Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival announces Six World Premieres for its 2024 line-up

As the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gears up to welcome local and international film lovers to its fine city across September 5th to 15th this year, the Gala and Special Presentation programmes have announced six titles that will be premiering ahead of the Festival’s official program selection. The six titles announced thus far include…

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Widow Clicquot is a tastefully made drama enhanced by the intoxicating presence of Haley Bennett: TIFF 2023 Review

There’s a certain period-piece sexuality billowing through Widow Clicquot that brings to mind other such similarly-set efforts as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice.  And given that those films’ second-unit director, Thomas Napper, is at the helm here, it makes perfect sense that such detail and intimacy is adhered to; fittingly, Joe Wright, director of the…

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Fitting In explores gender, identity, and how medicine can play such an affecting role in both facets: TIFF 2023 Review

Described as a “traumedy” and navigating a narrative I have no personal connection to – or even a right to comment on in all honesty – Molly McGlynn‘s Fitting In has the same footprints as a coming-of-age comedy, but laces such with a queer mentality and the potential dehumanising reality of when your body “rejects”…

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The interesting concept behind Tautuktavuk (What We See) isn’t quite realised through muddled execution: TIFF 2023 Review

Whilst the mass hysteria and government control surrounding COVID-19 has subsided, the trauma of the pandemic itself is still something that lingers for many.  Tautuktavuk (What We See) is a semi-autobiographical drama that looks at such an effect, furthered by the already isolated reality of the Inuit culture, co-directed by Lucy Tulugarjuk and Carol Kunnuk….

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After the Fire is an infuriating, though necessary piece of cinematic storytelling: TIFF 2023 Review

A parallel between the systematic racism towards the Arab community in Europe and the fatalities experienced across the United States during the Black Lives Matter movement, Mehdii Fikri‘s After the Fire is an affective drama that commands conversation. Though a fictional story, the film’s credits take note that this is “based on the real struggle…

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My Policeman suffers from a glossy sheen that doesn’t naturally represent its queer merit: TIFF 2022 Review

Given how wild everyone – or teenage girls, to be a little more accurate – are for pop’s main man-candy Harry Styles, it will no doubt throw much of his female following off as to how graphic the sexual scenes are in My Policeman, a queer love story that perseveres with grand intentions but, sadly,…

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V/H/S/99 flexes its creative muscle with a shaky form: TIFF 2022 Review

One of the more unlikely franchises of a resilient nature, V/H/S/, a retro-appearing horror anthology effort that often compiles a series of genre directors flexing their creative muscle through short horror narratives, is now in its fifth iteration in the form of V/H/S/99. The horror tales that often are confined within the V/H/S/ films are always…

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The Wonder is a restrained, elegant film boasting another committed turn from Florence Pugh: TIFF 2022 Review

When The Wonder first begins there’s a rather pretentious and, ultimately, unrewarding additive that runs the risk of undoing all that will follow.  Niamh Algar‘s soothing vocal tone greets us as our eyes glaze over a constructed film set.  Algar informs us that we are indeed watching a film, but the players involve believe in…

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The Banshees of Inisherin is impossibly funny and heartbreakingly bleak: TIFF 2022 Review

Though he certainly didn’t lose any of his sense of comfort by travelling across the Atlantic for his last film – 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – there’s a sense of grandeur in writer/director Martin McDonagh returning to his homeland for The Banshees of Inisherin, an impossibly funny and, at times, heartbreakingly bleak dramedy…

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Baby Ruby is a disturbing psychological drama about the uncertainty of new motherhood: TIFF 2022 Review

As much as this film titles itself after an infant whose actions drive much of its horrifically-laced narrative forward, it’s the newborn’s mother that earns much of the focus in Baby Ruby, an unsettling psychological drama from Bess Wohl, the writer/actress making her directorial debut here. That mother is Jo (Noémie Merlant, best known for…

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Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical The Fabelmans is a thing of cinematic beauty: TIFF 2022 Review

“Mommy and Daddy will be right next to you the whole time.” From the opening line of dialogue in Steven Spielberg‘s The Fabelmans, an autobiographical coming-of-age tale that boasts itself as his first writing credit since A.I. some two decades prior, we get a sense of what’s to come as, outside a New Jersey movie…

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The Good Nurse adheres to a more refreshing approach when detailing its true crime narrative: TIFF 2022 Review

There’s something incredibly refreshing about The Good Nurse in that its true-crime temperament isn’t marred by overt manipulation – as so many of such adapted tales can be. Jessica Chastain (as typically great and committed as expected) is Amy, the titular good nurse, a single mother who is hiding her own ailment as she dedicates…

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The Son is emotionally manipulative in its interrogation of teenage depression: TIFF 2022 Review

The claustrophobic and emotional resonance Florian Zeller created with 2020’s The Father is unfortunately nowhere to be found in The Son, a prequel of sorts based off another of Zeller’s stage plays. A chamber piece on the subject of dementia that rightfully won Anthony Hopkins his second Best Actor Academy Award, The Father expressed subtlety…

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a playful experience that speaks to Rian Johnson’s ease as an intricate storyteller: TIFF 2022 Review

Rian Johnson had far too much fun paying homage to the works of Agatha Christie in 2019’s star-studded crime comedy Knives Out.  To say he executed it perfectly would be putting it mildly, but whilst a sequel to such a set-up seemed like a given, how anything secondary would be navigated was another mystery in…

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Pearl takes pride in being a demented character study over slasher genre thrills: TIFF 2022 Review

If X was Ti West‘s homage to classic 70’s horror effort The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then Pearl could almost be aligned with The Wizard of Oz, just with, you know, a lot more blood and dry-humping scarecrows. The fact that X was an initial singular success story was enough of a win for independent horror…

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Causeway is a quiet drama anchored by a stripped back Jennifer Lawrence: TIFF 2022 Review

A low-key slice of independent cinema that you imagine wouldn’t be given as big of a spotlight had it not been for lead Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway nonetheless deserves its attention as it’s a determined and moving picture about one’s healing, both emotionally and physically. Adhering to the stripped-away mentality that drove her to her first…

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Sisu is a shamelessly playful and violently unpredictable exercise in modern exploitation cinema: TIFF 2022 Review

There’s both a sense of adhering to the temperaments of action films gone by and embracing the current and future state of the genre present in Jalmari Helander‘s Sisu. Matching its dark sense of humour (and I mean dark) with a violently bloody mentality (and I mean bloody!), Sisu manages to present the simplest of…

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On The Come Up harnesses a strong, fierce voice that cuts through narrative familiarities: TIFF 2022 Review

Author Angie Thomas has become something of a contemporary prose lyricist for the new wave of young coloured youths through her breakout novels The Hate U Give and On The Come Up.  Breathing a certain life into their own coming of age stories, her words prove a promising soundboard for actress Sanaa Lathan‘s foray into…

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History-making comedy Bros and the anticipated Knives Out sequel to premiere at TIFF ’22

As cinephiles eagerly await the official schedule on August 23rd, the 47th annual Toronto International Film Festival has announced its first slew of premiere titles for its first in-person celebration following two years of pandemic-disrupted programming. 11 days of international and Canadian cinema, special events featuring some of the biggest names in film, and TIFF’s…

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True Things is a diverting yet ultimately inconsistent look into the allure of physicalised love and self-discovery: TIFF 2021 Review

True Things is the sophomore effort from filmmaker Harry Wootliff, whose first film was Only You (not the film with Marisa Tomei); a romantic drama about the trials and tribulations of a couple who have to contend with adulthood, parenting and generational differences due to their distance in age. For her latest film, Wootliff is…

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France is an amusingly quixotic journey from Bruno Dumont, led by a stellar Lea Seydoux: TIFF 2021 Review

France is the latest film from filmmaker enfant terrible Bruno Dumont; whose filmography is, for the lack of a better term, peculiar. His body of work shifts into many forms of storytelling in ways that they can never be encapsulated in restricted genre terms. From films exploring the idiosyncrasies of life with his debut film…

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Mad Women's Ball

The Mad Women’s Ball is a satisfying hybrid tale of psychological drama and friendship: TIFF 2021

Set in 19th century France, The Mad Women’s Ball follows Eugenie (Lou de Laage), a young, wealthy lady of the manor who feels institutionalized within family and gender expectations. Her father expects her to be married off to a husband while she wants to travel, go on adventures and learn new things like her brother…

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You are not my mother

You Are Not My Mother is an extremely effective horror flick that blends filial drama and powerful frights: TIFF 2021 Review

You Are Not My Mother tells the story of Char (Hazel Doupe), a struggling teenager who is living a self-sheltered life, drifting through school with good grades despite the bullies, all while having to take care of her mother Angela (Carolyn Bracken) and grandmother (Ingrid Craige). Her relationship with her mother is distant, after a…

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Murina is an assured feature-length directorial debut from Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic: TIFF 2021 Review

Murina follows Julija (Gracija Filipovic), a 16-year old girl living with her parents on an island that many would consider to be a heavenly paradise. With an endless summer maintained by daily chores of fishing in beautiful vistas, it sounds like the perfect place to live. But underneath the façade lies something that is anything…

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Saloum

Saloum blends action, comedy, horror and drama into a satisfying thrill-ride: TIFF 2021 Review

Saloum tells the story of three mercenaries Chaka (Yann Gael), Rafa (Roger Sallah) and Minuit (Mentor Ba) who are tasked to extract a Mexican drug dealer Felix (Renaud Farah) and his cargo of gold and drugs away from the chaos of the government overthrow of Guinea-Bissau and transfer to Dakar, Senegal. But when their means…

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The Rescue is an emotionally rousing & suspenseful documentary about the Tham Luang cave rescue: TIFF 2021 Review

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” This is a quote from the 1999 sci-fi hit The Matrix by the Wachowskis. Why is this being quoted, you ask? This quote was stuck in this critic’s mind as he was watching the latest project from documentary filmmakers by Jimmy Chin and…

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Zalava is an engaging mix of genre thrills, social commentary and potent drama: TIFF 2021 Review

Set in 1978, the film tells the story of a mountain village of Zalava in Kurdistan that is supposedly plagued by an ancient curse. The villagers are so drawn into the story of the curse that they have been driven into the ways that veer into levels of superstition, involving the use of metals as…

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Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is a bewildering but worthwhile genre-mashup: TIFF 2021 Review

Set in ‘80s West Java, Indonesia, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash tells the story of Ajo Kawir (Marthino Lio), a tenacious street brawler who is famous for his fearless attitude. Through his many manly acts of destruction and machismo lies a condition that fuels it all – his sexual impotence. Even with numerous…

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Encounter is an intentionally ambiguous sci-fi drama that furthers Riz Ahmed’s star quality: TIFF 2021 Review

There’s a consistent thrill to Encounter, Michael Pearce‘s ambitious science fiction-leaning effort that delights in its ambiguous nature.  At least, for the most part.  Seen through the eyes of an unreliable narrator (an as expected stellar Riz Ahmed), Pearce’s film is better when it’s holding on to its secrets.  There’s something deeper and darker at…

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The Starling squanders any of its emotional potential with lazy manipulation: TIFF 2021 Review

There’s a hopeful message about tackling grief in a healthy manner and how there’s the possibility of light at the end of darkness present in the core of The Starling.  With so many promising ingredients too, Theodore Melfi‘s feel-good dramedy is likely to lure audiences in with a false sense of security, promising potential but…

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