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Movie Reviews

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    Toronto Film Festival Reviews: 35 and Counting

    The 35th Toronto International Film Festival kicks off September 9, 2010 and runs through ten days and nearly 300 films - many of them among the most anticipated of the year. indieWIRE will be offering loads of reviews (though not quite 300) as the festival progresses, and this is a guide to each a...

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    Taking Over TIFF: James Gunn's "SUPER" In Focus

    The first big sales story out of the Toronto International Film Festival this year, James Gunn's "SUPER" derives much of its momentum from its positioning at the festival. Premiering in the midnight madness program, the movie operates in a more overt "fun" gear than the majority of that section, whi...

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    Toronto Review | A Trip Worth Taking: Emilio Estevez's "The Way"

    The remarkable thing about "The Way" is that it works so much better than it should. Several aspects suggest the makings of a dud: It's a story about spirituality with a protagonist who has none. The plot, in which well-to-do California opthamologist Tom (Martin Sheen) completes a pilgrimage started...

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    Toronto Review | Grief Cycle: Shawn Ku's "Beautiful Boy"

    "Beautiful Boy" tests the extent to which one can wallow in another person's grief before it becomes unbearable. The focused story of two parents dealing with their son's decision to kill several students and then off himself during his freshman year of college, the movie dwells in discomfort. Peeki...

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    Toronto Review | Afghan on the Lam: "Essential Killing"

    So little happens in Jerzy Skolimowski's "Essential Killing" that it barely exists as a movie. Instead, the story of an escaped Taliban fighter (Vincent Gallo) wandering through the forests of Europe meanders along as a succession of scenes. At times engrossing and not without palpable suspense, it ...

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    Toronto Review | A Natural Museum In 3-D: Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"

    In recent years, Werner Herzog's sly observations on the ways the universe in wondrously strange documentaries such as "Grizzly Man" and "Encounters at the End of the World" have taken on cult status apart from his existing place in the history of German cinema. Viral videos contain uncanny imitatio...

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    Toronto Review | A Gay Dad and a Mid-Life Crisis: Mike Mills's "Beginners"

    The delicate blend of playful drama in "Beginners," the second narrative feature by California-based filmmaker and graphic designer Mike Mills ("Thumbsucker"), is a small wonder to behold. Mills fashions the set-up for an overwrought, thoroughly depressing character study into an oddly charming come...

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    Toronto Review | A Title That Lies: "It's Kind of a Funny Story"

    Few American filmmakers in recent memory have matched the ability of co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck to make small stories work in big ways. "Half Nelson" made a gritty, low key portrait of one teacher's struggles with the Brooklyn public school system into Oscar bait. Their follow-up, "Sugar," miraculously turned the immigrant experience in minor league baseball into a rousing sports movie. Given their proven track record for injecting socio-economic talking points into understated crowdpleasers, Boden and Fleck have earned the resources to make more of them. Unfortunately, their shift toward mainstream filmmaking with "It's Kind of a...

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    Toronto Review | One Sad Note: "Never Let Me Go"

    An incidental sci-fi story that favors elegant imagery over content, "Never Let Me Go" has plenty of emotional baggage to spare. Adapting Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel about an alternative history where clones are bred to donate organs, Mark Romanek (directing his first feature since 2002's "One Hour ...

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    Toronto Review | De Niro Versus Norton: John Curran's "Stone"

    A bizarre, messy tale of religious philosophy and guilt, John Curran's "Stone" has several unique parts that never entirely fit together. Robert De Niro stars as Michigan-based parole officer Jack Mabrey, an unnervingly cold man with inner demons to spare. His latest subject is Stone (Edward Norton)...

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