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TIFF Review: Bloodless 'Byzantium' A Vampire Tale Without Fangs

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 10, 2012 12:29 PM
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  • 5 Comments
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 directorial debut "The Redemption Of Cain" to Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," there are still more versions of this undead character on the way. But let's just hope they are more involving and creative than Neil Jordan's "Byzantium." The director's second bite into the genre following "Interview With The Vampire" is disappointingly bloodless (figuratively) and fangless (literally).

TIFF Review: Nick Cassavetes' ‘Yellow’ Is Daring, Bold And Just What The Doctor Ordered

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • September 10, 2012 10:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
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 different type of view, as he admitted to in the Q&A. You can’t but feel almost like a child trying to talk or review this movie because of how infectiously zany it is; think "Young Adult" on Vicodin and acid. Leading lady Heather Wahiquist puts her all into a truly memorable leading performance, and no wonder; she co-wrote the screenplay with Cassavetes. But the winner has to be the imagination behind the trippiness.

TIFF Review: Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' Is An Unexpected Delight

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 10, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 8 Comments
How does one follow the biggest superhero film in box office history? Perhaps a better way to phrase it is, how does the man behind some of the most beloved cult TV series and characters in recent pop history follow the biggest superhero film in box office history? If we're talking about the much-loved Joss Whedon – who else? – you decamp to your home, grab a camera, invite over your friends, and create a delightful, DIY, modern-day black-and-white adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." Duh.

TIFF Review: 'Berberian Sound Studio' Is An Unnerving, Original Psychological Horror Anchored By The Great Toby Jones

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 10, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
People love movies about the making of movies. Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration -- general audiences have a history of some apathy towards the genre. But filmmakers certainly love films that go behind the scenes of their own business, from "8 1/2" to last year's Oscar winner "The Artist," and cinephiles tend to eat them up as well. But most examples of the type tend to focus on the making of the movie, with a handful, like "Adaptation," following the gestation and writing of a film, but very few have ever focused on the point at which many filmmakers say their movies actually come together: post-production.

TIFF Review: 'Thanks For Sharing' The Uneven Dramedy Version Of 'Shame'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2012 8:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's safe to say that sex addiction is no longer the misunderstood step-brother to alcohol and drug addiction. Thanks to reality television, cable shows like "Californication" and last year's awards season contender "Shame," the stigma around sex addiction, of it not really being a problem or something that only affects scuzzy perverts, has long since evaported. Which makes Stuart Blumberg's directorial debut "Thanks For Sharing" all the more curious. An uneven, somewhat out-of-time dramedy, the film takes great pains to confirm that sex addiction is just like any other addiction, but isn't sure what to say beyond that.

TIFF Review: Big-Hearted & Hilarious 'Silver Linings Playbook' A Touchdown From David O. Russell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2012 12:17 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Life hasn't been too kind lately for Pat Solitano. He's just been released from a court ordered stint in a mental hospital after severly beating the man he caught cheating with his wife. Diagnosed as bipolar with mood swings, Pat has a difficult journey ahead of him but he's optimistic. With a rallying cry of "Excelsior," he believes that you can take "all negativity and make it a silver lining." His outlook is positive and he hopes to rebuild himself to win his wife back who has a restraining order out on him. And so begins David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," an enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper.

TIFF Review: 'Imogene' Is A Big-Screen Sitcom, But Elevated By Kristen Wiig & Annette Bening

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 9, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 9 Comments
"Imogene" finds Kristen Wiig in victory lap mode, and that suits her just fine. Perhaps the most likable comedic actress to come down the pike since Diane Keaton threw on a Civil War-era vest and floppy hat, Wiig finds herself, post-"Bridesmaids," in rarified company. She is a beloved, in-demand actress and comedienne, and a star who has something Kristen Stewart and Angelina Jolie would maim for: likability.

TIFF Review: 'Cloud Atlas' Is Bold, Messy & Disappointingly Unimaginative

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2012 10:07 PM
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  • 53 Comments
With The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer literally throwing a critic off the roof of a building to his death in the opening moments of the nearly three-hour "Cloud Atlas," it's clear that they aren't concerned in the slightest with how this ambitious effort will be received. And you certainly have to give the trio of directors some respect for their approach, which tag teams an all-star cast, gives them multiple roles and spreads the story across nearly a half dozen time periods. But for all their boldness in narrative approach, "Cloud Atlas" is also a mess, with an attempt to mix its various genres under a universal thematic banner that never quite coheres.

TIFF Review: Manic & Meta 'Seven Psychopaths' Both Exhausts & Delights

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2012 10:46 AM
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  • 14 Comments
It would seem that following the success of "In Bruges," writer/director Martin McDonagh went to Hollywood -- and didn't like the experience. A meta riff on making movies "Seven Psychopaths" is a sneering send-up of the industry that also revels in its action movie clichés. But if there is one thing certain about McDonagh's sophomore feature film, it's that it's bigger in every sense than his debut. Boasting lots of gunplay, a big extended cast of stars willing to play along and a less witty, broader sense of humor, McDonagh tries to have it both ways by playing to the cheap seats while pointing out how absurd it is at the same time.

TIFF Review: 'The Gatekeepers' Tells Story Of Israeli Security Services Through The 'Truth Of Their Own Voices'

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • September 8, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"The Gatekeepers"
It’s almost impossible to walk into "The Gatekeepers" without already feeling intrigued. Director Dror Moreh has taken care of that with the premise of his new documentary alone. Six ex-leaders of Israel’s top counterterrorism and security organization, Shin Bet, describe their experiences through a candid interview process. They answer (or at times cleverly avoid) tricky questions regarding their perspective on Shin Bet’s role, successes, failures and moral standing in the ongoing ravenous feud between Israel and Palestine. This is unprecedented stuff right here, on a topic that’s like a bus full of innocent people just waiting to explode. And as a film, it’s effective – for the most part.

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