My reviews of Dashcam and Julia from the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
Dashcam is a horror movie that made me miss the full theatrical experience. Though it doesn’t break new ground in the found-footage genre, Dashcam is an insane, bloody, twisted film that is full of jump scares that would have the audience howling.
Dashcam takes place all through the live stream of Annie (Annie Hardy), a MAGA-hat rocking vlogger whose obnoxious rants and tirades get her a number of hits as she drives an Uber around L.A. Depressed by the pandemic, Annie breaks quarantine and travels to London to meet her friend Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel). Though a friend and former bandmate, Annie’s selfish and rude behavior cause tension between Stretch and his girlfriend. Wandering the streets of London in Stretch’s car, Annie comes across a woman who will pay her to transfer an older woman to a specific address for money. Annie agrees, turns on her live stream, and takes her viewers on an insane journey through the English countryside.
What’s most interesting about Dashcam is how unlikeable and terrible Annie is as a character. She is never more than an obnoxious, self-centered idiot who is only concerned about herself and how many viewers she gets on her live stream. Normally a character of that nature would make me hate the movie, but it only made Dashcam more fun. For the entire movie, you are waiting for Annie to die and to get killed by the chaos that is happening around her. The film felt like a reverse horror movie, where we are rooting for the main character to defeat the villain. We want our main characters to survive the serial killer or get out of the haunted house. But not in Dashcam, you are rooting and hoping that Annie doesn’t make it out of this evening and
Director Rob Savage, who scared the hell out of audiences last year while they stayed at home with the Zoom horror movie Host, fills the movie up with tons of violence and blood. It takes a little bit to get going, but it is a relentless onslaught of chaos once it does. We get jump-scares by the truckload, which has no lasting effect beyond the moment they happen, giving the film a carnival “haunted house” vibe. This is a movie that would have had audiences screaming in their seats and yelling at the screen, something that is normally annoying, but something I’ve missed over the last two years when theaters haven’t been as full because of COVID.
Dashcam is an insane, gory, 77-minute horror movie that is best suited with a full theater.
Julia is a documentary about chef and T.V. personality Julia Child. Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West gave us an in-depth, sprawling documentary about the life of Julia Child and it is an absolutely delightful film from beginning to end.
Julia paints a beautiful portrait of one of the most influential and recognizable faces and voices in all of cooking. It dives into Julia’s early life growing up in upper-middle-class California and defying her conservative father to pursue a life beyond just being a housewife, to her time in World War II as a typist. It then looks at her time learning how to cook at the prestigious Cord en Bleu in France and meeting her husband Paul. The film beautifully shows how supportive Paul was with everything Julia did and everything she went through. Like when Julia was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have her breast removed, she was worried about what Paul would think of her with a single breast, to which Paul told her, “I didn’t marry you for your breasts.” The love between Julia and Paul
Julia also looks at the fame of Julia Child. From her debut on a small show in Boston to being on The Today Show in her 70’s, the film shows how Julia Child became more than a chef, she became a cultural icon. Everyone knew who Julia Child was. She was on TV, had cookbooks, and was a wonderful personality that everyone related to. The fame never seemed too much for Julia, and she always kept her easy-going personality and taught everyone that they could cook and that making mistakes is okay.
Julia is a lovely documentary that will slap a smile on your face. Cohen and West give us a full picture of who Julia Child was as a person, a chef, and as a leader. This is an inspiring movie about following your dreams and overcoming adversity. Bon appétite!
Follow Kevflix on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, and on Facebook by searching Kevflix.