Toronto International Film Festival 2014

TIFF 2014: Mr. Turner Review

Mr. Turner Special Presentations Mr. Turner encapsulates the spirit and intent of the kind of stories that writer/director Mike Leigh likes to tell. When you aren’t laughing your face off at his latest, you’re in a dark, deeply emotional state. J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall), isn’t a household name, but before Renoir or Monet, he was […]

TIFF 2014: Foxcatcher Review

Foxcatcher Gala Certain to get noticed for its trio of electrifying leading performances, this unnerving and stylish true life tragedy still feels a bit off thanks to director Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote) overcompensating where he doesn’t need to. Olympic gold medal wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) has just come back from the 1984 Olympics and […]

TIFF 2014: Short Cuts Canada Program 3 Reviews

The third program of the Short Cuts Canada series is a stellar line-up of shorts about various forms of societal marginalization or the awkwardness felt by being an outcast. There isn’t one out of the bunch that doesn’t muster up true emotion or deeply contemplative thoughts about how we approach and deal with people who […]

TIFF 2014: A Hard Day Review

A Hard Day City to City When you first meet Detective Ko Gun-soo (Lee Sun-kyun), it’s clear that he’s at the dawn of a real, real bad day. Driving to his mother’s funeral procession while on the phone with his snack-hungry daughter, a stray dog appears on the road causing him to swerve head on […]

TIFF 2014: Whiplash Review

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons deliver the best leading performances of their careers in this intensely heart-pounding game of musical one-upmanship.

TIFF 2014: Over Your Dead Body Review

Over Your Dead Body Vanguard It’s been a while since we’ve seen the side of Takashi Miike that’s on display in Over Your Dead Body. Miike continues to live up to his legend by making multiple films every year and including and least one sequence of toe-curlingly visceral violence. But he hasn’t trotted into the […]

TIFF 2014: Short Cuts Canada Program 1 Reviews

Considering that the major showpieces of this year’s opening Short Cuts Canada program are a restorations of a pair of iconic national classics, it only stands to reason that the rest of the films should fall in nicely behind them. Recently restored to its 3D glory for the digital age, Norman McLaren’s stereoscopic opus Around […]

TIFF 2014: Preggoland Review

Preggoland Special Presentations A charmingly foulmouthed, bad taste comedy that can do for faking a pregnancy what Bridesmaids did for bachelorette parties, the latest film from Canadian filmmaker Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky, Good Neighbours) benefits from a stellar script and a star making performance from writer and lead Sonja Bennett. Ruth (Bennett) is in her […]

TIFF 2014: Alleluia Review

Alleluia Vanguard Writer/director Fabrice Du Welz established himself a purveyor of deeply disturbing relationship studies that mutate into horror films in the 2000s with Calvaire and Vinyan. After a painfully long seven-year gap, he’s finally returned with a project that very much delivers a new twist on his old themes. Alleluia is based on the […]

TIFF 2014: Short Cuts Canada Program 2 Reviews

The deeper meaning of human interaction and personal relationships seems to be the unifying concept behind the shorts in this year’s second, Quebec filmmaker heavy Short Cuts Canada package. In the best of the shorts, Elizabeth Lazebnik’s Russian language meditation Liompa, an old man on his death bed realizes that not only will be not […]

TIFF 2014: Two Shots Fired Review

Two Shots Fired Contemporary World Cinema After a day of clubbing, swimming and garden work, Mariano (Rafael Federman) found a gun in his shed and shot himself twice. If this was a suicide, or an act of boredom, is unclear, as after surviving the incident he doesn’t seem anymore despairing than his generally blasé community. […]

TIFF 2014 Interview: Colin Geddes

It’s a sweltering late July afternoon, but I’m still sitting down over a cup of warm tea at Canteen in the lobby of the TIFF Bell Lightbox and talking to Colin Geddes the day after most of his choices for the heavily watched and buzzed about Midnight Madness and Vanguard sections had been announced. (Really […]

TIFF 2014: Coming Home Review

Coming Home Special Presentations Coming Home chronicles a difficult political time where one unfortunate accident changes the courses of events for one unsuspecting family. The cultural revolution was stressful time for countless in mainland China, but when long imprisoned Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming), a teacher who clashes with the establishment, comes home after years away […]

TIFF 2014: [REC] 4: Apocalypse Review

[REC] 4: Apocalypse Midnight Madness Picking up where [REC] 2 left off, no one is safe as the authorities struggle to contain a viral zombie outbreak of now demonic proportions. It won’t set the world on fire in terms of originality or craft, but if this is the final entry in the franchise, it could […]

TIFF 2014: Infinitely Polar Bear Review

Infinitely Polar Bear Gala Although somewhat awkwardly mounted by first time director Maya Forbes, her retelling of her own childhood with a bipolar father in late 70s Boston holds a wealth of empathy and emotion that more than makes up for any technical shortcomings. Not long after suffering a severe manic episode, Cameron (one of […]