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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

My First Toronto List

Here

37 Responses to “My First Toronto List”

  1. Krazy Eyes says:

    What’s the “strong story” for HOSTEL other than the director is responsible for the lamest, overhyped, and overpaid horror film of the last few years?
    THE DUELIST is my only must see that didn’t make your list.

  2. Bruce says:

    Eli Roth knows how to hype his work(crap).

  3. Josh says:

    They have a really nice and deep field at Toronto this year.
    Three I’d like to see:
    A History of Violence – David Cronenberg
    Elizabethtown – Cameron Crowe
    Bubble- Steven Soderbergh

  4. MASON says:

    No kidding. DP went out of his way to bash Ehren Kruger — not having read one of his scripts — when Eli Roth has an entire career based on hype and being friends with Harry Knowles.

  5. Wrecktum says:

    Is Hostel an official film at TIFF? Since when do they screen “grindhouse” 42nd street shlock?
    Is Chaos on the bill too?

  6. Stella's Boy says:

    Hostel is probably a Midnight Madness flick.

  7. BluStealer says:

    I strongly doubt Hostel is in any kind of competition. At least I hope not.

  8. MASON says:

    Just watched the trailer for Brokeback Mountain and thought it looked real good. I’m not gay or a cowboy and I still want to see it.

  9. Mark Ziegler says:

    Only gays and cowboys want to see it? Then they’re market is going to be really small.

  10. Angelus21 says:

    Ang Lee always do something interesting. He has to be a must see.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    Whether or not Dave P. or anyone else has read an actual Ehren Kruger script, the movies he’s written have certain common features, and sharp dialogue or plotting have not been amongst them. Arlington Road, Reindeer Games, Scream 3, Imposter, Skeleton Key…all pretty mediocre. Only The Ring was good and then it was a remake.
    Eli Roth, meanwhile, has at least made a good, fun movie, in my opinion.

  12. David Poland says:

    I believe that Cabin Fever was way overhyped mediocrity at best.
    But I do want to see the next film to see whether he has taken a step or just wallowed in that mediocrity.
    Similarly, I think you have to look at the Larry Clark film, even if Ken Park was a horrid, pornographic piece of shit.

  13. joefitz84 says:

    Larry Clark? He is a child porn director. It straddles that line and thats not a good line to straddle.

  14. PandaBear says:

    Movie scripts are not novels. You can’t take what you see on screen and say Kruger had much to do with it. Since most of his work is doctoring or has been changed twenty times since his original. When he writes a novel or two we can get a better idea of his work than his screenwriting.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Granted there are a lot of cooks in the oven, but so many things are shared by Kruger’s movies – thrillers with twist endings, etc. – that I think we can attribute things to him. The movie didn’t write itself.
    I doubt he’ll ever write a novel.

  16. JBM... says:

    jeffmcm: “…Only The Ring was good and then it was a remake.”
    Scott Frank had a lot to do with that.
    I found out the other day that Kruger rewrote Mindhunters. Yuck.

  17. Eldrick says:

    these films look bad, apart from the chappelle one.

  18. bicycle bob says:

    jeff hates kruger. then again jeff hates everyone. and see the japanese version of the ring. doesn’t differ that much. a little better but what original isn’t?

  19. Terence D says:

    Don’t be mad that Eli Roth uses the system for his own benefit. But being buddies with AICN is not good enough for someone to greenlight a film om his.

  20. PandaBear says:

    I’m mad that Cabin Fever was really, really terrible. It was billed as the greatest since Nightmare on Elm St. Not even close.
    Far, far from it.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t hate Eli Roth. Panda, were you expecting a true horror movie like Elm Street? If so I don’t blame you for being disappointed by what you got.

  22. joefitz84 says:

    Kruger has made a fortune writing in Hollywood. Not his fault the talent and the directors and the producers rip his work to pieces. To save his rep he needs to direct. Otherwise everyone will keep thinking hes crap.

  23. JBM... says:

    Since when did a fortune in Hollywood equal talent?

  24. bicycle bob says:

    his original works have to be semi good if they all keep buying them and hiring him. theres not much one can tell from a shooting script. and its not like hes been working with spielberg here. i hate defending a guy who wrote scream 3 and reindeer games.

  25. MASON says:

    Kruger ain’t exactly a genius, but he’s far more talented than Eli Roth. I mean, please.

  26. BluStealer says:

    Eli Roth is talented at marketing himself. Which is all you really need when you’re a poor director. Or be William Friedkin and marry the head of a studio.

  27. Geoff says:

    I have to say that Brokeback Mountain sounds interesting, but I have no doubt that Ang Lee will make it sleep-inducing. The man does not know how to make a film that does not move slowly, whether we are talking about Sense and Sensibility or Hulk. I really dug Crouching Tiger, but even that was probably 30 minutes too long.

  28. Josh says:

    Ang Lee made The Hulk a snoozer. The Hulk! You have to try to make the Hulk uninteresting. So him with a movie about gay cowboys isn’t exactly on must see list.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    I love the ‘if the studios keep hiring them, they must be talented’ argument. Do you watch movies? Notice how an awful lot of studio movies aren’t made for the sake of quality, but because the producers and studio heads are just trying to avoid being fired? That’s how the same hacks keep getting hired over and over again.

  30. Mark Ziegler says:

    I have read many a script by Kruger. I’ll say this. What he writes doesn’t end up on the screen. That is not his fault. If you want control over your work you’re going to need to become a novelist because this is not the medium for writers.

  31. Angelus21 says:

    Even William Goldman who many concede is an extremely talented writer has had many a bomb. Dreamcatcher anyone?

  32. PandaBear says:

    Tv is becoming a nice writers section. With all the great shows especially cable. They really give writers the ability to do what they want to do.

  33. JBM... says:

    Angelus21: “Even William Goldman who many concede is an extremely talented writer has had many a bomb. Dreamcatcher anyone?”
    True, but who in the world has or would ever go so far as to concede that Ehren Kruger’s an “extremely talented writer”? Decent, maybe, but “extremely talented”?
    On jeffmcm’s note: some magazine (Premiere? EW?) called Simon Kinberg a Hollywood power player, yet every film he’s been involved with — Charlie’s Angels 2, Catwoman, xXx 2, Elektra, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Fantastic Four — is bottom-of-the-barrel sludge.

  34. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Cabin Fever was indeed very bad. There’s that line where paying homage becomes merely copying.
    Scream 3 however is one of those bizarre films that I defend. It seems really misunderstood! I figure that what better way to end a trilogy of movies that continuously mocked horror movies than to mock the series that did it…?
    That or I’m hopelessly defending a movie that nobody else likes. Sorta like Showgirls!
    And Mason, it’s ALRIGHT, we don’t think you’re gay because you want to see the movie. We’d think you were gay if you thought the idea of Jake and Heath getting it on was a bit of alright, but until then…

  35. Stella's Boy says:

    I remember hating Scream 3 when it first came out. I didn’t find it all that funny, scary or interesting. But I wonder if it would play better now. If time is on its side.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    What was Cabin Fever copying? I can’t think of a lot of flesh-eating virus movies for it to mine.
    Scream 3 is by far the weakest of the series. Lots of missed opportunities there. The climax should have happened in the studio version of the house from the original.

  37. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Trust me Jeff, I was part of a Scream 3 forum for months before and after (and everyone involved is now still together and we’ve actually met up! Americans, Aussies and Dutch! anyway) and we’ve already discussed what SHOULD have been. I was very disappointed when I saw it because Scream 1 and 2 were two of my religous experiences as a teenager. They both in my Top 100 of all time and they meant SO much to me back then. I think I’ve seen the original over 80 times. YES.
    But, i recently rewatched it (recently being a few months back) and I found it sort of hilarious. I really got into a vibe with it and while, yes, it IS the lesser of the trilogy I think it’s not actually trying to be like the other two. A series that lampoons horror movies is now lampooning the very series that resurrected the horror industry. The Scream franchise had said all it needed to say by the end of Scream 2 so I figure what they tried to do with 3 was quite apt.
    But I can totally understand people disliking it and obviously not having the same views as myself.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin