Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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REVIEW: Obvious Child [2014]

“Let’s do it on Valentine’s Day” It seems like a slight on the film since it’s a comedy, but I sincerely applaud Obvious Child for taking the subject of abortion seriously. Or maybe I should say naturally because while I never felt preached at from either side of the issue, I did laugh hard and often. There’s no flippant joke showing a protestor outside the clinic a la Juno or any espousing of a political agenda like the end of The Visitor turning immigration compassion into system vilification—it simply lets…

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REVIEW: Paradise [2013]

“Why twitter with Satan when you can friend with God?” My first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival had me arriving at the box office with vouchers and no clue about what to see. Ready for anything, my friend and I took a chance on Juno based solely on our enjoying Thank You for Smoking and our intrigue in Ellen Page’s follow up to her fantastic turn in Hard Candy. It was a great choice: funny, fresh, contemporary, and accompanied by a Q&A with director Jason Reitman and first-time…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Labor Day [2013]

“I understood who my real family was: her.” If anyone questioned whether or not Jason Reitman was truly a great director or merely someone with excellent luck at choosing projects—I remember thinking his Best Director nod for Juno was premature myself—Labor Day should set the record straight. And that’s despite his introduction before its third screening at the Toronto International Film Festival thanking his crew for making it seem he knew what he was doing. It’s very much a different beast than his previous works, pushing comedy to the side…

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REVIEW: Young Adult [2011]

“Mad Love, Buddy” And the award for movie with the worst message for young adults is Young Adult. Bravo Diablo Cody for what appears to be a cathartic foray into justifying arrogance, shallowness, and alcoholism as signs of great artistic talent rather than portraying them as glaring issues needing work, help, and maturity. Kudos for hiding a dark cesspool of angry depressive horrors beneath the sheen of a light-hearted coming home to romance the now married ex-boyfriend comedy and for allowing horrible monsters to become more horrible. Thanks for at…

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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Up in the Air [2009]

“I’m like my mother, I stereotype—it’s faster” I’ll get it out right now: I have a soft spot for director Jason Reitman. I felt his debut Thank You for Smoking lived up to expectations and his sophomore effort Juno was my first ever screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, allowing me to experience something fresh and unique before becoming a breakout phenomenon. So, on the basis of nostalgia, as well as talent, my friend and I had to see if he could finish out the hat trick with Up…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Jennifer’s Body [2009]

“I’m a kicker; it says so in my chart” I’ll admit to not being very excited to see Jennifer’s Body on first look. Coming as a fast-tracked script, hot on the heels of Diablo Cody’s successful debut Juno, it just looked rushed, abused, and left for dead. After the production house Fox Atomic folded and dissolved back into its parent, the future did not look bright. However, being a teen horror flick starring Megan Fox had to all but assure it a theatrical release of some sort. And here it…

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TIFF09 PREVIEW: For the Love of Film indeed …

September 10th is the day that friend/co-worker Chris Schobert and I head back up north for our third year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We’ve done the middle three days (2007) and the last three days (2008), so we thought, “What the hell?”, let’s try our luck with the opening four. Rolling out of bed, speeding down the QEW, and landing at the box office hours before our first film wouldn’t quite be effective for this year’s journey, however. Being in TO for FaneXpo last weekend meant we…

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REVIEW: I Love You, Man [2009]

“You sound like a leprechaun” Hollywood comedy these days is just one giant extended family tree. Everyone—and I mean everyone—has a connection and brings their friends along wherever they go. The new film I Love You, Man is no exception. This is a very good thing, because if I were to go on writer Larry Levin’s previous work, (scripting the Dr. Dolittle remake saga), I would have stayed far, far away. But instead I saw the Apatow flair with Jason Segel and regular Paul Rudd mixed with a little NBC…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist [2008]

“Where’s Fluffy?” What do you get when you cast Michael Cera as an awkward late-teen/quasi-geek; a sassy, smart, attractive girl who is a better catch then she thinks; a killer Indie soundtrack; and comedic side characters that deliver the goods? Juno? Not quite. Peter Sollett decided to follow-up his acclaimed drama Raising Victor Vargas by jumping on the pretentious cool train to do a “smart” teen comedy. What we get is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is a real good time;…

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