Toronto International Film Festival
10-20 September, 2015


For the benefit of those of you who may eventually be directed here from someone's TIFF rundown, and who may assume that 57/100 amounts to an F.

100-90: Masterpiece, or damn close. Very rare.
89-80: Fanthefucktastic. Near-lock for my year-end top 10 list.
79-70: Definitely something special. Do not miss. Likely list contender.
69-60: Very good, but also flawed or missing some crucial element.
59-50: Didn't quite work for me, but has many redeeming qualities.
49-40: Demerits clearly outweigh merits.
39-30: I really did not enjoy this picture, but talent was involved.
29-20: When will this fucking picture end. When.
19-10: Outright fiasco and/or unwatchably boring.
9-0: One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Very rare.
W/O: I don't know the director and the first two reels (about 35 to 40 minutes) didn't convince me that (s)he has it going on.

Thu 10

Jafar Panahi's Taxi (Jafar Panahi, Iran): 63
[Panahi, plus I'm curious to see who's playing Latka.]

Dégradé (Tarzan & Arab Nasser, Palestine/France/Qatar): W/O
[Cannes Critics' Week. Very good chance I'll W/O of this, in which case I'll mosey over to...]

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, Colombia/Venezuela/Argentina): W/O
[Cannes Fortnight. Also a likely W/O, which would free me up for...]

/Sicario/ (Denis Villeneuve, USA): 83
[My #1 for 2015 so far. This slot was originally reserved for Victoria, but I no longer care to see that picture.]

Arabian Nights: Volume One, The Restless One (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/France/Germany/Switzerland): 33
[Cannes Fortnight; NYFF. Really annoyed they didn't press-screen all three of these on the final Friday. It still worked out, though (mostly because this is the dullest TIFF of my lifetime on paper). COMBINED SCREENING.]

The Other Side (Roberto Minervini, France/Italy): W/O

Fri 11

Remember (Atom Egoyan, Canada/Germany): 65
[If you make as many great films as Egoyan has (including one of my ten favorites of all time), you earn my lifetime loyalty no matter how deep your career goes into the toilet. Though I still skipped The Devil's Knot.]

Brooklyn (John Crowley, UK/Ireland/Canada): 51

Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece): 48
[Didn't love Attenberg, but remain intrigued.]

Office (Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong): 56

Zoom (Pedro Morelli, Canada/Brazil): W/O
[Got shut out of Wavelengths 1. Where did this film come from? It's not in the program(me) book(ke).]

Sat 12

Our Brand Is Crisis (David Gordon Green, USA): 49
[DGG, plus I saw (though did not love) the doc.]

Evolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, France): 67
[My most highly anticipated film of the festival, which is weird since I didn't love Innocence (and I saw it twice, expecting to be floored the second time -- still wasn't). But it was so singular.]

Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/France/Germany/Switzerland): 41
[Cannes Fortnight; NYFF.]

Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One (Miguel Gomes,Portugal/France/Germany/Switzerland): 52

Les Cowboys (Thomas Bidegain, France/Belgium): 52

Sun 13

Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, USA): TK
[Kaufman, despite my lack of enthusiam for Synecdoche.]

Sunset Song (Terence Davies, UK/Luxembourg: TK

Maggie's Plan (Rebecca Miller, USA): TK

Lace Crater (Harrison Atkins, USA): TK
[Dead slot.]

A Copy of My Mind (Joko Anwar, Indonesia/South Korea): TK
[Dead slot 2: Indonesian Boogaloo.]

Mon 14

The Program (Stephen Frears, UK): TK
[Frears; nothing else of real interest in this slot. Zero interest in Armstrong, though, so will be eyeing alternatives.]

Freeheld (Peter Sollett, USA): TK
[This looks extremely earnest, but the cast is great and I still love Raising Victor Vargas. And, again, not much else.]

Bleak Street (Arturo Ripstein, Mexico/Spain): TK
[Honestly, I'd forgotten that Ripstein is still alive. It's been 13 years since my last encounter with him (Virgin of Lust). But he's a Master, so what the hell.]

No Men Beyond This Point (Mark Sawers, Canada): TK
[Dead slot.]

The Here After (Magnus von Horn, Poland/Sweden/France): TK
[Cannes Fortnight. PUBLIC SCREENING.]

Tue 15

Blood of My Blood (Marco Bellocchio, Italy/France/Switzerland): TK
[Late addition because I somehow forgot about it, as well as how much I liked Vincere.]

Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore, USA): TK

In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman, USA): TK

Truth (James Vanderbilt, USA): TK
[Dead slot, picked something that looks not dull and that I might be assigned to review.]

Wed 16

The Martian (Ridley Scott, USA): TK
[Sir Ridley. This screens early in the fest, so if the buzz is toxic I can reassess.]

The Mind's Eye (Joe Begos, USA): TK
[Dead slot.]

/Right Now, Wrong Then/ (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea): TK
[Currently my #2 film of 2015. I feel guilty about having watched it on Festivalscope, knowing it would be here, so am happy that I could easily fit it in.]

The Missing Girl (A.D. Calvo, USA): TK
[Dead slot. Here's where things start really thinning out. I usually have about 50 films on my shortlist; this year I had 25. Mostly because Venice is a wasteland.]

/The Forbidden Room/ (Guy Maddin, Canada): TK
[Currently my #4 film of 2015. Second viewing a must. COMBINED SCREENING.]

Thu 17

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, USA): TK
[I tend to like McCarthy's films, though I didn't hear such wonderful things about his last one. About a shoemaker, I believe?]

Black Mass (Scott Cooper, USA): TK
[...................I dunno. Whatever.]

Mr. Six (Guan Hu, China): TK
[Dead slot. Jesus, why didn't I fly home today instead of springing for an additional two nights at another hotel? ]

Afternoon (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan): TK
[Oh. That's why. Good job me.]

Sleeping Giant (Andrew Cividino, Canada): TK
[Cannes Critics' Week. PUBLIC SCREENING.]

Fri 18

Just gonna wing the final day. (I'm flying back fairly early on Saturday this year, rather than on Sunday as I generally have in the past.)

Shortlisted Titles I Couldn't Fit Into My Schedule (both of them Cannes leftovers; TIFF did its usual Cannes clusterfuck on Day One):

  • Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones)
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness (Natalie Portman)