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cinemadaily | At TIFF, Business as Usual for Moore, “Whip It” Surprises

cinemadaily | At TIFF, Business as Usual for Moore, "Whip It" Surprises

Michael Moore’s latest, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which premiered at Venice and screened this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, “alternates between comedic playfulness and one-dimensional investigative journalism, but not in accordance with any particularly systematic routine,” writes Eric Kohn in his review for indieWIRE. “The movie contains valuable ideas, but not the sum of their arrangement. Overlong and scatterbrained, it’s like a Saturday morning cartoon marathon version of the financial crisis.”

“All the staple Moore documentary techniques are present and correct, from the small-scale case studies and sarcastic voice over to the ironic use of archive footage and harebrained stunt at the end,” writes David Jenkins for Time Out. “And while he’s saying nothing that a cursory scan of the nearest broadsheet would not tell you in much greater depth, it’s clear that his aim is to motivate and incense rather than to educate and inform. Seen within those parameters, this new film is another barnstorming success.”

Leslie Felperin at Variety notes that “By returning to his roots, professional gadfly Michael Moore turns in one of his best films with ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’” and the Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young calls the film “funny, often over the top and of dubious documentation, but with strongly made points that leave viewers much to ponder and debate after they walk out of the theater… Moore has assembled a collection of nearly unbelievable horror stories to illustrate why capitalism and democracy do not go hand in hand.”

Spout’s Karina Longworth: “I wouldn’t expect a Michael Moore film to even attempt ideological balance, but the point to which Moore deliberately confuses the issues is remarkable. Beyond the deliberate muddying up of various explications of the jam we’re in, structurally, ‘Capitalism’ is almost free-associative… One wonders if ‘Capitalism’ won’t look almost avant garde when seen decades removed from the Moore cult of personality, which has a tendency to make his work seem more commercial than it really is.”

“Moore’s conclusion? That capitalism is both un-Christian and un-American, an evil that deserves not regulation but elimination,” writes The Guardian’s Xan Brooks. “No doubt he had concluded all this anyway, well in advance of making the film, but no matter. There is something energising – even moving – about the sight of him setting out to prove it all over again.”

Watch the trailer for “Capitalism: A Love Story” on YouTube.

“‘With Whip It,’ her remarkable debut as a director, Drew Barrymore proves that she is just as perky, quirky and talented behind the camera as in front of it,” writes the Hollywood Reporter’s Peter Brunette. The film premiered this weekend at Toronto. “‘Whip It’ clicks on so many levels — heartwarming family story, rough-and-tumble display of grrrl power and a secondary but tender and convincing romance.”

The LA Times’ Mark Olsen reports on the film’s premiere, calling it “a perfectly functional person-finds-self dramedy mixed with the narrative structure of a sports film, telling the story of a small-town Texas girl (Page) who rebels against her mother’s dream of beauty pageant glory to become a star roller derby player. Cross’s screenplay feels at time [sic] programmatic, and the dialouge [sic] lacks the idiosyncratic spark of something like ‘Juno,’ an obvious template for the film.”

“The film confirms what’s been clear to me since ‘Hard Candy’ (2005) and probably to others for much longer: Page is not only a great actress, but a daring one,” blogs Roger Ebert. “Barrymore begins with a story whose broad outlines are potentially conventional and uses quirky personal details to bring it to life.”

IFC’s Stephen Saito reports that “Considering the excitement in the room, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if ‘Whip It’ was any good, but it’s as confident a directorial debut as you’ll find… Like the smartest actors-turned-directors, she’s called in a number of favors and surrounded herself with some of the best in the business behind the camera.”

Watch three clips from “Whip It” here.

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