0 Love It

Toronto Film Festival 2016

Complete coverage of this year's TIFF, including reviews of the biggest premieres, ticket info and more

Each September, the Toronto International Film Festival screens more than 300 films from over 60 countries, drawing in an estimated 400,000 attendees. The public film festival features movies from all genres in cinema, including Hollywood blockbusters, homegrown comediesindie movies and foreign films. Considered to be one of the most esteemed film festivals alongside the revered Cannes Film Festival, TIFF is known for its ability to generate “Oscar buzz.”

When is the Toronto International Film Festival?

The 41st annual TIFF runs Thursday, September 8, 2016 to Sunday, September 18, 2016.

Toronto Film Festival 2015

Movies

Evolution

Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s unforgettably unsettling Evolution is set on a rustic island somewhere off the coast of France, perhaps in the stretch of azure sea between the YA dystopia of The Giver and the chilly urban streets of Under the Skin. It's a place where single women with white brows and black pupils raise a generation of young boys without fathers (nowhere to be seen). During the days, the youths go swimming amongst the coral. At night, their mothers feed their kids a mush of curdled squid ink and inject their skinny arms with a vile sleep-inducing goop they refer to as “medicine.” One evening, a curious little boy named Nicolas (Max Brebant) manages to resist his dose, slipping out of the spartan house he shares with his mom (Julie-Marie Parmentier). He follows her to the shore, and that’s when things start to get weird. It’s been a decade since Hadzihalilovic’s only other feature, 2005’s Innocence, and it seems as though the writer-director has been hoarding her nightmares ever since. Tense with terror and told with abstractly beautiful imagery across long stretches of wordless quiet, Evolution watches its dark and mysterious world with the same curiosity that keeps Nicolas awake at night, his primal fears taking root in our own. The movie flirts with the outline of a coherent plot, but the answers to its dramatic questions have all sunk to the ocean floor in a plume of beatific marine footage and Cronenbergian body horror. (Especially when Nicolas is confined to a d

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Blog

10 things we learned at the Toronto International Film Festival

Our cinema picture for the coming months is a lot clearer. Here are 10 takeaways we've gleaned from #TIFF15

Read more
Movies

The Meddler

Imagine if Clueless had starred a 68-year-old Susan Sarandon as an overbearing mother and you’ll have the right idea about Lorene Scafaria’s The Meddler, a sweet and sneakily effective portrait of a woman learning how to re-engage with the world after the greatest loss of her life. Sarandon plays Marnie, a recent widow who’s been bequeathed more money than she can spend and more love than she can share. The only way she can cope with no longer being a wife is by doubling down on her activities as a parent, and so the film begins with the thickly accented New Jersey native uprooting herself from the East Coast and moving to downtown Los Angeles in order to be close to her daughter, Lori (the great Rose Byrne). Lori, alas, is too much of a raw nerve for her mom’s smothering displays of affection, so Marnie has no choice but to mother somebody else. Or, in her case, everybody else, beginning with one of the genius-bar technicians at her local Apple Store (Jarod Carmichael), whom she befriends and starts driving to night school. Elsewhere, Marnie tries to chip away at her fortune of guilt by sponsoring a wedding ceremony for one of Lori’s friends (Cecily Strong). The pathos behind these indiscriminate acts of generosity are transparent from the start (making the scenes in which Marnie visits a shrink a bit redundant), but Sarandon’s exuberant performance is delivered with care and conviction. Crucially, it feels like Marnie is beginning to understand herself. Writer-director Scaf

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Hardcore

A revolution in action cinema that works despite its utter silliness (or because of it), Russia-born filmmaker Ilya Naishuller’s supercharged, wholly first-person coup achieves a near-experimental bliss—you won’t know how it was executed, nor will you care. The idea comes from video games and, before them, horror’s occasional camera-eye sequence, famously extended by Brian de Palma in movies like Blow Out. Hardcore turns this gimmick into a feature-length concept, not without precedent. Yet because it’s a gory nonstop fight movie (unlike, say, 1947’s first-person detective noir Lady in the Lake) the cameraman has to be as agile and fearless as a stuntperson, flinging himself into hand-to-hand combat, out the doors of exploding vehicles, over fences, down stairwells and onto the edge of a dorky dance number.The plot fits on a postage stamp: You're Henry, a mute cyborg suffering from a complete memory wipe. Nursing you back to health is the scientist girlfriend you can’t remember (Haley Bennett). As you make your brutal way through dozens—hundreds?—of unlucky henchmen toward an evil boss (Kozlovsky), you encounter Jimmy (District 9's Sharlto Copley, the movie’s default star), a chatty shape-shifter and helpful presence who sometimes appears as a British gangster, an exuberant brothel regular or a pot-smoking hippie.Hardcore isn't deep. It's not about complex ideas; it's not going to win any awards for female characters; even the CGI effects that supplant its euphoric takedowns

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Arabian Nights

Early in Miguel Gomes’s bawdy, brilliant, inadvisably epic new project, there’s a scene in which the director appears on screen in a panic, desperately trying to escape from his crew. Given the scope of the Tabu filmmaker’s latest undertaking, it’s easy to understand why. Furious at the crippling austerity measures that the Portuguese government imposed on its people in the summer of 2013, Gomes embarked on an opus expansive enough to convey how belt-tightening had metastasized to every corner and community of the country. The result is Arabian Nights, a gargantuan 383-minute trilogy that borrows the form of its ancient namesake but not its stories, replacing them instead with ones that Gomes has invented. By turns surreal, giddy, erotic, didactic, righteous, exhausting, boundlessly creative and a thousand and one other things, this shape-shifting colossus feels as diverse as the people of Portugal themselves.Gorgeously shot on 35mm and Super 16, this broadly allegorical saga includes segments that range from the angry satire of “The Men with a Hard-on,” in which government and IMF representatives encounter a genie who cures them of the impotence, to less-obvious episodes like “The Owners of Dixie,” in which an adorable stray dog is passed between the various residents of a suburban high-rise. (The pooch's Dante-like journey coheres into a lucid symbol for the country as a whole.) Even the most inscrutable passages of Arabian Nights are sparked by Gomes’s rage, the basis for

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Office

Update Mad Men to the pre-credit-crunch 2000s. Pepper it with Douglas Sirk melodrama. Set it in a stylized, hermetically sealed version of Hong Kong, with urban landscapes reimagined by way of Tron. Chuck in a brisk brace of delirious Jacques Demy musical numbers, scored to crunchy electro-glam torch songs. Shoot it in immersive 3-D. The result is one of the most intoxicatingly unusual, visually entrancing and darkly funny films of recent years.Johnnie To may be best known for ultraviolent crime thrillers like Election, Vengeance and Drug War, but Office isn’t as great a leap into the unknown as one might assume. To’s films have always been richly stylish, with an increasing focus on character, empathy and psychological insight alongside the balletic bulletry. Office simply replaces the two-gun action sequences with equally athletic song-and-dance sequences.And this isn’t just a film of high style: Thanks to a scalpel-sharp script by actor turned screenwriter Sylvia Chang—who also plays the icy office matriach alongside Chow Yun-Fat’s glowering CEO—it’s a keenly observed, spiky treatise on office politics. With catchy lyrics about making coffee for the higher-ups and the pitfalls of workplace romance, Office attacks its universal themes with claws bared. In the process, it also offers a unique take on the roots of the 2008 financial crash—basically, everyone in the financial sector was living in a gaudy, self-centered fantasy. And nearly a decade later, To suggests, very litt

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Blog

Hardcore is Toronto's first under-the-radar sensation

"Have you seen Hardcore yet?" movie snobs are asking with a shy smile at this year's TIFF

Read more
Movies

High-Rise

An uncompromising adaptation of a novel that might have benefited from a multifloor rehab, Ben Wheatley’s ferociously literal take on J.G. Ballard’s teetering 1975 social satire is, like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, an exquisite testament to cinema’s capacity to serve the written page. The first surprise is Wheatley’s decision to set the novel’s futuristic scenario—residents of a swanky apartment building devolve into class-warring savages—within the book’s mid-’70s moment. The presence of cell phones would have punctured Ballard’s fragile concept (already a little arch and dated), and the result here is gloriously retro: Fitted three-piece suits, shagadelic furnishings and a Moog-satured score by Clint Mansell make the whole film feel like a Pink Floyd album cover come to life. Adding much-needed affability is fine-boned Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, new to the building and caught off-guard by his sexually voracious upstairs neighbor, Charlotte (Sienna Miller). Robert is soon invited to the thug-protected penthouse where, in a surreal 40th-floor garden complete with swaying trees and a galloping horse, he meets the complex’s purring architect, Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), whose confidence in his “crucible of change” will come to be be shaken. Snobbery and animalistic urges eventually collide—a Ballard speciality—as the lower floors begin complaining and people start swan-diving off the balconies.Wheatley does an inspired job with the buildup to his midfilm cl

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

The Lady in the Van

Imagine Maggie Smith’s cantankerous dowager in Downton Abbey as a bag lady—she's still lording it over everyone, but now she's dressed in a filthy men’s coat from a thrift store, with tape patching up the rips and unsightly brown smears down the back. Meet Miss Shepherd, an elderly homeless woman who lived in a camper van in playwright Alan Bennett’s front garden in London for 15 years. Smith played Miss Shepherd in Bennett’s hit 1989 play and takes on the role again in this hugely entertaining, big-hearted and funny film adaptation directed by his long-standing collaborator Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys). The film was shot in the actual house on the street where the real events took place. Alex Jennings plays Bennett, who buys his house in the late 1960s. His neighbors are writers and intellectuals—guilty liberals who put up with Miss Shepherd’s van parked outside their book-lined homes to prove how tolerant they are. When the local authorities threaten to shoo her, Bennett offers Miss S. the use of his front garden for a couple of weeks. She never leaves. His mother, visiting from Yorkshire, wonders what she does for a toilet. The film offers glimpses of Bennett’s private life, like his crush on a cocky young actor starring in one of his plays. But the focus is on the gloriously rude Miss Shepherd. Any whiff of charity ruffles her ego, so when a neighbor knocks on her window with a creme brulee, she accepts it with haughty contempt. Her delusions of grandeur are hila

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Blog

The Martian and four more knockouts from the Toronto International Film Festival

At the midpoint, here are the 5 films that have made us sit up and take notice

Read more
Show more

Toronto Film Festival 2014

Movies

The Judge

Robert Downey Jr. stars in the sort of legal drama that shouts where it could whisper and stomps where it could tiptoe—not always disagreeably

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

The Drop

European actors (including future Mad Max Tom Hardy) do an uneven job bringing a "hey-yous-guys" Brooklyn crime drama to life.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Nightcrawler

Viciously funny, it twins the frenetic hunt for shocking footage with the career ambitions of a closet psycho, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Tusk

One imagines the scariest thing to Kevin Smith would be the inability to speak—and that's exactly what he explores in this captivatingly weird horror-comedy.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

The Equalizer

There’s some sad math happening when Hollywood tries to equalize one of its most distinctive leading men with generic action parts that even Liam Neeson would scowl at.

Time Out says
  • 1 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Men, Women & Children

An ensemble-acted shriek on the topic of Internet overconsumption, it's the first Jason Reitman film to make the director seem about 400 years old.

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Wild

Reese Witherspoon seizes onto the role of Cheryl Strayed, spiritually broken and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, with the talons of a hawk looking for shiny objects below.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

The Duke of Burgundy

Britain’s Peter Strickland is a star student of '70s Eurotrash: He turns the soft-focus lesbian cuddling that once titillated weirdos on 42nd Street into something deeper.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Rosewater

Often on fire behind his Daily Show desk, Jon Stewart turns out to be a merely okay director, judging from this sincere yet serviceable political drama.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

The Theory of Everything

At its best (which is often), director James Marsh’s affecting biopic of the cosmos-rattling astrophysicist Stephen Hawking plays deftly against schmaltz.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

Top Five

Of course, Chris Rock loves to crack us up, but lately, a stealth dramatist has emerged—an impulse further pursued in his dazzling self-directed latest.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Movies

St. Vincent

Why not just call it St. Bill and get it over with? The most lovable curmudgeon in modern movies gets a valedictory lap in Theodore Melfi’s crowd-pleasing dramedy.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more

Toronto Film Festival 2013

Movies

Don Jon, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Jarmusch and sex

Our first day at the fest has sex on the brain, generously onscreen, and long after the love is gone.

Read more
Movies

12 Years a Slave

We review the festival's first sensation, a triumph from director Steve McQueen.

Read more
Movies

Q&A: Enough Said's Julia-Louis Dreyfus

The Seinfeld star talks about comic humiliation and working with James Gandolfini.

Read more
Movies

Dallas Buyers Club, Supermensch, Prisoners

Hustlers play the odds in three studies of brinkmanship.

Read more
Show more

Toronto Film Festival 2012

Movies

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master

Read our first impressions after the official North American premiere.

Read more
Movies

Stories We Tell, Anna Karenina, Silver Linings Playbook

David O. Russell and Sarah Polley connect as the fest heats up.

Read more
Movies

Cloud Atlas, Passion, Spring Breakers

The fest yields a cornucopia of crazy from the Wachowskis and Brian De Palma.

Read more
Movies

Toronto International Film Festival halftime report

Ambition and go-for-broke nuttiness mark the 2012 edition.

Read more
Show more

Toronto Film Festival 2011

A preamble: the eight films we're most excited about

From a schedule aching with choices, here's what's unmissable.

Read more

Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg and heaviness

Yes, we're chastising a therapy movie for being too talky.

Read more

Take This Waltz, Damsels in Distress and more

Director Sarah Polley is still a shaper of fine performances.

Read more

Steve McQueen's Shame, a new NYC classic

And then, like that, Toronto offers up a title that makes attendance so rewarding.

Read more
Show more

Toronto Film Festival 2010

What we're excited about

Read more

Toronto halftime report

Read more

Taking a twirl with Black Swan

Read more

Let's give a hand to James Franco

Read more
Show more

Toronto Film Festival 2009

The Toronto International Film Festival: A prelude

Read more

Megan Fox shows off Body

Read more

Jason Reitman, stepping Up

Read more

Kvelling over the Coen brothers

Read more
Show more

Comments

0 comments