Toronto Film Review: ‘Boychoir’

By Peter Debruge. Photo: George Pimentel. Source:

The voices are the stars, while Dustin Hoffman is just along to support the gifted preteen sopranos in “Boychoir.” A welcome return to feature filmmaking by “The Red Violin” director Francois Girard, this relatively by-the-numbers boarding-school drama distinguishes itself through song, thanks to the exceptional musical talents of the American Boychoir School, preteen sopranos whose otherworldly talent lasts for only a few years at most. The mystery of where that ability comes from, coupled with the urgency to share it, lends urgency to an otherwise generic coming-of-ager sure to delight those seeking spiritually grounded, emotionally uplifting entertainment.

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Wild headed to Toronto International Film Festival

By Brendan Kelly. Photo: Kayla Rocca. Source:

Two of Quebec’s hottest filmmakers – Jean-Marc Vallée and Philippe Falardeau – are headed to the Toronto International Film Festival but they’re going to the Big Smoke with two American movies. Both of which – in an odd twist of film fate – happen to star Reese Witherspoon!

Vallée is bringing Wild, which is adapted by British novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) from Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. After years of dysfunction, Strayed decides to hike over a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. It is set to be released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in early December.

Wild will be given a Gala screening at TIFF, which is the fest’s most prestigious slot.

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Vallee’s ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ gets Oscar love, including nom for Montreal editor

By Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press. Source:

TORONTO – Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Dallas Buyers Club” has nabbed a slew of Oscar nominations including best film, best actor, best supporting actor and best film editing for Montreal’s Martin Pensa.

Pensa shares the nomination with John Mac McMurphy.

Quebec’s Vallee was shut out of the best director category but his scrappy indie film about HIV-positive activist Ron Woodroof has vaulted him into the spotlight with prominent nominations ahead of the glitzy bash.

“Dallas Buyers Club” also earned nods for best original screenplay, and makeup and hairstyling.

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Matthew McConaughey ‘unabashed’ in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

By Associated Press. Photo: Chris Pizelle/Invasion/AP. Source:

In 1986, Texan Ron Woodroof was diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. When receiving the news, the rodeo-lover argued with the doctor, saying only homosexuals got such a disease-and he was as straight as they came.

Matthew McConaughey, as Woodroof in the based-on-a-true-story “Dallas Buyers Club,” out this Friday, is magnificently cringe-worthy as this very scene plays out in the film.

“We had to go all the way unabashed with that,” said McConaughey in a recent interview to promote the film. “I would go as far as I could with the stuff that Ron thought, which was the stuff that made people go ‘You bigot, racist.’”

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AIDS drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is surefire Oscar bait

By Lou Lumenick. Photo: Anne Marie Fox/AP/Focus Features. Source:

Few screen actors have ever had a year as good as Matthew McConaughey, who follows up his bravura work as an escaped convict in “Mud” with a tour de force as an unforgettable if unlikely true-life Texan hero in Jean-Marc Vallée’s absorbing “Dallas Buyers Club.”

The film, which also contains a must-see performance by Jared Leto as a transsexual, portrays the almost unbelievable story of Ron Woodroof, a virulently homophobic electrician, rodeo rider and casual drug user, who becomes an unlikely AIDS activist after being diagnosed with HIV in 1985.

Given 30 days to live by the doctor (Denis O’Hare) who delivers the diagnosis, the emaciated Woodroof becomes a self-taught expert who obtains drugs on the black market. He travels to Mexico and other countries for treatments not then available in the United States.

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Benedict Cumberbatch-voiced film “Jerusalem:” Inside the making of the IMAX movie

By Amanda Cochran. Photo: Jerusalem US LP. Source:

“Jerusalem” – a new movie narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch – takes viewers inside the Holy City in IMAX 3D. But how did the National Geographic Entertainment team gain such unprecedented access to the city, which is perhaps the world’s most politically and religiously delicate locale?

Taran Davies, co-producer of the movie, said the film – which took five years to make – was an effort that came together “over a million cups of tea.”

He said, “Jerusalem, over its 4,000-year history, it’s the most fought-over place on Earth. It’s been subject to 118 conflicts. It’s been conquered 44 times and destroyed completely twice. But, yet, to this day, it is sacred to over half the world’s population.”

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Behind Bars, Where Anything Goes

By Neil Genzlinger. Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images. Source:

Is that political commentary lurking beneath the grunts and four-word sentences of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone?

“Escape Plan,” an enjoyable enough version of the action movies these stars have been feeding off lately, puts the two of them in a supermaximum-security prison where assorted terrorists and other extremely undesirables are housed. It’s an off-the-grid detention center, privately run, and the administrators think nothing of inflicting abuses of all sorts. This film is not likely to be shown on movie night at Guantánamo.

Mr. Stallone’s character makes a living by going undercover as an inmate and trying to break out, to identify the weaknesses in the prison security system. He is hired for a black-ops assignment that quickly turns sinister. Mr. Schwarzenegger is the inmate he teams with to try to escape.

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A vivid coming-of-age romantic drama

By Ann Hornaday. Photo: Media Films. Source:
Once in a while a movie comes along that doesn’t just affect how you think or feel, it performs its own kind of physical alchemy, burrowing its way into your consciousness so thoroughly that you feel permanently marked and changed.

“Blue Is the Warmest Color,” Abdellatif Kechiche’s long, sprawling, boldly immersive coming-of-age drama, works just this sort of magic. A naturalistic portrait of the sexual and romantic awakening of a teenage girl — played in an astonishing breakout performance by newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos — “Blue Is the Warmest Color” at first seems like nothing new: Portraying the day-to-day life of Exarchopoulos’s character, also named Adèle, Kechiche hews to the time-honored French tradition of dressed-down, realistic staging and style, devoting long, seemingly spontaneous sequences set at Adele’s high school and at home with her working-class parents.

Those unforced, quotidien rhythms don’t perceptibly change once Adele meets Emma (Léa Seydoux), a fresh-faced, blue-haired art student she first glimpses on a crowded street, then pursues into a lesbian night club. The two women fall into a rapturous, physically electric affair, with Adèle at first bewildered and finally beguiled by Emma’s assured delivery of a sentimental education.

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‘Jerusalem’ documentary shows rare views inside city

By George Duffield. Photo: Nicolas Ruel. Source:

The job of the sort of IMAX documentary that screens at museums is simple: fascinate, educate, and visually wow an audience of both school field-trippers and their chaperones, and get off the stage in about three-quarters of an hour. With this as its tricky and sometimes contradictory criterion, “Jerusalem” succeeds rather nicely.

“Jerusalem is the crucible of coexistence,” said writer, producer, and first-time director Daniel Ferguson, on hand at the recent world premiere of the film at the Museum of Science’s Mugar Omni Theater. “Why are people fighting over this little city on a hill?”

He and his coproducers admitted “there was nothing that was not complicated” when it came to filming. At the crossroads and flashpoint of three major religions — Christianity, Judaism, and Islam — Jerusalem is “the most contested piece of real estate on earth,” intones narrator Benedict Cumberbatch (PBS’s “Sherlock”).

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Dallas Buyers Club at Toronto International Film Festival

By Cameron Bailey. Photo: Reuters. Source:

Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto star in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s (The Young Victoria, C.R.A.Z.Y.) take on the true story of accidental AIDS activist Ron Woodroof, whose cross-border smuggling network brought much-needed treatments into the hands of HIV and AIDS patients neglected by the medical establishment.

In 1986, the AIDS crisis was still a misunderstood horror, withering then taking its victims, alarming the public and confounding the doctors who sought a cure. In Texas, Ron Woodroof stood beyond the fear of AIDS. He was clueless. So when this boozing, foul-mouthed, womanizing heterosexual contracted HIV, his response was instinctive: Bullshit.

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