Fiona Reid

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The Time traveler's Wife Review


Excellent
Adapting Audrey Niffenegger's wonderfully complex novel to the screen can't have been easy, but Rubin (Ghost) has written a thoroughly engaging film. The heavy emotional tone makes it feel a bit girly, but it's still a terrific story.Henry (Bana) has time-travelled since the night his mother (Nolden) died in a car crash. He can't control his "trips", although he seems to go to places with an emotional resonance. When he first meets Clare (McAdams), she's in her 30s and has known him since she was 6 (Proulx). As a result of this paradox, their relationship develops very differently for each of them. Eventually they find friends (Livingston and McLean) who are in on Henry's condition. And a doctor (Tobolowsky) who may be able to help.Director Schwentke invests the film with a lush visual style that circles around the characters as they try to make sense of their life together. Subtle effects and clever editing work extremely well, even if Mychael Danna's music is a little too insistently weepy. And while the premise presents Henry's condition as something like epilepsy, the film can hardly help but start feeling like a terminal illness drama, as signs of impending tragedy start to appear.Bana is good in what's essentially a thankless role. The script doesn't offer him much personality beyond earnestness, so Bana plays him as a nice guy just trying to muddle through. Opposite him, McAdams is a wonderful breath of fresh air, really capturing Clare's steely resolve and quiet pain. Livingston and Tobolowsky are also extremely good in far too few scenes.There's definitely the sense that this film is edited down from a richer, more detailed novel. One problem is that Henry's ageing is far too subtle, so we're never quite sure which time he's travelling from (see Christopher Nolan's Memento or, better yet, Following, for how to do this well). And although we notice loose threads and missing scenes, the editors have done a remarkable job of making such a fragmented tale hold together both emotionally and logically.

And in the end, the film compellingly explores the nature of relationships while quietly moving us to all kinds of tears.

Blood & Donuts Review


Weak
Oh, those darned Canadians! Who would think to put a vampire movie in a donut shop!? 25 years after "going to sleep in a bag," our nightcrawler Boya (Gordon Currie) decides to wake up, whereupon he gets into all kinds of trouble with a local cab driver, two bumbling cops, a bowling alley owner (played by David Cronenberg!), and a waitress at the aforementioned donut shop. How any of this fits together, what it has to do with anything, and why someone thought it would make a good movie is all beyond me, but the few very dry and wry comedic touches make it, well, more fun than having someone suck out your blood.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Review


OK

Sometimes a movie's success stems more from spirit, charm and perseverance than from any originality or artistry involved in its creation. The unabashedly confectionery ethnic comedy-romance "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a shining example of just that phenomenon.

Of the same feel-good disposition as the Aussie sleeper hit "Strictly Ballroom," it's a low-budget, ugly duckling fairytale that is predictable and brimming with clich├ęs -- but so earnest, funny and joyful that it's a complete delight all the same.

Adapted by Nia Vardalos from her own one-woman stage show, the movie also features Vardalos in the starring role as 30-ish Toula Portokalos, a frumpy, lovelorn waitress in her father's Greek restaurant. A shy girl who's fed up with her huge family's amusingly, exasperatingly intrusive hounding about finding a husband, she seeks self-empowerment by enrolling in community college computer classes, getting a make-over and taking new job at a relative's travel agency. In the process Toula discovers her assertive, flirtatious side -- just in time to meet Mr. Right.

Continue reading: My Big Fat Greek Wedding Review

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