JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Toronto Urban Film Festival - Imaginary (Guest Judge: Mark McKinney) - September 9, 2008

Toronto Urban Film Festival - Imaginary

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Urban Imaginary

Anchor Your Heart
Elizabeth Belliveau
Four and one-half stars
Why so sad young red cheeks? Your fingers do the walking and soon you have threaded your way into dreamland and the massive skyline from which a ladder provides escape. Sleep easy—even the black cat finds contentment away from the sprawl. Quietly imaginative, thoughtfully crafted.

Dali in Toothpaste Tubes
Brian Hunter
Two and one-half stars
The famed artist castigates his daughter for squeezing the tube from the middle. His waxed moustaches wiggle with every unheard but caption-seen word. Unlike the master’s multiple-meaning images, Hunter remains on the surface, even when the reality of modern day proves that father doesn’t always know best. A little tedious; great premise.

Imagined Piety
Stephen Carroll
Three and one-half stars
A headlight and glass show that warms the multi-split screen with a journey to the pulpit and an upward look at cathedral greatness before a briefly marvellous mirror moment in the car gives pause for reflection. Is religion taking the back seat? Intriguing concept; on to the next.

Leslie Supnet
Three stars
The trauma of a major relocation is seen through the eyes of popcorn munching animals. Animated wheels of all sorts keep turning but the overdose of pastel hues, a barely legible sign and headline limit the potential impact of the message. Still, the tear seems genuine at journey’s end.

News Alert
Tim Moody
One-half star
Slight political satire and copious amounts of optimism fill this teleprompter fuelled braodcast with the news that peace has come to Jerusalem. A noble cause to be sure, but there’s no film—it’s all tell no show.

Nuit blanche
François Gaudet
Four stars
It’s a wild ride into the black-and-white world of Toronto nightlife. Hot flames, wailing guitar, the naked truth and much movement—so we think we can dance? A trip to the john, cityscape and harbourscape shots keep the glam at bay, making this a celebration of the real people. A moment or two of homage to Norman McLaren shows special understanding of the art.

Running on Empty
Jeff Hammond and Ashleigh Harrington
Four stars
Couldn’t happen here! One minute of pushing urbanites whose cars are out of fuel but still must be seen. The valet parking and the high-heel brake job are pure comedy. The SUV payoff misses the mark but there’s much fun before it. All that can be hoped for is that this dynamic duo is unleashed on a bigger project.

The Great Divide
Bryan Besant
Three stars
An intentionally jerky collage of bridge images screams for a soundtrack as it flashes by incessantly. But does the divide also link?

Brendon Foster
Four stars
If only life were like this. A petty thief stalks a young girl and her dad in a subway station and effortlessly pilfers the family’s digital camera. Browsing the snaps and witnessing the platform agony of loss, the perpetrator comes to a decision. Well shot and edited.

Top Floor
Serena Lee
Four and one-half stars
A truly whimsical look at the memories of life as seen through a collage of photos that populate the apartment building windows during a fantasy elevator trip. Great fun is using the measuring tape to close off the happy voyage. It’s Monty Python with joy.

Windshield Wiper
Emily Rosamund
One star
Here’s a gag that wears off after the second stroke. A human blade is a wonderful premise and the mind goes crazy wondering what the likes of Marcel Marceau might have done with that conceit in 60 seconds. JWR

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