10 Best Things We Saw at 2015 Toronto Film Festival – Rolling Stone
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10 Best Things We Saw at 2015 Toronto Film Festival

From muckraking journalists to marauding skinheads, the highlights of this year’s premier film festival

Toronto

We came, we saw, we saw some more: Having sifted through the big fall-movie Oscar-courting releases, the foreign-language flicks, the wooly-and-wild midnight films, the music-related docs and everything else in between at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, we've emerged with a Top 10 list of favorites from our week of cinema-sampling-in-Canada bliss.

Before heading to the Great White North, we'd put together a list of 25 films we were dying to see while at the fest a few weeks back. Having returned, it's interesting to see how our initial picks fared. Many of the picks were good enough to make us feel our time wasn't wasted, if nothing to blog home about. Some were disappointments (how you broke our heart, Legend). Others were outright travesties (let us never, ever speak of London Fields again). And a small handful of left-field choices — movies that were only peripherally on our radar — ended up ranking very high on our final round-up. It was a good year for genuine weirdness. It was a great year for child-actor performances. And it was the perfect reminder that when all is said and done, sometimes you need a big-name, big-studio film to deliver that old-time hooray-for-Hollywood thrill — and sometimes you just want to see a skinhead get blasted with a shotgun in the guts.

Red eyes, full heart, can't lose.

GreenRoom
1

‘Green Room’

The crown jewel of the Midnight Madness programming and a first-rate siege thriller, Jeremy Saulnier's follow-up to Blue Ruin pits a hardcore punk band (led by Anton Yelchin) against white supremacists at a backwoods Portland, Oregon gig gone very, very wrong. From its airtight approach to exploitation filmmaking to its gritty, gory set pieces and perfectly calibrated work from cast — especially Patrick Stewart as the resident racist-in-charge — this movie stood skinhead-and-shoulders above virtually everything else we saw at the fest. If it seems crass or crazy to compare something like this to the major fall releases that were also unspooling in Toronto, then you haven't seen what an director like Saulnier can do with a no-bones premise, in-sync collaborators and a perfectly executed idea — as well as a boxcutter, some pitbulls and a shotgun.

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