I had high hopes for this movie. Simon Pegg is one of a group of British comic actors who did films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. He also was the perfect Scottie in the Star Trek reboot but here he is trivial and trite. The film follows a psychiatrist who goes off on a round the world quest to find himself and the meaning of happiness. All we get are a bunch of clichés like “Happiness is being loved for who you really are.” Or “Nostalgia is not what it used to be”. It was stupendously disappointing. Now I caution that some may like this film and you really have to like Simon Pegg (and I do) but if you don’t want to be disappointed as I was in the star. I could not find the words until I found this review that says it all.
“Looking to run fortune cookie writers and the post card industry out of business in one fell swoop, Peter Chelsom’s Hector and the Search for Happiness is not a film meant for cynics. With its pithy musings on what it means to be content, and slideshow approach to giving those musings an air of worldly wisdom, it asks the viewer to suspend not just disbelief, but emotional continence. If you’re capable of that, it will no doubt prove a wildly exciting and uplifting story of self-discovery. Keep even a shred of your self-awareness about you, and the empty enlightenment Hector and the Search for Happiness is offering becomes as grating as it is pat.”
This is a Chinese movie. It is entirely in Mandarin with really bad subtitles. It is apparently a classic of the genre (road trip) but to be honest I did not like it, could not follow the plot and ultimately did not care either way. I think this is a cultural thing totally. I do not get Chinese cinema at all. So while there were some very funny scenes and some spectacular scenery the movie left me cold. So unless you can understand Mandarin stay away. I sadly made a very bad choice here.
Sadly this movie will not likely show up in Toronto in the near future except maybe at the TIFF Lightbox. It is an all-German film about a group of computer hackers who start out having fun by hacking into right wing political parties and other obnoxious groups but got challenged to do more in order to be recognized by the hacker community. They started to take on bigger and bigger challenges until they go too far. The consequences are likely to land them all in jail but they manage to come out of it although how that happens is a very fun ride with at least two twists to the ending that leave you reeling. A fast paced ride that does not disappoint. If you can see this movie do so. It reminded me of The Usual Suspects and other classics of the genre.
The last of the Maverick interviews for this week for me at least. This time with Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, who is premiering his new film Rosewater. Stewart’s fans will remember he took last summer off to go to Jordon to film a feature length docudrama about the arrest and torture of Iranian/Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari. Stewart is an incredibly smart and very funny satirist who has taken a very serious look in his first feature film. He was interviewed by CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi, also an Iranian/Canadian. The interview also included Bahari who joined the stage part way through the interview. It’s just one of the special opportunities you can have at the festival. By the way this interview and all the other ones are recorded and will be posted online at TIFF.net in the coming days.