TIFF 2008 Wrap-Up

The Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close. The last few days of travel were rather hellish, and I found myself unable to create a proper TIFF Rundown. But now I’m now in Austin Texas for Fantastic Fest, so I decided to give it to you quick, easy, and simple.

The Wrestler: Darren Aronofsky transitions from idea and style overload into a very understated, heartbreaking, beautiful indie drama with a fantastic Oscar worthy performance by Mickey Rourke. Performances and cinematography so authentic, it will make you believe you’re watching a documentary. 9/10

The Brothers Bloom: Rian Johnson’s new movie isn’t on the same level as his directorial debut Brick (but what is?). Instread we have a fantasticly fun con film which is equal parts comparable to the work of Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and The Coen Brothers. 8/10

Synecdoche, New York: Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut is either brilliant or completely insane. It’s the type of movie that requires repeat viewings to understand the many layers of complexity. But it’s also one of those type of movies that is very dark and depressing in tone, so you might not be as inclined to see it the required amount of times. 8/10 (rating might change upon further viewings)

Middle of Nowhere: A return to form for John Stockwell. Eva Amurri proves herself to be an actress to watch. 7.5 / 10

Goodbye Solo: Ramin Bahrani – does it again with a comedy/drama about the morality of assisted suicide. 7.5 / 10

What Doesn’t Kill You: A film set against the world of organized crime in South Boston, which will win you over with family drama despite first act problems. 7.5/10

Lymelife: A Sundance-style coming of age drama about first love and divorce. Basically a suburban version of Squid and the Whale. Seek this one out. A wonderful ensemble cast which includes Alec Baldwin, Emma Roberts, Rory and Kieran Culkin. 7.5/10

Religulous: A funny and enjoyable documentary poking fun at religion and the crazy people that believe crazy things. However, the film fails to tackle the real issues head on. 7.5 / 10

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist: Despite the impression given off by the marketing, Nick and Norah is not this year’s Juno. Instead it is an just-above-typical romantic comedy teen with a kick ass soundtrack/score. 7/10

Control Alt Delete: One of the strangest film I’ve seen all year. A love story about a Man, a Woman and a computer. Sonja Bennett provides a natural cuteness and sarcastic spunk not found in the States, and is a sure bet to break out of the Canadian film scene. 7/10

Gigantic: Notable actors like Zooey Deschanel, Paul Dano, and John Goodman playing quirky characters in quirky situations with no real plot. A DVD rental. 6.5/10

Miracle at St. Anna: A different kind of war film, which gets dragged down by excessive length and sequences of racial discrimination which feel forced and overdone, even if they might be historically accurate.

Deadgirl: A seriously fucked up tale about high school kids who turn a zombie into their sex slave. Not your typical torture porn horror film, as the directors show an incredible attention of mood and tone. 7/10

Dungeon Masters: A wonderful Trekkie-like documentary about the people who play Dungeons and Dragons.Like the other films in this doc subgrenre, you end up falling in love with the weird people that inhabit this world.

Ghost Town: Ricky Gervais is trapped in a paint-by-numbers romantic comedy, which at most times, feels below him. It’s a romantic comedy version of Ghost, with Just Like Heaven and Roxanne thrown in for good measure. 6.5 / 10

Uncertainty: I am certain that at least half of this film fails in the execution of the Interesting concept of parallel storylines and alternative dimensions ala Sliding Doors. 6/10

Me and Orson Welles: An uninteresting adaption and overall disappointing film from Richard Linklater. Christian McKay’s performance as Orson Welles is the only thing noteworthy about it. 5/10

Pride and Glory: Just another corrupt cop story filmed in the style of corrupt cop movies. 6/10

You can check out a 30 minute video blog wrap-up I recorded with Alex Billington of FirstShowing.net, below. I apologize in advance for the low resolution. As it turns out, 30 minutes of video takes up a lot of space. Plus I figured this video blog serves more as a podcast, but heck, we did record it on video. Enjoy.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/torontowrapup.flv 250 190]

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