TIFF 2011: ScreenAnarchy's Festival Mega Wrap

Festivals Editor; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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TIFF 2011: ScreenAnarchy's Festival Mega Wrap

They'll still be cleaning up the Cadillac viewer's choice confetti and we'll all be cursing Grace Kelly for a few days to come, but the Toronto International Film Festival has officially shuttered up for another year. In case you missed it, Twitch was on the scene en force , fillin' your browser's memory with more reviews and reactions than you could cache. Here's a roundup of all of our reviews and a few more reactions, sorted for your reading pleasure by TIFF program.

What did you like or what did you not see enough of in ScreenAnarchy's TIFF coverage? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. As always, we aim to please.

ScreenAnarchy's TIFF coverage began with our 6 part TIFF 11 for '11 series. You can check out these quick previews here:
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 1: The Big Launches
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 2: The Fantastic Side of Things
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 3: Pacific Rim Offerings
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 4: Big Screen Reality
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 5: The Films That Could
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 6: The Best from Other Fests

MIDNIGHT MADNESS

There was no messing around here. ScreenAnarchy had all hands on deck for the Midnight Madness section which again provided excellent entertainment to the raucous TIFF crowds. The undisputed champion and winner of the Midnight Madness Audience Choice Award was Gareth Evan's THE RAID! Gareth along with Indonesian stars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim were regular fixtures at the festival events - all the better for them to shake hands and hear the mountains of praise being heaped on the film. There is no doubt that The Raid had the most positive buzz of any film, midnight or not, at the entire festival. Expect more amazing things from these guys soon.

But The Raid wasn't the only fantastic film on display late nights at the Ryerson. Adam Wingard's family gathering gone horribly wrong actioner found a boatload of fans, especially for the break out star Sharni Vinson. The tight and particularly fun screenplay by Simon Barrett deserves a mention as well.

Other midnight hits included Ben Wheatley's Down Terrace follow up Kill List and French night club actioner Sleepless Night by Frederic Jardin. You can read about those and more here:

THE RAID Review by Ryland Aldrich
THE RAID Review by Andrew Mack
GOD BLESS AMERICA Review by Kurt Halfyard
YOU'RE NEXT Review by Todd Brown
YOU'RE NEXT Review by Kurt Halfyard
SLEEPLESS NIGHT Review by Kurt Halfyard
THE INCIDENT Review by Todd Brown
KILL LIST Review by James Marsh
KILL LIST Review by Eight Rocks
LIVID Review by Todd Brown
LOVELY MOLLY Review by Todd Brown

GALAS
As is often the case, the gala presentations did more to excite the autograph seekers than ignite the critics. I quite enjoyed Luc Besson's Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady though its long running time bored some. Buzz was mixed to positive on Butter, Moneyball and Hysteria while the buzz trended a bit more negative for A Dangerous Method, The Ides of March and Albert Nobbs. From all accounts, Machine Gun Preacher, Killer Elite and Madonna's W.E. are just plain bad. Our Gala reviews:

A DANGEROUS METHOD Review by Michael Guillen
KILLER ELITE Review by Todd Brown
THE IDES OF MARCH Review by Michael Guillen

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

There was a whole lot to explore in the Contemporary World Cinema program with 50+ films on display. This is a hard one to judge but my stab at the films with the best positive buzz when all was said and done were Nacho Vigolando's Extraterrestrial, Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala, Jens Lien's Sons of Norway and Lynn Shelton 's Your Sister's Sister with heaps of praise being given to the film's star Emily Blunt. I also hear whispers of positivity for both Sion Sono's Himizu and Alejandro Brugues's Cuban zombie crisis flick Juan of the Dead. ScreenAnarchy takes:

388 ARLETTA AVE. Review by Todd Brown
BONSAI Review by Michael Guillen
FROM UP ON POPPY HILL Review by Todd Brown
A FUNNY MAN Review by Todd Brown
MICHAEL Review by Michael Guillen
SONS OF NORWAY Review by Todd Brown
SUPERCLASICO Review by Todd Brown

VANGUARD & VISIONS

A few great flicks in the relatively demure section known as Vanguard. Todd had very good things to say about both Carre Blanc and Doppelganger Paul, and my favorite film of the fest (aside from The Raid) was also featured here: Joachim Trier's beautifully melancholic Oslo, August 31st.

Like Vanguard, the Visions program had a few notable titles sprinkled in. Alps from Dogtooth director Giorgos Lanthimos had its fans and its detractors. Shinya Tsukamoto's Kotoko was a bit more divisive. Likewise, Toshiaki Toyoda's Monsters Club wasn't quite hailed as the hit many had hoped. Our reviews:

CARRE BLANC Review by Todd Brown
DOPPELGANGER PAUL Review by Todd Brown
OSLO, AUGUST 31ST Review by Ryland Aldrich
ALPS Review by Kurt Halfyard
KOTOKO Review by Kurt Halfyard
MONSTERS CLUB Review by Todd Brown

REAL TO REEL

The documentary Real to Reel program was actually a bit quiet this year with a few notable exceptions. Comic-Con: Episode IV - A Fan's Hope was a big hit. I went as far as to call it Morgan Spurlock's best film to date. Jessica Yu's water crisis doc Last Call at the Oasis was very well liked while Alex Gibney's hockey doc The Last Galdiators was called one of his weaker films. Paul Williams: Still Alive was pretty well received with the artist on hand to play some songs for those lucky enough to make it to the show. A few words:

COMIC-CON Review by Ryland Aldrich
CRAZY HORSE Review by Kurt Halfyard

MASTERS
It was films that had already made their debuts at other fests that had people talking about the Masters program. Both Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre and the Dardenne Brothers' The Kid With a Bike continued their successful festival runs. Notably quiet were Kim Ki-duk's autobiographical docu Arirang and Hirokazu Kore-eda's I Wish. Not many had much good to say about Gus Van Sant's latest Restless. Here are our takes:

THE KID WITH A BIKE Review by Michael Guillen
RESTLESS Review by Kurt Halfyard
THIS IS NOT A FILM Review by Michael Guillen
TURIN HOUSE Review by Michael Guillen

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
The Special Presentations catch-all category was loaded with buzz worthy titles. The city was blanketed in posters for soon-to-open festival titles 50/50, Drive and Anonymous though buzz for the first two was certainly more positive than the last. The audience at my screening gave a deafening standing ovation for Michel Hazanvicius's silent Cannes hit The Artist, though some pointed to its failure to win the audience choice award as sign it isn't as strong as the Weinsteins might have hoped. That honor went to Lebanese Nadine Labaki for her Caramel follow-up Where Do We Go Now.

I'm sorry to report that both Michael Winterbottom's Trishna and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights were widely viewed as disappointments. Geoffrey Fletcher's enigmatic teen assassin actioner Violet & Daisy was near universally hated. While not quite universal, Francis Ford Copolla's Twixt was laughed out of town by most critics - though both Peter K. and I found a lot to enjoy in his dreamy and weird experiment.

People seemed pretty split about Almodovar's latest The Skin I Live In with few calling it one of his best but some really enjoying it. Spiritual siblings Killer Joe and Hick were also rather divisive. Some appreciated the two films' wacky white trash weirdness while others (including me) found them both too disturbing. Not many had too much good to say about Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Clive Owen starring supernatural thriller The Intruders which pretty much falls apart in the final act.

The very, very positive buzz continues for Steve McQueen's Shame, which Fox Searchlight picked up in all its NC-17 glory. More good news for Alexander Payne's The Descendants which has Oscars written all over it. George Clooney from that film and Michael Fassbender from Shame could find themselves duking it when the awards season rolls around.

A few final words of praise for buzzworthy titles Jeff Who Lives at Home by the Duplass Bros., Damsels in Distress by the very funny Whit Stillman, and the movie that everyone is still talking about eight months after Sundance, Drake Doremus's Like Crazy. Take a deep breath and check out our reviews:

THE ARTIST Review by Todd Brown
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS Review by Kurt Halfyard
THE DESCENDANTS Review by Ryland Aldrich
DRIVE Review by Eight Rocks
DRIVE Review by Ryland Aldrich
50/50 Review by Ryland Aldrich
HEADHUNTERS Review by Kurt Halfyard
HICK Review by Ryland Aldrich
JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME Review by Todd Brown
KEYHOLE Review by Michael Guillen
KILLER JOE Review by Kurt Halfyard
LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE Review by Kurt Halfyard
MELANCHOLIA Review by Dustin Chang
MELANCHOLIA Review by Todd Brown
PEARL JAM 20 Review by Ryland Aldrich
PEARL JAM 20 Review by James Marsh
SHAME Review by Kurt Halfyard
TWIXT Review by Peter K.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN Review by Kurt Halfyard

DISCOVERY, MAVERICKS, CITY TO CITY, KIDS & SHORTS
To put a quick wrap on the final sections, the most notable title is Mavericks film The Island President by Jon Shenk which won the audience choice award for best documentary. Hiroyuki Okiura's Kids title A Letter to Momo was reported to be a bit disappointing. People had better things to say about Haofeng Xu's costumer The Sword Identity. Our reviews all wrapped up:

FATHERLAND Review by Michael Guillen
VAQUERO Review by Michael Guillen
THE INVADER Review by Todd Brown
THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP Review by Todd Brown
THE SWORD IDENTITY Review by Todd Brown
HOPE Review by Todd Brown

Well that about does it for TIFF 2011. Tell us what you think, and look for more ridiculous prolific reviews starting in just a few days when we kick off our coverage of FANTASTIC FEST 2011.

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