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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Quartet'

    Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut is mainly of note because the iconic actor takes his first stab at working behind the camera. The lightweight story, an adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play about a retirement home for aging classical musicians, plays by the rules and lets the performances lead the way. Former opera stars Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtney) enjoy old age without much pressure. While Reggie enjoys teaching as a means of bridging the gap between classic music and popular forms, the boisterous Wilf gleefully hits on fellow retiree Cissy (Pauline Collins) while the trio gleefully reminisce about their halcy...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Overwrought 'The Impossible' Drowns In A Sea Of Melodrama

    If "The Impossible" moves viewers to do anything, it may be to upgrade their life insurance policy to cover injuries due to tsunami. Because as we watch the Bennett family get whisked away by helipcopter at the end of the film to the facilities of a hospital in Singapore, leaving the tragedy of the ...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Branded' Is An Incomprehensible Sci-Fi Mash-Up That Thinks It's Much More Clever Than It Actually Is

    The trailers for “Branded” promise a kind of the-world-is-not-what-it-seems science fiction head-turner in the vein of “The Matrix,” with an emphasis on the cultural fixation around name brands. They tantalizingly teased: What if, instead of giving you pleasure, those same brands were feeding off of...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Bloodless 'Byzantium' A Vampire Tale Without Fangs

    Between "Twilight" on the big screen, and "True Blood" and "Vampire Diaries" on the cable dial, among countless other books, graphic novels and more, if you're a fan of bloodsuckers, there's likely a flavor out there for you. And with countless other projects in the pipeline from Will Smith's direct...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: '7 Boxes'

    “The Fast and the Furious” with wheelbarrows, Paraguayan action-thriller-romance hybrid “7 Boxes” is a rollicking good time at the movies that offers breathtaking action and suspense, humor and appealing characters all in one visually flashy package. Made by first-time feature directors Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori, “Boxes” is set in Municipal Market 4 in Asunción, an enormous maze of stalls and stores that covers almost eight blocks. Víctor (newcomer Celso Franco, going places) is a 17-year-old wheelbarrow transporter who tries to scrape by delivering goods bought at the market....

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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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