional perk is that I don't have to sit through any more sparkly vampire jokes for all the non-Twi-Fans, or Twi-Haters at the fest. I swear, I feel a little lonely being the only Twi-Fan at the fest - I understand people having different tastes but gee whiz there are enough parades to enjoy without raining on others. I must write about that one day. But for now, it's time to look at the awesome selection of films from comedy to sci fi to vampire and a horror anthology to round it all off.

Rather watch than read? Check out my Day 4 Vlog! See also videos from festival Intros and Q&A's over at the Movie Moxie Facebook FanPage.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival programmer Christian Burgess introduces Some Guy Who Kills People

Some Guy Who Kills People
Dir: Jack Perez
Cast: Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Leo Fitzpatrick

I absolutely loved Some Guy Who Kills People, which the title alone cracks me up but the film itself was a delightful surprize and easily won over the crowd with the very direct comedy that finds that beautiful happy spot where you don't think they could really go as far as they do, but they do, and it works very well. The film follows an ice cream parlour worker who an underdog in a lot of ways, was picked on by everyone from fellow high schoolers to his very own mother (through a in a fantastic performance by Karen Black), and now in his mid-30's has almost appears to have almost no ambition or drive. When his fellow non-friend classmates begin to appear brutally murdered, it's clear that there is some unfinished business going one. It's amazing that with all that anger and vengeance, that the film is a fantastic comedy that tackles love and relationships on multiple levels. The story itself is fantastic but it's the ensemble cast that escalates this film to be absolutely phenomenal. Every single performance is noteworthy from Kevin Corrigan as our going nowhere protagonist to Karen Black as his brutally honest and always battering him mother, to the Sheriff played by Barry Bostwick who had me in stitches, even the youngest member of the cast could also compete on the same level of excellence. I really wasn't expecting much walking in, but Some Guy Who Kills People will be one of the films that will certainly be a stand out of this year’s festival. I can't wait for more people to see it, it's beautifully dark, brilliantly written and superbly acting. I loved it & I highly recommend it!

See the Some Guy Who Kills People Official Facebook Page, Trailer, IMDb Page

The Weight of Emptiness
Dir: Alain Fournier
Canada, 13 minutes

The Weight of Emptiness is a haunting short film that dances around concepts of acceptance and love while providing a truly spooky atmosphere that leaves the audience unnerved but also caring for the characters. I love this kind of storytelling, very visual and emotional with deep performances that resonate very strongly into the hearts of the audience. Beautiful.

Love director William Eubank with Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez

Writer/Dir: William Eubank - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Gunner Wright

Love was definitely the film the across-the-board response when I asked people what they were most looking forward to, myself included as I'm always excited to see the science fiction selections each year at the festival. Love has an interesting take threading through timelines from history as well as the current or possible future bridging them through the concept of connectedness and non-connectedness from war to space travel. I was intrigued by the concept and blown away by the visuals but I found it a challenge to connect with our protagonist, which feels oddly intentional as it increases his isolation and loneliness to tragic proportions. I actually felt like I was contributing to that loneliness, which is part of the point and makes it very experiential film but it also made me feel sad. I was extremely impressed by the film visually with the space station setter and was blown away by the civil war recreations which so far are the most beautiful moments I've seen at the festival this year so far. I really wanted to love Love, and certainly felt like it got across the power and importance of love but was very much from perspective of the absence of it. The tragic emotions read strongly and leave haunting impressions for the viewer to question and ponder about the things to come.

See more at Love's Official Film Site, Trailer, IMDb Page

The Theatre Bizarre
Directors: Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley
Cast: Udo Kier, Tom Savini, Kaniehtiio Horn, Virginia Newcomb

I'm going to keep this one brief as I've come to realize I'm not a huge fan of anthology films and with 7 separate stories in this anthology the one that really made an impression was The Accident, which was a very true-to-life feel of a mother/daughter discussion on death and what happens when people die and very sensitively goes through different questions that kids are likely to ask like why, how and who does it happen to. I really loved the gentle but honest tone to this short which had an often chilling atmosphere and a fantastic open landscape that mirrored the vastness of the world and how our understanding of it and moments in it can be so small in comparison to the whole. Speaking of comparison, it was very tonally different that the other shorts in the anthology which often went to dark, visceral gory gooey visuals, demented themes and with a dash of nudity. Personally it's not my thing, but it definitely plays it's own tune specifically to certain horror themes and fans.

See more about The Theatre Bizarre at the films Official Facebook Page, Trailer, IMDb Page

Theatre Bizarre directors Karim Hussain and Douglas Buck with Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez

Midnight Son
Writer/Dir: Scott Leberecht
Cast: Zak Kilberg, Tracey Walter, Arlen Escarpeta, Larry Cedar

I've been literally dreaming to see Midnight Son since I first heard about it and saw the trailer months ago, but didn't actually think I would get to see it on the big - let alone in the awesomeness of a festival setting with filmmakers & actor in attendance. Wow, that was really special. I'm a huge vampire film fan and I loved how Midnight Son is a dark vampire drama that uses the confusion of change paired with the idea of wanting to both hide and share your darker side. How it shows the possible transition from being withdrawn and isolated to reaching out and chancing inclusion, and all the awkwardness, fear, hope and regret along the way. A beautifully complex human drama with intellectually presents questions or morality but the essence of the viewing experience is in actuality a deeply emotional one as you feel for and connect to the characters. I was extremely impressed with the performances, especially with Zak Kilberg who is our protagonist Jacob who displays a powerful range while suffering through this confusion transition of darkness that feels so at odds with his gentle nature. Midnight Son is a beautiful and complex film that I absolutely adored and that I highly and widely recommend, as I’m sure it can be enjoyed by vampire film fan and is a welcome and unique edition to the genre.

See more about Midnight Son at their Official Film Site, Trailer, IMDb Page

Midnight Son producer Matt Compton, actor Zak Kilberg, director Scott Leberecht and Toronto After Dark programmer Stephen Landry

The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs for 8 Nights of Horror, Sci-Fi, Action and Cult Movies at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from October 20-27, 2011.


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