Two of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival’s biggest (or at least its most star-studded) gala presentations take place today: the Brad Pitt n’ baseball crowd-pleaser Moneyball and the George Clooney directed political thriller The Ides of March, starring Ryan Gosling.
Our Andrew Parker has seen both films and lets us know whether or not these celebrity-filled galas are worth the rather hefty price of admission.
Moneyball, dir. Bennett Miller
Moneyball tells the David and Goliath-like story of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) as he attempts to draft a World Series winning baseball team on a shoestring budget. This intriguing true story makes subjects as nerdy as economics and statistics engaging exciting, while giving fans of sports films a different way of looking at a game that has appeared on screen hundreds of times before. It displays a lot of the attention to detail that marked co-writer Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, but the final 15 minutes or so are disappointing as the film becomes a self-indulgent treatise on the romantic nature of America’s national sport. Pitt gives a typically strong performance and Jonah Hill is put to good use as the socially awkward number cruncher Beane brings in to help rebuild. It’s the film equivalent of a ball that falls into the outfield and bounces over the fence. It’s not a home run, but it’s a guaranteed double. – A.P.
Friday, September 9th, Roy Thompson Hall 6:30pm
Saturday, September 12th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin), 2:30pm
Saturday, September 17th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin), 2:30pm
The Ides of March, dir. George Clooney
George Clooney proves once again to be one of the best actors-turned-directors with the impeccably well acted film, The Ides of March. Set against the highly contested Ohio state primary election, a campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) suffers a crisis of conscience after becoming personally invested in a scandal involving his presidential candidate client (Clooney). The film itself is a well constructed throwback to the political potboilers of the 70s and 80s, but what sets it apart is Clooney’s ability to draw excellent performances out of a note perfect cast. Gosling continues to own 2011 with his third strong performance in the past three months and he gets great assists from Evan Rachel Wood (as the intern with a dark secret), Paul Giamatti (as a rival campaign leader), and Clooney himself, who uses his charm to create a very well rounded depiction of a consummate politician. – A.P.
Friday, September 9th, Roy Thompson Hall, 9:30pm
Saturday, September 10th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin), 11:00am