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 […]
TIFF ’14: “Leviathan”

TIFF ’14: “Leviathan” 0

Leviathan takes place on the coast of the Barents Sea, but it could exist anywhere. It deals with human issues that are based in Russia, but affect families, governments, and institutions from around the world. I refer to our society’s struggle with the old and the new- tradition and modernity- and how the two realms […]

TIFF ’14: “Whiplash”

TIFF ’14: “Whiplash” 0

Blood, sweat, and tears are as much characters in Whiplash as the toiling musicians who shed them. The film, a darling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, certainly meets its quota of such bodily liquids dripping and flying onto drumheads and music stands. But primarily, Whiplash focuses on the teacher-student relationship (rivalry?) between Andrew Neyman […]