I don’t want to write too much about this because its something y’all just need to experience and see for yourself but here goes. I’ll keep it really short.
It’s intoxicating, heartbreaking, bold, and raw. Feature’s powerhouse performances from the entire cast and gorgeous cinematography. The camerawork is pure ecstasy and also deliberate (you’ll get what I mean once you see it). Gave me Malick vibes and a wonderful score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The soundtrack features so many artists from Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Radiohead, Animal Collective, SZA and more.
Trey Edward Shults puts his heart and soul into this and it shows. Everything is crafted so elegantly. Some will stay that its style over substance and that the music is too much but it just all clicked and worked for me.
WAVES is cinema at its finest – painted to perfection by Shults that’s full of pure raw emotion. An amazing crescendo of visceral film-making.
Rating – ★★★★★
PS: “WAVES” is in my favourite films of all time list. Click for list
The Hollywood of Tarantino’s youth.
An odyssey of 1960s Hollywood – its ecosystem, climate, and life.
That is “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.”
Tarantino comes at us with a film that takes over the course of a few days through the eyes of a faded television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) set in the backdrop of 1969 Los Angeles.
I absolutely adored this film, not only was it very entertaining but the world building in this film is simply masterclass. From the neighborhoods, advertisements, costumes, neon signs, music and the old art deco architecture, it was literally perfect. Quentin completely immerses you into this age of Hollywood that was an end of an era.
The performances from the entire cast are fantastic especially Brad Pitt who steals the show. He was magnetic/charming every time he was on screen. Leo was great too showcasing the narcissistic tendencies the actor has especially when it comes to prolonging/preserving his career. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is just a burst of life, sunshine, and heart.
Worth noting that I knew about the tragic event that happened that year before watching this and I personally think knowing a bit about it will definitely affect your thoughts on the film. That being said, if you don’t I think you’ll still enjoy it and have a great time.
To talk a bit about the narrative, it was done absolutely intentional and I loved the decision Tarantino made.
I haven’t laughed so much in such a long time. I don’t have any negatives to really say except the 2nd act could have been built better but that’s a nitpick.
Once is simply fun. Pure vibes.
Rating – ★★★★½
“A Fucking Trip”
CLIMAX was the last film I saw at TIFF and holy shit what a way to end it. If your a fan of Noe’s previous films then I highly recommend you watch this and if not, go into this with caution as this is not for the faint of heart. I’m not a big fan of all his films but what I can say about each and every one is that each one has left an impression with me and has shocked me on way or another. Climax is no exception.
The film is absolute chaos. And I don’t say this in a bad way. From the very start Noe hooks you and boy oh boy, you are in for a fucking treat. A group of dancers celebrate and party and drink unknowingly Sangria laced with LSD.
Everything is thoroughly done to perfection. From the incredible acting performances to the brilliant/unbelievable cinematography to the unconventional narrative, wonderful choreography and striking/hypnotic synth score. All across the board, its just perfectly crafted and downright mesmerizing.
The camera angles they are able to get is unreal and the way everything’s filmed – every scene seamlessly flows into one another and it feels like you are watching one continuous take the entire time. It’s such a joy to watch.
I’ve never ever seen anything like Climax. It’s original and very unique and no other person but Noe could have pulled this off. Watch this especially on the big screen if you have the chance. I can’t wait to see this again.
Climax is literally a fucking nightmare, but one that’s intense, exhilarating, unique, and thoroughly enthralling from start to finish. Enjoy the fucking trip. Enjoy CLIMAX. 🙂
Rating – ★★★★★
“Chilling but unsatisfying”
Let me start off by saying I loved Jeremy Saulnier’s previous films, Blue Ruin and Green Room, especially Green Room. So, while I was lining up to see this at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) me, along with several others were really excited to see this and see what Saulnier has in store for us. The story follows Medora Stone’s (Riley Keough) son gone missing in the Alaskan wilderness. She writes to Russel Core (Jeffrey Wright) to find her son and kill the wolf that took him. As this is going on Vernon (Alexander Skarsgard) comes home from the Middle East and things become much more crazy/violent.
Hold the Dark like his previous projects has great performances, gorgeous cinematography (shot in Alberta), a dark/gloomy story/atmosphere/mood, and a very intriguing story but unlike his previous two projects, suffers from its slow burn pacing. While the story has much to offer and as it progresses you learn more about what happens, its still not enough for me to completely engross me all the way through.
The pacing notably drags for me in the second-half and the ending left me very unsatisfied especially with the events that transpired. After the screening, me and several others were talking about Hold the Dark and we all basically had sort of the same question “Is that it?” “What was that ending?” etc.
Overall, I believe this is a must-watch if you love slow-burn thrillers and enjoy Saulnier’s previous work but if you are not a fan of either, then I’m not sure you would enjoy this very much. The characters are interesting, the performances especially from Jeffrey Wright are fantastic, the Alaskan wilderness/overall cinematography is breathtaking to the eye, but unfortunately the story as interesting as it is, doesn’t have enough substance to warrant the run-time.
Rating – ★★★
Paul Dano’s directorial debut follows a story about a boy named Joe (Ed Oxenbould) trying to take a hold of his parent’s marriage falling apart while also dealing with his mother falling in love with another man (Bill Camp). His father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job and his mother Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) has to look for work as a result.
Told from the point of view of Joe, you see the destruction/crumbling of his family. The film might be slow to some and I found the pacing throughout perfect. It’s a slow-burn family drama. The cinematography is gorgeous. close-ups of each characters, Dano holds it for the perfect time, and you feel their emotion. When Carey and Jake are conversing with one another, you feel like you are right there in that room witnessing it just as Joe is, or on the other end of the spectrum, Carey with Joe, Jake with Joe etc.
Wildlife is a wonderful directorial debut featuring powerhouse performances from everyone involved, gorgeous cinematography, a tight screenplay by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, and an intriguing story about a family falling apart in 1960s America.
Rating – ★★★★
“Houston, Damien Chazelle has done it again”
We all know the story but to those of you who don’t, the film is about Neil Armstrong’s (Ryan Gosling) ascent onto the moon and the events that lead up to it. Clocking in with a run-time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, First-Man I found was way too long and could have been 15-20 minutes shorter. Although the story I found was interesting, there was not enough substance to completely grip/hook me completely throughout.
In terms of the visuals, its absolutely gorgeous. From how everything was shot, making you feel super claustrophobic and how the sound design/mixing completely emulates how that experience would sound. You are inside the cockpit along with the astronaut. You feel every shake which also brings me to another thing – the use of shaky-cam I thought was overdone and kind of took me out of it at times.
The performances are all great. Gosling steals it along with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy) and the supporting cast deliver as well. Another thing I thought was great was the score. I really liked the soundtrack.
In conclusion, First Man is really well done and you can clearly see the amount of detail that was put into this film and it is a must watch on the big screen for sure. With that being said, First Man didn’t hook me all the way through and I found it really hard to relate to Armstrong and found it a bit dull at times.
Rating – ★★★½
“Charming, Heartwarming, and Hilarious”
‘GREEN BOOK’ is as cliche as it sounds – perfect. Its a story about an Italian bouncer Tony (Viggo Mortensen) taking the job as a driver for the pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour in south america 1960s. Performances from the entire cast and especially Viggo and Mahershala are just thoroughly outstanding. Viggo and Mahershala’s chemistry is fantastic and the banter between the two is just so charming.
I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling throughout and it was just so much fun to watch. I loved literally every second and I never laughed as much as I did at TIFF out of the 5 years in a row I have attended (not counting The Princess Bride live read).
The pacing is perfect and the script is sharp.
While the film is absolutely hilarious, Green Book doesn’t hide away the problems that were prevalent in the 60s and even today. It tackles the racial issues during that time without slamming us against the head.
Rating – ★★★★
From the very start McQueen pulls you in and never lets go. McQueen puts you on a roller-coaster that’s relentless and heart-pumping. Widows isn’t like McQueen’s previous films, but it still retains its merits. Widows is perfectly paced, with carefully layered themes/messages, and characters. It’s not emotionally taxing like 12 Years/Shame but it still crawls into your emotions in terms of how anxious he makes you/your heart race.
The story is about a bunch of widows who try to get by/move on and with the solution being, taking up their deceased husbands future heist. The story is complex and being that the screenplay is co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) has brilliant and very interesting characters. Veronica (Viola Davis) really steals the show along with Alice (Elizabeth Debicki). In fact, the whole entire cast give terrific performances and even Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) whom I had second thoughts about gave a really strong performance.
With McQueen working with his long-time cinematographer (Sean Bobbitt) you can expect the film to be brilliantly well shot and this being a thriller, shot in a way that completely puts you in the characters shoes/environment. There’s a few sequences that I won’t spoil that is just absolutely astonishing and down right jaw-dropping.
In conclusion, Widows is crafted to absolute perfection, much like McQueen’s previous films. With all the characters having depth and every cast member giving incredible performances, along with a very intriguing story, great cinematography and lastly
a great score by Hans Zimmer, Widows is simply incredible. It’s thrilling, sad, gripping and most of all, fun.
Rating – ★★★★½
“Heartfelt & Raw”
Jonah Hill knocks it out of the park with his directorial debut! Mid90s is about a boy, the one pictured above named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) trying to fit in. Stevie lives with his brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) and both are raised by their single mother, played by the lovely Katherine Waterston. Stevie finds his group, a group of neighborhood skateboarders.
Mid90s is shot on film and presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, so the overall feeling and mood you feel while watching is absolutely spot-on. You are instantly immersed into the 90s period. Jonah Hill also wrote the screenplay and gives every character the perfect backbone of story that we need to understand and have emotional attachment to them. Every character has their time to shine and every cast member especially the lead Sunny Suljic give fantastic performances.
Along with the wonderful performances, the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is no short of incredible. The soundtrack is perfect, featuring songs that perfectly capture the time period and how it was like to live during the 90s. The cinematography is also really well done.
In conclusion, Hill’s debut is wonderful and I can’t wait to see what else he does in his directing career. Mid90s will have moments that will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly, remind you of conversations you had with others when you were a kid and just overall nostalgia for when you were trying to fit in, and find your place in the world.
Rating – ★★★★