Toronto Film Festival Monday Update

I’ve been finding less and less time to post reviews while I’m here at the Toronto Film Festival, so here is a rundown of the films I have seen thus far with my ranking (linked to the connected review when available). I hope to catch up on some of the reviews I have missed so far later on, but or now I’ll offer a few quick thoughts. The listing below is in order of my viewing, and not in order of quality. So far my favorite films are: Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, No Country For Old Men, Into The Wild, and The Orphanage.

Toronto is a much different festival than Sundance, which I prefer because of the less corporate more personal feel. At Sundance, press are allowed to attend the public screenings, and that is usually where all the magic (and buying) happens. The small press screenings are boring. At Toronto it’s the complete opposite. Most of the films have been sold pre-festival, and most of the press and industry are forced to the press screenings. I attended a public screening of Across The Universe tonight in a huge Gala where tickets sold for $40 bucks a pop. Sure, the stars showed up, but the venue was not meant for movie screenings, and the third balcony level is a horrible way to view a movie. And I was shocked to find out that they didn ‘t even hold a question and answer session following the screening. It was a very disappointing experience, and I’m now glad to run back to the press screenings where everything seems a lot more organized.

King of California – 6.5 / 10
Starting Out in the Evening – 6/ 10
My Kid Could Paint That – 7.5 / 10: One of the best documentaries that I’ve seen this year.
Michael Clayton – 7.5 / 10: A smartly layered thriller with a couple big bangs, and one of the more interesting ending and beginings of 2007.
Eastern Promises – 5 / 10
In The Valley of Elah – 7.5 / 10: Paul Haggis has create a wonderful dramatic murder mystery with major political war undertones
Run, Fatboy, Run – 7 / 10
The Orphanage – 8 / 10: There is a reason why they have already sold the rights to remake this film for American audiences. Like Pan’s Labyrinth, the story offers a few interpretations, and offers a logical explanation for the supernatural elements.
The Brave One – 6 / 10
Captain Mike Across America – 7 / 10
Rendition 7 / 10: No too interesting. An interweaving multi-character story which picks up near the end with an interesting (yet gimmicky) reveal.
No Country For Old Men – 8 / 10: The Coen Brothers best film in probably 10 years.
Juno – 8 / 10
Into The Wild – 7.5 / 10: Experimental, possibly pretentious, but compelling film with a few good performances.
George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead – 4 / 10
Lars and the Real Girl – 8 / 10: An absurd but somehow believable plot with a lot of heart.
Margot at the Wedding – 6 / 10: A disappointing follow-up to Squid and the Whale.
Redacted – 3 / 10: Both Diary of The Dead and Redacted offered similar concepts, and both were poorly executed.
Across The Universe – 6.5 / 10: The music sequences were both crazy and amazing, the story and dialogue scenes were the exact opposite. I need to buy this soundtrack.

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