Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

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Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

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“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Loin des hommes [Far From Men] [??]

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“I’m not taking you anywhere. Tomorrow you’re leaving.” Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because its powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Adult Beginners [2015]

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“What? Never seen a kid in a suitcase before?” No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Still [2014]

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“See? Told you everything would be fine.” Co-written with Kaveh Mohebbi and directed by Slater Jewell-Kemker, the psychological science fiction Still is a captivating yarn I initially believed was done a disservice by being too short. I found myself wondering about these characters—Emily Piggford‘s Sadie and Giacomo Gianniotti‘s Jake—and what their dynamic was before getting […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [??]

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“I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Kill Me Three Times [2014]

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“Quality always costs” Director Kriv Stenders left the audience seated for his latest film Kill Me Three Times with the words, “I hope you have as much fun watching as we had making it”. I doubt I did, but I cannot deny it wasn’t the sort of entertaining romp that keeps you on your toes […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Bang Bang Baby [2015]

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“I am that. I am the service station.” Harkening back to the era of its setting, Bang Bang Baby embraces the over-the-top aesthetic of 1963 entertainment with small town girl Stepphy (Jane Levy) dreaming big for a chance at stardom in New York City. Overproduced, old-timey vocals emanate from her mouth as faux backdrops provide […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [??]

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“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Duke of Burgundy [??]

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“The colder the better” Sometimes you just need to cleanse your palette or expand your mind by checking out a film even the director says is all about the experience. So when Peter Strickland explains how he tried hard not to make us want to find metaphor or meaning beyond what’s onscreen, I’m going to […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Welcome to Me [??]

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“And only five carbohydrants” There’s a great reference in Welcome to Me about Cindy Sherman that many may gloss over. Director Shira Piven and screenwriter Eliot Laurence made mention to Network and The Truman Show during their Q&A after my TIFF screening, but I don’t think such comparisons hold a candle to Sherman’s photography challenging […]