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TIFF 2013: Fourth Batch of Capsule Reviews

September 14, 2013

By John Corrado

The AuteuristSo there you have it.  We have reached the last weekend of the 38th Toronto International Film Festival, and with it comes my fourth and final set of capsule reviews, a round up of several excellent titles that I have seen over the past few days.

When the festival opened on September 5th, I shared my thoughts on Parkland, Devil’s Knot, Don Jon, The Dick Knost Show and When Jews Were Funny.  Last Saturday, I published reviews of Tim’s Vermeer, 12 Years a Slave and Enough Said.  Then on Monday, I reviewed Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Gravity, Rush and McCanick.

My final thoughts on the festival will be coming on Monday, and this line up just goes to show that I’ve had a pretty great run.  But there is still a whole day left to catch a film if you haven’t already, so you can get more information on everything playing at TIFF and purchase single tickets right here.  Enjoy!

Prisoners:  Things take a tragic turn after Keller (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Grace (Maria Bello) go to visit their friends Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy (Viola Davis) for Thanksgiving, when their daughters Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) mysteriously disappear.  The determined detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is immediately on the case, but with only days to find them, Keller takes things into his own hands and kidnaps a possible suspect, the developmentally delayed Alex (Paul Dano) and tortures him for information.  But this drastic act of vigilanteism gives way to an even deeper mystery, and as the level of disturbing intrigue builds throughout the story, shocking realizations and fascinating religious overtones come to the forefront.  The English language debut of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners is a tense and incredibly well crafted kidnapping thriller filled with twists, guided by strong performances and striking cinematography from Roger Deakins.

Friday, September 6th – 9:00 PM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

Saturday, September 7th – 12:00 PM @ Princess of Wales

Friday, September 13th – 2:30 PM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

Labor Day:  When the depressed single mother Adele (Kate Winslet) finally leaves the house to go shopping with her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith), they are confronted by the injured Frank (Josh Brolin), who convinces them to take him back to their home.  He is an escaped convict just trying to stay under the radar of the police, but things take an unexpected turn when Adele starts to fall in love with him, and the two form a deep bond.  I’ve been a big fan of director Jason Reitman since the beginning, and it’s fascinating to note just how tonally different Labor Day is from his four previous triumphs, feeling quite unlike anything he has ever done before.  As a quiet sense of suspense builds throughout, backed up by a masterful score from Rolfe Kent, this is a low key drama that affectively brings us into the world of these characters, leading up to a bittersweet ending that earns the emotional response of the audience.  This is a beautifully filmed and well acted adaptation of the moving novel by Joyce Maynard.

Saturday, September 7th – 6:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre

Sunday, September 8th – 9:00 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Saturday, September 14th – 6:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre

August: Osage County:  When their father Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) disappears, his three grown up daughters, free spirited Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), flighty Karen (Juliette Lewis) and fierce Barbara (Julia Roberts) go with their respective families to stay with their mother, the pill popping Violet (Meryl Streep).  As the verbal intensity heats up throughout, including a stunning extended sequence at the dinner table that gives everyone a chance to shine, we are left to marvel at the stinging nature of the insults that are hurled between family members amidst this increasingly dysfunctional situation.  The ensemble cast all work perfectly in unison, and there is memorably acidic chemistry between Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, who both shine with awards worthy performances.  Based on the play by Tracy Letts and brought to the screen by director John Wells, August: Osage County is an incredibly entertaining and beautifully written dramedy, with expert acting from literally everyone involved.

Monday, September 9th – 6:30 PM @ Roy Thomson Hall

Tuesday, September 10th – 11:00 AM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

Friday, September 13th – 7:00 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre

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