Believe it or not, today was Day Seven of the Toronto After Dark 2012 Film Festival. Aptly dubbed “Sushi Night,” due to the titles of the features that played, it was another great evening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.
Due to some subway hijinx, I got to the theater right as the first film of the evening was starting. As such, I missed the short that played before it. That film was titled Bydlo, and I didn’t hear anyone discussing it later in the evening, so I really don’t know much about it. The TADFF website describes it as such: “Meticulous stop-motion animation ruminate expressions of the cycle of life in this award-winning and visually arresting work of art.”
I did see the first feature, Sushi Girl, though, and while it wasn’t a bad film, it also isn’t something that I’m dying to see again. The story is pretty simple: Six years after a botched diamond heist, the criminals involved reunite over a sushi feast in an old warehouse to settle some scores. Though the film has an extensive cast of well known genre character actors – such as Tony Todd, Mark Hamill, James Duval, Danny Trejo, etc. – a lot of them really don’t get much screen time, and almost all of them are a tad guilty of hamming it up. The story takes a lot of twists and turns, with dialog-heavy scenes and flashbacks throughout. In fact, it feels like the filmmakers were essentially trying to make a Tarantino-style film, only with more of a B-list cast. There’s some good violence in the film, and it did get a couple laughs from me, but overall, I found it to be fairly predictable and one of the weaker offerings of this year’s lineup. You could do worse, but Sushi Girl is a rental at best; or even better, wait until it winds up streaming on Netflix (if it ever does). For more info on the film, you can use the link above to visit its official TADFF page.
Next up was a funny little short titled Sandwich Crazy, which was about the owner of a failing sandwich shop who essentially makes a deal with the devil to increase his business. Of course, things don’t quite go as planned, resulting in some humorous consequences involving vegetables and more… The short was pretty great, and I recommend seeking it out. Genre enthusiasts may also be interested to know that it was edited by Jason Eisner (Hobo With A Shotgun).
That short was a perfect lead-in to the second feature of the night, Dead Sushi. This is the latest film from Japanese director Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police), so if you’ve seen any of his other films, you’ll probably know if this is up your alley or not. As always, the story is ludicrous – sushi comes to life and attacks people – and the plot takes a backseat to over-the-top set-pieces that feature lots of blood, campy performances, and all manner of other silliness. The crowd ate this one up (pun definitely intended), though I would guess this is a film that wouldn’t play nearly as well if you were watching it alone at home. Part of the fun was the heckling and shouting during the film; some of which was actually encouraged during the film’s intro (which was done by the guys from last night’s film, Resolution, and was very funny on its own). Anyhow, if killer sushi, martial arts fights with guys in fish costumes, geysers of blood, and zombified people with rice pouring out of their mouths sounds like fun to you, then you’ll want to make sure you see this one. As for me, I had a great time, but I probably won’t be watching the movie again unless it involves a bunch of my friends and several adult beverages. If you want more info on the movie, use the link above.
Well, that about wraps it up for TADFF Day Seven. At this point, there are only two more to go… Luckily, tomorrow features two films that I am very interested in seeing: In Their Skin (previously called Replicas) and Wrong (from the director of the killer tire movie, Rubber). The trailer for the former looks great, and the latter just seems really freaking weird… Anyhow, check back tomorrow to find out what I thought about the films.
Until tomorrow… See you After Dark!