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The Torontonian reviews This Is Where I Leave You

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Like a middling episode of House-“Arrested Development,” Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You—adapted from the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name—is a dysfunctional family dramedy lacking in laughs and an emotional punch to really bring it home. The film gets by on its likable cast, but the fact that this film merely passes despite such a talented crop of comedic talent should speak to a general failure, or at least a sense of disappointment.

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Wrapping TIFF 2014

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It was a really good TIFF. Solid.

What was missing, really, were the home run hitting feature films. (Great docs… but we expect that.)

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: It’s a Wrap

The Theory of Everything

Officially there were 366 features shown at the just completed edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. I saw about 30. So it should come as no surprise that few of this year’s public and jury prize winners managed to elude my grasp.

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The Torontonian reviews It Follows

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows—alongside its brilliant cinematography and chilling scares—is the inventive premise, which is as much to fun to describe as it is to watch (tell your friends about the “sexually-transmitted ghost” movie and watch their faces turn from disgusted to wildly amused).

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie

A Pigeon Sat

It’s kinda official. To be honest I really haven’t noticed anyone taking notice of the fact that Toronto mayor Rob Ford hasn’t shown his face at the Toronto International Film Festival. Granted the local attendees don’t appear to be his constituency and there is a mayoral race coming up before the end of the year. In fact, there either was a debate scheduled (there are three others on the ballot) or one that went forward that Ford opted out of without extending much of a reason.

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The Torontonian Reviews NIGHTCRAWLER

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Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: Toronto 2014 – Getting Started

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The Torontonian reviews Eden

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Confessions Of A Film Festival Junkie: TIFF 2014 Opening Days

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The TIFF 2014 Doc Sneak: Thom Powers Lays It Out For You

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The Torontonian Reviews GRAVITY

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The Torontonian Reviews UNDER THE SKIN

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The Torontonian Reviews PRISONERS

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The Torontonian Reviews PARKLAND

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The Torontonian Reviews BLUE RUIN

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MCN Videos

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Transparent: Hoffman, Duplass, Landecker & Hahn

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Telluride: Emma Stone, La La Land

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Telluride 2016 Sneak

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Kubo & The Two Strings, Art Parkinson, Travis Knight

MCN Festivals

Toronto Int’l Gala Presentations Include New Delpy, Egoyan, Emmerich, Frears, Helgeland, Mehta, Moorhouse, Scott, Sollett, Vallée

“People want to go home and have sex after your movie. Don’t make them feel urggghh. Don’t do that to your fellow sexually active people.”
In Toronto, Michael Moore Reminds Documentarians To Entertain 

“I’m telling you straight and true that Paul Dano‘s performance as the youngish Brian Wilson in Bill Pohlad‘s Love and Mercy is almost spookily great.”
Avers Jeff Wells

NY Times

“This movie was born in a blaze, and will be released in a blaze.”
Kevin Smith’s Tusk Gets Medicinal Marijuana Tie-In severe spoiler

NY Times

“People could call him a sociopath. But I wouldn’t at all. I would call it the birth of an artist. It’s poetry to him.”
Jake Gyllenhaal Tries A Festival-Friendly PR Tack For Nightcrawler

“I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it yet, but screw it: I love this nasty little movie! It’s f—ing bonkers, and I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Kyle Buchanan Serves T. O. Buzz With His Starred-Up 15 Picks For The Fest

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“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

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