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Anton Sirius wishes THE BRAVE ONE was a B movie and thanks God and/or Satan for Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our first report in from Anton Sirius at the Toronto Film Fest. He kicks ass for us up there every year and he's back with a vengeance! He's got a look at the Jodie Foster/Terence Howard flick THE BRAVE ONE and Dario Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS. Stay tuned afterwards for another reader's impression of MOTHER OF TEARS!!! But first, here's Anton!

Greetings, starkinder! Once again I, Anton Sirius, am back to fill you in on a loaded lineup for the Toronto International Film Festival, party with the beautiful people, and make you feel just a little less significant than you already do. I've got just a couple of reviews from the first day, but I do have an interview lined up with Andrew Dominik, director of the Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (or TAOJJBTCRF for short) lined up for Saturday. If you've got any questions you'd like me to ask him, fire them off to, or better yet just add me as a friend on Facebook (I'm in the Toronto network). * * * * * The Brave One (2007, directed by Neil Jordan) It's hard to define what constitutes a B-movie. You could point to limited production values, or lack of a brand-name cast, as identifying features but for me it's very much an "I know it when I see it" thing. There's a certain immediacy in the entertainment value, a lack of an attempt to philosophize, that sets them apart for me. B-movies don't have time for deep self-analysis; they're too busy trying (successfully or not) to keep you on the edge of your seat to bother. The Brave One isn't a B-movie, but it really, really should have been. The plot you know, whether you've heard anything about the movie or not. Erica (Jodie Foster) is a New York radio personality. David (Naveen Andrews) is some sort of doctor-type guy. The film doesn't get more specific than that because he's dead inside of about 10 minutes, killed by the muggers who leave Erica in a coma and steal her dog too. When she wakes up she's an emotional wreck, but manages to overcome her agoraphobia by following a stranger into a dingy back alley and buying a gun. (No, I'm not kidding.) Faster than you can say "Attorneys for Charles Bronson's estate on line one" she's plugging bad guys on the mean streets, while being kind of semi-sorta pursued both professionally and romantically by honest cop Terence Howard. Look, I've got absolutely nothing against revenge films. Had this been an old lost Roger Corman production starring Angie Dickinson recently found in somebody's attic, I would have been all over this shit. In a Corman movie though the occasionally clunky dialogue, improbable coincidences and stereotypical characters would have fit right in. But it isn't. It's a Neil Jordan film starring Jodie Foster, that tries to pretend up front that it's going to be a 'New York movie' and that it has Important Things to Say, when in actually it has even less to say than Death Wish did. Heck, the Wise and Magical Minority character (a neighbor lady of Erica's who also conveniently turns out to be some kind of nurse when Erica's arm gets hacked open) is even from some unnamed bad part of Africa, or maybe Haiti, so when she talks about how anyone can kill if the circumstances are right we can all think about Hotel Rwanda and feel guilty. There are some things to like about the movie. The performances are uniformly excellent. Foster and Howard both do their best with what they've got, while Nicky Katt and Mary Steenburgen are absolutely fantastic as Wisecracking Cop Partner and Bitch Boss, respectively. But the story, and the script, simply cannot support the weight Jordan is placing on them. I can't really blame him, as this seems clearly like one of his 'work for hire' jobs and not a more personal film like The Butcher Boy, but for the love of God, man, plaintive Sarah McLachlan tunes have no place in revenge films, much less a place at the climax. In fact, the less said about the ending the better. In a campy B-movie, what happens at the end of the Brave One might have played. Here, though, it feels like a last-minute re-shoot designed to appease test audiences. You want another definition of a B-movie? They know better than to take themselves so damn seriously. This really, really should have been a B-movie. * * * * * Mother of Tears: The Third Mother (2007, directed by Dario Argento) There is a God. Or a Satan. Right now, I don't care which is responsible. Dario's third Mother film didn't suck. You have no idea how much I've been dreading seeing this movie. Dario's recent track record, everything post-Opera really, has been, umm, bad. Really bad. At times unwatchably bad. Even at his best Argento's movies have been more about spectacle than coherence, but stuff like Trauma and his version of Phantom couldn't even provide entertaining spectacles. And for him to try and follow up Suspiria and Inferno (my personal favorite Dario film) now, with his directorial powers fading... the possibilities for a soul-scarring disaster loomed large. Somehow, he pulled it out. Somehow, Mother of Tears did not suck. Don't get me wrong here, it's the weakest of the three. But it's as least a worthy sequel to movies about ancient witches who live in crazy buildings with rooms full of barbed wire and flooded ballroom basements. Asia Argento stars as Sarah, an archeology student interning at... c'mon, do you really need the plot? Does it matter? Dario's plots are vehicles to get you to the next spectacle, and there are some doozies. Mother of Tears is a lot gorier than Suspiria or Inferno, for one thing, and even the non-gory deaths are so over-the-top as to be almost glorious. Name another movie where a mommy picks up her tot and for no reason whatsoever tosses him off a bridge into the river (with said tot's little noggin bouncing off the bridge on the way down). Name another movie where a henchman calmly assembles a spear like it's a sniper rifle, then drives it Evil Dead-style up a psychic's nether regions until it comes out her mouth. Name another movie with a crazy killer monkey wandering ar... oh, wait, Dario did that in Phenomena. OK, well, name another movie where the dark-haired lead actress has to swim through a pool of rotting... oh, wait, Phenomena again. Name another horror movie with an Udo Kier cameo... uh, scratch that. OK, well, name another movie where the director gives his own daughter a shower scene... aw, never mind. If there's one disappointment about Mother of Tears from a Dario fanboy perspective, it's how little the mythology of the first two films figured into the third. In Suspiria and Inferno, the homes of the mothers are as important (if not moreso) to the films as the witches themselves. Here, Mater Lachrymarum's Roman home, the architect's book of secrets and the whole opium dream-inspired back story barely even appear until the final act. There is a nice nod to Suspiria in Asia's character's history, but that's about it. On the other hand, bringing Claudio Simonetti of Goblin fame back to do the music, and casting Dario Niccolodi as Asia's dead mom, score him big nostalgia points. But Dario, honestly... if you're going to cast a hot Israeli model as Mater L, and have the end of the film set during a convention of lesbian witches who appear to have read too many Clive Barker books, the least you can do is give them a solid half hour of witchy, lesbian, Barker-ish on-screen mayhem before sending them on their way. At least think about it for the DVD, OK?

Thanks, Anton. Can't wait to hear more in the coming week. Now here's Magoo with his impressions of MOTHER OF TEARS. It seems like a winner all across the board. Can't wait!

Hey fellas! Magoo here! Well the Toronto International Film Fest is among us again and that means you are gonna be flooded with reviews for all the sweet flicks being screened. So lemme start yal off with a quick review for Dario Argento's "The Mother Of Tears" The final chapter of Argento's "Mothers Trilogy" is by far the best. Susperia was prety cool, a tad over rated though. I'm a casual fan of Argento's I havn't really seen enough of his stuff but from what I have seen his new flick is way better than his old stuff. The same basic Argento set up of random person being thrown into some sort of mystery and finding their way through it til they meet up at the end with the main baddy and shit goes down. Nothing really new plot wise in this one but as most of Argento's work the plot isnt really what we goto see it for. What the real draw is is the weird visuals, interesting subject matter and GORE GORE GORE, and this one has gore-a-plenty. The opening murder scene is probably one of the most brutal I have ever seen. Throught the whole movie we are treated to some insane scenes of torture and brutality which Argento is so good at doing. It's not senseless gore for the sake of it though, it really does fit the tone of the movie and really hightenes the feeling of the movie. And holy shit, Argento just loves killing kids these days, there are more than one extremely brutual scenes involving very small children. One scene involving a new born baby no less, this one really shocked me as it comes out of nowhere. And the monkey... that lil fucker... I wanted to kick him in the teeth the whole movie! FUCKING FIRE ALARMS! It went off for a solid 5 minutes during an important and quite part of the movie. At least the film didn't burn up like at Borat last year. Udo Kier is awesome... that is all. Asia Argento although drop dead sexy, is seriously one of the worst actress' out there. Although I think it might have to do with the way Argento directs actors in English. The lines almost feel as if they are delivered phoenetically, just emphases on the wrong word and stuff like that. Argento was there tonight for the WORLD PREMIER of his new movie, daughter Asia in tow. It was also his birthday and we all sang him the birthday song (never thought I would get a chance to sing that song to a Horror legend!) The crowd seemed to really dig the movie, yelping at the right parts and dead silent when the tension was thick (a few bad apples laughing for now aparent reason at certain moments was prety annoying though). The movie was followed up by a brief but funny Q+A, that Italian can get off on a rant sometimes which can get prety hilarious, him talking about the monkey was hilarious. "I loved that monkey, when he died I cried..." Anyways I'm gonna keep it brief 'cause I gotta wake up for work in about 3 hours. It's gonna be a long 10 days filled with tons of sweet flicks, I'll keep you guys posted on all the cool shit that's going down. ~mrmagoojesse~

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