TIFF 2015: Courting Controversy With Michael Moore's Latest and Eye in the Sky's Drone Warfare 

Controversy makes good copy—it fills the airwaves and, goodness knows, it's the foundation for a lot of movies. So it should have come as no surprise that Michael More, one of the most controversial movie makers of his generation, stepped back into the spotlight this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Oscar-winning Moore, who has already taken on weapons, war and health care, is back again, this time lampooning America's dubious global ambitions. 

Something is a little different about Moore's latest, Where to Invade Next.  It's a lot less preachy and snarky than Moore's previous films. More important, it's a lot funnier. If audience reaction to the film at TIFF is any indication, Moore's latest effort should be a hit—at least among those who aren't turned off by his left-leaning politics.

"We told ourselves 'Let's just make the best movie we could make, avoid the hype, avoid the Internet, and not even take a dime from the [movie] studios. And this is what we came up with," Moore told Boise Weekly minutes before his film's premiere. "Honestly, we did this film rather quietly."

Where to Invade Next is a fine film, though it's about 15 minutes too long. Still, it is head-and-shoulders better (and funnier) than Moore's previous documentaries, which made him something of a folk hero—except, possibly, among members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Perhaps the most controversial movie to come out of TIFF this year is one of the festival's best: Eye In the Sky, a heart-in-your-throat drama that asks us to consider the realities of drone warfare.

Eye in the Sky is a will-they-or-won't-they wartime thriller that takes its audience inside the control rooms where soldiers, analysts and politicians decide whether to bomb (via drone) known terrorists inside nations that are not at war with the United States, all the while debating probable civilian casualties.  

The film's superb cast includes Alan Rickman, Idaho-native Aaron Paul and stars Oscar-winner Helen Mirren as the British Army colonel who wants the go-ahead to take out the terrorist targets. The real star of Eye in the Sky is the script from screenwriter Guy Hibbert. It's Oscar worthy.

"It was 10 years ago when they first started putting this script together, and that was when drones were just being developed," Mirren told BW before the screening of Eye In the Sky. "Now, this is all incredibly relevant."

The world premiere audience at TIFF loved Eye in the Sky, with plenty of gasps throughout. When the lights came up, Mirren was greeted with a roaring ovation. It's bound to be as popular as it will be controversial.
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