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Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: RE: BORN Hails the Bloody Return of Tak Sukiguchi

Japanese action star Tak Sakiguchi makes a welcome return to the screen in this stripped-down action thriller that sees a deadly super soldier forced out of seclusion and back to his old ways of precision destruction. After a somewhat sluggish...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: BOYKA: UNDISPUTED Brings the Pain, In and Outside the Ring

Scott Adkins brings redeemed Russian MMA fighter Yuri Boyka back to the screen for the third time, delivering another helping of blistering bloody bouts of carefully choreographed carnage. Outside the ring, director Todor Chapkanov fails to complement the action with...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: The Unbearable Lightness of TONI ERDMANN

German filmmaker Maren Ade's third feature, Toni Erdmann, about an estranged father connecting with his adult daughter in increasingly unorthodox and aggravating ways, garnered glowing critical praise when it premiered in competition at Cannes this past spring. While there is...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE YOUNG OFFENDERS Elevates a Comic Tale With Fresh Honesty

Rowdy, raucous, and rude, The Young Offenders is a blast of adolescence without angst, a juvenile movie that is surprisingly cheerful, even as its young heroes straddle the thin line between criminality and, well, not being a straight-up criminal. Conor...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: A DARK SONG: The Dark, Hard Labour of Forgiveness

All deaths are hard to deal with, but I would argue there is nothing worse than losing your child (after all, a parent is not supposed to outlive their children). Certainly, when we lose a loved one of any kind,...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: ZOOLOGY, How Natasha's Tail Set Her Free

Everyone hopes that they are special and unique in some way. Whether it's a subtle uniqueness that only presents itself in being exceptional within our own little circle, or the kind of superhuman abilities that we attribute to those who...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE HIGH FRONTIER Tests the Borders of Tension

Baby, it's cold outside. The family at the heart of The High Frontier (original title: Na granicy) doesn't feel very warm toward each other, though. As the movie begins and a father and his two sons drive deeper and deeper...

Toronto 2016 Review: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Rends With Savage Grace

If you are an honorable cinephile, right from the opening credit sequence of Nocturnal Animals, you will know you are in good hands. Hyper-glossy and daringly uncommercial in the same breath, it puts some fine Lynchian bonafides on the table...

Toronto 2016 Review: SALT AND FIRE, A Lukewarm Climate Change Parable

Roger Ebert once said of Werner Herzog that, 'even his failures are spectacular.' I'm curious if he were alive today, what he would have made of Salt and Fire, a rushed, sloppy and rather turgid film that has been (charitably)...

Toronto 2016 Review: BUSTER'S MAL HEART is Wonderfully Weird and Weirdly Wonderful

Rami Malek is having a moment. As the star of one of the most popular shows on television (Mr. Robot), Malek is likely getting big movie offers on a regular basis. So the choice to star as a bearded weirdo...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, A Giallo-Infused Theatre of Bedlam

We might think that in the 21st century, with social media platforms or instant video uploads, we are at the apex of what might be called the theatricality of life in the public eye. But even if Twitter didn't exist,...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS Delivers All The Goods

Opening with the eponymous girl locked in a cell and counting upwards to a thousand, The Girl With All The Gifts may as well be ticking off the sheer number of zombie films that a fan of the genre is...

Toronto 2016 Review: LA LA LAND Gives Our Senses a Feast

La La Land is a series of dichotomies, existing as both a delightful flight of fancy and a broad relationship drama. It’s a film oozing with both nostalgia and contemporary energy, feeling both classic and of the moment in the...

Toronto 2016 Review: ARRIVAL Delivers Complex Ideas in an Exquisite Package

They should have sent a poet. The imagining of humankind's first contact with alien lifeforms is territory well-mined in popular fiction and probably best executed in Robert Zemeckis's wonderful 1997 film Contact. With such great works in the past, is...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE B-SIDE, A Sunny Portrait of Polaroid Photographer Elsa Dorfman

"Almost all human endeavour is ephemeral, all that is left in the end is love and friendship." So said Errol Morris at the screening of his latest movie, The B-Side, in which he spends a little over an hour on-screen...

Toronto 2016 Review: ASURA: THE CITY OF MADNESS Unleashes Unbridled Machismo in Brooding Noir

It's a man's world in Asura: The City of Madness, and a rotten one at that. Cops, prosecutors and politicians jostle about with unbridled machismo in a noirish caricature of corruption in the latest thriller to balk at the irresponsible...

Toronto 2016 Review: YOURSELF AND YOURS Finds Hong Sang-soo in Wry and Perplexing Mood

Celebrated indie auteur Hong Sang-soo returns to Toronto with his 18th film Yourself and Yours. Once again featuring artists boozing their way through a series of eateries as they lament over their personal woes, his latest work echoes the themes...

Toronto 2016 Review: TWISTED Faithfully Re-Enacts Something That Did Not Happen

You have probably heard (or used) the expression, 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.' Well, a good one happened in Thorold, Ontario, Canada in 1996. A pregnant summer storm blew through the niagara region,...

Toronto 2016 Review: Bulgarian Drama GODLESS Depicts Moral Decay in an Eastern European Dystopia

Ralitza Petrova, an emerging filmmaker from Bulgaria, unveiled her powerful debut outing Godless recently at the Locarno Film Festival, where she ended up standing in the spotlight and holding the Golden Leopard award. She thus joined the ranks of talented...

Toronto 2016 Review: PERSONAL SHOPPER, Kristen Stewart in an Alluring Abstraction

French critic-turned-filmmaker Olivier Assayas has always had a knack for combining verité, day-to-day life with stylish genre elements. His previous film, The Clouds of Sils Maria, coaxed a assured performance out of Kristen Stewart as a confident personal assistant to a...