Thursday, September 15, 2011

TIFF roundup: Tuesday and Wednesday

The Lonliest Planet (Dir. Julia Loktev, USA/Germany)

This quiet, emotional film follows an engaged 30-something couple as they trek through the Caucausus mountains of Georgia with a local guide. Very little dialogue or real action in many parts, the film hangs on the relationships within this triangle and an event that happens half-way through that disrupts them. There was a lot of negative buzz around me as I was leaving the theatre: "no dialogue", "nothing happened", "I don't get the point", but it completely worked for me. Not a date movie. (5/5)

(Screening Saturday Sept 17)


The Oranges (Dir. Julian Farino, USA)

Fantastic ensemble is much of what makes this film terrific. Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, Oliver Platt star as two couples who live across the street from each other. The daughter of one couple has an affair with the husband of the other, and everyone's life is changed. A sort of anti-morality play wherein the end justifies the means makes it less than satisfying. (4/5)

(Screening Friday September 16)


W.E. (Dir. Madonna, UK)

A dsappointing look at the Wallis and Edward story, this is Madonna's attempt to tell the story from Simpson's point of view. Running parallel to this arc is a modern day tale of a Wally Winthrop who is trapped in an unhappy marriage and obsessed with the Wallis/Edward tale. The story lines alternate frequently, and the historical story is also split into glimpses into Wallis' first marriage as well as that with Edward. Great fashion and sets/props, but the music was leaden. Not recommended (2/5)

Damsels in Distress (Dir. Whit Stillman, USA)

Entertaining and smart, this movie looks at a posse of fashionable women at a just-gone-coed private college. It's quirky and wierd, with stellar performances particularly from Greta Gerwig as the alpha-female, Analeigh Tipton as the transfer student taken under her wing, and a bunch of frat boys who are just incredibly funny. (4/5)

Café de Flore (Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, Canada)

A beautiful film from the director of C.R.A.Z.Y., it tells two stories, one set in Paris in the 60s in which a mother (Vanessa Paradis) is raising her Down syndrome child on her own. The other story is set in modern day Montreal and involves a divorce and remarriage of a successful DJ/electronica musician (Kevin Parent). We don't find out how these stories are related until the very end of the movie. Moving with strong performances. As in C.R.A.Z.Y., music is a strong force that ties people together. See it if you get a chance. (5/5) (official site)

Americano (Dir. Mathieu Demy, France)

Son of filmakers Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy, this is Mathieu Demy's directorial debut. With a stellar cast including Geraldine Chaplin, Selma Hayak, Carlos Bardem, and Chiara Mastroianni, Demy plays a restless 30-something who travels from Paris to Los Angeles to settle the estate of his mother, who has lived in the US for most of his life. Demy integrates footage taken by his mother when they lived in LA in the 80s and incorporates it into this work as flashbacks. He discovers things about his mother, and himself, that affect him profoundly.  Well worth seeing. (5/5)

(Screening Friday September 16)

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