FilmDrunk

The Best and Worst of The Toronto International Film Festival

I was sitting around the other day, licking my Taco Bell loco taco fingers while thumbing through the “missed connections” portion of the paper when a call came through on the land line. It was Vince, the guy who runs the jam you’re currently reading.

“LEGEL!” he grumbled, his voice still throaty from the scotch and cigar party he’d hosted the night prior.

“Yes, sir?” I said, trying to put my pants back on (for optimal professionalism).

“You were just in Toronto, weren’t cha, kid?”

It was true. I’d hitchhiked to the airport, stowed away in first class, and tipped and sipped my way through the skies. Because I’m a big-time “cream of the crop” critic I was met at the airport by half a dozen ladies, only two of whom were desperately unattractive. After a limo ride into downtown, I was asked to throw out the first pitch for the Orioles-Jays game. Perfect strike. Get drunk, high hat. Then I went to 15 movies in four days, crushing ‘dem reviews like an OG. Then I came home, then I answered the phone, then I used a highly questionable* intro technique to a “Best and Worst of The Toronto Film Festival” column.

*Still, you should be grateful, because the column originally started like this: “The Toronto International Film Festival is a veritable proving ground for potential Best Picture nominees.” Yeeps. That’s terrible.

So here you go, 12 semi-cogent thoughts on TIFF 2012, all for you!


Didn’t Make either List, But Worth Talking About

Cloud Atlas

Best Part
It feels like the sort of film you attempt on a dare, six concurrent plot devices that span around 500 years. As such, you’re going to see the word “ambitious” used about 1000 times in every review of the film.

Worst Part
Like a 5’4″ guy trying to dunk, it’s tough to say if all that effort is going to lead to anything. Yes, they pull off the concurrent storylines, but all of them say the same thing, occasionally back-to-back, with the exact same phrasing. Thus, the films feels repeatedly repetitive (yes, I did that on purpose).


The Master

Best Part
Watching Joaquin Phoenix’s character make moonshine out of household cleaning products. I kept trying to jot down the recipe, if only to avoid potentially blinding my friends.

Worst Part
The realization that Paul Thomas Anderson now has enough cachet that he doesn’t have to care about the audience. Only he’s decided to use this power to make obtuse art-house films.


THE WORST OF THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Anna Karenina

It’s really long and overly cutesy, especially for a classic Russian tragedy. My viewing companion (a St. Bernard) looked at his wristwatch 36 minutes into the film. Did I mention the movie is 130 minutes long? Yeah. So there’s that.

Best Part
The dancing scenes are blocked really well. Director Joe Wright could seamlessly transition into the Step Up franchise.

Worst Part
Keira Knightley is like every crazy chick you’ve met in a bar at 2:30am. She loves you! She hates you! Ugh, who is going to PAY for these LEMON DROP SHOTS? Not me, bro. Not me.


Hotel Transylvania

Best Part
The concept isn’t terrible, monsters forming a hotel conglomerate being an effective metaphor for our current economic climate.

Worst Part
Adam Sandler is Count Dracula, and, get ready for it, he sucks the comedic blood out of the film.


The Iceman

Best Part
Michael Shannon kills a grip load of folks.

Worst Part
The film attempts to make him a sympathetic character, under the auspices of him “loving his family”. Yeah, I haven’t seen that tried in like the last five minutes.


Hyde Park on Hudson

Best Part
FDR gets a handjob where the car bounces up and down. You know, to show the “action”.

Worst Part
When the producers of this film greenlit it as “Oscar Bait,” then watched it, realized it was a 90-minute disaster, and went out and killed a few hobos to blow off steam.


Thanks for Sharing

Best Part
Mark Ruffalo is a sex addict who absolutely goes to town on himself in the film. I tell ya, it’s a moment.

Worst Part
Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t great here. I’m beginning to think her steady work in Shallow Hal was a mirage.


Continue on to the BESTEST of TIFF 2012 …

THE BEST OF THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Seven Psychopaths

Best Part
Christopher Walken does a DEAD ON impression of Christopher Walken for the entire film. It’s incredible.

Worst Part
People are going to compare this to In Bruges, as it’s also from writer / director Martin McDonagh. Sadly, that’s a total pie vs. cake argument, it can’t be won. Just stuff your face full of the goodness and pipe down.


Dredd 3D

Best Part
The fact that it’s an actual movie with an actual plot, featuring “acting” that’s not terrible. This film is 91 percent on RottenTomatoes right now! You could have booked 100 to 1 odds with me against this being good before I walked in the theater. Incredible.

Worst Part
The 3-D. The movie has nice effects, but those effects would be just as nice in 2-D. 3-D is a lot like congress at this point, it costs extra, it does nothing, and it’s probably addicted to meth.


Silver Linings Playbook

Best Part
Jennifer Lawrence should probably be my girlfriend at some point. She’s the oppo of the Knightley Anna Karenina crazy in this film. She’s the one you want to buy lemon drop shots for.

Worst Part
It’s depressing when Robert De Niro does good work in a film because it means movies like New Year’s Eve really are just a total cash grab.


Argo

Best Part
Massive dramatic tension throughout, plus Hollywood finally gets to give itself a huge pat on the back. It had been so long! But seriously, I did love this movie, yolo.

Worst Part
The world could have avoided Daredevil if we’d realized earlier that Ben Affleck was meant to direct instead of act.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Best Part
Perks somehow tells a high school story without being completely transparent and cliche.

Worst Part
All the money they make from this film goes directly into the Twilight Saga: Boxed Set marketing materials.


Looper

Best Part
It’s a nice little mind-bender of a sci-fi tale that you’ll want to take a loved one to see. Plus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a completely legit take on a young Bruce Willis.

Worst
If you really start thinking about the implications of time travel upon the narrative, someone will probably punch you in the face. Also, some of the CGI looks janky due to budgetary constraints.


And that’s all I got. Hopefully you leave this column informed and ready to tangle with any rival lovers of cinema. There can be only one Highlander.

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