TIFF Review Roundup: ‘Cloud Atlas,’ ‘Spring Breakers,’ ‘Perks’


The Toronto International Film Festival was going strong over the weekend, debuting just about every serious awards contender for the year, so naturally there are a lot of reviews to go through.

Thankfully, the folks over at Film.com have their crack team up in the Great White North, taking in the best of what TIFF has to offer. We’ve rounded up some of their most recent reviews, so take look after the jump!

“Cloud Atlas”
Grade: C+

“Cloud Atlas” is like the entire “Matrix” trilogy in micro. It starts out absolutely brilliantly, then segues into a pretentious slog. It is ambitious and bold has many intensely clever moments, but to say it fails to come together is almost beside the point. It chooses a form in which to make its thesis that, while oftentimes artful, is ultimately detrimental to the movie. One is left wondering what the movie is hiding, why the three-card Monte style won’t just let you get a good look at the story to judge it on its own. -Jordan Hoffman

“Spring Breakers”
Grade: B-

It would be easy to dismiss “Spring Breakers.” Lord, I’d like to. Anything that exploits women this ruthlessly begs to be dismissed. (And, sorry, Disney Girls Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens, you may think this is your ticket to an adult career, but this isn’t “Ruby in Paradise” and none of you are Ashley Judd.) Unfortunately, there are moments, somewhere in the cannabis haze of day-glo bikini buttocks and cocaine-topped nipples where an abstract expressionism starts to seep off the screen. The swirl of horny jocks, skanky girls and inadvisable behavior mixed with booze, bongs, bling and ridiculous signifiers like wiggers and bronys all starts to become. . .beautiful. –JH

“Frances Ha”
Grade: A

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s collaborative effort “Frances Ha” is hardly the first film to tackle this topic. Hardly the first this year. Hardly the first this year set in New York. But it’s a masterpiece at every level at execution. The writing crackles, the performances are true, the scenes sculpted down to their essence and stitched together with elegance and verve. –JH

“On the Road”
Grade: B+

This film ain’t for everyone. My “consumer reports” side is urging me to say, again, nothing really happens in the movie. Even the “adventures” aren’t all that shocking. At one point they get a ticket. In Mexico Sal get’s the sh*ts. To a generation raised on “The Hangover Part 2,” this may be one big snore. I think, however, that this is the only way to make this movie. To spice it up with false conflict would be an affront and to overplay the jazz angle and to go for a dreamlike experimental aesthetic would lead to nothing but rolled eyes. No, this is a plainspoken and restrained filmmaker’s vision, a respectful, tuned-in approach to “On the Road,” and the right way to represent what we see when we, like Sal Paradise, think of Dean Moriarty. -JH

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Grade: A-

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a lovely film, showing off the dynamic talents of Ezra Miller, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, proving once and for all that writers can adapt and direct their own material (as Stephen Chbosky does here) without becoming overly precious. You may not have attended this high school — hell, you may not have even heard of a place like this — but the human condition pondered within is certainly one that audience members will be able to relate to. -Laremy Legel