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Movie Reviews

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    Critic's Notebook: Does Toronto Need a Shrinking Pill? Highlights From the 2012 Edition

    No matter how closely you follow the buzz from the Toronto International Film Festival each year, chances are strong that you only get one piece of a very long equation. With nearly 300 features in its program, the festival is overwhelmingly dense, particularly during its first weekend. Even the mos...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Tommy Lee Jones Shines In Otherwise Serviceable, Flawed 'Emperor'

    "We must be seen as liberators, not conquerors," Tommy Lee Jones' crusty General MacArthur says in the opening moments of "Emperor," and that line of dialogue is about as thematically rich as the film gets. A modestly budgeted, respectfully executed post-WWII drama, the film ...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Lunarcy!'

    It’s rare that you see the style and sensibilities of a documentarian align so perfectly with his or her subjects the way they do in Simon Ennis’ "Lunarcy!” Following several comedic shorts and one feature, Ennis was originally going to make his first documentary about the generally fluctuating interest in lunar colonization before deciding to zero in on a few keeners. Each interviewee has a unique relationship with the Moon (one even claims ownership), but it’s quickly established that the film’s real star is the quixotic Christopher Carson, a young man who is determined to be the Moon’s first perm...

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    Review: 'Snowman's Land' A Mildly Entertaining Hitman Farce

    It’s the folksy guitar score that early on reveals that the poker face of Tomasz Thomson’s “Snowman’s Land” is a put-on. First, it’s the twinkly strumming over scenes of muted violence, and then monotonous boredom, that reveals that “Snowman’s Land” wants you to like it, it wants you to consider tha...

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    TIFF Review: Penn Badgley Is Solid In Otherwise Uneven 'Greetings From Tim Buckley'

    While the film might not be quite as sweet and heady as drinking a glass of lilac wine, Penn Badgley's performance in "Greetings From Tim Buckley" does justice to the late Jeff Buckley, while also revealing that the "Gossip Girl" star has quite a few more talents than he'...

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    Toronto Review: Kim Ki-duk's 'Pieta' Is Not Your Average Crime Movie

    "Pieta," a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'Cloud Atlas' Review and Roundup: And Now for Something Completely Different

    One Toronto movie met mixed response but was a delirious joyride for me: "Cloud Atlas." Truth is, except for the flat "V for Vendetta" and the final pixel-fucked "Matrix" movie, I've admired all of the Wachowskis' output, even "Speed Racer." These filmmakers have it all: strong writing chops, an ins...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Just the Wind'

    After making the creepy sci-fi love story “Womb” with Eva Green in English, Hungarian director Benedek “Bence” Fliegauf returns to his home country and a much more realistic register with “Just the Wind.” Inspired by true events that occurred a couple of years ago, the film looks at the last day of a Romany family — composed of a mother (Katalin Toldi), her adolescent daughter (Gyongyi Lendvai) and her younger brother (Lajos Sarkany) — in a country where casual racism and verbal hatred of the Gypsy community have become such an accepted part of life that no one, not even the police and, to an...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Peaches Does Herself'

    Toronto-born, Berlin-based electronic musician and singer Peaches plays herself in the concert film “Peaches Does Herself,” a no-holds-barred explosion of post-punk and neo-queer performance art that mixes song, music, dance, theater, costumes and nudity. Born Merrill Beth Nisker in 1966, though she doesn’t look older than 25 or thereabouts, Peaches performs songs on a Berlin stage from her various albums, including “Teaches of Peaches,” “Fatherfucker” and “Impeach My Bush,” with her radical, sexually explicit and often queer- and transgender-themed lyrics accompanied by musicians, danc...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'As If We Were Catching a Cobra'

    The relationship between the Islamic world and newspaper cartoons has been a hot international topic ever since the Danish newspaper Jyllandss-Posten published cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in 2009. Strangely, Paris-based Syrian director Hala Alabdalla chooses not to mention this incident in her documentary praising the work of caricature artists in Egypt and Syria. Yet she seems to have trouble cutting anything else out. It’s almost unfortunate for Alabdalla that the Arab Spring took place while she was in production, as it causes the director to lose focus on the subject at hand. While most of the interviews are at times ...

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