- Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke star in Maggie's Plan.
Maggie is the lovely Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) who has several plans, beginning with luring a married man (Ethan Hawke) away from his wife (Julianne Moore) in order to have a baby. Soon enough, Maggie realizes her new baby-daddy should return to his wife. In a particularly fine bit of inspired casting, Moore plays a brilliant Danish author who sounds like Elmer Fudd.
The film is wise and witty and the characters are likeable. As an added bonus, the supporting cast includes Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph. That alone is worth the price of admission. Maggie's Plan is yet another romantic comedy set in New York City, but it's nice to see someone else occupy the space where Woody Allen squatted for so long.
- Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman star in The Family Fang.
It's a dark comedy—and by dark, I mean jet black.
Bateman stars alongside Nicole Kidman as a pair of siblings who have been lifelong victims of their parents' (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) bizarre practical jokes.
These aren't so much jokes as they're carefully orchestrated, macabre public performances. The film opens with a flashback in which Bateman's character—as a child—walks into a bank, hands a note to a female teller, pulls out a weapon and demands all of her lollipops. As if that's not enough, his father, dressed as a bank guard, tries to intercede but the boy accidentally shoots a woman (his mother in disguise). Fake blood covering the floor, the Fang family laughs hysterically as bank patrons are left slack-jawed.
The bulk of the film revolves around attempts by Bateman and Kidman's characters to distance themselves from their outlandish family history.
- Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star in The Meddler
When her husband passes away, Marnie Minervini (Sarandon) decides to pull up her Brooklyn roots and head west to invade daughter Lori's (Rose Byrne) personal space in Los Angeles. In no time at all, mom is combing through her daughter's Internet browser history, leaving countless voicemail messages and telling Lori's ex that she's still in love with him.
Some might laugh, but quite a few audience members groaned at the TIFF screening. While The Meddler inspires a handful of laughs and even some sobs, Sarandon and Byrne, both fine actresses, deserve better. It feels way too familiar, and that's not a compliment.