The Massive Row Three TIFF12 Summary

Welcome to our fifth annual Toronto International Film Festival Mega-Sized wrap-up post. Getting several Row Three contributors and friends to provide over 100 capsule reviews and a quick identifier tag for [BEST], [LOVED], [LIKED], [DISLIKED], [DISAPPOINTED], [WALKED OUT], [HATED] and [WORST]. Collectively we – Kurt Halfyard, Matt Brown, Mike Cameron, Tom Clift, Ryan McNeil, Bob Turnbull, and Marc Saint-Cyr – saw a tonne of films and this list can act as a kind of Oscar Season (and the months beyond) Consumers Guide as things eventually find their way to either the cinema, a streaming avenue or one of those increasingly antiquated shiny discs.

The Bests: Amour (Kurt, Ryan), Cloud Atlas (Matt B., Tom), Silver Linings Playbook (Mike Cameron), Frances Ha (Mike Rot), Rhino Season (Bob), and Something In The Air (Marc)

The Worsts: Yellow (Kurt, Matt B.), The Impossible (Tom), A Werewolf Boy (Ryan), To The Wonder (Mike Rot), At Any Price (Bob) and Leviathan (Mike Cameron)

Grab a coffee and dig into one of the largest posts ever on this site. We take our TIFF seriously.

Amour

Michael Haneke wants to remind us all that we are going to die some day, and that for most of us, it will be a long unpleasant journey in those twilight years. That he does so with intelligence and empathy is very much to his credit. -KURT [BEST]

Hit me harder than I thought possible for something so simple. I never would have guessed like a film could also be “shocking”, but more than once I felt my stomach turn. Heavy candidate for my best of the year. -RYAN [BEST]

My initial reaction to the film was that it had punched me in the face and that it may take the wounds a while to heal. By the next day, it hadn’t left a mark. -BOB [DISLIKED]

Frances Ha

Drawing inspiration from french New Wave and Woody Allen’s Manhattan, with just a touch of Mumblecore, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig snuck in the best film not only of the festival but, for me, of the year. Greta Gerwig is like Baumbach’s Jean-Pierre Léaud, an actor who, whether trying or not, seems entirely effortless, lived-in, believable, and with Frances, Baumbach finally delivers a protagonist audiences can unabashedly love. While watching the smile never left my face. -MIKE ROT [BEST]

I actually found myself hoping that Frances would be alright, and that sort of concern doesn’t adhere itself to many of characters I see on-screen these days. That sort of investment has to be the sign of a well-told story and a well-shaped character -RYAN [LIKED]

Cloud Atlas

An incredible, incredibly human, accomplishment. A secular companion to The Tree of Life, producing substantial elevation and awe throughout. Loved it, loved it, loved it, love it. – MATT B. [BEST]

Stunning visuals, bravura performances, universal ideas and spectacular ambition come together in this generation-spanning, genre-jumping dazzler from Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachoski. This film shouldn’t work, but it does. -TOM [BEST]

Epic and audacious, a film that will be wickedly divisive in the coming months. -RYAN [LOVED]

Truly the strangest big budget movie ever made. The only comparison I can think of is it is like six seasons of Lost compressed into two hours and forty five minutes. It goes beyond terrible into something sublimely entertaining. One wonders how something like this could ever be made. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

An entertainingly bizarre and only slightly… well, if not actively racist then certainly racial… historical sci-fi epic wrapped around a radioactive Jar-Jar Binksesque turd so stinky that I’m still laughing at the smell. How anyone on Earth, let alone the people that made Speed Racer, can get a hundred million bucks to spend on Tom Hanks saying “You speak-a true true?” patois to cybertronic glowing Halle Berry is so far beyond me that I assume that initial financing meetings took place on what, the moon? – MIKE CAMERON [DISLIKED]

Original but tedious amalgamation of Blockbuster filmmaking and Karmic-Fooey. I’d rather be watching any number of better films to handle this conceit including Intolerance, The Mahabrahata, The Fountain, Mr. Nobody, or even bloody Southland Tales! -KURT [HATED]

Silver Linings Playbook

David O. Russell’s comedy of awkwardness and mental illness eschews quirk and heads straight for entertainingly off-putting, which ends up being mere preface before a Slumdog-worthy joyous climax. Jennifer Lawrence somehow winds up being the best thing in Robert De Niro’s best movie in 15 years. -MIKE CAMERON [BEST]

Might seem like “another rom-com” or “a weird football and dance movie” at a glance, but really is a great watch with a lot to take away. -RYAN [LOVED]

Worthy winner of this year’s TIFF audience award, David O. Russel’s latest look into dysfunctional family dynamics is sure to be a major Oscar player. Quirky without being annoying, the film is consistently hilarious and features great performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and even Chris Tucker. -TOM [LOVED]

Something in the Air

Olivier Assayas continues to soar to ever-greater heights with this semi-autobiographical, intimately rendered portrayal of 1970s French youth culture. A mature and moving eulogy for faded eras of history and youth. -MARC [BEST]

Skims effortlessly through the crucial years of young adults figuring out their convictions and attempting to learn who they are. If the film lacks a bit of focus and has occasionally annoying characters, it’s still exceedingly interesting to follow where the wind blows them. -BOB [LIKED]

Rhino Season

Do I mention the amazing rhino scene, the turtles, the horse’s eye, the poems, the blackness of the jail, Monica Belucci, Vossoughi’s dark sad eyes, the composition of EVERY single shot, the sharpness of the cinematography OR should I just simply say that Rhino Season is bloody brilliant? Throw in an impassioned Q&A and you’ve got the best of the fest for me. -BOB [BEST]

Another year, another Monica Bellucci rape movie. I jest. This film is a pretty powerful and involving story about a man released from prison after 30 years to find out that his wife has undergone an even more tragic ordeal in the outside world. -KURT [LIKED]

The Master

Impressive and often abstruse in its 70mm presentation, P.T. Anderson’s look at the ID and the Ego, two mega-performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Forget Scientology, this film has all of religion, cult and other collective believes on its agenda, but it averts its gaze from the unhealthy love affair between two very strange men. -KURT [LOVED]

Rich and emotionally dense. Definitely want to watch it one more time before trying to write any sort of review on it. -RYAN [LOVED]

Gangs of Wasseypur

For pure genre entertainment, this Hindi-language Crime Saga couldn’t be beat at TIFF this year. It spans over 50 years, has at least 25 main characters and runs sprawling 316 minutes, making this the best HBO series you’ve never seen. Tour de Force is not a strong enough turn of phrase for the craft and talent involved in this film. Oh and it’s also a musical of sorts. -KURT [LOVED]

Looper

Rian Johnson has turned in the science fiction action film for which all modern entries in the genre will be judged for some time. He takes a lot of the tried and true time travel tropes and turns in a thinking man’s drama. There are more pleasant surprises (both in plotting and theme) in this film than in any other film I caught at TIFF. -KURT [LOVED]

Gordon-Levitt and Willis sling genre slang with effortless tough-guy grace. Feels like the first sparkling emergence of a generation raised on Star Wars and made queer by Reservoir Dogs. -MIKE CAMERON [LOVED]

Spring Breakers

Harmony Korine’s hypnotic dubstep opus to aesthetic teen self-definition through agressive Drug Crime wears its fixation on crotches right up on its sleeve. Whatever happened that made this movie possible should happen way, way more often. -MIKE CAMERON [LOVED]

The most accessible Harmony Korine movie you are probably ever gonna get. Not nearly as icky as was anticipating, plays more like a Malick tone poem of gangsta fantasy in the throes of Spring Break. The music video sequence with Franco singing Britney Spears is worth the price of admission. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

Bikini clad Disney girls go off the rails in Spring Breakers, a candy-coloured sledgehammer satire from Harmony Korine who shot his last film, the aptly named Trash Humpers, on worn VHS tape, Spring Breakers looks like the work of a completely different director. – TOM [LIKED]

Berberian Sound Studio

A distant thunderclap. A fever dream of analogue equipment and manufactured sound involving a meek technician trying to finish the sound mix on an Italian Giallo horror film in the most toxic (and occasionally erotic) of work environments. As much an Ode to Mulholland Dr. as to Susperia. Made especially for film über-nerds and fans of the wonderful Tobey Jones. -KURT [LOVED]

If a man goes insane in a sound studio and no one hits record, does he make a noise? Richly textured and nearly unparsable, Berberian has the terrifying specificity of dreams. -MATT B. [LOVED]

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Motherfucking Whedon staged a brilliant interpretation of the Bard. But there’s a significant chunk of my brainmeat that refuses to see this as anything other than Wes and Fred’s afterlife. -MATT B. [LOVED]

Joss Whedon fans will just about lose their minds over this witty low-rent Shakespeare adaptation that boasts terrific performances from about a dozen of his long term collaborators. -TOM [LOVED]

Reminded me of Jason Reitman’s series of table-reads, one of which kicked off TIFF last week. Both projects are being done largely for the love of the game. Neither one stands to make a whole lot of money, but they do give great creative talents a chance to come together and do something different. -RYAN [LIKED]

Dreams For Sale

Propelled by a fantastic performance by Takako Matsu (I’ll stack her stare up with the best of ‘em), Dreams For Sale is subtle and surprising as it charts the con games a couple play to get money from various women while their own relationship slowly disintegrates. -BOB [LOVED]

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough

When it comes to documenting the life of a visual artist, the task is often an uphill battle. After all, where do you find enough creative vision to do justice is capturing those with tons of creative vision? Thankfully, certain directors still manage to nail it once in a while. -RYAN [LOVED]

First Comes Love

Loved, loved, loved this movie. Director Nina Davenport (who I’m a bit in love with now as well) has done some really fine documentaries prior to this (Operation: Filmmaker and Parallel Lines to name two), but this deeply personal story of her quest to become a single mother at the age of forty is one of the best examinations of the joys and pitfalls of becoming a parent that I’ve seen (and not just from her own point of view). It can also rejuvenate your faith in humanity. -BOB [LOVED]

The End of Time

Like Peter Mettler’s previous film, Gambling, Gods and LSD, but shorter. The kind of documentary you can bring home to Herzog. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

Weather balloons, particle accelerators, lava & Mom at the kitchen table – just a few good reasons to experience Peter Mettler’s drifting musings on how we perceive time. The first hour flies by while the rest of the film crawls due to less focus and more experimental images. You have to give Mettler credit for creating his own shifting perspective of time within his own movie. -BOB [LIKED]

The Color Of The Chameleon

This film “probes the orifices of power with a speculum”. Yep, it’s as good and as odd as that sounds. -BOB [LOVED]

The Iceman

Michael Shannon gives yet another captivating turn, this time as a notorious Polish-American assassin (with an ever changing array of facial hair) who carried out more than one hundred mob hits while living a double life as a loving father and husband to Wynona Ryder. A gripping crime film punctuated by the occasional moment of black comedy. -TOM [LOVED]

A tender, intimate character study of a dude that killed over a hundred people for the mob. Michael Shannon is… well, he’s something. -MIKE CAMERON [LOVED]

Michael Shannon is chilling and menacing as a hired killer with little feeling for anything in the world except for his very own family. The film is pretty conventional in how it tells its story, but it’s solid and effective. And when Shannon tells you to get back in the car, you GET BACK IN THE CAR. -BOB [LIKED]

Argo

Although Ben Affleck the director is yet to live up to the gut-punching mastery of his debut feature Gone Baby Gone, his latest is none-the-less a completely satisfying grown-up thriller with an astoundingly tense final act. -TOM [LOVED]

It speaks well of the nuts and bolts of a film like this–the pacing, performances, the costumes and the script–that so much tension can be wrung from what’s essentially a heist film where a) we know the ending and b) nothing ever really goes wrong. It’s too early to anoint Affleck a saviour but not too early to get excited by the possibility. -MIKE CAMERON [LIKED]

Rust and Bone

Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts deliver astounding performances in Jacques Audiard’s beautifully captured follow up to The Prophet. -TOM [LIKED]

Cotillard’s best performance since la Vie en Rose, though it had some bits of plot structure I’m unsure of, and characters that keep me likewise puzzled. Held me back from falling deeply in love with this film, and ultimately what might keep us as “just friends”. -RYAN [LIKED]

Pretty much the definitive “girl gets her leg bit off by an Orca and falls in love with a homeless kickboxer” film. Feels like Audiard got double-dog dared to make this movie and did a fairly good job. -MIKE CAMERON [LIKED]

The Deep

A Icelandic Odyssey of a curious fisherman who survives by swimming the freezing Ocean waters after the commercial fishing boat is pulled under in a mishap. Where most people can only survive minutes, this man survived for 4 hours, then scaled a vertical cliff and walked over kilometers of volcanic wasteland back to town. This movie will convince you that is true via its pragmatic realism and a pitch perfect performance from Ólafur Darri Ólafsson -KURT [LOVED]

A disappointingly unimaginative take on a gargantuan, mythic slice of real life. Some beautiful sequences do not make up for the overall lack of momentum. -MATT B. [DISLIKED]

Wasteland

As a movie inside the modern British crime genre, Wasteland gives you exactly what you want from it and it does so establishing a very detailed sense of place with strong characters. -BOB [LOVED]

A brash English ode to young thuggery with tones of Goodfellas and The Usual Suspects. -RYAN [LIKED]

The We and the I

Michel Gondry does his best Harmony Korine/Larry Kent impersonation rebooting Kids for the twenty-first century. The film feels less like his prior work (though there are Gondryesque sequences sprinkled throughout) and more like the vicious realism of Kids and former Cannes winner, The Class. At times kinetic and goofy, and others, raw and thoughtful. The We and the I is Gondry maturing as a filmmaker. My favorite of his since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

Michel Gondry captures the energy, self-involvement and lack of focus of the teenage mind by focusing on a bus load of inner-city high school kids on their last day of classes. Gondry’s creativity allows him to find ways to pull the stories outside the bus and into the kids’ own heads. Many will understandably dislike many of the characters, but the stories morph and merge to show some interesting aspects of their lives. And can we all just agree that “Bust A Move” is simply one of the best head-bobbers in recent memory? -BOB [LOVED]

Seven Boxes

The film starts as a low stakes quest for a cell phone and ends with as a very high stakes adventure across intersecting stories through the streets of Asuncion Paraguay. Excellent and nary a dull moment. -BOB [LOVED]

Paraguay filmmakers mould their self-deprecating image of the social contract in their country into a comedy-thriller involving lots of cash, body parts, crates and more misunderstandings than the high volume of transactions in the bustling urban market in the nations capital. Everything is for sale, but nobody know what exactly they want. Oh, and the film ticks along like a swiss fucking watch. -KURT [LOVED]

Key Of Life

Pure enjoyment from start to end. Takes the well-worn idea of people switching identities and crafts a continually surprising story about doing things for the right reasons while allowing its finely tuned characters to stay true to themselves. Almost best of the fest. -BOB [LOVED]

Shanghai

An extremely solid Indian version of Z (the novel upon which Costa-Gavras based his own 1969 film) complete with police corruption, back room political shananigans, idealism and innocent victims. It’s pretty damn fantastic. -BOB [LOVED]

In Another Country

Korean director Hong Sang-Soo takes his usual filmmaking ingredients, people siting around enjoying food, booze, and the occasional nervous breaches of protocol, and nearly empty sea-side resorts, and applies them to the formula laid out by Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run. Thus, I shall rename the film “Drink, Isabelle, Drink” due to the wonderful triple-performance by French actress, Isabelle Huppert as a woman out of her element, but on her way to karmic reinvention. -KURT [LOVED]

This was only my second experience with Hong Sang-soo, whose unusual, sometimes disorienting techniques I’m steadily learning to enjoy. Despite seeming a little too quaint and trivial at times, I’m still looking forward to revisiting this odd little arthouse object of a film – if only to savour the delightful performance (or trio of performances, depending on how you look at it) given by Isabelle Huppert. -LIKED [MARC]

Mushrooming

This Estonian look at celebrity-worship and the lack of actual, real political discussion was that hidden gem we all look for at festivals – funny, satirical and with a story you can’t predict. Even hating mushrooms as I do, I would totally go out in the woods to pick them with these characters. -BOB [LOVED]

Call Girl

The Assistant Director of Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy makes his feature film debut with this spot-on recreation of 1970s era Sweden – a time when all of the government elected officials were addicted to young prostitutes. When a police officer gets wind that many of these girls are in fact under age, and they are all handled by the same Madam, he tries to bring down the ring, and by inference, the entire government. Cynical and immersive, this film is a startling first feature and a sign of things to come. -KURT [LOVED]

Call Girl hits its 70s vibe and style spot on. Its soundtrack, score and editing all help create feelings of the best of the American 70s surveillance thrillers while telling the story of a prostitution ring that almost brought down the Swedish government – a government that was simultaneously changing women’s rights for the better. -BOB [LOVED]

Gets the dispassionate seventies vibe down, but focuses for too long on the wrong character with whom it is difficult to connect. In fairness, I was severely jetlagged during this screening, which did not marry well with the films contemplative pace. -TOM [DISLIKED]

Everyday

Another of Michael Winterbottom’s raw and intimate dramas. This one was shot over five years with children to demonstrate the passage of time and show the effect of growing up while Dad is stuck in prison on the other side of the country. One of the actual actors playing the mom in the family, however is Winterbottom regular Shirley Henderson, who is a national frickin’ treasure. She looks after the kids and tries to make a life for them while staving off the family breaking from the everyday absence of a family member. – KURT [LOVED]

A quietly moving verite exercise shot over five years by Michael Winterbottom, about a family put to the test by the father’s incarceration. Only big downside is the overblown score. -TOM [LIKED]

Painless

Spanish thriller tries to understand the relationship between empathy and pain (you might not be able to have one without the other) by following an odd group of children that are born in the 1930s without the ability to feel physical hurts. Meanwhile a doctor in 2012 tries to look for a bone marrow transplant after his parents tell him they are not his biological parents. The film has some very memorable (and shocking) images, and tries to tackle the atrocities of the Franco Years through means both literal and metaphoric, but it gets muddled on bringing the two stories to a satisfying conclusion. -KURT [LIKED]

Not a bad film, but it something in its construction takes a lot of the thrill out of the tale. It comes with a few wonderful visuals, and a few great performances. However, when intrigue is such a key target a story is trying to hit and it misses, there’s only so much left to carry you through -RYAN [DISLIKED]

This nightmarish tale from Spain of children with a condition that prevents them from feeling pain isn’t a typical horror film. It instead focuses on the horror of a country’s very painful past through straightforward metaphors and tosses aside the jump scares and creepiness. That’s still a fine idea, but the dramatic arc of this particular story just wasn’t overly engaging and left me cold. -BOB [DISLIKED]

90 Minutes

Grueling, but an unflinching look at what can happen when the male role of being a provider gets taken away. -BOB [LIKED]

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

The line that they feed you is that Christmas is the time for people to come together. The reality is that there’s nothing like a holiday to split people apart. -RYAN [LIKED]

Fin

It would have been a wonderful watch had it just focused on the unsaid things these friends left in the past, and how those things have affected who each person grew up to be. In taking that group dynamic and dropping it into a story of post-apocalyptic survival, director Jorge Torregrossa has created a visually fascinating take on Ten Little Indians. -RYAN [LIKED]

Byzantium

Caught between period piece bodice ripper and gritty urban drama, I’m not exactly sure what to make of Neil Jordan’s return to Vampire fiction (18 years after the gothic blockbuster Interview with the Vampire.) Focusing on a mother-daughter pair of vampires feeding and hiding in Ireland, the film as a decidedly female bent and gets another great performance out of Saoirse Ronan as the thoughtful and melancholy daughter, but it’s only Gemma Arterton’s boobs doing the acting as the hysterical and impulsive mother. The memorable image of a waterfall of blood, and Jordan’s eventual ability to pull the whole messy affair together earns the film a pass, if only barely. I’d love to see a sequel that drops the period segments and keeps its focus on the here and now. -KURT [LIKED]

Had the film been given just a bit more forward momentum, or for that matter assumed that its audience had seen a vampire film before, it might have had something. Instead, it spends a lot of time on a badly broken narrative, and dressing up schlock in elegance. -RYAN [DISLIKED]

Neil Jordan’s tedious vampire story has a few nice images but very little else original to offer. Saoirse Ronin gives a good performance, but Gemma Arterton, cleavage aside, is awful. -TOM [DISLIKED]

Lords of Salem

A Midnight Madness film that kept me awake, that is saying something. My first Zombie film, and it was creepy and bizarro and a lot of fun. – MIKE ROT [LIKED]

An hour of banality for 20 minutes of fever dream does not a good movie make. -KURT [DISLIKED]

The Brass Teapot

Reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode crossed with a suburban Amblin Entertainment movie (Think Gremlins without the Gremlins), this movie if you consider its message or its casual class and racial insensitiveness should be offensive, but I loved every minute of it. Especially the parts where Juno Temple is being naughtily whipped to generate cash money. It’s a long story, but the guiltiest of pleasures at this years TIFF. -KURT [LOVED]

Clip

Serbian directors are all obsessed with sex and death and crossing the lines of good taste in the name of cinema. Even the lady directors. Here a 14 year old girl acts out sexually to compensate for rough emotional goings-on at home. The films final image is perhaps its most shocking, and this in a film where anal sex is more than implied and there are more erect penises and exposed vaginas on screen than probably any other film at TIFF. -KURT [LIKED]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Emma Watson sure knows how to kiss. -MATT B. [LIKED]

Motorway

Cheesy and predictable, but my god were those car chases awesome! -TOM [LIKED]

Sigh…Motorway gives good car chase (good, not great) and absolutely nothing else. Nothing without cliche anyway. Men yell, stamp their feet and over-dramatize everything, women (even ones in positions of authority) are marginalized and a young cop has a partner “this close” to retirement. Sigh. I’m done with Johnnie To and his apostles for now. -BOB [DISLIKED]

Reality

From Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone, this cautionary tale about an Italian fishmongers’ quest to make it onto Big Brother serves as an interesting parable about the dangers of blind, unyielding faith. -TOM [LIKED]

A Liar’s Autobiography

More explicit cartoon sex than I ever wanted to watch while sitting between my parents. And now I have “Sit on my Face” stuck in my head on repeat. -MATT B. [LIKED]

Here Comes The Devil

What is more disturbing? Your kids walking in on you and your spouse having sex, or you and your spouse walking in on your children having sex. With each Other. Ostensibly a possession horror, but this film has far more morally reprehensible acts on its twisted little brain. -KURT [LOVED]

A hysterical dramatization of parental fear of the kids’ burgeoning sexuality, fears here justified by the icky sticky tween incest. The devil made them do it? …Nope! -MATT B. [LOVED]

Still wondering what the director was trying to do. Did he want to keep the audience off-kilter? Did he want to make it even more shocking? Did he – as the audience member suggested – want to make the audience laugh at its pure ostentatiousness? -RYAN [LIKED]

Blondie

If nothing ever quite explodes after the numerous slow burn conversations between the 3 sisters and their mother in BLONDIE, that’s certainly by design. After seeing director Jesper Ganslandt’s The Ape a few years ago, it’s apparent that he loves living in that tension filled space – and I can’t help but be kind of enthralled by it. -BOB [LOVED]

Sightseers

A comedy as black as pitch that takes the piss out of its lead characters, the tourist attractions in Yorkshire and humanity in general. One of the funniest and craziest films I saw at TIFF this year. -KURT [LOVED]

The Thieves
An extremely fun heist flick that used the genre wisely and yet still managed to surprise. It has its own share of cliches, but they are all used to serve a high entertainment quotient. Unsolicited praise from my 12 year-old as well. -BOB [LOVED]

Kon-Tiki

Epic sized adaptation of the true-story of a crazy Norwegian crew that built a raft and sailed it from Peru to Polynesia to prove an anthropological theory. It not only gives the journey, but addresses the cost and consequences of these kinds of crazy obsessions. This is populist, crowd-pleasing filmmaking at its very best. -KURT [LOVED]

A dull and matter-of-fact dramatization of historical fact becomes white-knuckle engaging in the final act, and caps off with the most beautiful single shot of the festival, as the camera pulls away from the Kon-Tiki, pulls out into space, considers the moon, and returns to the earth. -MATT B. [LIKED]

Jump

A pretty little Irish bauble with solid performances and exceptional attention to detail (location, costumes, plotting) that left me happy enough with the experience despite never reinventing the wheel nor garnering any of the films desired for emotional catharsis. -KURT [LIKED]

A wonderful little film that reminds us that it’s alright to feel a little messed up sometimes – and that it’s better than feeling nothing at all. -RYAN [LIKED]

Clever girl. -MATT B. [LIKED]

The Bay

A surprising treat, Barry Levinson brings a cogent and coherent “found footage” enterprise to Midnight Madness. It ain’t Jaws, but bears surprising ability to make you reconsider going in the water. -MATT B. [LIKED]

Ghost Graduation

Amusing and entertaining – qualities of the very best festival films to go for as they leave you feeling full of life as you run from place to place all week. -RYAN [LOVED]

Does exactly what it sets out to do: a supernatural riff on John Hughes movies set in a Spanish highschool haunted by a ghostly Breakfast Club. Knocks the opening scene out of the park and carries the film along with confidence and a lot of fun without ever falling into the traps of homage films. American Remake already in progress. -KURT [LIKED]

I didn’t quite get the hype surrounding this generally pleasant and fairly amusing Spanish supernatural high school comedy. But it is generally pleasant and fairly amusing. -TOM [LIKED]

I Declare War

What an unusual way to tackle the subject of bullying! A kid with a dream of being General Patton organizes and executes pretty serious war games in the forest with his young friends. The film plays things out with real weapons and explosions that are happening in the kids imaginations, while the stakes keep going up and up and up. The film also has a great ear for how kids talk to each other and push each other around emotionally. -KURT [LOVED]

Room 237

We have so many films on humans making art, and so few films on humans pulling ideas out of art. The humans here may be engaged in insane enterprise, but they’re beautiful nevertheless. -MATT B. [LOVED]

The film is fascinating in how these people have come to their theories, and clearly illustrates their every point and idea. It’s also an essay on how nitpicking can go too far sometimes. Sure, the layout of a set might not make any sense when you take think about it for five minutes – but something tells me it isn’t a conspiracy or a hidden message. No, I have to believe that it’s something a director shrugged off under the proviso of artistic license. -RYAN [LOVED]

Thanks to some hilariously clever editing, we’re spared the nasty opportunity to laugh in the faces of several obsessed fans of The Shining. Instead their monologues are woven together into a portrait of what it is to really love a film, and what emerges from that meshing is an appreciation of Kubrick’s power that’ll re-drop your jaw all over again. -MIKE CAMERON [LOVED]

Did you know that Jack Torrence reads a copy of Playgirl Magazine while waiting for the job interview at the Overlook Hotel? This and other obsessively observed details and theories on Stanley Kubrick’s wonderfully open-to-interpretation horror film The Shining. Is the film a metaphor for our treatment for North America’s Native Peoples? Is it a subtle apology for faking moon-landing footage for NASA, or is it an allegory for Nazi Germany? The craziest and most exotic form of film analysis lies within this documentary. -KURT [LOVED]

Smashed

Smashed nestles into the fertile drama of alcoholism and gets out without feeling movie-of-the-week. Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives one helluva performance as the on again, off again inebriated Kindergarten teacher. Aaron Paul [Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad] plays her husband and holds his own against Winstead. Both are great, just Winstead has the showier part. No Half-Nelson but a well-observed drama about recovery nonetheless. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

Rebelle

Arty and stylish take on the Child Soldier narrative in Africa is easily the best war film every produced in Canada. That is manages to avoid its own didacticism in favour of a more visceral experience is a minor miracle. The Pitch: Beast of the Southern Wild meets Causalities of War experience. -KURT [LOVED]

An unsanctimonious, no-solution proposing portrait of two child soldiers. It’s half a tragedy and half a docish look at the actual day-to-day details of what life is actually like for a kidnapped child forced to kill and half a love story, which is a strangely appealing, seemingly impossible mix. -MIKE CAMERON [LOVED]

Mumbai’s King

Joy, despair, dancing, garbage, rain and overflowing colour – Mumbai’s King remarkably runs its non-professional actors through it all. -BOB [LOVED]

All That Matters is Past

Cunning and compelling. A riot of powerful physical and biblical imagery tracking backwards and forwards across a doomed love triangle that carries the protagonists from the cradle to the grave. – MATT B. [LOVED]

The Land Of Hope

Director Sion Sono speaks directly to his countrymen with his latest – similar to Himizu, he encourages them to not give up after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and to keep moving forward, one step at a time if necessary, to build a new home. In contrast to Himizu, it’s more emotional, gentle and certainly less “yell-y”. As well, it’s elderly couple (with a wife with Alzheimer’s like symptoms) is far more affecting and touching than Amour’s. -BOB [LOVED]

A major tonal departure for Japanese provocateur Sion Sono, The Land of Hope, although rather too long, mixes clever social commentary with tragic family drama. -TOM [LIKED]

Antiviral

Cronenberg Junior’s feature film debut, Antiviral does at times feel like a short film stretched to feature length, but gets by on its intriguing world building and creepily sterile aesthetic. -TOM [LIKED]

The Cronenberg rotting-apple-flesh doesn’t fall too far from the tree. A world where celebrity obsession has gone to the extremes of having their various flus and ailments injected into fans bloodstreams for the pleasure of suffering along with them, I happened to really like the world constructed here, and the otherworldly performance from be-freckled (and be freakled!) Caleb Landry Jones. But the story never comes together in a satisfying way, and too many of the images lean on dear old dad. -KURT [DISAPPOINTED]

Thale

Great leads (both the fellas and the lady-creature) and some shockingly effective visual reveals are a tad undermined by clumsy exposition and too much time spent in the basement. Still, I’m loving all these Nordic folk-tales stretched into interesting genre films. Rare Exports and Troll Hunter are far better made films though. -KURT [LIKED]

Far more subtle and slow-building pleasures than expected in this 80 minute budget-conscious take on one of the many healthy Norwegian myths. The CGI bits were a bit too goofy, but it’s made up for by focusing mainly on character interaction. -BOB [LIKED]

Would be a great short film; teased out to 75 minutes it’s almost unendurably lethargic. -MATT B. [DISLIKED]

The Suicide Shop

Delightful, and for me came as the perfect palette-cleanser in between heavy selections. Catch up with it if you can though preferably not in 3-D. -RYAN [LIKED]

A brightly animated and enjoyable mix of the delightfully sweet and the darkly humourous, The Suicide Shop’s musical sections strangely disengaged me a bit from the story, but I always got pulled back in when the music stopped. The only thing 3-D brought to the film was its ability to steal away some of the brightness of the colours. Would have been much better without the musical & 3-D bobbles. -BOB [LIKED]

Mekong Hotel

Yet another unique treasure from Apichatpong Weerasethakul that makes beautiful use of the widescreen format with its perfectly framed long takes of the titular river. The sweet sounds of Chai Bhatana’s acoustic guitar flows over fragments of a surreal ghost story, talk of the relations between Thailand and nearby Laos, and Apichatpong’s familiar, relaxed ‘hangin’ out” sequences, all of which gathered in a fascinating, enchanting daydream of a film. -LIKED [MARC]

Caught In The Web

Surprisingly fun at times as it focuses on the web of lies we sometimes get caught in and how we all just love to assume the worst of others. It occasionally tries to tie in the Internet and our ability to quickly disseminate any kind of information quickly, but fortunately usually gets back to its wider theme. -BOB [LIKED]

Seven Psychopaths

Although not quite as affecting as In Bruges, Martin McDonagh’s follow-up is a pitch black meta-comedy with a jaw-dropping cast. -TOM [LOVED]

It’s really Rockwell’s show, a chance for him to do what he does best and drop one-liners. I’m actually beginning to wonder if, like Malkovich and Cage, we should start speaking of the man’s performances and whether or not he gets the chance to go “Full Rockwell”. If you’re a fan of the times he gets to go “Full Rockwell”, then Seven Psychopaths is the film for you. -RYAN [LIKED]

Funny as all hell, but also pretty dumb script. Squandering both a once in a lifetime cast (Walken, Waits, Rockwell, Farrell, and Harrelson) and a fair bit of goodwill after In Bruges, Martin McDonough gives us the empty version of Adaptation, but lets his actors attack the jokes with gusto. -KURT [DISAPPOINTED]

Penance

Nobody uses sound and light together better than Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It’s final chapter fizzles a bit, but 3.5 hours out of 4.5 ain’t bad -BOB [LOVED]

Drab and melodramatic, but not without its charms. Four of the five distinct stories are worth your dime (and hour). -MATT B. [LIKED]

Augustine

Too austere by half, but builds a likeable head of steam at roughly the same rate as its protagonist builds a likeable head of whacking herself off. All you need for cinema is a girl and an orgasm. -MATT B. [LIKED]

The Hunt

Despite a monster performance from Mads Mikkelsen and some really handsome cinematography, I got mired a little too much in the films misogynistic (intentional?) back drop to focus on the inevitable small town turning on one of their own (a kindergarden volunteer) when a young girl makes accusations of inappropriate touching. -KURT [LIKED]

Thermae Romae

This time travel comedy (from ancient Rome to modern day Japan – via bathhouses) is enjoyably goofy while also attempting to make a case for helping your community for the greater good. A bit messy but fun. -BOB [LIKED]

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Fascinating subject matter – the Catholic molestation cover-up – makes for an inherently interesting watch, even in the face of some really untactful re-enactments. -TOM [LIKED]

Dredd

If the closest we can get to a Paul Verhoven bloody violent science fiction romp is all the fun and mayhem without the super-smart satire, but the chemistry of the two main Judges, psycho and psychic, really worked. I’m willing to take that. -KURT [LIKED]

Fuck yeah Dredd. And fuck yeah Olivia Thirlby. – MATT B. [LOVED]

If you frown, and frown, and frown again, I too will frown. Who likes frowny-boy? Nobody. -MIKED [DISLIKED]

Big in Vietnam

Actress and filmmaker Mati Diop (perhaps best known for her role in Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum) crafts a rough, intriguing look at the filmmaking process and cultural displacement. -LIKED [MARC]

Our Little Differences

A very sharply observed look at the different styles of parenting (as shown by a doctor and his maid) which ends up pulling in much wider class and cultural biases as well. -BOB [LIKED]

Miss Lovely

Not what I was expecting at all – this was a dark modern noir that digs into the filmmaking behind some seedy, very non-Bollywood movies. Not a lot of flash and sparkle, but that’s just fine. -BOB [LIKED]

The Place Beyond The Pines

This triple-narrative film from the director of Blue Valentine never really recovers from its knock-out opening single-take scene involving Ryan Gosling. The fact that Gosling disappears and is replaced with Bradley Cooper at about the half-way mare also hurts the film. Also, points lost for underusing both Rose Byrne and Bruce Greenwood, both of whom are fantastic in their short scenes. -KURT [LIKED]

Rough around the edges, but it leaves the viewer with an awful lot to cling to. It’s a solid offering from an emerging filmmaker – showing growth from his first feature just two years ago, and showing that he still has stories yet to tell. -RYAN [LIKED]

What Maisie Knew

An interesting story of parents behaving badly, both Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan fight each other in a custody battle for their young daughter whom they want more as an accessory than as a loved human being. And their new husband and wife end up better parents then they ever were. The film knows what it wants to say and how it wants to say it, but drops the ball a bit in making the child just as much a suffering ‘angelic’ prop as exists in their parents agendas. -KURT [LIKED]

The Great Kilapy

The end of Portuguese colonialism in Angola must be able to drive far more interesting stories than that of the charmless, chauvinist central con man in The Great Kilapy. Unfortunately this one was poorly plotted and poorly paced. – BOB [DISLIKED]

To The Wonder

Terrence Malick returns rather quickly with this, the least of his films to date. It’s hard to top Tree of Life, and even harder not to be reminded of that film considering the style is the same. But the filmmaker is onto some great ideas slyly hidden amongst Olga Kurylenko’s twirling in Paris parks and Middle American suburbs. The least of Malick’s films is very much a master-work of cinematic genius. -KURT [LOVED]

Malick’s weakest film. It asks a good question or two, looks nifty, and sounds marvellous – but at the moment it is little more than a cinematic EP. -RYAN [DISLIKED]

Terrence Malick wanders well and truly into the territory of self-parody. Even the imagery fails to impress, because it’s exactly the same stuff we saw in his last effort. -TOM [DISLIKED]

Feels like a practical joke or an experiment gone horribly wrong. My chief criticism is how entirely vacant the central love story is because of how little we are allowed to get to know them. We are not shown the motivations for the love or the lack of it, to me it is not conveyed in the poetry or the images. Near the end Malick is able to cobble something together that rises above the mundane of the relationship, the beauty does transcend, but too little, too late. -MIKE ROT [WORST]

Emperor

Big Oscar-bait and emotional catharsis techniques are applied to the American Occupation of Japan at the end of WWII. General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones, excellent) has to decide what to do with Emperor Hirohito in terms of war-crimes, and charges one of his Generals (Matthew Fox, who doesn’t embarrass himself) to investigate and look for a way out of plunging the country into revolve if the US takes down the emperor who managed to get Japan to surrender in the first place. -KURT [LIKED]

Anna Karenina

Keira Knightley is woefully miscast but director Joe Wright runs circles around her with spectacle that mostly makes up for it. First hour is Baz Luhrmann-on-Ritalin stunning, but last half slows down and remembers there is a tragic psychological drama to tell, but by this point we are too dizzy from the excess to notice. -MIKE ROT [LIKED]

Liverpool
Manon Briand’s long-awaited follow-up to Chaos And Desire is a bit clunky with its many messages (modern social networking, using 3rd world countries as dumping grounds, community involvement, etc.), but still gets by on charm, character and some finely detailed performances. -BOB [LIKED]

ABCs of Death

O is For Orgasm is all you need to know. -KURT [LIKED]

F, Q, and T, with honourable mentions to K and Y. -MATT B. [LIKED]

Had favorites (A, F, K, N, T and especially Q), but the biggest problem with this anthology is an odd lack of focus and brevity within the 4-5 minutes of most of the shorts. -BOB [DISLIKED]

My Awkward Sexual Adventure
When women feel comfortable reading 50 Shades of Grey on a subway, it’s a sign we’ve reached a place where there is no shame in saying openly that one wants more than “vanilla sex”. That’s great in theory, but when one’s partner isn’t built that way, it can lead somewhere pitiful and disappointing, though oddly amusing. -RYAN [LIKED}

Ship of Theseus

A bit too didactic for my tastes at times, I managed to see the rough cut and not the final cut shown to TIFF audiences, so I am not qualified to comment on some dodgy pacing in the version I saw. The ending (and overall idea) are pretty magnificent though. An Indian version of Short Cuts, where “Cuts” is taken somewhat literal. -KURT [LIKED]

Blancanieves

A black and white, full-framed silent take on classic Grimm tale, Snow White. The craft, music, and just about everything in this movie is perfect. Except it never one spoke to my heart. Instead it was like the most beautiful butterfly pinned to a cushion under glass. -KURT [LIKED]

Great Expectations

A serviceable Dickens adaptations with good performances and…uh…nice costumes? Absolutely nothing wrong with it, but I also find it very hard to get excited about these kinds of things. -TOM [LIKED]

A Hijacking

An and icy but brilliant CEO of a Scandinavian shipping company has to negotiate for the lives of the crew of vessels when it is hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of India. Instead of the expected action beats of this kind of story, the film focuses on the emotional stresses on negotiating with terrorists (and the stresses of being held hostage) Especially when the pirates do not have any hard or fast rules about how they ‘do business.’ -KURT [LIKED]

A tense, dispassionate tale about a freighter held hostage for four months by Somali pirates, driven by an uncharacteristically favourable portrayal of a corporate executive. -TOM [LIKED]

“Disliked” is marginally stronger than I feel, but “liked” doesn’t cover it either. It merely was. -MATT B. [DISLIKED]

Barbara

A typically excellent Christian Petzold film (once again starring the great Nina Hoss) set in the GDR in the 1970s. A bit relationship drama, a bit political thriller as Hoss’s government-observed M.D. tries to escape with her fiancee to West Germany, while a co-worker offers a path and a life if she stays. -KURT [LIKED]

John Dies At The End

Kurt Sleeps Through the Middle -KURT [LIKED what I did see…]

Matt fell asleep. -MATT B. [LIKED what I did see…]

A Late Quartet

Fine performances all around, but being forced to watch actors (even talented ones) mime playing classical music, in close up, with their eyes closed feeling such strong music feelings, is pretty close to hell on Earth as far as I’m concerned. Nice to see Wallace Shawn, at least. -MIKE CAMERON [DISLIKED]

Foxfire: Confessions Of A Girl Gang

With stilted dialogue that feels like it was lifted straight from the source novel’s pages, Foxfire’s non-professional actors certainly make an effort, but come up considerably short in engaging the audience in this story of a 1950s girl gang. Long and uninvolving, the story ultimately strands its characters with nowhere to go. -BOB [DISLIKED]

The Hellbenders

Too small a scale for its own good, this naught riffy on Ghostbusters and The Exorcist could have benefited from a ‘entire team’ smackdown in Hades as its climax, but we have to settle for a minor tussle around a bonfire on a vacant lot. Still the banter is funny, and nice to see Clifton Collins Jr. get a lead role for a change. 3D is of course ridiculously unnecessary. -KURT [DISAPPOINTED]

Tai Chi 0

Shows why Stephen Chow is good at what he does, and makes me want to watch classic Shaw Brothers films over this over-produced, and incomplete VH1 pop-up-video of a martial arts movie. And it’s part Zero of I don’t know how many. -KURT [DISLIKED]

Flipping between fun, frustrating, clever and dull (in equal parts), this mostly made me wish I was watching the Shaw Brothers instead. -BOB [DISLIKED]

Ginger & Rosa

Beautifully photographed, and beautifully performed by Elle Fanning, but unbelievably uninteresting as a piece of storytelling. -MATT B. [DISLIKED]

Hyde Park on Hudson

Charmingish, slightly involving portrait of FDR whose substance–that being a romance between the man and his distant cousin–is the least interesting thing about it. Any chance to watch Bill Murray, though, is one to jump at. -MIKE CAMERON [DISLIKED]

Storm Surfers 3D

A bracing refresher on how visually inadequate digital 3D is as a capture medium. Pixely, cloudy, and jarring. They put their camera in some incredible places; too bad I couldn’t see them. -MATT B. [DISLIKED]

The Last Supper

This is not a film, but a talking head history lesson filmed on historical sets with pretty cinematography. There is not an ounce of drama in this retelling of the reunification and division of the Qin Dynasty. It’s criminally boring and tedious. -KURT [WALKED OUT]

No One Lives

Great practical gore work. Terrible Dialogue. This was a slog even with the enthusiastic Midnight Madness crowd that not even a slasher looking like Rhett Butler and climbing out of the corpse of a 7 foot tall WWE wrestler could save. -KURT [HATED]

No one lived. – MATT B. [DISLIKED]

Despite one or two surprises and good lines, this was otherwise uninspired and tension free. Pretty damn pointless as well. -BOB [DISLIKED]

Gebo And The Shadow

Apart from a few charming moments by Jeanne Moreau, this was a drab, dull and repetitive filmed stage play. Snoring was heard. Not the best introduction to Manoel de Oliveira’s filmography -BOB [HATED]

Come Out And Play

An awesome premise and an eerie score are just barely enough to hold this poorly paced horror remake together. Not to be distasteful, but it needed to get to the child murder a lot quicker, and have a lot more of it. -TOM [LIKED]

Somehow the director managed to fuck up a shot-by-shot remake of a very underrated horror classic. Makinov sucks. That is all. -KURT [DISAPPOINTED]

Up until the film’s final moments, things are actually wickedly creepy…even if our protagonists take a bit of a long time to clue in that “something’s wrong”. Whether the director didn’t see “the line” or didn’t care that he crossed it, I can’t say. -RYAN [HATED]

Disconnect

An ensemble piece about the various pitfalls of a web obsessed society, Disconnect has a good cast but is heavy handed with its message, and the last act is a little too reminiscent of Paul Haggis’ Crash for my liking. -TOM [DISLIKED]

Pieta

Warmed over Kim Ki Duk that suffers from terrible digital cinematography. Why this won the top prize at Venice this year (even if it was a technicality due to The Master already wining its quota of Lions) is beyond me. -KURT [DISLIKED]

Like Someone In Love

It will not be for everybody, especially if (like me) you are coming to it straight from CERTIFIED COPY. It is deliberate, deeply subtle, and not so much low-boiling as it is barely simmering. That said, it has some truly fascinating filmmaking and has stuck with me since the moment it abruptly ended -RYAN [LIKED]

Imagine Abbas Kiorstami’s wonderful playful and intelligent previous film Certified Copy as a lifeless, useless slog with zero empathy and far less brains. Then you would have this film where the director bothers to let a character check her unimportant voice-mails for eight useless minutes and goes downhill from there. -KURT [HATED]

Leviathan

A fever dream of a different kind. No narrative, no story, merely ninety minutes of observation on a fishing vessel as the fisherman ply their trade, the birds feed off the scraps, and the fish flop on deck. It’s not even a film as much as an anthropological thesis work, but there are images her the likes I’ve never seen before in all my cinematic travels. In other words, it’s a masterpiece. -KURT [LOVED]

Imagine an HDGoPro camera tied to a stick being plunged into the ocean over and over again for ten minutes. Imagine being jealous of a man you get to watch fall asleep on screen over the course of a different ten minutes -MIKE CAMERON [WORST]

At Any Price

On a directorial, script and performance level, At Any Price is far and away the most laughably incompetent movie I saw at the festival. Treats its audience like the dumbest people alive. -TOM [HATED]

A major misstep by Rahmin Bahrani. Incredibly trite and cliche script. Shockingly bad. -BOB [WORST]

The Impossible

Blunt, manipulative and despite being overwrought still incredibly effective. When Ewan McGregor loses his shit, I was right there with him. No idea how they filmed the tsunami but it was 100% believable. -MIKE ROT [LOVED]

Unrelenting. The telling of this true story of one family’s ordeal through the massive tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 never lets the audience find their own way to their emotions. It essentially insists on dictating everything you will feel throughout the film using a heavy-handed soundtrack and story elements designed to pound the despair down your throat. And that makes it frankly tiring and quite unnecessary really. Give director Juan Antonio Bayona credit though – he can shoot the hell out of raging torrents of water. -BOB [DISLIKED]

Save the White People! Save the White People. A very disappointing follow up to the engaging ghost story The Orphanage, J. A. Bayona recreates the true story of a family surviving and re-uniting during the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. The film magnificently re-creates the torrential flow of debris strewn water across jungle, but bungles its drama in favour of Hollywood Bullshit and its obsession with a Passion Play for Naomi Watts. -KURT [HATED]

In its quietest moments, when there are no symphonic scores, or balling cries for a missing person, IMPOSSIBLE gets close. When the sounds we hear are only silence, or the rush of water, the film is an intense tribute to those who went through this ordeal. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between. -RYAN [HATED]

The only film at TIFF that made me physically angry was J.A. Bayona technically excellent but morally repulsive tale about a wealthy Caucasian family reunited after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Emotional manipulation at its most disrespectful, The Impossible is an insult to survivors. -TOM [WORST]

Yellow

Clearly director Nick Cassavetes is an entitled little snot who despite getting the privilege of making films with interesting actors, hates the act of filmmaking. Why tell a story and then mock the characters and their emotions without ever once coming close to a sense of humour. This film is an act of cinematic self-flagellation. -KURT [WORST]

A goddamned amateurish mess, written by or for small children. Ugly, derivative, and repetitive. -MATT B. [WORST]

There may be moments of surreal, dark humour in Nick Cassavetes’ film about a woman internalizing all of her screwed up past, but it’s saddled with a completely unlikeable, unsympathetic and uninteresting central character who feels nothing. Makes it pretty hard to care a whit about what happens to her.  -BOB [DISLIKED]

A Werewolf Boy

I actually traded in a ticket to get a ticket for this because I was warned off another lacklustre film. The lesson I learned is that even though they entire festival-going experience is a crapshoot given that one has such limited information to go on, sometimes it’s better to just take one’s lumps. -RYAN [WORST]

Kurt Halfyard
Resident culture snob.

8 Comments

      • Alas, I accidently silenced Ryan in that one, claiming both the like and dislike. It is fixed. But I’m going to steal that technique and maybe do it for a film or three next year!

        (And yes, Matt, all my brilliance ever only comes from accidents! aha!)

        Reply
    • Jaded? Nah, many of us just didn’t like the excessive manipulation. Nor could I bring myself to care that much more for their story compared to the thousands of others in the exact same situation – when McGregor broke down, it felt like the movie was trying to tell me that he deserved more sympathy. Whatever kindness in my heart I had left for the film pretty much evaporated at the end when they did the “just missing each other” routine in the hospital. That was so pointless…

      The tsunami footage itself was impressive though.

      Reply
      • It is a strange mx, horror melodrama, I get the feeling if this was an Asian film that balance would be easier to digest. It has that Spielbergian simplicity, I admit, but I like that, I saw it manipulating me but it didn’t bother me. The audience I was with was sobbing throughout and I was right there with them.

        Reply
        • Aside from the tension of the initial Naomi Watts in peril sequence, I think the only time the film got me was the when the other father and son reunited in the hospital (arranged by the main family’s oldest son).

          Reply
  1. Awesome, I love running through your TIFF coverage guys. I’m very jealous. I did have Cannes this year, but I was only there for a couple of days.

    I’ve got Celluloid Screams, a local(ish) horror festival coming up next month so I’ll be catching up with Sightseers and some other indie-horror gems. Look out for my write-up.

    Reply

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