Movies I Saw at TIFF 2011

This is a list of the movies I screened at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival
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The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ The artist is extremely well done and very entertaining. I think the whole movie is very moving. The whole movie is silent (there is music) except for two important moments in the movie.

The overall plot of the movie reminds me a lot of the movie The Lower Depths by Jean Renoir.

The score of course is very well done. For silent movies, the music is even more important.

Basically everyone would like this movie. The humor is spot on and it’s just a great movie. ” - praetoriansentry
The First Man (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
(101 mins.)
Director: Gianni Amelio
“ I thought this movie was really well done and very convincing. The child actors were really good as were the adults. The score for the movie is actually really good. I thought it added a lot to the movie and wasn’t over the top or anything.

I felt like the movie was particularly poignant because cultural the differences/difficulties in the past still exist today.

Even though the movie takes place in Algeria, I don’t feel like my lack of history knowledge made the movie any less powerful.

The way the timeline of the movie works is really interesting and I think makes for a great film.

I definitely intend to rewatch this film. I’d highly recommend it for almost anyone, but especially those with an interested in French/Algerian culture. ” - praetoriansentry
Rebellion (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Dissidents in a French colony attack a police station and take hostages. (136 mins.)
“ I went into this movie not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s about a rebellion that occurred some number of years ago in New Caledonia and how the French reacted to it. The polical climate plays a huge role in the outcome of the film and it puts the main character in a situation where it’s difficult to do the right thing.

I think the movie does an amazing job showing how political games can lead to awful and tragic circumstances in difficult times. I think this theme is very applicable right now.

There are several very emotional scenes in the movie involving the Kanak people from New Caledonia. I didn’t know anything about this rebellion or anything, but this movie does a really good job using that event to talk about much bigger themes.

I definitely want to see this movie again and would recommend it for most people. ” - praetoriansentry
“ I liked The Cardboard Village way more than I would have expected. I though the film was very spiritual. For a small film it dealt with a lot of different topics including immigration, morality, the conflict between religion and the law, growing old, feeling useless, etc. I thought the acting was remarkably strong.

The set for the movie is very confined. I don’t think there are any exterior shots and the whole movie takes place in this church basically. The small isolated set gives it a kind of dream-like/surreal feeling. I think the confined set also emphasizes that this church really is the priest’s whole world.

One funny thing about this movie is that the music was kind of weird and creepy in on part. It reminded me a lot of the music from the beginning of one song from the Powder soundtrack

I think this is a movie worth checking out. It’s not for everyone because it is a pretty slow movie and pretty religious. ” - praetoriansentry
Whores' Glory (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An examination of the lives, needs, troubles and hopes of prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico. (110 mins.)
Stars: Emma, Ning, Toh, Wat
“ This is a really crazy documentary. It is about prostitution and the director goes to three different brothels in three very different countries and talks to people and sees how it works.

The movie feels very well done and believable. It doesn’t feel like cheap investigative reporting or hidden camera journalism. He actually talks to the women that work at these places and tries to get their point of view. Parts of it are funny and other parts could certainly make you cry.

The director does an amazing job juxtaposing religion in sex in these three different countries. It makes for a very powerful movie. I think watching this movie could prompt a great dialog.

Anyone interested in women’s rights, sex, or religion could take a lot out of this movie. Note: It’s not for the faint of heart. ” - praetoriansentry
Into the Abyss (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill. (107 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
“ Into the Abyss is a very solid documentary. I found it very engaging throughout. There are several extremely touching moments when the family members of the victims as well as one of those convicted on camera. The father of one of the convicted men is also a lifetime felon. I think the documentary hits hardest when he spoke about being a failure as a father and that his son really never stood a chance.

This is a documentary I would not miss. It’s really well done. Parts of it are darkly humorous and other parts will make you cry. ” - praetoriansentry
Summer Games (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of an adult and a teenage couple during a brief summer holiday by the sea. While Nic's parents...
Director: Rolando Colla
“ Summer games is a bit of a complicated film. I thought it was really well done though. The movie seems to be about growing up and difficult relationships.

My guess is that the work is very personal to the director which is why it comes of as a little complex. I think if you just take the movie as an experience, it will be the most enjoyable.

I thought the actor that played the father in the movie was really good. He goes between being terrifying and lovable very quickly. There are moments when you can see a genuine connection between him and his sons. That can change very quickly though.

I think if you’re into italian pictures or movies about difficult family relationships you should see this movie. ” - praetoriansentry
Killer Joe (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance. (102 mins.)
“ I went into Killer Joe thinking that it was going to be a dark drama/thriller. As the movie went on I kept laughing at how weird and random it was. By the end it was clear that I was supposed to be laughing and the movie is completely over the top.

I actually enjoyed the movie more than I expected. I didn’t know what I had in store, but I didn’t consider that it was the same director as The Exorcist.

If you’re into crazy movies you should see this otherwise you may not enjoy it. ” - praetoriansentry
Alois Nebel (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A train dispatcher encounters a mute stranger who appears out of nowhere, and finds himself mysteriously involved with a murder in Poland. (84 mins.)
Director: Tomás Lunák
“ Alois Nebel is rotoscoped and beautifully dark. The pacing of the movie can be a little slow. Not a lot happens, but it’s fun to watch. As I watched it, I felt like I was missing out on a lot of the movie because I’m the particularly familiar with Czech history.

I think if you’re really into animation or happen to like dark movies with lonely characters you should check out this movie. ” - praetoriansentry
The Hunter (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Martin, a mercenary, is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. (102 mins.)
Director: Daniel Nettheim
“ The Hunter was a well made movie. I think it’s very easy to watch, but not particularly interesting. Dafoe seems a little old to be the outdoorsman/hunter that he portrays. He did a good job playing the part though. I thought he was thoroughly convincing when he was moving through the forest and setting traps.

The Hunter felt weakest thematically. It seemed like the movie might be trying to send a message, but I wasn’t quite sure what that message was.

I think if you like, outdoorsy films or stories about searching for something, The Hunter is worth checking out. ” - praetoriansentry
Twixt (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl... (88 mins.)
“ Twixt was a bit funnier than I would have expected. Val Kilmer has fun in the role I think and that is nice. Overall the movie felt a little cheap and also just weird.

Copola himself said that he got the idea for the movie in an alcohol induced dream, so I guess it’s no surprise that its crazy. The ‘scary’ parts of the movie aren’t really intense or authentic so the movie doesn’t feel successful there.

I think most people should probably skip this movie unless you’re bored or a huge Val Kilmer fan. ” - praetoriansentry
Asylum Blackout (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A group of cooks at an asylum for the criminally insane get locked in with the inmates during a massive thunderstorm. (85 mins.)
“ The Incident is not a complicated movie. It’s basically a horror movie where the characters are trapped in an insane asylum while all the inmates are running around.

I think the movie sets out what it intended to do. There is some ridiculous violence and some nice cheap scares.

If you’re into campy horror flicks, The Incident is worth seeing. ” - praetoriansentry
Rough Hands (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Mustapha is a forty-year-old barber in Casablanca. His clients are retired high-ranking government officials... (97 mins.)
Director: Mohamed Asli
“ Rough Hands is well put together. I get the feeling that it’s a beautiful movie, but I don’t know the cultural elements well enough to get the full experience.

The high level plot has been done, but the smaller details of the film and the way it works feel really original so that made it a pleasure to watch.

I think if you’re in the mood for a somewhat touching story about falling for someone, you can check this movie out. ” - praetoriansentry
10 Years (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven't quite grown up in some ways. (100 mins.)
Director: Jamie Linden
“ Ten Year isn’t a bad flick. A lot of it is really quite funny. I don’t think there is much here that’s great or original though.

Chris Pratt was pretty good as the obnoxious guy who used to be a dick to everyone in high school.

If you’re a huge Channing Tatum fan you can see this. Otherwise it’s worth seeing if you’re really bored. ” - praetoriansentry
The Moth Diaries (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa's bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret? (82 mins.)
Director: Mary Harron
“ I liked this movie for what it is. It seemed a little like a coming of age tale mixed with a vampire movie. The movie takes place in an all girls private school.

The movie isn’t really horror or anything thing. It fits the thriller genre a little better because the main character slowly becomes more and more convinced that the new girl in school is a vampire. She tries to convince others that its true but either they’re killed off or don’t believe her (of course).

I think the story is pretty familiar and a lot of the movie was predictable. The movie was still pretty enjoyable though. The actors are well cast especially Lily Cole who plays Ernessa (the creepy vampire).

If you’re in the mood for vampires and/or teenage girl drama (or you’re bored) The Moth Diaries is definitely entertaining enough to check out. ” - praetoriansentry
Americano (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
A man who returns to Los Angeles to wrap up his mother's estate sets out in search of the mysterious woman named in her will. (105 mins.)
Director: Mathieu Demy
“ I think Americano started off really strong. The story follows a man who travels from Pairis to L.A. to make arrangements after his mother has died. As the story goes on, the movie starts to make less sense. A lot of it doesn’t seem particularly believable and the film isn’t immersive enough to keep me engaged.

From the first third of the movie, I thought I was going to like it a lot, but somehow it got a lot weaker for me.

I thought the piano score for the movie was quite nice and worked well for a lot of the film.

I really have no desire to see this film again and I don’t know to who I would recommend this. ” - praetoriansentry
Dark Girls (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Documentary exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color---particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture. (71 mins.)
“ I don’t think this was a particularly well made documentary. It covers an interesting topic but I don’t know if inner beauty issues propagated by the media is an issue that is isolated just to dark girls.

I think the movie presents the topic in a way that isn’t particularly compelling. There isn’t a lot of data or statistics used in the movie. It’s mostly historical or anecdotal. This weakens the message in my opinion.

Overall the documentary could lead to some interesting conversations, but I don’t think it really brings anything new or interesting. If you’re interested in black issues and the like, Dark Girls might be worth seeing. ” - praetoriansentry
Hanaan (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Stas, a young Korean of the third generation in Uzbekistan, and his three friends try more or less successfully to escape from the gloomy life in Tashkent, either through drug addiction, death or emigration. (85 mins.)
Director: Ruslan Pak
“ I didn’t like this movie very much. I was actually really confused about the first 20-30 minutes of the movie. That made the rest of the movie difficult to understand because I didn’t fully understand the relationships and interplay between the characters.

The setting for the movie is actually really interesting because it takes place in Uzbekistan, but follows some Korean people that live there. The focus isn’t on the Korean culture in Uzbekistan, rather the focus is on the characters attempts to improve their situations through crime, drugs, and returning to Korea.

I wouldn’t recommend this film unless you are really interested in Uzbekistan or Korean culture. ” - praetoriansentry
Cut (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Shuji is an uncompromising young filmmaker at odds with Japanese society. One day he learns that his loan shark brother... (133 mins.)
Director: Amir Naderi
“ This is a very strange movie. The plot basically is that a young man has to pay off his brothers debts. In order to do that, he becomes a human punching bag (it pays well). The young man is also extremely passionate about classic cinema. While he is being beaten, he lists off his favorite movies and rants about bad cinema.

Overall the movie feels like less of a story and more of a statement about the decline of cinema. The director feels that there needs to be more awareness of the classic movies.

I’m not really sure what the relationship is. The movie really drags on for a long time and it really isn’t that interesting. The directors point is also a little tough to swallow because we do have access to all of the classic movies online or on disc. I also don’t think that all movies need to be made for pure art. I think Hitchcock said that he made movies for entertainment… But I don’t think I Hitchcock on the list of movies that this director liked.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie to anyone really. ” - praetoriansentry