Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tiff Day 3: Argo, Cloud Atlas, and End of Watch

The first Saturday at Tiff is always a madhouse and yesterday was no exception! With construction, road blockages, and hysterical movie fans, it's a crazy and fun time to be in Toronto for the 39th TIFF. On this day, I saw three great films - the weather started off cold and rainy, but then cleared up to be a lovely day. I have learned that The Master won the big prize in Venice. Well, good for them. Although my review was less than enthused I don't want anyone to think that it was a bad movie. I do want to see it again because it does have elements that make a film brilliant, but perhaps I was too exhausted to fully enjoy it. But with that said, my reaction to Argo and Cloud Atlas after the film ended, represents to me how one reacts overwhelmingly positive to a film. The applause was loud, long, and celebratory after both of those films. Unlike the tepid 'polite' applause after The Master on Friday night.

So, what was so great about those two films... well, let me tell you:

Ben Affleck introducing 'Argo' at tiff

Ben Affleck introduced the film to the audience's surprise and for his third directorial feature, he knocked the ball out of the park. Argo is a wonderful recreation of the facts surrounding the six Americans who escaped the American Embassy in Iran and hid in the home of the Canadian Ambassador for over a year. As it would be any moment that they are found and eventually murdered, Tony Mendez (Ben) creates a fake Hollywood script scheme to make a movie in Iran, and then leave the country with the six Americans. The execution of this plan had to be perfect or all of them would die. This was a very tense drama. Although we know what happens, it is a credit to Affleck for being able to recapture the essence of dire straits they all were in. The great assistance of the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor, playing by Victor Garbor really riled up the Canadian audience. It brought back memories to many people in the audience of the history of this most unique relationship between the US and Canada, that neither country has with any other country. Argo is just a fantastic and well made, entertaining film that forces you to applause at key moments, laugh at others, and cringe in a few. It's a great film and I highly recommend you see Argo. I reckon Ben will get a Best Director nod for this.

Score: 9.5/10

The Wachowski Siblings

Tom Hanks

Susan Sarandon and David Keith

Hugo Weaving

Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent

Cutey-pie Joseph Gordon-Levitt in audience for Cloud Atlas

He sat just a mere 5 rows in front of me

Cloud Atlas

I don't even know where to start for this film. It was bloody confusing, and bloody brilliant at the same time. I now want to read the book. In a nutshell, Cloud Atlas is a spiritual film about the nature of humanity and how we do continue to live lives again and again, oftentimes to finish a mission that we were destined to establish. This large cast of Oscar winners, character actors, and new faces all worked beautifully together to tell stories that blended together and represented humanity on Earth and elsewhere in a span of 1,000 years (I presume). The Wachowski siblings kick ass and it was wonderful to see them and ALL the principle actors at the screening last night. It was a special evening and I have some pictures, but am having technical difficulties at the present which is preventing me from sharing them with you right now. But I will later on today. I highly anticipate Cloud Atlas to receive numerous Oscar nominations for screenplay, cinematography, art design/direction, and maybe a few surprise supporting role nominations. Cloud Atlas was just an excellent film and I cannot wait to own this on Blu-ray to watch it over and over and over again.

Score: 9.5+/10

America Ferrera, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, and Jake Gyllenhaal

End of Watch

This Jake Gyllenhaal buddy LA cop film, co-starring Michael Pena shows a really gritty side, a unique angle of being a cop in LA. The twist is that for a "study" Jake's character is video recording all his unit calls and it shows the raw emotional impact that being a cop does to a person. End of Watch is half documentary and half-narrative film. Very intriguing and interesting way to take a common plot and make something new out of it. There are a lot of funny parts to it, like it can be a black comedy, but I wouldn't go that far and call it that. It's a buddy cop film that really shows the intricacies of a friendship that develops through two police officers relying on each other to stay sane, and stay alive... to the bitter end. Very good film.

Score: 8/10

I will post pictures up as soon as I can. I got Ben Affleck, the entire cast of Cloud Atlas, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (so damn adorable), and End of Watch. Updates later on if not sooner.



  1. Yay, I've been hearing nothing but good things about Cloud Atlas so I can not wait to see it! Argo caught me by surprise though, I've been reading good reviews so I have to add this one to my must see list.

  2. Just got back from the theatre where I saw Argo. (last week was the premiere in The Netherlands). I can only say that I totally agree on your review. Great movie!