Category Archives: Toronto International Film Festival

Wildlife Review

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“Calm Destruction”


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 that there is a section where it does suffer from that, but 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 – ★★★★


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
First Man Review
Green Book Review
Widows Review
Mid90s Review

If Beale Street Could Talk Review

 

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First Man Review

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“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. I think Chazelle also took some inspiration from Nolan’s Interstellar in terms of the mounted camera shots.

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

QnA Snippet after the screening of First Man at TIFF



Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Green Book Review
Widows Review
Mid90s Review
Wildlife Review
If Beale Street Could Talk Review

Green Book Review

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“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. 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.

Peter Farrelly has given us one of the best road comedies ever, as well as a great drama film at the same time. Green Book is one of the best of the year and it deserves all the praise/awards it will get in the not too far future. Watch it. Trust me.

Rating – ★★★★★


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Widows Review
Mid90s Review
First Man Review
Wildlife Review

If Beale Street Could Talk Review

 

Widows Review

widows-image-3-600x399“Electrifying”


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, funny and most of all, fun.

Rating – ★★★★½


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Mid90s Review
Green Book Review
First Man Review
Wildlife Review
If Beale Street Could Talk Review

 

 

Mid90s Review

Screen-Shot-2018-07-23-at-4.46.53-PM.png“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 the mid 90s. 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 attatchment tothem. 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 – ★★★★½

QnA Snippet after the screening of Mid90s at TIFF


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Green Book Review
Widows Review
First Man Review
Wildlife Review
If Beale Street Could Talk Review

 

 

If Beale Street Could Talk Review

Screen20Shot202018-08-0220at2011.26.jpg“A Masterpiece”


Re-teaming with some of the former crew members he worked with on various films and Moonlight, notably James Laxton (DoP) and Nicholas Britell (Score) Barry gives us once again an incredible film with impeccable detail on all the aspects of production – sound/set/costume design, editing, tone, lighting, cinematography etc. Barry makes you transport into 1970s Harlem with ease.
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Along with how visually stunning and how striking/haunting the score is, the performances from the entire cast especially from Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) are really something special. The story in short is about the relationship between Tish and Fonny. Fonny gets accused of rape and is thrown in prison while Tish discovers that she’s pregnant with their child. As the film progresses, it cuts back and forth between their relationship in the past. Beale Street is a love story yes, but also a story about fighting a corrupt system. It’s romantic and tragic.
bealeThe pacing throughout the film is perfect, there was never a dull moment as my eyes were glued to the screen and I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend you watch If Beale Street Could Talk ASAP. It’s truly remarkable what Barry Jenkins has done and its one of the best of the year.

Rating – ★★★★★

QnA Snippet after screening of If Beale Street Could Talk at TIFF


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Green Book Review
Mid90s Review
Widows Review
First Man Review

Wildlife Review

 

TIFF 2018: What to keep on your radar.


The Toronto International Film Festival has announced the first slate of films for TIFF18. A total of 47 tittles. 17 for Gala Presentations and 30 for Special Presentations.

This year’s line-up is no short of incredible, featuring new films from Steve McQueen, Damien Chazelle, Asghar Farhadi, Jacques Audiard, Jason Reitman, Claire DenisAlfonso Cuarón, Barry Jenkins and more!  Check the whole list here

More tittles will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Below are films that you should keep in check this TIFF and films you should be excited for. This will be the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival.


A Star is Born – about an established artist (Bradley Cooper) who helps a young artist (Lady Gaga) grow and become a successful musician while struggling to deal with his own demons. A Star is Born is also the directorial debut for Bradley Cooper.


Wildlife – about a boy who witnesses his parents (Jake Gyllenhaal & Carey Mulligan) marriage fall apart. Wildlife is also the directorial  debut for Paul Dano and the screenplay is also written by him and Zoe Kazan.


Widows – a crime drama thriller about a group of widows, lead by Viola Davis who come together to take fate into their own hands. The screenplay is written by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame, Hunger) and Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) and is directed by McQueen. The film stars Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth DebickiBrian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Jacki Weaver, and Carrie Coon.


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If Beale Street Could Talk – a woman fights to free her falsely accused husband from prison while carrying their first child. The film is written and directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and stars Ed Skrein, Pedro Pascal, Dave Franco, and Diego Luna.


Burning – a young man grows suspicous about the motives of a deceptive interloper who is hanging around with his childhood friend–turned–burgeoning love interest. The film is directed by Chang-dong Lee.


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Roma –  Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) comes to TIFF this year with a story that chronicles one year in the life of a middle class family in early 1970s Mexico City. The screenplay is also written by Alfonso Cuarón.


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Sunset –  about a young girl who grows up to become a strong woman in Budapest before World War 1. The film is directed by László Nemes (Son of Saul).


Beautiful Boy – a story that chronicles the meth addiction and recovery of a young man (Timothée Chalamet) through the eyes of his father played by Steve Carell. The film is directed by Felix Van Groeningen.


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High Life
– a sci-fi drama about a group of criminals sent into deep space. The film is directed by Claire Denis and stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, and Mia Goth.


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Non – Fiction
– a comedy about a publisher (Guillaume Canet) and his sucessful wife (Juliette Binoche) adapting to the new media landscape. The films is directed by Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria)


First ManDamien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) and Ryan Gosling reunite in this biopic about the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. The  film also stars Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler.


Lots of films will still be announced and a few more tittles will be added to both the Gala Presentations and Special Presentations programme. One film I hope comes to TIFF is Suspiria, fingers cross for Midnight Madness!