EXCLUSIVE: Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto film scenes together for The Dallas Buyers Club in New Orleans.Festival Circuit: Toronto – “The Railway Man,”Dallas Buyers Club,” and more.

Last night, Jonathan Teplitzky’s WWII drama “The Railway Man” screened in Toronto. Receiving a standing ovation and some positive tweets, but some not-so positive word from film critics.

“Dallas Buyers Club” screened earlier today. No critical word yet, however a slew of tweets rave about the performances of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

“Prisoners” continues to receive positive buzz, especially around leading actor Hugh Jackman. “12 Years a Slave” screens in Toronto matching, if not exceeding the response at Telluride.

The Railway Man

Variety gives a mixed review:

“This overly stodgy true story brought audiences to tears and later to their feet for a rousing standing ovation at the Toronto film festival for its placid postcard-worthy view of how men of a certain generation cope with deep emotional scars, tenderly acted by Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, as Lomax and the woman who inspired his healing. Too delicated to entice the masses, “The Railway Man” will likely give a smaller distrib. a dark horse in the awards race..”

The Hollywood Reporter gives a negative review:

“An old-fashioned war drama stuffed into a cumbersomely choppy time structure, “The Railway Man” is well-acted and handsomely produced, but its honorable intentions are not matched by sustained emotional impact or psychological suspense. The film boasts committed work from Colin Firth as a British train enthusiast profoundly damaged by his experience as a prisoner of war, along with tearful support from Nicole Kidman as his wife. But despite those deluxe elements, it never quite transcends its stodgy approach.”

The Guardian gives it 4/5:

“From time to time, the script contextualises a little clumsily – “Lomax, my friend, I think we just witnessed the fall of the British empire,” said the young Finaly, as they watch the Japanese invade – but the playing and pacing are terrific. Teplitzky finishes with a kind of catharsis rarely on offer: meek and deeply felt, a mature and moving exorcism.”

Tweets

@em-merrill29: The Railway Man was a very moving movie. Colin Firth was good, but I just don’t think that Nicole Kidman was anything special in this movie.

@AstiLivingston: #TheRailwayMan starring #ColinFirth & #NicoleKidman was positively gripping! Picturesque, fab score, surprising performance by #JeremyIrvine

@madscrema: #TIFF2013 is so impressive! #TheRailwayMan was amazing #moving

@ScreenAustrailia: Emotional audience delivers standing ovation to #TheRailwayMan @TIFF

@TheSunainaVerma: I am so glad I watched #TheRailwayMan a true story all about forgiveness between an English and Japanese war…

@ReetuGupta_EGH: The Railway Man. Moving. Touching. Courageous. Bravery. Oscar Worthy. World Gala Premier at Roy Thompson. Amazing. #TIFF2013

@getthelookCAen: The world premiere of “The Railway Man” at #tiff2013 was just amazing! So was Nicole Kidman. #NicoleKidman

@bettydrapers: Standing ovation here at the Railway Man. I’m speechless. Wow

@bettdrapers (Later): The railway man was amazing definitely hope it gets released this year everyone should see is a very captivating emotional story.

@AskDebruge: THE RAILWAY MAN gets standing ovation at #TIFF13, honoring widow Patti Lomax (Nicole Kidman’s character) in the audience.

@raxcho: Just bawled my eyes out and ruined all mascara on my face. The railway man was incredible. #TIFF2013

Dallas Buyers Club

Tweets

@JHoffman6: Has Jared Leto always been this good? He takes this material & runs with it. Need to reassess his entire output now. #dallasbuyersclub

@Perrylovesfilm: Dallas Buyers Club will get Matteo his much deserved Oscar nomination and maybe a win. Jared Leto really strong as well. #TIFF13

@jaredmobarak: #DallasBuyersClub: powerful film w/ probably best work of McConaughey’s career. the real winner though is #JaredLeto’s heartbreaking Rayon

@firstshowing: Dallas Buyers Club – Not bad, film is okay but not great. McConaughey is the best part and holy crap Jared Leto WOW he is beyond amazing.

@firstshowing (Later): It wasn’t until the end of the film that I realized that was Jared Leto as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. He is transcendent in his role whoa.

@jonnytull: God. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is incredible. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, both jaw0dropping performances. Just…wow. #tiff

@LouLumenick: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: McConaughey gives Ejiofor a run for his money as AIDS patient battling medical establishment. #oscars #TIFF13

@adamchitwood: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: Fascinating portrait of AIDS epidemic from different POV. McConaughey is excellent but Leto really surprises. #tiff13

@peterknegt: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is a watered down, shallow take on AIDS history that did nothing for me.

@EriktheMovieman: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” More than just a great McConaughey performance. It’s a great story when I thought I’d heard all the AIDS tales. #FtheFDA

@HertzBarry: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: Vallee’s tight drama wrings career-best performances from Matthew McConaghey and Jared Leto (yes, Jared Leto). #TIFF13

@mikeryan: Dallas Buyers Club: Matthew McConaughey’s McConaissance is in full gear. Jared Leto is fantastic. #tiff

@erickohn: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: affecting, somber drama carried, of course, by committed McConaughey performance. #tiff13

@wellshwood: Jennifer Garner also delivers big in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Lived-in, big heart perf. Oscar pecking order: McConaughey, Let, Garner.

@katerbland: Of course DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is really great, but you know what’s REALLY great? Jared Leto’s performance. #TIFF13

@AlexJSuskind: McConaughey is terrific but Jared Leto steals the show. #TIFF13

@jenelleriley: McConaughey just became the man to beat. Powerhouse performance as he goes from homophobic addict to compassionate man of action. Boosted by McConaughy’s natural charm. He makes it look easy

@MaraReinstein: Dallas Buyers Club: A little slow going, but Matthew McConaughey carries it on his starkly gaunt shoulders. #TIFF13

12 Years a Slave

See Telluride reactions here.
12 Years a Slave pager here.

Tweets

@ZeitchikLAT: Apt comparison for 12 Years a Slave is not black-white films but Schindler’s List–cataclysmic period we thought we knew redfined by cinema

@ErikDavis: Michael Fassbender is completely out of his f**king mind in 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Gonesville. I don’t even know how someone goes there. #TIFF

@zeitchiklat: 12 Years a Slave will change the Oscar race, sure, but more to the point it will change the conversation about race #tiff13

@adambvary: OK. I am composed enough to say 12 Years A Slave is the best, most emotionally powerful movie I have seen in a decade, at least. (1/2)

@adambvary (Later): (2/2) I would be afraid about overselling 12 Years a Slave, but if you love cinema and storytelling and are human, you will understand.

Prisoners

See Telluride reactions here.

Tweets

@charlesthorp: #TIFF: PRISONERS: between this and @LesMisOfficial I think undeniable @RealHughJackman controls his tears like others might control a limb.

@charlesthorp (Later): #TIFF PRISONERS: Gyllenhaal & Jackman deliver. Will draw comparisons to RANSOM but in this case there is no money, only violence. #dark

@nigelmfs: Hugh Jackman gives the best, most immersive performance of his career in PRISONERS. Left me stunned and heartbroken. #TIFF13

What does this mean for Oscar?

The Railway Man is still a wild card, and we may need to hear more about it. The film has yet to land a U.S. distributor and the reviews are decidedly mixed. Even if the film gets a 2013 US release, consistently positive reviews, and award-promotion – It will be very difficult for Firth and Kidman to get in with such a crowded race.

Little positive feedback is given for “Dallas Buyers Club” as a film. All we see hear are raves for McConaughey and Leto. We will get a better idea how good or bad this film is once the critical reviews are released. If it’s not good enough McConaughey may get lost, and if he’s lost you can just forget about Leto.

12 Years a Slave” yielding “Schindler’s List” comparisons may or may not be a stretch. “Schindler’s List” ranks as the number 1 film of the 90s. That being said, the Oscar prospects of this film remain at an all-time high and now we will wait to see how the other elements of the race factor in.

“Prisoners” will likely not make the Oscar cut in the end. It really depends on box-office, promotion, ect. The reviews are all around positive for the film and if it’s too dark for Oscar, what does that make “12 Years a Slave”?

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