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Movie Reviews

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'God Loves Caviar'

    A breezy account of how a Greek sailor, Varvakis (Sebastian Koch) survives the Greek Civil War, before ending up working out of a Russian brothel from where he discovers a method of preserving caviar. As trade with Greece booms, the money starts pouring in.  Starting off with an older Varvakis secluded on an island chatting to McCormic (John Cleese), the clunky narrative is told in flashback and with a jaunty tone. There is not much to recommend as the story swings wildly from one set piece to another. Of minor note: Catherine Deneuve has a cameo appearance as Catherine the Great in director Iannis Smaragdis’ turgid tale. Critic...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'When I Saw You'

    Annemarie Jacir has done something remarkable in her sophomore feature film. She’s managed to couch the tricky subject of the 1967 Palestinian-Israeli war into the romanticised tale of a mother’s love for her son. Having been separated from their father (presumed dead) as Israel began...

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    Toronto: Olivier Assayas Discusses the Personal and Political Dimensions of 'Something in the Air'

    Olivier Assayas discusses shifting gears after "Carlos" to direct the semi-autobiographical tale "Something in the Air."

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: 'Underground' A Lean, Compact Look At The Early Life Of Julian Assange

    Part of understanding Julian Assange is knowing that he's spent nearly his entire life on the run. While he's currently holed up in Ecuador's embassy in the U.K., this latest roadblock for the hacker/activist is just another bump in a lifetime that has seen him constantly on the move. What many folk...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: '90 Minutes'

    Just as with Austrian Markus Schleinzer’s "Michael," Norwegian Eva Sørhaug’s is obsessed with the banality of evil. Three men go about their everyday activities before the tales explode or implode as the men produce acts of senseless violence. What makes them do such acts is left to conjecture. Just as "Michael" was seen in the light of the Fritzl case, those looking for real-life context will point to the Breivik mass murder of last year. In splitting the film into three stories, each showing the final 90 minutes in the life of a victim, Sørhaug comments on the frequency with which evil occurs...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp'

    Iceberg Slim made his name by writing the autobiographical book "Pimp: The Story of My Life." Released in 1969, it was an eye-opening account of how pimps persuade, cajole and beat women into agreeing to sell themselves. Director Jorge Hinojosa (long time manager of Ice-T) doesn’t just concern itself with his seminal book, but looks at how the author turned himself from a seller of women to a seller of words. The mix of talking heads and archive photographs works better than some clunky use of pulp-style animation. Hinojosa goes to the usual suspects to chat about black culture, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg and rent-a-quote Chris Rock...

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    Review: 'Resident Evil: Retribution' Is Apocalyptic Malevolence At Its Most Tedious & Banal

    About once every eighteen months we’re cursed with another entry in the bafflingly endless, endlessly baffling “Resident Evil” franchise. Based on a series of popular horror survival games by Japanese company Capcom, the first film was originally supposed to be directed by zombie movie titan George ...

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    TIFF Capsule Revew: 'English Vinglish'

    While the Toronto International Film Festival's City-to-City strand has focussed on Mumbai’s new wave of subversive independent filmmakers, the Gala section of TIFF has opted for standard Bollywood fare with this light-hearted comedy.  Most of the action takes place in New York and features a band of English language students hailing from Africa, India, Mexico, France and China. Bollywood fans will be delighted with the news that the very watchable Indian actress Sridevi has come out of retirement to play a mother-of-two growing increasingly frustrated with life as a housewife in Pune, India. The Manhattan wedding of a niece...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'The Patience Stone'

    Too much like watching a filmed stage play for its own good, "The Patience Stone" is a flawed attempt to discuss the position of women in the Islamic world. Afghani born director Atiq Rahimi has adapted his own book for screen, just as he did with his previous outing in the director’s chair "Earth and Ashes" (2004). Although punctuated with a few flashbacks, Rahimi relies on beautiful Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani to carry the picture as she delivers a monologue to her comatose husband, revealing her deepest, darkest secrets, including infidelity. Bordering on madness herself, Rahimi’s attempt to descr...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: Snoop Dogg's 'Reincarnated'

    Snoop Dogg likes weed. That was common knowledge long before the alternative youth culture magazine Vice asked its global editor Brit Andy Capper to take his camera to Jamaica and show Snoop foraging down hills in search of a perfect high. It’s only after the 20-minute haze of smoke has settled that a story of any interest emerges in this authorised biopic. Snoop is ostensibly on the island to make a reggae album. Recording songs with Bunny Wailer, Snoop shows his skills as a musician while embracing Rastafarianism. It’s the former Wailer that tells Snoop that he should be renamed "Snoop Lion." On breaks from record...

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