Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stories We Tell

The film opens with Sarah Polly and her dad headed up some stairs to a recording studio. We next see Sarah's siblings settling in chairs and being miked along with family friends and friend of her mother Diane.

The film is the story of Diane Polley through accounts from her husband Michael Polley who also serves as the stories narrator along with each of her five children and her friends.

The story starts with Michael and Diane meeting after one of Michael's plays. We learn of Michael's talent and his stage presence that attracted Diane.  The next main topic is their wedding and the moves forward to the start of their family.

Michael and Diane's relationship begins to settle and Michael admits that he did not do much to raise the children or use or develop his talent that fist attracted Diane. He abandon acting and sold Insurance to support his family.

The  main event in the story is Diane's decision to go and do a play O Toronto in Montreal and the results of that run that leads to Diane's pregnancy and eventually to  Sarah's birth to a 42 year old mother and questions surrounding the pregnancy. The contemplation of an abortion is openly discussed as it  was at the time of the pregnancy.

Sarah questions her family in interrogative style. Looking for the facts even to the point of making her family members and her elders uncomfortable with her direct style of questioning.

It all serves for Sarah to gain a sense  of her mother who died in 1990 when she was 11 that she was not able to develop on her own. It also addressed a family issue that was the subject of jokes around the Polley dinner table for many years.

At one point near the middle of the film we jump back to Diane's first marriage that produced the two eldest siblings John and Susy Buchan and news clippings are shown reporting that Diane had lost custody of the children which was unheard of in the 60's the article stated that Diane had neglected her mother duties and was unfaithful to her husband.

A big part of the narrative are the events in Montreal and Diane's run on O Toronto that produced her pregnancy and Sarah. Michael reports of his visits to Montreal and the fact that their relationship rekindled during that period.  The file also discusses other suitors that Diane may have had while on her run of O Toronto in Montreal.

Toward the latter part of the film John Buchan reveals that he heard Diane speaking to someone on the phone around the time that she was pregnant with Sarah and it was a very heated conversations.

This lead Sarah to go to Montreal to investigate, take action and ultimately learn the family secret.

Polley delivers a an excellent piece based on raw facts and emotions of the contributors; the camera does not turn away from the contributor as their recount their mind's eye version of Diane MacMillan Polley.

Rating ****  out of 4

Stories We Tell  Documentary  Directed by Sarah Polley 108 Minutes Canada


Joe Simmons ( Gordon-Levitt)  is a Looper meaning that he is a contract killer for the Mob of the future. Time travel is outlawed in the future and controlled by the mob. Tracking technology is also very advanced therefore the mob cannot dispose of their victims in 2074. Instead  they use Loopers 30 years in the past to kill their victims and dispose of the body.  No body, no potential case against the mob. Each looper has a spot where the mob sends their victims. Joe's is at the edge of a cornfield.  The victim arrives at the usual  time of the day. Joe measures the time by pocket watch and shoots the victim as soon as they materialize from the future.

Then eventually the Mob send you your future self to kill to leave the no trace of the contract killer otherwise know as  closing your loop. It is met with a payoff of gold and a pass to live the next 30 years as a rich man.

The world of 2044  is not a happy one. Most of the people appear to be homeless and looking to steal just about anything that they can. The cars run off solar panels and have hoses running into the gas tank. Some people have telekinetic powers but they are minor and at most can levitate small items in their hand.

As a Looper Joe is able to keep an apartment and has a vintage vehicle that he drivers around town.  He gets paid in silver that is strapped to the back of each target sent 30 years into the past by the Mob. Joe's  best friend Seth who is also a Looper and they hang out at a club that is owned by their boss Abe ( Jeff Daniels) who is from the future.  Abe has a special relations ship with Joe as he is he youngest Looper that Abe every hired Abe saw that he could do the job and put a gun in Joe's hand.

Joe sees a working girl Susie (Piper Perabo) at the club and spends his off hours with her.  She has a child and Joe's wants to look out for the both of them. Most of the crowd at the club is hooked on a drug that is taken using an eyedropper.

Seth's future self is send back for Seth to kill. Seth can't do it as Old Seth sings a familiar tune from his youth. Old Seth runs and Seth goes to Joe for protection. Joe gives up his friend and both Old and young Seth are dealt with harshly.

Rumours start amongst the Looper's that a new boss in the future the Rainmaker has taken over power and is closing out all of the loops.

Joe is at his usual location for a kill and his old self (Bruce Willis) returns gets the jump on Joe and escapes.

They agree to meet in the Diner that Joe's normally frequents post kill and Old Joe tells Joe his plan to kill the Rainmaker as a kid.  Old Joe's Intel has information on three children born on the same day in the same hospital and one of the three is the  rainmaker.  Old Joe escapes again but Joe gets the location  of one of the targets and heads to the farm where the kid lives.

Joe is discovered by the farm owner  Sara. He is allowed to stay but has to stay outside and away from her child Cid.  However Cid is curious and interacts with Joe on a regular basis.

A fellow looper Zack checking for Old Joe comes to the farm and realizes that Sara is not there alone.   Zack leaves and returns and Cid reveals  his previously hidden abilities.

Old Joe works through the first two targets but is caught by the mob and brought to headquarters.

Old Joe gets the better of the Mob and escapes in a Mob owned truck.

Old Joe makes his way to the farm determined to kill Cid.  Young Joe sees how this is going to play out and takes a step to alter the expected ending.

Rating ***1/2 out of 4

LOOPER   Action Sci-Fi Thriller Directed by Rian Johnson 119 Minutes 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seven Psychopaths


I saw the Martin McDonagh  film the Seven Psychopaths ( Rated R 110 min  USA) this past week. This was a film that I was not able to fit in at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival but from comments from other festival goers was anxious to see.  His prior film In Bruges was also a favourite at TIFF 2008 and starred Colin Farrell.

The Film has a great opening scene with rich dialogue featuring two hit men who are about complete a job.  However, their dialogue purposefully directs the viewer away from a key element of the scene  and gets the audience ready to expect the unexpected.

The main character of the film Marty (Farrell) is a want to be screenwriter who spends most of his days drinking. His best friend is Billy (Sam Rockwell) an unemployed actor passes his time running a dog napping business with Hans (Christopher Walken).  Their capers normally involve keeping the dogs for a day or two and then returning them to the owners and reluctantly accepting a reward.

Marty has an idea to write a screenplay titled the Seven Psychopaths. Billy tries to help out by telling his friend stories about potential characters to get Marty past the couple of lines he has on paper.

The story heats up when the dog nappers kidnap the prize Shih Tzu of a local gangster ( Woody Harrelson).

Seven Psychopaths is a dialogue witty film that I would definitely recommend.

Rating  ***1/2

[ Rating system is out of 4 but if I hunt down a classic like the Deer Hunter out comes the 5 Star review]