December 25th, 2017 Christmas Day

I managed to get out on back to back nights to the theatre.  This time to catch Shape of Water, and then the next day Call Me By Your Name.

Alison has previously reviewed Shape of Water.  I like Del Toro’s movies because they are original and have fabulous creatures, gory action and villains you can’t help but despise.  His unique style and vision makes me want to see his exposition at AGO here in Toronto.  I am hopeful over the next couple weeks.  Here we have a fable (written by him as well) that is beautifully shot.  The set design is excellent and creates the mood which one can almost smell.  Uniformly good performances by mute Sally Hawkins in it (and she deservedly getting recognized for this performance). But quality supporting actors like Michael Shannon (who seems to relish being the bad guy), Richard Jenkins (who is not recognized enough) and Octavia Spencer.   The creature himself resembles the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but with some significant upgrades.   The eyes, the spine, and his colouring.   This story has a good pace and you care about the characters.  There is sympathy and then a greater understanding of what is not being perceived at first.  And there is a message is understanding of those around you who you don’t fully understand.    Despite the one article that proclaims this the best film of the year, I am not so sure.  Still I am glad to have seen it.  It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who appreciate Del Toro it is another really good film from him.
Virgin Mobility offers 2 for 1 tickets to TIFF between now and early January.  We saw Call Me By Your Name for $15 combined.   A deal.   This coming of age story of a young man who summers in Italy with his professor father mother and sister, has an American student join father as he does each year.   Armie Hammer plays the student assistant who is outwardly confident and attracts attention all around for his rugged good looks.   Michael Stulberg plays the professor father who delivers a speech in the end with his son that can only be described as some of the best writing since Three Billboards.   It is a remarkable scene.   You will note he was also playing the doctor in Shape of Water (and played the CIA guy in Arrival as well).   He is in a number of quality films.  The revelation in the film is the work of Timothee Chalamet.   The 22yo NYC born actor is excellent in this performance showing a multi-talented young man (multiple languages, plays piano and other instruments, well read) and is coming into his own.  He simply as all young people are confused about who that is (see Lady Bird for further proof on the female side).  This is a simple story told very well and the leads have chemistry.  Girlfriend noticed it straight away.   This is getting plenty of award attention and justifiably so.   And even though Timothee is amongst giants like Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Denzel Washington he will hold his own I think here.   Oh, and throw in the performance of a lifetime from Gary Oldman who has been deserving for many years.   I enjoyed this film and it makes me wish for a summer in Italy to swim and read and eat apricots from the tree.
Movies still to be seen include Molly’s Game, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Post.  It is a good year for quality films, although they seem to be released in the last month.   Hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and all the best in 2018.  Happy viewing.

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