I'm going to try and write up longer reviews, including Q&A, later, but I'm falling too far behind.
Volver - Ryerson - 9:30 am - 9/9
The most packed 9:30 am show I've ever seen at the fest. Toronto loves it some Almodovar.
The story opens with two sisters attending the grave of their mother who died in a fire with their father. While in town, they visit their crazed aunt who believes their mother is taking care of her. Raimunda, played by Penelope Cruz, has a daughter and an unemployed husband and is struggling to make ends meet. The other sister, Sole, operates a illegal hair salon out of her house, unlucky in love. One day Sole is startled to hear a noise coming from the trunk of her car, when she investigates, she finds her mother. So begins the drama, comedy, suspense that is Volver. The movie was wonderfully acted and had energy to spare.
Penelope - Ryerson - 12:45 pm - 9/9
The Wilhern family has a curse on it. The next daughter to born to the family will have the nose of a pig. Fortunately for the Wilherns, it seems boys run in the family. Until Penelope. To avoid scandal, the parents fake her death. When they are older, they begin seeking suitors. It seems only a marriage to someone of her equal will break the curse. This is a romantic fable, that the audience just loved. There are definitely some trivial moments and not every star in the cast strikes the right note, but if marketed properly, it could easily be a success.
Fido - Paramount 2 - 3:45 - 9/9
Day of the Dead meets Pleasantville. It's 1950s America and a virus has spread across the globe causing the dead to return to life as flesh eating zombies. Thank goodness for Zombicom. Zombiecom has created a collar that surpresses the zombies hunger desires and allows them to lead productive lives as servants and manual labor. The film was very funny, with some gory moments. The gore is not enough to satiate horror funs, but enough to maybe keep away middle-America.
Indigenes - Varsity 1 - 6:15 pm - 9/9
A "Glory" of sorts for the French colonists in Africa who fought for France during WWII. Well acted and effectively paced story follow four such Africans as the struggle to fit in, survive and get the honor they deserve. The ending is very similar to the ending of "Saving Private Ryan" minus the Private Ryan.
Babel - Roy Thomson Hall - 9:30 pm - 9/9
Four different stories play out with their links only becoming apparent as the film progresses. Well acted, powerfully told film that preaches how "listening" can sometimes be as important as "talking."