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Final #TIFF14 Reviews: The Crow’s Egg, Big Game, Men, Women & Children, 99 Homes and Haemoo

September 14, 2014

By John Corrado

#TIFF14 Poster

We have now officially reached the end of TIFF, with The Imitation Game winning the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, further cementing the film as a surefire Oscar contender.

Although I’m not going to miss the crowds and running between venues that have been such a big part of this past week, I am going to miss the routine that the festival has started to offer after the last few days.

But before we start the countdown to next year’s fortieth anniversary edition, I still have a few more reviews left in me, like the four good ones that I saw yesterday.  They include The Crow’s Egg and Big Game, which could both be called family films in very unconventional ways.

The third film I saw was Men, Women & Children, which I went into with pretty high expectations, and left blown away.  My evening finished with a late night showing of the gripping 99 Homes, which was thankfully another winner.

This afternoon I caught up with the Korean film Haemoo, which brings my total review count up to a whopping 27, which is the most that I’ve ever done.  Although there were a few disappointments and I didn’t see every film that I wanted to, I really liked and even loved most of what I saw, which in the end makes the whole experience worthwhile.  Please see below for a complete list of everything that I reviewed, and I hope you all had a good festival!

The Crow’s Egg: After their playground is developed into a local pizza place, two young Indian brothers find themselves determined to try a slice of the delicious looking new food.  But the problem is that they are poor and living in a Chennai slum, and a single pizza would cost them a month’s wages, money that could go to helping their mother get their father out of jail.  Although some of the supporting characters are a bit cartoony, The Crow’s Egg does an admirable job of introducing kids to the very real issues of classicism and extreme poverty.  With some nicely edited musical montages, this is a charming and energetic family film about being thankful for what you have, that has a great final scene.

Friday, September 5th – 6:45 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday, September 6th – 3:00 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday, September 13th – 12:15 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2

Big Game: Who knew that one of the best protecting the American president films would come from Finnish director Jalmari Helander?  But Big Game is just as much fun as many of the summer blockbusters being released.  Sent out to prove himself as a man on his thirteenth birthday, young hunter Oskari (Onni Tomilla) stumbles upon President William Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) in the middle of the wilderness, after Air Force One is taken down by terrorists.  With the bad guys hot on their trail, the young teenager becomes the only one who can protect the most powerful man in the world.  With the feel of something that Amblin Entertainment could have produced back in the 1980s, Big Game is a ridiculously entertaining coming of age thriller that deserves a wide audience of both teens and adults.

Friday, September 5th – 11:59 PM @ Ryerson Theatre
Saturday, September 6th – 9:00 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday, September 13th – 2:30 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre

Men, Women & Children: Director Jason Reitman knocks it out of the park with the haunting Men, Women & Children, a multi narrative drama that seamlessly weaves together the sex lives of numerous teenagers and their parents.  Tim (Ansel Elgort) is slowly withdrawing into the world of online gaming, and his only real friend is Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), whose mother (Jennifer Garner) closely monitors all of her online activity.  Don (Adam Sandler) and Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) are unhappy in their marriage, both using the internet to cheat in different ways.  Joan (Judy Greer) is living out her own failed dreams of an acting career by posting pictures of her teenage daughter Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) on the internet.  Emma Thompson narrates as an almost divine voice from above, while images of satellites floating through space provide a visual representation of not only how we are all connected, but also our minuscule space in the universe.  Engaging every step of the way, Men, Women & Children is a provocative, profound, mesmerizing and moving encapsulation of the digital age.

Saturday, September 6th – 6:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre
Sunday, September 7th – 10:00 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
Saturday, September 13th – 6:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre

99 Homes: After Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) as well as his young son (Noah Lomax) and mother (Laura Dern) are forcefully evicted from their family home at the hands of sleazy real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), he is determined to do anything to get the property back.  Dennis starts doing favours and working for Rick, evicting other people from their homes and blurring his own moral boundaries in order to make money for his family.  Not only is 99 Homes a return to form for director Ramin Bahrani after the somewhat disappointing At Any Price, it’s also one of his best.  This is a stirring recession era dramatic thriller that pulsates with tension, carried by an intelligent and brilliantly written screenplay full of tested morals and heated arguments, as well as outstanding performances from Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon.

Monday, September 8th – 10:00 PM @ Princess of Wales
Tuesday, September 9th – 11:30 AM @ Ryerson Theatre
Saturday, September 13th – 10:00 PM @ Princess of Wales

Haemoo: When the crew of a small Korean fishing boat agree to smuggle illegal immigrants from China, the vessel quickly becomes a melting pot of violence and abuse.  Although Haemoo starts slowly, the film picks up and takes a disturbing turn partway through, as those aboard are willing to do anything in order to gain power.  Co-written by Bong Joon-Ho, who directed the great Snowpiercer earlier this year, this is a very dark thriller that is well made and interestingly written, but also brutal and disturbing.  It’s technically good, but I don’t think I could watch this one again.

Tuesday, September 9th – 6:30 PM @ Roy Thomson Hall
Wednesday, September 10th – 12:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre
Sunday, September 14th – 12:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre

Thursday, September 4th:
The Price We Pay
In Her Place
The Valley Below
We Were Wolves

Saturday, September 6th:
Nightcrawler
Pride

Sunday, September 7th:
While We’re Young
My Old Lady

Tuesday, September 9th:
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash
The Imitation Game

Wednesday, September 10th:
Out of Nature
Good Kill
Seymour: An Introduction
’71

Thursday, September 11th:
Love & Mercy
Infinitely Polar Bear
The Guest

Saturday, September 13th:
The Good Lie
Wild
Before We Go
St. Vincent

Sunday, September 14th:
The Crow’s Egg
Big Game
Men, Women & Children
99 Homes
Haemoo

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