Festivals: Toronto Film Festival Reviews

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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...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE WAR SHOW Gives Filmmaking New Meaning in Syria

Women played a fundamental role during the Arab Spring in 2011, but their stories sadly often went untold. Notable exceptions to this trend were Gini Reticker's New York Times project Trials of Spring, however, Obaidah Zytoon's debut documentary The War...

Toronto 2016 Review: I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE Leaves A Ghostly Impression

When Lily, an extended care nurse in white pumps and a mustard cardigan, arrives at this grand old country house to look after its aging and infirm owner, she chides herself on the first night, 'No snooping!' However, that discipline...

Toronto 2016 Review: COLOSSAL, A Film of Many Moods, Not to be Missed

Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo is no stranger to readers of these pages, his films Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial and Open Windows have held sway over many in the genre film community. In many ways Colossal however is his most accomplished and in...

Toronto 2016 Review: HEADSHOT, When You Look Up No Holds Barred in the Dictionary

Off the coast of Indonesia the body of man washes up on shore near a small village. As he lies comatose in a hospital a doctor from Jakarta, Ailin, looks after him. When he regains consciousness only fragments of his...

Toronto 2016 Review: MESSAGE FROM THE KING Mixes Old School And Global Contemporary Masculinity Into Neo-Noir

Arriving fresh into LAX with only the clothes on his back, some cash in his pocket and a South African passport, Jacob King is given the full interrogation by the customs officials, "Are you working? Are you staying with family?...

Toronto 2016 Review: FREE FIRE Brings Guns Blazing Glory From Beginning to End

At about 15 minutes into Ben Wheatley’s sixth feature film Free Fire, it becomes pretty clear we're probably not leaving this room anytime soon. But that is totally cool. This bold storytelling gambit works because Wheatley and his collaborators (notably...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE DREAMED PATH, A Minimalist Masterwork

German director Angela Schanelec's latest look at the nature of migration, stasis and loneliness should prove an equally striking and challenging cinematic event for new viewers, while previous enthusiasts of her opaque and minimalist oeuvre will be elated by this...