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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Fidai'

    The ways of international film financing can be obscure, as demonstrated by the French-Algerian-Chinese documentary “Fidaï” from director Damien Ounouri, who managed to get Chinese auteur-par-excellence Jia Zhang-Ke (“Still Life”) on board as an executive producer (there’s a little of Jia’s approach to documentary here). The formally assembled and beautiful non-fiction feature, shot on crisp digital video, chronicles the story of Med El Hadi Benadouda, the filmmaker’s great-uncle, who was a Fidaï, or mujahideen soldier without a uniform, during the Algerian Revolution that sought to liber...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF Brody Diary Day Three: 'Cloud Atlas,' Entries from Raul Ruiz & Takeshi Kitano, Plus Auguste Perret's Architecture

    It’s only Day Three, and already I overslept – easier to do these past two years as the festival has shifted several kilometers south from Yorkville, where I could used to be able to roll out of bed from my friends’ house and still make a screening, to the area around the Bell Lightbox. Now I have ...

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    American Auteurs in Canada: How 'The Master,' 'Spring Breakers' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' Define the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

    There are some 300 movies at Toronto this year, but at its midpoint, it's the American auteurs -- Paul Thomas Anderson, Harmony Korine, David O. Russell -- that dominate this Canadian festival.

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Zaytoun'

    This period adventure story revisits the days of the Lebanese Civil War and the early stages of the ill-fated Israeli incursion into Lebanon. It follows young Fahed (Abdallah El Akal) as he witnesses the death of his father in an attack on a Palestinian refugee camp and his escape from Beirut with an unlikely companion, an Israeli pilot, Yoni (Stephen Dorff), whose plane is shot down. "Zaytoun," by Eran Riklis ("The Syrian Bride," "Lemon Tree") is a road movie that heads toward Israel and toward the village there that Fahed’s family was forced to leave, as the two meet up with everything but peace along ...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Nick Cassavetes' ‘Yellow’ Is Daring, Bold And Just What The Doctor Ordered

    Officially the most refreshing breath of air at this year’s TIFF, Nick Cassavetes’ new feature ‘Yellow’, is a step into crazy terrritory, far from his recent romantic comedy fare and "Alpha Dog." Away from traditional ways of telling stories, and towards a different type of perspective, a very diffe...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' Is An Unexpected Delight

    How does one follow the biggest superhero film in box office history? Perhaps a better way to phrase it is, how does the man behind some of the most beloved cult TV series and characters in recent pop history follow the biggest superhero film in box office history? If we're talking about the muc...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: 'Berberian Sound Studio' Is An Unnerving, Original Psychological Horror Anchored By The Great Toby Jones

    People love movies about the making of movies. Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration -- general audiences have a history of some apathy towards the genre. But filmmakers certainly love films that go behind the scenes of their own business, from "8 1/2" to last year's Oscar winner "The Artist," and ci...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Fill the Void'

    In the ultra-orthodox world of Jerusalem, Shira is 18 and plays the accordion in a kindergarten, and her family wants her to marry. She and her mother have their eyes on a handsome young man, but things get complicated when her older sister, Esther, dies in childbirth, and Esther’s husband, solemn, bearded Yochay, the father of a new baby, becomes the next eligible man. Director Rama Burshtein, the first woman from a Hasidic background to make a feature film, views Shira’s predicament from inside a religious community. Unlike the exposures of abuse and oppression that can be found in recent documentaries about women forced by o...

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  • Indiewire
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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Thanks for Sharing'

    The directorial debut by "The Kids Are All Right" co-writer Stuart Blumberg, this ambitious comedy-drama about three men coping with sex addiction hits notes all the way up and down the scale. Often effective if inevitably erratic, the result finds room for everything from broad comedy to moments that strive for the darkness of "Shame," Steve McQueen’s far more severe take on the same subject. Mark Ruffalo gets the meatiest of the three central stories as Adam, a Manhattanite whose firm hold on his personal demons is tested when he falls for Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a woman who doesn’t know about his past. ...

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    Toronto Review: Juan Antonio Bayona's 'The Impossible' Is an Intense Realization of the 2004 Tsunami at Odds With Overstated Sentimentalism

    Bringing a blockbuster vision to a large scale disaster that demands it, Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" delivers a visceral treatment of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami only hampered by the overwrought sentimentalism of the survival tale at its center.

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