TIFF ’14: Hungry Hearts

TIFF ’14: Hungry Hearts 0

Here is a film that really disturbed me. It’s called Hungry Hearts, made by the Italian director Saverio Costanzo who clearly enjoys Roman Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy but has less positive feelings about the difficulties of raising a child. But, as what often makes Polanski’s movies so effective, inspired technique can work horrifying, if (in this […]

TIFF ’14: Love & Mercy

TIFF ’14: Love & Mercy 0

What a feat it requires to cinematically tell the story of Brian Wilson, the eccentric American musician and chief songwriter (among other things) of The Beach Boys who came up with the ultimate oddity of concept albums, Pet Sounds, in 1966. There and after, Wilson battled with crippling bouts of depression and substance abuse. He […]

TIFF ’14: The Drop

TIFF ’14: The Drop 0

I haven’t felt this much anxiety watching a crime movie since Scott Cooper’s underrated Out of the Furnace. The Drop is a riveting crime drama about two men, Bob (Tom Hardy) and Marv (James Gandolfini), whose Brooklyn bar, a “drop bar” for local Chechen mafia, is put in jeopardy when robbed by two masked men. […]

TIFF ’14: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

TIFF ’14: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 0

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya tells an exceedingly important story, wrapped in the realm of Japanese folk tale, of femininity and a woman’s ability – and right – to make her own decisions. Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) takes these elements and actually feels them through the tender graces of heart […]

TIFF ’14: The Tribe

TIFF ’14: The Tribe 0

The Tribe is a two-hour-plus episodic crime drama built on a series of tracking shots told in silence to the extent that we only hear ambience, and the scraping of hands as they gesture Ukrainian sign language.

TIFF ’14: The Theory of Everything

TIFF ’14: The Theory of Everything 0

The Theory of Everything is certainly earnest, but we require more from a biopic on the great English physicist Stephen Hawking, the best-selling writer of A Brief History of Time (1988) and whose IQ is estimated at 160? We require intellectual conviction and probing questions, like what the man had himself.

TIFF ’14: The Cobbler

TIFF ’14: The Cobbler 0

The Cobbler is the Fading Gigolo of last year: it’s a quaint comedy about a neurotic Jewish schlub (there played by John Tuturro, here by Adam Sandler) who works in a tiny, old-fashioned shop in a very hasidic part of New York City. More importantly, both films are equally contrived and unfunny. Strange how so […]

TIFF ’14: “The Connection”

TIFF ’14: “The Connection” 0

Omit the “French” from the title and stick us in the country that officially speaks it and you have, sort of, Cédric Jimenez’s The Connection– an air-tight if familiar crime drama about the six-year attempt to dismantle the Marseilles’s notorious drug ring that inspired William Friedkin’s 1971 The French Connection. 

TIFF ’14: [REC]4: Apocalypse

TIFF ’14: [REC]4: Apocalypse 0

[REC]4: Apocalypse is a detour from the previous three Spanish [REC] horror films. Though we should count [REC] 3: Genesis out since it wasn’t directed by Jaume Balagueró, who helmed the first two films and now this fourth entry, Apocalypse. The new film, which takes place immediately after the second and is situated on an […]