Toronto 2015 Wrap: All Our Reviews & Top TIFF Picks

Editor, Festivals; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)

Well TIFF is all wrapped up for another year and what a festival it was. We'll have a few more reviews rolling out over the coming days but already we've outdone ourselves. Here's a comprehensive list of everything written up followed by our thoughts on top picks below. What did you see and love? Tell us below.


Preview: Galas & Special Presentations
Preview: Midnight Madness & Vanguard
Preview: TIFF Docs & Contemporary World Cinema
Preview: Masters, Discovery, Platform & More
The Witch Interview by Kurt Halfyard

Anomalisa by Kurt Halfyard
Bang Gang by Kurt Halfyard
Baskin by Ryland Aldrich
Beasts of No Nation by Kurt Halfyard
Black Mass by Jason Gorber
Black by Chase Whale
Collective Invention by Pierce Conran
Demolition by Jason Gorber
Endless River by Todd Brown
Equals by Kurt Halfyard
Evolution by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Eye In The Sky by Todd Brown
Hardcore by Ryland Aldrich
High Rise by Kurt Halfyard
Into the Forest by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Legend by Ryland Aldrich
Len & Company by Kurt Halfyard
My Big Night by Kurt Halfyard
Portal to Hell by Andrew Mack
Remember by Jason Gorber
River by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Room by Jason Gorber
Schneider Vs. Bax by Todd Brown
Sherpa by Kurt Halfyard
Southbound by Todd Brown
Talvar (Guilty) by J Hurtado
The Ardennes by Todd Brown
The Clan by Todd Brown
The Devil's Candy by Todd Brown
The Martian by Jason Gorber
The Wave by Todd Brown
Whispering Star by Todd Brown
World Famous Gopher Hole Museum by Todd Brown

Todd Brown, Kurt Halfyard, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Zach Gayne and contributed to this story.

What was your favorite film of the fest?

Ryland Aldrich: It was a TIFF packed with great films but the big winner for me was the film most likely to be a box office smash. The Martian succeeded wildly not only because of the fantastic story and enjoyable performances, but perhaps also because of the slightly lowered expectations based on Ridley Scott's recent films. You've brought me home, Mr. Scott.

Kurt Halfyard: The full Arabian Nights trilogy was shown as a single road-show style presentation. All in one sitting was certainly the film experience of this year's TIFF. Gloriously absurd, the film evoked Monty Python as much as it did Krzysztof Kieślowski and the recent the Greek Weird Wave. The film has political allegory, documentary, and experimental storytelling all collide over 6 hours of cinemaphile smorgasbord. Portugal's painful year of financial austerity at the hands of the EU and the IMF is the subject, but director Miguel Gomez somehow makes the whole thing work as a universal comedy of errors, all the while keeping you on your toes. The film is never predictable, re-inventing itself with each new idea as it goes. Bonus: It has the single best 'jump-scare' I have seen in 2015.

Todd Brown: This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer both because my viewing is spread out over a long period of time – so things I saw months ago have to compete with things I saw in the last few days – and because of the overall quality of the selections, but I think I need to go with Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa. It’s basically everything you would hope for from a Kaufman directed stop motion feature.

Shelagh Rowan-Legg: Into the Forest is the perfect blend of contemporary drama and science fiction, and an incredibly timely film for a generation whose future is uncertain in light of economic and environmental crisis. With great performances by Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood, and masterful direction by Patricia Rozema, it is a haunting elegy to family and our relationship with nature.

Jason Gorber: If I count films I saw at other festivals that played this year's TIFF I saw over eighty, so this is a bit harder than usual. Forgetting masterpieces I saw elsewhere like Son of Saul or Green Room. I adored Room and several others, but it was Alan Zweig's doc Hurt that really punched me in the gut - a tremendous doc that's as effective at capturing its subject as it is in making one question our own parasitic connection to those we dub heroes, and our culpability in ignoring their downfall after we've spent our time lauding them. Killer stuff, and I am ecstatic this won the inaugural Platform jury prize.

Zach Gayne: Within minutes of My Big Night, I knew there was nothing I was going to see at TIFF that would make me happier. Álex de la Iglesia's romp on a never-ending production of a years end TV variety special is the perfect ensemble chaos comedy. Like They Shoot Horses Don't They, a film about a cruel and unusually endless dance competition for dollars, My Big Night is an existentially anxious meditation on spectacle with madcap claustrophobia breeding laugh out loud delirium. It's where the hungry long-faces of They Shoot Horses meet the manic desperation of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World's slapstick ensemble and the result is perhaps the most expansive, uproarious illustration of a shit show I've ever seen - Baskin not withstanding... though I think that more accurately classifies as a fuck show.

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