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My Thoughts on The Visit

M. Night Shyamalan directs this found-footage thriller about two kid's visit to their grandparent house in The Visit. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) travel to a small town in Pennsylvania to stay with their grandparents John (Peter McRobbie) and Doris (Deanna Dunagan), while their mother Paula (Kathryn Hahn) goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend. Becca decides to film a documentary of the visit and finds that even though John and Doris seem friendly during the day, they begin acting strangely at night.

Blindspot 2015: 40 Years of TIFF: Hotel Rwanda

The People's Choice Award for the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival went to Terry George's drama Hotel Rwanda. The film went on to be nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Don Cheadle, Best Supporting Actress for Sophie Okonedo, and Best Original Screenplay.

Taking place under the backdrop of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Hotel Rwanda tells the story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle). As the Hutu majority began a mass slaughter of the Tutsi, Paul and his family takes refuge in the Hôtel des Mille Collines. When more Tutsi refuges begin arriving at the hotel, Paul does everything he can to protect them from the genocide.

TIFF 2015: Wrap-Up

I think the fact that it took me nearly a week to complete my coverage of this year's 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is a testament to how busy I was this year. All together, I ended up seeing 33 feature films, plus 7 short films, which is the most I have ever watched at the festival. I saw quite a variety at this year's festival, while also sticking to many of my core programmes, such as Midnight Madness and Vanguard.

TIFF 2015: Short Cuts Programme 4

Here is my roundup of reviews from Short Cuts Programme 4, which consisted of seven short films from around the world, which ranged from arctic depths to traveling between dimensions.

TIFF 2015: My Big Night

The taping of a New Year's Eve special leads to insanity in My Big Night. As disgruntled ex-employees protest outside, an extravagant New Year's Eve special has been filming at a television network for over a week, even though it's only October. Throughout the course of this night, egos and insanity ensues, including the bickering celebrity couple Roberto (Hugo Silva) and Cristina (Carolina Bang), who are hosting the event, the rival singers Adán (Mario Casas) and Alphonso (Raphael) deciding when to perform, wannabe assassin Oscar (Jaime Ordóñez), and extra José's (Pepón Nieto) budding relationship with accident-prone bad luck charm Paloma (Blanca Suárez).

TIFF 2015: Der Nachtmahr

A heavy partying teenager is haunted by a repellent little creature in Der Nachtmahr. Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) is a seventeen year old girl in Berlin, who spends her nights going to raves with her friends. After one night of hard partying, Tina has found that a mysterious little creature has followed her home and that she has developed a symbiotic bond with it. However, since no one else sees the creature, it causes Tina's parents and friends to doubt her sanity.

TIFF 2015: Southbound

From the makers of V/H/S comes this horror anthology set across a desert highway. As a radio DJ (Larry Fessenden) spouts out his words of wisdom, a number of individuals face horrifying terrors near an isolated town by the highway. This includes two blood-soaked men on the run from supernatural horrors, an all-girl band taken in by a strange family, a man who has to perform emergency surgery, and a rescue mission that goes horribly awry.

TIFF 2015: The Family Fang

Two siblings deal with their performance artist parents in The Family Fang. Annie and Buster Fang (Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman) are two siblings, who are still trying to cope with their parents Caleb and Camille's (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) infamous status as performance artists. When Caleb and Camille goes missing one night, Buster is worried about his parents' safety, while Annie just believes it's just their greatest stunt. This leads to the siblings to investigate and come to terms with their family legacy.

TIFF 2015: Equals

Two individuals begin an forbidden romance in a world devoid of emotion in Equals. In a seemingly Utopian future society, human emotion has been genetically removed from individuals. Silas (Nicholas Hoult) is a drone-like office worker, who learns that he has been diagnosed with "Switched On Syndrome," where he has begun regaining his lost emotions. When he finds out that he co-worker Nia (Kristen Stewart) has the same condition, they begin a secret romance with each other and look for a way to escape this society.

TIFF 2015: Janis: Little Girl Blue

The life and career of Janis Joplin is told in the documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue. Janis Joplin was born in 1943 in the town of Port Arthur, Texas. Despite having some body image issues, it quite apparent that that the blues-loving Joplin had an excellent singing voice and she rose to fame as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. However, Joplin suffered from substance abuse problems, which would ultimately claim her life.

TIFF 2015: Mr. Right

A young woman falls for a hitman in Mr. Right. Martha (Anna Kendrick) is a woman coping with her latest break-up, when she meets a kind man named Francis (Sam Rockwell). Despite the fact that he somewhat creepily asks her out seconds after meeting, they immediately hit it off and they seem right for each other. However, it turns out that Francis is a semi-retired hitman, who is currently on the run from his old partner Hopper (Tim Roth).

TIFF 2015: Len and Company

A reclusive music producer finds his seclusion disrupted by his son and a pop star in Len and Company. Len (Rhys Ifans) is a highly successful music producer, who has shut himself off from the world. He is visited by his son Max (Jack Kilmer), who has recently dropped out of college and has recorded a music demo that he too afraid to have his father listen to. The two are subsequently joined by pop star Zoe (Juno Temple), who has her own issues with Len to resolve.

TIFF 2015: Demon

A groom gets possessed during his wedding day in Demon. Peter (Itay Tiran) is preparing to marry his fiance Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska) at her family's country home in Poland. The night before the wedding, Peter finds skeletal remains on the property, after which he begins acting strangely during the wedding reception.  It quickly becomes apparent that that there is a spiritual unwanted guest to this wedding and that it has taken control of Peter.

TIFF 2015: SPL 2: A Time for Consequences

An undercover cop and Thai prison guard fight to bring down a crime syndicate in SPL 2: A Time for Consequences. Kit (Wu Jing) is an undercover cop, who was assigned by his supervisor and uncle Wah (Simon Yam) to take down a crime syndicate run by Mr Hung (Louis Koo). Kit's cover is blown and he is thrown into a Thai prison run by corrupt warden Ko (Zhang Jin). Meanwhile, Chai (Tony Jaa), one of the guards working at the prison, is desperate to find a bone-marrow donor for his sick daughter and ends up teaming up with Kit to take down the syndicate.

TIFF 2015: I Smile Back

A housewife suffers from a self-destructive bout of depression in I Smile Back. Laney Brooks (Sarah Silverman) is a woman who lives with her husband Bruce (Josh Charles) and two young children. Despite appearing to be happy in public, Laney is suffering from a serious bout of depression, which is compounded by her doing cocaine in the washroom and having an affair with family friend Donny (Thomas Sadoski). As Laney's behaviour gets increasingly self-destructive, it threatens to tear apart her relationship with her family.

TIFF 2015: The Reflektor Tapes

The thoughts and inspirations behind Arcade Fire's latest album is explored in The Reflektor Tapes. A mix and concert footage, behind-the-scenes footage, and voice-over interviews, the members of Arcade Fire, including the husband-wife leading duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, relate what the band was going for in the development of their latest album "Reflektor." Subjects discussed include the band's theatrical nature, which has recently included the use of giant heads, as well as Régine Chassagne's connection to her homeland of Haiti.