September 11, 2006


Hana I feel sorry for the people who run Twitch, I really do. They are Canadians.

This means that they are mostly married homosexuals who are forced to recycle everything they throw away, usually in two languages, and this takes up so much time that it keeps them from eating as many beaver tails or as much poutine as they want. Which they really shouldn't be eating because they have no water, only beer, and they're already looking a little porky.

The only way they can escape the flabby hells that are their own bodies are to get high on medical marijuana and recite the capitals of all the European countries from memory because they were forced to take geography in elementary school and no matter how many times they're hit in the head by hockey pucks (hockey being one of the two sports you're allowed to play in Canada) they can't forget this useless knowledge, even if they hit themselves in the head with a curling (the other one) stone.

But once a year I do feel a little jealous for them because they get to go to the Toronto Film Festival and see a lot of movies. Despite the fact that the midnight screening of the BORAT movie ended after 40 minutes when the projectionist broke the projector (probably because the instructions weren't in French with a Montreal accent) there are still a lot of good movies playing up there.

HANA, the samurai deconstruction film from Kore-eda, has been widely ignored, but Opus suggests that this might be because there is more comedy and less samurai action than we've gotten used to thanks to Yoji Yamada's justifiably famous deconstructions TWILIGHT SAMURIA and THE HIDDEN BLADE.

Jade Warriors Todd, the so-called leader of Twitch, weighs in on JADE WARRIOR, a Finnish wu xia movie shot in China. He gives it a good review, but I've seen Todd and I know that all of his artificial limbs are paid for by socialized medicine and without that government check that providing him with the fiberglass legs he needs he'd never get out of his house. Some people want the government to do all their hard work for them. Some people like Canadians.

Then Todd stumps on over to Johnnie To's EXILED and gives it a glowing review. What's with this guy? Another good review? What's he so happy about? "...reminiscent of Takeshi Kitano's SONATINE...", "...sheer inventiveness and style.", "...the most vital, muscular figure in Hong Kong cinema today ..." All of these big words are impressive but I know that Todd is required by law to use them on a regular basis in order to justify his free education at the hands of the Canadian government and to make people from other countries feel inferior.

Well I don't. See your EXILED. See you HANA. Watch your HOST. I don't care. Because my flag doesn't have a big dumb leaf on it and that makes all the difference.

September 11, 2006 at 01:01 PM in Reviews | Permalink


Well I can't wait for Exiled, but this Todd guy doesn't really say things I agree with. I know his comparison to Sonatine was meant to be a compliment, but I am one of those few (I suppose I am in the minority) that feels that Sonatine is really over-rated.

Add to that, he says that before Election he was prepared to "write off" Johnnie To. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Throwdown come right before Election? I feel Throwdown is one of To's best films (up there with A Hero Never Dies, which is To's best film to date IMO). And while Election was a very mature traid film, it's slow pace was too much. It's as if the film was slowly building up to something big but nothing was at the other side. I didn't see Election 2, so I hope that was fills in the much needed gaps.

But a compliment is a compliment none the less. I just hope that this film doesn't fall in line with the films that I don't agree with this Todd guy. Otherwise I will be one very sad and real disappointed To fan when Exiled hits.

Posted by: the running man | Sep 11, 2006 3:00:16 PM

No, not all the guys who write for Twitch are Canadian... I am British, and live in England. I write for Twitch too, you see.

Posted by: logboy | Sep 11, 2006 11:38:49 PM

wow, this blog entry is bleeding from jealousy

i'd be jealous too, if i wasn't attending the Toronto Int'l Film Fest. but, i am attending :p

Posted by: orien | Sep 12, 2006 1:47:58 AM

Grady you are hillarious!

Posted by: eliza bennet | Sep 12, 2006 2:05:00 AM

I was attacked by a glob of hot cheesy gravy from Mack's poutine just last night. True story.

Posted by: Todd | Sep 12, 2006 8:41:42 AM

Hey Todd,
did you not like Throwdown?

Posted by: the running man | Sep 12, 2006 10:08:28 AM

mmmmmm.... poutine. My wife forbade me to eat poutine because the very sight of it makes her ill.

Posted by: David Austin | Sep 12, 2006 12:36:24 PM

Running Man: the answer would be no. Not a fan of Throwdown at all, I find it filled with unsympathetic characters and really pretty boring. Yesterday Once More was a pleasantly bland piece of fluff, Breaking News has a great beginning and ending but pretty much nothing in between, PTU features one of very few Simon Yam performances that I don't like ... that era of To just didn't work for me at all, the only one that clicked at all was Running On Karma and that was mostly because I was marvelling at that crazy muscle suit.

Posted by: Todd | Sep 12, 2006 5:59:47 PM

"the only one that clicked at all was Running On Karma and that was mostly because I was marvelling at that crazy muscle suit."

Yeah...well that says it right there then. I thought Running on Karma was one of To's worst films (up there with A Moment of Romance 3). All the other To films you mentioned you didn't like I thought otherwise.

Man...I am really worried about Exiled now!

Posted by: the running man | Sep 12, 2006 7:26:53 PM

I have to agree with Todd here, though I'll go even further to say that I haven't been truly excited by a Johnny To movie since THE MISSION. I am very much looking forward to EXILED, though I must say that seeing Simon in the trailer caused me to wince... hadn't realized it until that moment, but I guess some of his recent performances have caused me to fear the worst.

Posted by: Paul | Sep 12, 2006 9:13:14 PM

Loved PTU, Election, AND Running on Karma, though Breaking News was kind of weak. Still haven't seen a Simon Yam performance I didn't like, though Sha Po Lang came close.

Running on Karma merits a second view - it's hard to fully appreciate the first time, because the first half of the film initially appears to be going in a different direction and the tonal shift tends to confound expectations. I had mixed feelings about it the first time, the second time I thought it was a masterpiece.

Posted by: David Austin | Sep 12, 2006 9:27:56 PM

I didn't like Throwdown either. I thought the performances were bad and judo just doesn't translate well on screen. The scenes in which the actor were trying to convey "the joy of judo" were almost painful. Smiling never looked that cringe worthy. There were some good short moments but overall I wasn't happy with the film.

PTU on the other hand is my second fave To film (after The Mission), it is like a symphony (for the lack of a better term, I apologize for English skills) of cinema.

Running on Karma I also liked very very much. Great performances, interesting script and good use of CGI (even though CGI itself was not very good)

I loved the trailer to Exiled and feel that it will be like PTU but with more thematic meat.

Posted by: eliza bennet | Sep 13, 2006 12:34:18 AM

Dude, When is "The Host" coming out in the US??! I'm dying to see that. Poutine sounds awesome. I want a plate of it while I watch "The Host".

Posted by: Dave | Sep 13, 2006 5:24:20 PM

Well, not too fun to be Canadian/Montrealer today... sad sad stuff

Posted by: Shoito | Sep 13, 2006 10:01:51 PM

Poutine IS awesome. Even the Burger King variety, which is mildly spicy. Many scoff at poutine because of the way it looks (admittedly, a brown mess!), but once one tastes it, one cannot settle for regular "French" fries, when the real French-Quebec alternative is available.

Posted by: Paul | Sep 14, 2006 9:57:30 AM

I thought PTU was pretty good, a solid genre piece. Running on Karma was truly something special, though. I love to see inventive filmmakers defy genre expectations and deliver something truly unique. RoK wasn't on the level of a Save the Green Planet! but it was pretty damn good.

I'll see all the highlights of the TIFF after the folks at the NYFF weed out all the government-mandated Canadian content. Just like our American french fries, we prefer our film festivals without all that extraneous junk piled on top of them. Unless you consider Tribeca, which I guess would be like the cheese fries of the festival circuit.

Can't figure out what the NYAFF would be, except of course totally awesome!

Posted by: Josh | Sep 14, 2006 1:19:35 PM

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