Toronto Film Fest: "A History of Violence," "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," "Elizabethtown," and "The Matador"

by | September 21, 2005 | Comments

Here are capsule reviews of four relatively good films I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival. Be on the lookout for these flicks in the coming months.

A History of Violence

David Cronenberg’s latest thriller starring Viggo Mortensen was probably one of the most hyped films entering the Toronto International Film Festival, and deservedly so. Mortensen plays an unassuming small town restaurant owner who gets mistaken by some menacing mobsters (Ed Harris and William Hurt) for someone who had done them wrong. It’s gory and violent, but satisfyingly entertaining. At 85% on the Tomatometer so far, this is definitely one to watch for in the Fall – well, actually, in a couple weeks.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Directed by “Lethal Weapon” screenwriter Shane Black, this tongue-in-cheek noir is one of the pleasant surprises of the festival. It features the odd pairing of two almost forgotten actors, Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr., in a murder mystery. The banter between the two is consistently funny throughout the film. Michelle Monaghan joins in on the fun as a struggling actress who hires the two private eyes to investigate her sister’s murder. The story does get a little too convoluted towards the end, but by that time, I was more than willing to let that slide. It’s a fun movie. At 67% on the Tomatometer so far, the critics seem to agree with me.

The Matador
Pierce Brosnan is hilarious as a sleazy assassin who’s lost his edge. It’s fun to see Brosnan satirize his James Bond persona with such reckless abandon. As in “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” it’s the odd pairing of characters – Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis as a suburban couple who are uncomfortably thrilled to have an assassin suddenly drop in and stay for a night – that creates most of the humor. Three of the four reviews available in our database also praise the film.


Director Cameron Crowe didn’t attend the screening I went to, but he did have a message for the critics prior to the viewing – don’t review “Elizabethtown” based on this screening because it’s still being edited. Sorry, Cameron – here it is, disclaimer notwithstanding. This romantic comedy starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst is pleasant enough, but I feel like I’ve seen it before – when it was called “Garden State.” City kid returns to hometown for a funeral and finds love. Sure, “Elizabethtown” is lighter, but it feels twice as long. Just when you expect the film to end, you get a prolonged funeral party and a road trip. Like “Seven Swords,” there’s probably a good 90 minute film in this 135 minute romance. The few critics who disregarded Crowe’s request skewered the film.

Other Toronto International Film Festival Articles:
Toronto Film Fest: Soderberg’s "Bublle," "Capote" with Philip Seymore Hoffman
Toronto Film Fest: Tsui Hark’s “Seven Swords” starring Donnie Yen
Toronto Film Fest: World Premiere of "The Myth" starring Jackie Chan
Toronto Film Fest: Tim Burton’s "Corpse Bride" starring Johnny Depp
Toronto Film Fest: "Flightplan" with Jodie Foster and "Shopgirl" with Steve Martin
Toronto Film Fest: "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit""

Tag Cloud

fast and furious sitcom Grammys Spike ABC women cancelled television adventure Nickelodeon breaking bad Schedule SXSW FX on Hulu batman Amazon Prime Video Ellie Kemper Paramount Plus HBO Go new york international Travel Channel Baby Yoda SXSW 2022 CNN Song of Ice and Fire Biopics The Walt Disney Company political drama Tomatazos The Purge justice league Mary Poppins Returns Trailer razzies science fiction obituary marvel comics 2020 scorecard 99% CBS halloween rotten movies we love child's play LGBTQ ESPN Avengers A24 Best and Worst indie social media critics Exclusive Video ITV natural history Quiz A&E scary movies comic book movie game show marvel cinematic universe zombie HBO WarnerMedia royal family romance prank SDCC Premiere Dates screen actors guild Trophy Talk Best Director pirates of the caribbean CW Seed VICE critic resources cats adenture DC streaming service latino concert TIFF black Watching Series police drama scary Nominations dc Masterpiece live action Sony Pictures FOX telelvision versus japanese Marvel Christmas Tags: Comedy Tubi PaleyFest Syfy Black History Month GoT reviews south america TCA Awards Best Picture Pride Month miniseries HBO Max Television Academy sequel Best Actress Sci-Fi Mystery Music 2018 renewed TV shows basketball LGBT Sundance TV suspense Thanksgiving Comic-Con@Home 2021 Reality Esquire disaster nature quibi Amazon Prime Dark Horse Comics Neflix Oscar leaderboard RT21 1990s 93rd Oscars PlayStation Elton John kaiju summer TV Black Mirror streaming movies black comedy Anna Paquin Spring TV First Look cults TCA MCU IMDb TV 4/20 Universal Pictures Oscars king kong South by Southwest Film Festival heist movie Rom-Com target BET ABC Signature cars golden globes anthology Comics on TV APB joker 90s trophy dreamworks TBS nbcuniversal blaxploitation Endgame foreign scene in color name the review game of thrones Action 73rd Emmy Awards TCA 2017 FXX universal monsters debate WGN monster movies GLAAD Cartoon Network legend 2015 Polls and Games 79th Golden Globes Awards YA Country adaptation BBC One Stephen King comiccon witnail ViacomCBS TCM feel good Comic Book Instagram Live action-comedy interviews 71st Emmy Awards Set visit zombies rt labs critics edition Calendar Pacific Islander Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt olympics Winter TV festival remakes The Witch Cosplay Mindy Kaling Warner Bros. award winner Hear Us Out harry potter Hallmark archives TCA Winter 2020 jamie lee curtis sports Interview 007 Disney canceled TV shows crossover summer TV preview TV renewals trailers obi wan rom-coms football Disney+ Disney Plus comic books blockbuster Mary poppins worst movies NBC spider-man Paramount Pictures E3 anime Western Brie Larson mob godzilla gangster 24 frames french spy thriller Summer Classic Film dexter Hulu boxing Apple TV Plus binge BBC America jurassic park Freeform TV ABC Family Horror japan rt labs Logo Alien Ghostbusters cancelled TV shows space Musicals spider-verse Lifetime Christmas movies hollywood VOD stop motion Character Guide MSNBC 45 Starz video on demand book kong Native Disney Channel comic best supernatural X-Men indiana jones Pirates Britbox Image Comics Hallmark Christmas movies Adult Swim psychological thriller TV movies blockbusters broadcast Opinion Creative Arts Emmys Certified Fresh comedies Netflix theme song movie wonder woman nfl Pixar TV Land italian Cannes die hard young adult target scene in color Binge Guide hispanic Marathons boxoffice YouTube satire asian-american dark Box Office crime thriller Broadway New York Comic Con Acorn TV docudrama Countdown Musical Pet Sematary elevated horror Star Wars Celebration E! zero dark thirty children's TV Crunchyroll streamig Captain marvel television Rock Women's History Month BET Awards TNT Geeked Week Infographic twilight Apple rt archives robots christmas movies CMT Pop TV lord of the rings king arthur VH1 saw reboot richard e. Grant war know your critic Superheroes DC Comics dramedy dceu slasher Television Critics Association laika biopic DirecTV Extras tv talk canceled Turner Classic Movies Toys vampires Comedy Central 2016 Walt Disney Pictures Mary Tyler Moore Rocketman Indigenous cops mission: impossible Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Holidays Lifetime spanish language Crackle USA composers medical drama talk show dragons true crime HFPA facebook Trivia festivals Marvel Television Universal casting BAFTA Chernobyl Pop werewolf IFC Films Focus Features cancelled TV series 2021 ratings BBC Epix stand-up comedy Video Games teaser based on movie emmy awards crime drama sequels Turner genre NYCC 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards OneApp Spectrum Originals Valentine's Day ID San Diego Comic-Con hidden camera revenge slashers Superheroe scene in color film series mcc Netflix Christmas movies travel green book animated dogs Fargo toy story crime Showtime USA Network Winners Apple TV+ Star Trek franchise Year in Review Sony cancelled mutant Discovery Channel 2017 cartoon movies strong female leads what to watch YouTube Premium scene in color series singing competition Funimation cinemax discovery superman The CW OWN Amazon TLC documentary deadpool aliens sopranos halloween tv Arrowverse golden globe awards thriller Tarantino Legendary cooking AMC Teen spanish high school docuseries classics comic book movies rotten RT History Nat Geo doctor who FX 21st Century Fox Columbia Pictures diversity First Reviews new star wars movies free movies Fantasy aapi live event hist Best Actor chucky james bond MGM Tumblr venice kids Disney streaming service DC Universe Rocky Ovation Paramount President Red Carpet mockumentary 94th Oscars The Academy 72 Emmy Awards finale sag awards superhero Peacock Fox Searchlight Awards Tour independent GIFs Shondaland MTV video romantic comedy documentaries Star Wars toronto Film Festival parents Sundance Now Wes Anderson Sneak Peek Fall TV transformers directors Kids & Family Emmy Nominations Emmys 2019 Food Network Drama book adaptation Mudbound summer preview TruTV biography Hollywood Foreign Press Association Amazon Studios See It Skip It Paramount Network Tokyo Olympics The Walking Dead Academy Awards screenings popular American Society of Cinematographers vs. fresh unscripted Shudder streaming period drama technology a nightmare on elm street Animation films historical drama news psycho History serial killer Reality Competition all-time hispanic heritage month 20th Century Fox PBS Awards Bravo Comedy NBA IFC Family Podcast politics Lucasfilm TV One worst The Arrangement SundanceTV Super Bowl art house Disney Plus posters series Film DGA Heroines Holiday El Rey spinoff National Geographic Sundance criterion Photos CBS All Access Election YouTube Red Marvel Studios stoner ghosts Martial Arts Prime Video comics Lionsgate spain Fox News Vudu AMC Plus Writers Guild of America australia new zealand