Every year the fine folks at Row Three do a post-TIFF mega-wrap up, collecting the micro-blurbs of a bunch of attendees into a giant meta-analysis of what everyone liked, loved, hated, etc. etc.. We'll link to that post when it goes up on the weekend, but in the mean time, here's my contribution:
BEST - Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell's comedy of awkwardness and mental illness eschews quirk and heads straight for entertainingly off-putting, which ends up being mere preface before a Slumdog-worthy joyous climax. Jennifer Lawrence somehow winds up being the best thing in Robert De Niro's best movie in 15 years.
LOVED - Looper - Gordon-Levitt and Willis sling genre slang with effortless tough-guy grace. Feels like the first sparkling emergence of a generation raised on Star Wars and made queer by Reservoir Dogs.
LOVED - Spring Breakers - Harmony Korine's hypnotic dubstep opus to aesthetic teen self-definition through aggressive Drug Crime wears its fixation on crotches right up on its sleeve. Whatever happened that made this movie possible should happen way, way more often.
LOVED - Room 237 - Thanks to some hilariously clever editing, we're spared the nasty opportunity to laugh in the faces of several obsessed fans of The Shining. Instead their monologues are woven together into a portrait of what it is to really love a film, and what emerges from that meshing is an appreciation of Kubrick's power that'll re-drop your jaw all over again.
LOVED - The Iceman - A tender, intimate character study of a dude that killed over a hundred people for the mob. Michael Shannon is... well, he's something.
LIKED - Argo - It speaks well of the nuts and bolts of a film like this–the pacing, performances, the costumes and the script–that so much tension can be wrung from what's essentially a heist film where a) we know the ending and b) nothing ever really goes wrong. It's too early to anoint Affleck a saviour but not too early to get excited by the possibility.
LIKED - Rust and Bone - Pretty much the definitive "girl gets her leg bit off by an Orca and falls in love with a homeless kickboxer" film. Feels like Audiard got double-dog dared to make this movie and then did a fairly good job.
LIKED - Rebelle - An unsanctimonious, no-solution proposing portrait of two child soldiers. It's half a tragedy and half a docish look at the actual day-to-day details of what life is actually like for a kidnapped child forced to kill and half a love story, which is a strangely appealing, seemingly impossible mix.
DISLIKED - A Late Quartet - Fine performances all around, but being forced to watch actors (even talented ones) mime playing classical music, in close up, with their eyes closed feeling such strong music feelings, is pretty close to hell on Earth as far as I'm concerned. Nice to see Wallace Shawn, at least.
DISLIKED - Hyde Park on Hudson - Charmingish, slightly involving portrait of FDR whose substance–that being a romance between the man and his distant cousin–is the least interesting thing about it. Any chance to watch Bill Murray, though, is one to jump at.
DISLIKED - Cloud Atlas - An entertainingly bizarre and only slightly... well, if not actively racist then certainly racial... historical sci-fi epic wrapped around a radioactive Jar-Jar Binksesque turd so stinky that I'm still laughing at the smell. How anyone on Earth, let alone the people that made Speed Racer, can get a hundred million bucks to spend on Tom Hanks saying "You speak-a true true?" patois to cybertronic glowing Halle Berry is so far beyond me that I assume that initial financing meetings took place on what, the moon?
DISLIKED - Dredd 3D - If you frown, and frown, and frown again, I too will frown. Who likes frowny-boy? Nobody.
HATED - Leviathan - Imagine an HDGoPro camera tied to a stick being plunged into the ocean over and over again for ten minutes. Imagine being jealous of a man you get to watch fall asleep on screen over the course of a different ten minutes.
Every year the fine folks at Row Three do a post-TIFF mega-wrap. Here are Mike's contributions!