Picks From the 2009 Toronto International Film Fest

Choosing from over 300 films at the Toronto International Film Festival can be daunting and fun. Here are a few of this reviewer’s choices which are released for the fall -

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY. Michael Moore takes another blow against U.S. corporations but in his usual inimitable humorous fashion, documentary style. Looking for explanations, he finds them in interviews with ordinary folk. Satirical, witty, and engaging.

THE INFORMANT! An almost unrecognizable paunchy Matt Damon is a corporate whistleblower who works with and against the F.B.I. and at the same time traps himself. Twists and turns in the plot keep our attention.

WHIP IT. Canadian Ellen Page of “Juno” fame takes on the roller derby culture fighting her parents who have beauty contest plans for her. Drew Barrymore directs and plays her colleague. This girl bonding film rocks with energy, spirit and verve. Take your children to this one.

PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ by SAPHIRE. Precious Jones(Gabourey Sidibe) is an African-American teen-ager who faces overwhelming obstacles. Some of these include living in Harlem, obesity, becoming pregnant by her father twice, being abused by her brutal mother (Mo’Nique) and illiteracy. But she is a dreamer who grabs the opportunity afforded her in an alternative program to escape. Not an upbeat film but one which offers hope and redemption and in turn focusses on our potential to overcome. Winner of the Audience Choice Award at TIFF.

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Let’s face it, war is illogical, George Clooney who is everyone’s favourite takes the war to its ultimate hilarious conclusion. A reporter (Ewan McGregor) depends on the unreliable aid of an inside informant (Clooney) to uncover a secret unit of the United States military assigned to discovering battlefield uses for psychic powers. One of the first films to offer a contrast to ambitious movies about Iraq and the Middle East conflct.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA. Covers Victoria’s early struggle in inheriting the crown and her early years with Prince Albert. The intrigue which took place before and during her crowning are well developed and fascinating to view. Emily Blunt charms as Victoria with Miranda Richardson as her scheming mother, the Duchess of Kent, whose advisor pushes the young independent princess to accept a Regency. History buffs should relish the details on her crowning and Albert’s discomfort as her husband and confidant as he asserts himself with her and her advisors.

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