Linda Barnard, Toronto Star

  1. The Art of the Steal 2014 Feels like a series of vignettes featuring smart quipping stars randomly strung together. full review
  2. Big Bad Wolves 2014 [It] does creepily entertain even as it shocks with graphic violence. full review
  3. The Act Of Killing 2013 It will leave you breathless. full review
  4. The Angels' Share 2013 Loach takes us through the mysteries of whisky making, exploring the subtle tastes and scents in ways that will have audiences wishing they had a dram at hand. But a glass also serves more symbolic purposes ... full review
  5. The Berlin File 2013 The Berlin File benefits from gritty surroundings that add a cold war realism to this otherwise confusing tale of conflicted loyalties and secret agendas. full review
  6. The Big Wedding 2013 The Big Wedding aims low and achieves every aspiration. full review
  7. Blackfish 2013 Blackfish is enough to make anybody think twice about the wisdom of turning whales into performers. full review
  8. Cloudburst 2013 An affectionate twist on a classic tale of lovers on the lam, sprinkled with renegade hints of Thelma & Louise, Cloudburst is a life- and heart-affirming journey. full review
  9. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 2013 At its heart, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is fun, even if it is occasionally so chaotic it tramples the movie's flow like a herd of stampeding Buffaloafs. full review
  10. The Conspiracy 2013 Why do so many contemporary filmmakers use the well-worn device of found footage and documentary shooting style to make thrillers? Does The Blair Witch Project have a mysterious power over all of them? full review
  11. Dirty Wars 2013 Scahill is as much a liability onscreen as he is a fascinating source. full review
  12. Drinking Buddies 2013 A meandering, unfocused kind-of love story among 20 and 30-somethings that grates as much as it pleases. full review
  13. The English Teacher 2013 The report card for low-key high school comedy The English Teacher would read something like this: Weak effort; this student is too easily distracted, fails to follow through and turns in unfinished work. full review
  14. Free Birds 2013 A seasonally pegged 3D cartoon bore that sets the bar so low, it could give a slug a concussion. full review
  15. Geography Club 2013 Its heart is in the right place, even if it is a sappy one. full review
  16. God Loves Uganda 2013 God Loves Uganda charts the rise in persecution and intolerance in the African nation as America's Christian right takes its anti-gay fight to new territory. full review
  17. Good Ol' Freda 2013 [Gives] insight into a rare, innocent time in rock history when a scrap of pillowcase that cradled a mop-top singer or an autographed photo were all fans needed to feel close to their idols. full review
  18. Haunter 2013 Inspiration seems to come from Groundhog Day, Beetlejuice and even The Shining. full review
  19. I Give It a Year 2013 Mazer's previous onscreen experience is undeniably obvious. No penis is left unfilmed, no crude scene prevented from going on far too long. full review
  20. Linsanity 2013 At age 25, the likable and surprisingly humble Lin has so little career behind him and, his fans hope, so much more ahead, that his onscreen soul searching about lost opportunities and early missed dreams rings hollow. full review
  21. Museum Hours 2013 The languid pace, long silences and lack of purpose and dramatic tension will leave some looking at their watches. full review
  22. My Brother The Devil 2013 My Brother the Devil brings a fresh and mature perspective to a story of shifting relationships between siblings, clearly marking the Egyptian-Welsh writer-director as someone on a path to greater things. full review
  23. Pandora's Promise 2013 There's not much in the way of balance in this often bone-dry documentary about the bum rap nuclear power has gotten thanks to misinformed, if well-meaning, environmentalists and energy experts. full review
  24. Paranoia 2013 It's tension free and as a result, forgettable. full review
  25. Peeples 2013 Even the bouncy score sounds like it was lifted from an old Three's Company episode; that is when they're not all belting out a song about where it's not cool to pee. full review
  26. A Place at the Table 2013 A shocking indictment of how people are starving in the land of plenty ... full review
  27. Prince Avalanche 2013 Its absurdist tact won't be for everybody, but there is satisfaction in the nuanced, often-pleasing performances from Rudd and Hirsch as they slowly reveal their characters to both the audience and each other. These two grow on you. full review
  28. Red Obsession 2013 Despite being a rather thin, by-the-books documentary that abruptly changes course at the halfway mark, Red Obsession tells a fascinating financial tale about the rise of "wine fever" in China. full review
  29. Renoir 2013 As sensually beautiful as the work of its subject matter, French filmmaker Gilles Bourdos's dreamy biography Renoir is more a series of tableaux than a narrative film. full review
  30. Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's 2013 Piles on the designers and insiders, making no lasting impression other than to spark musings on the folly of excess. full review
  31. The Secret Disco Revolution 2013 Less talk, more shake your booty. full review
  32. Something in the Air 2013 Assayas captures a season in the lives of a group that envisioned themselves as bearers of truth ... full review
  33. Spinning Plates 2013 Plays to sentiment in its second half but you can't help but admire the tenacity of these people, who have been tested repeatedly in almost Biblical fashion, yet come out swinging. full review
  34. The Summit 2013 The subject is fascinating and the cinematic punch afforded by peaks so massive, inspiring with their terrible beauty is a filmmaker's dream. full review
  35. Turbo 2013 Turbo's colourful trek to product placement-littered Indianapolis is as rote as it gets, but little viewers won't care about predictability. full review
  36. Unfinished Song 2013 Blends the premise of TV's Glee with liberal splashes of recent older-skewing audience pleasers Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in predictable fashion. full review
  37. War Witch 2013 The ghosts of murdered villagers that haunt a young girl brutally forced into slavery as a child soldier in Rebelle mirror the film's dramatic effect on an audience. full review
  38. Winnie Mandela 2013 It won't satisfy history students curious about this polarizing figure, nor fans of its star, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. full review
  39. Wrong 2013 Dupieux makes the viewer work for it with Wrong. And it's not always worth the effort ... full review
  40. 2 Days in New York 2012 It's time for Delpy to leave Marion in New York for good and head back to Paris. Besides, the sausage is better there. full review
  41. Arbitrage 2012 A tight thriller that shows [its] handsome star in fine form as a morally bankrupt financier playing fast and loose with ethics and the law. full review
  42. Barbara 2012 Hoss is mesmerizing as a woman who holds it all together to the point of losing herself. full review
  43. Blancanieves 2012 A sensual and sophisticated retelling of a beloved fairytale re-imagined as a homage to European silent cinema, Spanish writer-director Pablo Berger's black-and-white Blancanieves will leave you transfixed. full review
  44. Brooklyn Castle 2012 Brooklyn Castle is inspiring stuff that grabs you by the throat and will leave you cheering - quietly of course. No shouting in a chess match. full review
  45. The Central Park Five 2012 Expect your blood pressure to rise during The Central Park Five. full review
  46. Chasing Ice 2012 Considering the gravity of the situation there is very little preaching in Chasing Ice. Facts about global warming are presented then backed up with staggering visuals. An audience is invited to accept it as proof, or not. full review
  47. Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away 2012 It serves as a greatest-hits reel of the staggeringly gorgeous and superbly creative acts of the Canadian-born entertainment phenomenon cherry picked from seven Cirque productions. full review
  48. Crooked Arrows 2012 It's an often-awkward niche film enlivened by impressive on-field action scenes. But those can't get it beyond a predictable sports underdogs-fight-back plot. full review
  49. A Dark Truth 2012 A slog of a thriller that tries for relevance with an environmental message, A Dark Truth's biggest mystery is how so many "name" actors ended up in this torpid turkey. full review
  50. Deadfall 2012 Looks great but sacrifices much in its charge towards a final showdown that's been telegraphed from the early going. full review
  51. Detachment 2012 Detachment gets an A for enthusiasm but a C for execution. full review
  52. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel 2012 Diana Vreeland is both history lesson and sentimental love letter to a fashion titan. full review
  53. Fat Kid Rules the World 2012 Punctuated by cartoonish fantasy scenes and some adult moments that take it to darker territory, Fat Kid Rules the World is simple stuff that offers a few surprises and a satisfying, if predictable, finish. full review
  54. Fightville 2012 The process is bloody, raw and often emotional, and the fights themselves shocking in their brutality, as the cameras follow the young Turks who do battle for a few hundred dollars. full review
  55. The Imposter 2012 This is edge-of-your-seat stuff and the difficulty is in the telling of the tale. To give any of this film away is a crime. You simply have to see it for yourself. full review
  56. Indie Game: The Movie 2012 You may have never picked up a game console in your life, but there's universal access thanks to compelling stories in Indie Game: The Movie. full review
  57. Jesus Henry Christ 2012 If it all seems a tad to quirky and twee, that's the overwhelming flaw in director Lee's obvious and lightweight homage to director Wes Anderson. full review
  58. Jiro Dreams of Sushi 2012 It is as much a family saga as a visit to sushi nirvana, and that adds an unexpected and satisfying narrative to this visual stunner. full review
  59. Last Call at the Oasis 2012 Be assured, this thorough doc with its gorgeous opening sequence will sear a central message into your brain: think before you drink. full review
  60. Lore 2012 The sins of the Fatherland send a German teenage girl and her Nazi-connected family on the run in Australian director Cate Shortland's vividly rendered and sensual drama Lore. full review
  61. Meet the Fokkens 2012 The doc gives a rare look at the business of plying the world's oldest profession over the past 50 years in the famously tolerant city, but the directors are a bit too hands-off and the narrative wanders. full review
  62. The Moth Diaries 2012 While there's plenty of promise, there's no payoff with this would-be horror. full review
  63. Nobody Walks 2012 The characters, especially Kolt's Italian tutor, demonstrate they have the impulse control of toddlers. full review
  64. Not Fade Away 2012 Chase takes a basement view of the birth of America's '60s rock revolution with his big-screen debut Not Fade Away. full review
  65. Oslo, August 31st 2012 The result is a superb exploration of loss, guilt and regret in Norwegian director Joachim Trier's often-unpredictable second film. full review
  66. Pink Ribbons, Inc. 2012 Even pink ribbons have shades of grey. full review
  67. The Possession 2012 The obvious bid for an unwarranted sequel at the end of The Possession suggest that Raimi, once hailed for his vision, is now content to just milk his cows and count his cash. full review
  68. Pusher 2012 The characters that populate Pusher are surprisingly naive and hardly the brightest of bulbs. So much for the image of the wily, street-smart criminal. full review
  69. The Sapphires 2012 Sapphires is hardly a cinematic diamond mine. But this Commitments-style mashup of music and melodrama manages to entertain without demanding too much of its audience. full review
  70. Tai Chi Zero 2012 Exhausting to watch, Tai Chi Zero is all flash and little substance. full review
  71. Union Square 2012 The look is minimalist but the two lead actresses add pleasing layers to characters of estranged sisters who parted ways for reasons Lucy refers to only cryptically. full review
  72. Albert Nobbs 2011 Albert is at the heart of it all and we see her through her own prism of vulnerability, resulting in a very human story about the search for love, acceptance and understanding of the self. full review
  73. First Position 2011 If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick. full review
  74. Funkytown 2011 Some tales are more successfully told than others, but they can't elevate a cumbersome and distracted script from Steve Galluccio. full review
  75. Hell and Back Again 2011 We're left to decide which wounds go the deepest, those from Afghanistan or those caused by the confusion and emotional barrages he continues to suffer in America. full review
  76. An Insignificant Harvey 2011 Kopas makes the most of a limited budget while giving Prentice room to shine. But the deliberate oddball factor distracts from the job at hand. full review
  77. Jig 2011 Jig is both inspiring and a cautionary tale about obsession among youngsters. full review
  78. Keep the Lights On 2011 Observing Erik face the inevitable, that loving a drug addict means always coming second to the substance, is heartbreaking and real. full review
  79. Page One: Inside the New York Times 2011 A fascinating study of a newspaper doing its best to not just survive but to continue to do so with excellence while the world tilts beneath the venerable broadsheet. full review
  80. Tomboy 2011 Sciamma (Water Lilies) deserves great praise for what she has accomplished with a simple film addressing a complex subject. full review
  81. Trishna 2011 This escalation of passions and Trishna's humiliation demands much of both actors, yet neither Pinto nor Ahmed is completely convincing and this is the main flaw of Trishna. full review
  82. The Women on the 6th Floor 2011 The Women on the 6th Floor follows the well-worn story pathway about relationships between bosses and servants, but does so with a sense of genuine joy that mostly makes up for any lack of originality. full review
  83. Armadillo 2010 Lets the soldiers tell their stories by the way they live day-to-day during their tour of duty. full review
  84. Casino Jack 2010 Casino Jack is really two movies: a convoluted tale about the exploits of disgraced Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, coupled with a zealous-if-misguided performance from Kevin Spacey in the title role. full review
  85. Casino Jack And The United States Of Money 2010 full review
  86. The Company Men 2010 The cast does the heavy lifting here and carries the movie over the predictable bits, exploring the rising panic of families who face the devastation of job loss with disturbing realism. full review
  87. Greenberg 2010 The movie ends on strange note, almost as if even Baumbach couldn't stand to spend one more minute with the odious Greenberg. full review
  88. The Fourth Kind 2009 Without the true-story conceit, The Fourth Kind would be just another formula horror flick with a couple of passable jolts trying to hold a flimsy story together. full review
  89. Bottle Shock 2008 Bottle Shock comes on too strong and sours once the cork is popped, despite a delightfully over-the-top showing by Alan Rickman. full review
  90. Fly Me to the Moon 2008 Adults used to animation that runs on two tracks -- the upfront stuff for the tykes and a witty subtext to entertain big people -- may grow bored with the kid-leaning sensibility of Fly Me to the Moon. full review
  91. Star Wars: The Clone Wars 2008 Pretty much drives a stake into the heart of every loyal fan of the movies. And now he's out to stick it to those too young to know about Jar Jar Binks. full review
  92. The Tale of Despereaux 2008 . The plot is too convoluted and there are too many characters to keep track of. full review
  93. Beaufort 2007 As long as soldiers have gone into battle they have struggled with the rightness of their actions and their purpose in the field -- no matter how firm their resolve at the outset. full review
  94. /titles/197542 The dialogue is pedestrian and the performances hardly inspired. full review
  95. /titles/197050 Homefront is ridiculously overdone. full review

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