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Thread: Toronto film festival 2017

  1. #1
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    Toronto Film Festival 2017

    Toronto 2017 begins. 7 - 17 September 2017.

    Here is a partial list of the TFF 2017 slate. The films list has been reduced by 20% from 2016 in response to complaints by attendees that it had become too hard to negotiate because of its size. A Wikipedia article says that "according to a "fact sheet" released by the Festival before it began, this edition includes 255 feature-length films and 84 short films" and " Of the feature films, 147 are claimed to be world premieres. The number of Canadian films at the Festival (including co-productions) is listed as 28 features and 29 shorts."

    For Toronto we can follow Mike D'Angelo's coverage via Tweets. He was not at Cannes even merely as an observer this year and is giving all his attention to Toronto, where he notes it's his 18th time. He's not covering Toronto for any publication either, but he is attending press screenings and I'll transcribe his Twitter review/ratings as before. We'll also survey some other reviews such as Variety's and those of The Guardian, for whom Peter Bradshaw is on hand.

    Opening film:
    Borg/McEnroe by Janus Metz Pedersen
    Closing film:
    C'est la vie! by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano

    Gala presentations
    55 Steps by Bille August
    Borg/McEnroe by Janus Metz Pedersen
    Breathe by Andy Serkis
    C'est la vie! by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano
    Chappaquiddick by John Curran
    Darkest Hour by Joe Wright
    Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Paul McGuigan
    Hochelaga, Land of Souls by François Girard
    Kings by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
    The Leisure Seeker by Paolo Virzì
    Long Time Running by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier
    Mary Shelley by Haifaa al-Mansour
    The Mountain Between Us by Hany Abu-Assad
    Mudbound by Dee Rees
    My Days of Mercy by Tali Shalom Ezer
    Stronger by David Gordon Green
    Three Christs by Jon Avnet
    The Upside by Neil Burger
    The Wife by Björn Runge
    Woman Walks Ahead by Susanna White

    Special presentations
    120 Beats per Minute by Robin Campillo
    A Fantastic Woman by Sebastián Lelio
    A Season in France by Mahamat Saleh Haroun
    Battle of the Sexes by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
    The Brawler by Anurag Kashyap
    The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey
    Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino
    The Captain by Robert Schwentke
    Catch the Wind by Gaël Morel
    The Children Act by Richard Eyre
    The Conformist by Cai Shangjun
    The Cured by David Freyne
    The Current War by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
    Disobedience by Sebastián Lelio
    Downsizing by Alexander Payne
    The Escape by Dominic Savage
    Eye on Juliet by Kim Nguyen
    First They Killed My Father by Angelina Jolie
    The Florida Project by Sean Baker
    Foxtrot by Samuel Maoz
    The Guardians by Xavier Beauvois
    Hostiles by Scott Cooper
    The Hungry by Bornila Chatterjee
    I Love You, Daddy by Louis C.K.
    In the Fade by Fatih Akin
    I, Tonya by Craig Gillespie
    Journey's End by Saul Dibb
    The Killing of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos
    Kodachrome by Mark Raso
    Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig
    Lean on Pete by Andrew Haigh
    Loving Pablo by Fernando León de Aranoa
    Manhunt by John Woo
    Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House by Peter Landesman
    Marrowbone by Sergio G. Sánchez
    Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller by Jerry Kramer
    Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno by Abdellatif Kechiche
    Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D by John Landis
    Molly's Game by Aaron Sorkin
    Mother! by Darren Aronofsky
    The Motive by Manuel Martín Cuenca
    Novitiate by Margaret Betts
    Number One by Tonie Marshall
    Omerta by Hansal Mehta
    On Chesil Beach by Dominic Cooke
    Outside In by Lynn Shelton
    Papillon by Michael Noer
    Plonger by Mélanie Laurent
    The Price of Success by Teddy Lussi-Modeste
    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women by Angela Robinson
    Racer and the Jailbird by Michaël R. Roskam
    Radiance by Naomi Kawase
    Redoubtable by Michel Hazanavicius
    The Rider by Chloé Zhao
    Roman J. Israel, Esq. by Dan Gilroy
    The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro
    Sheikh Jackson by Amr Salama
    The Square by Ruben Östlund
    Submergence by Wim Wenders
    Suburbicon by George Clooney
    Thelma by Joachim Trier
    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh
    Three Peaks by Jan Zabeil
    Unicorn Store by Brie Larson
    Victoria & Abdul by Stephen Frears
    Who We Are Now by Matthew Newton
    You Disappear by Peter Schønau Fog
    Youth by Feng Xiaogang

    Midnight Madness
    Bodied by Joseph Kahn
    Brawl in Cell Block 99 by S. Craig Zahler
    The Crescent by Seth A. Smith
    The Disaster Artist by James Franco
    Downrange by Ryuhei Kitamura
    Great Choice by Robin Comisar
    Let the Corpses Tan by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
    Mom and Dad by Brian Taylor
    Revenge by Coralie Fargeat
    The Ritual by David Bruckner
    Vampire Clay by Sôichi Umezawa

    The Day After by Hong Sang-soo
    Faces Places by Agnès Varda and JR
    First Reformed by Paul Schrader
    Happy End by Michael Haneke
    The House by the Sea by Robert Guédiguian
    Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev
    The Other Side of Hope by Aki Kaurismäki
    Our People Will Be Healed by Alanis Obomsawin
    Rainbow - A Private Affair by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
    The Third Murder by Hirokazu Kore-eda
    Zama by Lucrecia Martel

    Azmaish: A Journey through the Subcontinent by Sabiha Sumar
    BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Sara Driver
    The Carter Effect by Sean Menard
    The China Hustle by Jed Rothstein
    Cocaine Prison by Violeta Ayala
    Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars by Lili Fini Zanuck
    Ex Libris – The New York Public Library by Frederick Wiseman
    The Final Year by Greg Barker
    The Gospel According to André by Kate Novack
    Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami by Sophie Fiennes
    JIM & ANDY: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton by Chris Smith
    Jane by Brett Morgen
    The Judge by Erika Cohn
    The Legend of the Ugly King by Hüseyin Tabak
    Living Proof by Matt Embry
    Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle by Gustavo Salmerón
    Love Means Zero by Jason Kohn
    The Other Side of Everything by Mila Turajlić
    Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me by Sam Pollard
    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood by Matt Tyrnauer
    Silas by Hawa Essuman and Anjali Nayar
    Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! by Morgan Spurlock
    There Is a House Here by Alan Zweig
    Contemporary World Cinema[edit]
    Les Affamés by Robin Aubert (fr)
    Alanis by Anahí Berneri
    Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer
    Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu
    April's Daughter by Michel Franco
    Arrhythmia by Boris Khlebnikov
    Beyond Words by Urszula Antoniak
    The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales... by Benjamin Renner, Patrick Imbert
    Birds Without Names by Kazuya Shiraishi
    Black Kite by Tarique Qayumi
    Breath by Simon Baker
    A Ciambra by Jonas Carpignano
    Dark is the Night by Adolfo Alix Jr.
    Directions by Stephan Komandarev
    Disappearance by Boudewijn Koole
    Don't Talk to Irene by Pat Mills
    Euthanizer by Teemu Nikki
    Félicité by Alain Gomis
    Good Favour by Rebecca Daly
    Hannah by Andrea Pallaoro
    The Insult by Ziad Doueiri
    Insyriated by Philippe Van Leeuw
    The Journey by Mohamed Al-Daradji
    Life and Nothing More by Antonio Méndez Esparza
    The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches by Simon Lavoie
    The Lodgers by Brian O'Malley
    Longing by Savi Gabizon
    Looking for Oum Kulthum by Shirin Neshat
    Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts by Mouly Surya
    Meditation Park by Mina Shum
    Miami by Zaida Bergroth
    Motorrad by Vicente Amorim
    Nina by Juraj Lehotský
    The Number by Khalo Matabane
    On Body and Soul by Ildikó Enyedi
    Porcupine Lake by Ingrid Veninger
    Public Schooled by Kyle Rideout
    Pyewacket by Adam MacDonald
    The Royal Hibiscus Hotel by Ishaya Bako
    Samui Song by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
    Sergio & Sergei by Ernesto Daranas Serrano
    A Sort of Family by Diego Lerman
    The Summit by Santiago Mitre
    Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle by Mike van Diem
    Under the Tree by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
    Veronica by Paco Plaza
    Wajib by Annemarie Jacir
    Western by Valeska Grisebach

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-08-2017 at 11:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    Shia Laboeuf and Svenrir Gudhason in borg/McEnroe

    Opening film and another

    BORG/MCENROE : Guardian Peter Bradshaw review – "Needle-free account of celebrated on-court duel never breaks a sweat" - 2 OUT OF 5 STARS - "Shia LaBeouf is perfectly cast as superbrat tennis ace John McEnroe, but this replay of his 1980 Wimbledon final with Björn Borg fails to create drama." Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg bears an eery resemblance. But the relationship has no interest; McEnroe's relation with his father or his coach is more interesting. "The awful truth was that for all their rivalry and wildly different styles, there wasn’t any needle between these two men personally, no tension, nothing outside the tennis court for us to get excited about." (Bradshaw)

    ON CHESIL BEACH review by Peter Bradshaw (Guardian) – "Sensitive translation of Ian McEwan’s elegy to inhibited England" 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. Dominic Cooke, known for his stage work, is in his feature directorial debut here. "Billy Howle and Saoirse Ronan are on song as the young couple in Britain’s duffel-coated early 1960s, in a restrained adaptation of McEwan’s novella."

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-08-2017 at 11:42 AM.

  3. #3
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    Some Mike D'Angelo TFF tweets.

    Bear in mind that these are hints, not reviews. But they come with his precise numerical ratings, which allow us to see his relative ranking of all the films he sees at the festival. I'll arrange them in rating order rather than viewing order.

    Mike D'Angelo Sep 5
    Headed to TIFF for the 18th consecutive year. At 10 days per fest, I'll soon have lived in Toronto for a cumulative six months.
    The Rider (Zhao): 67. Literally a film about getting back on the horse, distinguished by its lived-in authenticity. Some clumsy symbolism.
    Western (Grisebach): 54. Another film where I felt my ignorance—in this case, re: Bulgarian-German history—getting in the way. May revisit.
    The Square (Östlund): 46. Like NETWORK had Chayefsky conceived it as a series of vaguely connected interludes rather than as a narrative.
    Happy End (Haneke): 34. What Scott said.:
    Scott Tobias: If not Haneke's worst film, certainly his dullest. Just raw contempt for the bourgeoisie, augmented by nothing.
    Unrated by D'Angelo so far:
    Loveless (Zvyagintsev): TK. Feels like there's a political allegory here (related to Ukraine ca. 2012) that I'm too ignorant to grasp.
    Flat-out loved the first ~45 minutes, which play like Muntean shot by...well, by Zvyagintsev. Then it goes somewhere else. Still pondering.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-08-2017 at 11:43 AM.

  4. #4
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    Timothee Chalamet and Arnie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name

    The other ("Special Presentations") opening night film.

    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino). Besides Borg/McEnroe there was another Toronto '17 opening night film, a much more successful one, which already was a "sensation" at Sundance, then Berlin. It is the adaptation of André Aciman's eponymous steamy gay coming of age and summer romance novel. And "the film charts the stormy course of a 1983 summer romance between Elio (Timothee Chalamet), an Italian teenager, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American academic seven years his senior who has come to stay at his parents' villa. Oscar nominee James Ivory adapted Andre Aciman‘s 2007 bestseller of the same name" (GoldDerby). The film comes out in the US Nov. 24. Filmleaf has had reviews of Guadagnino's 2009 I Am Love and his less impressive 2015 Guadagnino makes movies with a swoony sensuality, and in this new one he may have found a flat-out ideal subject. Jordan Hoffman already gave a glowing review of it in the Guardian in January. I am glad he said "This is not a love story that 'just happens to be gay,'" as people annoyingly said of Brokeback Mountain. I'm reading the book to be able to make comparisons when I see the movie. I'm prepared to like this: it sounds like Guadagnino's best yet and stylistically his most unpretentious. Note: now that I've read the novel I'd add that both 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver are Jewish; that's pretty important, to the book's author, André Aciman anyway.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 12:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    More D'Angelo.

    The Florida Project still

    Zama (Martel): 51. Sorry to say this felt less to me like Martel than like recent Sayles (specifically AMIGO). Worthy and ponderous.
    The Florida Project (Baker): 81. Possibly the most extreme swing from hate to love I've ever experienced over the course of a first viewing.
    More on THE FLORIDA PROJECT: ]]Owen Gleiberman of Variety: "Sean Baker has ditched the iPhone camera, but his follow-up to 'Tangerine' is another vibrant tale of the American lower depths, this one rooted in the magic and heartbreak of childhood." Guardian's Jordan Hoffman gives it 5 OUT OF 5 STARS And writes: "Following his much lauded iPhone-shot Tangerine, director Sean Baker (working once again with co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch), has lost none of his fire and exuberance working with a larger budget and some well-known cast members. Indeed, Willem Dafoe, as the reluctant father-figure manager at the Orlando motel where this movie is set, gives one of the best film performances of his entire career. Baker, who has a number of microbudget features under his belt, has catapulted himself into a whole new league now."

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 12:45 AM.

  6. #6
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    Still more D'Angelo tweet ratings and comments.

    Still from The Death of Stalin

    These are rearranged in descending order of rating rather than viewing order.
    mother! (Aronofsky): 85. Here's the thing: Metaphors are inherently kinda dumb. If you're making one, GO FOR MOTHERFUCKING BROKE. Comme ça.
    PROTOTYPE (Williams): 69. Astonishing 3-D images—and I *despise* 3-D as a rule—make for a singularly hallucinatory post-disaster journey.
    (Blake is a friend, but other friends of mine will tell you that I don't praise friends' work indiscriminately. This is worth seeking out.)
    Let the Corpses Tan (Cattet & Forzani): 68. More of a concrete narrative than I prefer from them, but the genre changeup compensates.
    Pretty sure I've heard more creaking leather in Cattet & Forzani's three features than in all of the other 8000+ films I've seen combined.
    Molly's Game (Sorkin): 64. Will fulfill all Sorkin-based expectations, good and bad. Bonus for poker players: great scene of monkey tilt.
    (I also got weepy at the end because what happens to Bloom in court happened to me almost identically, right down to my dad being there.)
    The Death of Stalin (Iannucci): 63. Tricky juggling of tones, mostly pulled off. Never got used to the collection of Brit/American accents.
    Outside In (L. Shelton): 56. Earnest, performance-driven relationship drama, better than her last two but not a patch on her improv work.
    Brad's Status (White): 55. Suspect I'd have actively liked this w/o the wall-to-wall expository voiceover. That Abrams kid is a real find.
    Downsizing (Payne): 45. That is quite a bait and switch. Damon apparently learned nothing from ELYSIUM. I do sort of admire the perversity.
    The Motive (Martín Cuenca): 43. These art-imitates-life quasi-thrillers (see also Ozon's IN THE HOUSE) virtually always leave me cold.
    Saw this primarily because this director's previous film, CANNIBAL, was quite remarkable formally. But you'd never guess it's the same guy.
    The Ritual (Bruckner): 38. Familiar BLAIR WITCH-y horror with a Nordic twist. Hero's clichéd personal demons seem almost irrelevant.
    Note: Aronofsky's mother! (the title has no caps officially, it seems) debuted at Venice and I posted about Peter Bradshaw's 5 OUT OF 5 STARS Guardian review last Wednesday. D'Angelo's fairly low rating of Downsizing differs from Jordan Hoffman's Guardian 5 OUT OF 5 STARS and its Metacritic Generally Favorable 77%. PROTOTYPE is a highly abstract 65-minute-long art piece described as a "featurette" and categorized on IMDb as a "documentary." See CriticsRoundup. Armando Iannucci is the writer of In the Loop and the TV comedy series "The Thick of It" and "Veep." Peter Bradshaw gives The Death of Stalin a 5 OUT OF 5 STARS rating.

    What does Mike mean by "Damon apparently learned nothing from ELYSIUM"? That makes two of us because I didn't either. Finding out what the more cryptic remarks mean unfortunately will be harder without D'Angelo's former excellent roundup reviews of festivals he covered for The Dissolve or AV Club.

    mother! opens in US cinemas this Friday Sept. 15.

    The Florida Project is coming to uS theaters Oct. 6.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 12:45 AM.

  7. #7
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    Peter Bradshaw (Guardian) on Iannucci.

    Fear rises like gas from a corpse in Armando Iannucci’s brilliant horror-satire The Death Of Stalin. It’s a sulphurous black comedy about the backstairs Kremlin intrigue that followed the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, adapted by Iannucci, David Schneider and Ian Martin from the French graphic novel series by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. 5 OUT OF 5 STARS.
    Iannucci's brand of antic satire carried into a wild adaptation that ought to be very funny and also creepy at times. NOted, D'Angelo's discomfort with the mix of British and American accents. How about that they're not speaking Russian? Might that bother you?

    Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian.

    CHAPPAQUIDICK. Jordan Hoffman (Guardian):
    "Jason Clarke impresses as the last Kennedy brother, whose reputation never recovered following the death of a young supporter in murky circumstances." - review - 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. The film sounds unsatisfying to me. I think of how awful the family must feel about this recreation, as well as those who admire Ted Kennedy's many years of sterling service as a liberal lion of the Senate.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 12:46 AM.

  8. #8
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    More D'Angelo TFF 2017 tweets.

    Faces Places (Varda & JR): 66. The usual Varda delightfulness, which I might have preferred to see challenged rather than reinforced.
    BPM (Campillo): 58. Loved the depiction of ACT UP strategizing. Shift to the personal feels comparatively familiar, even shopworn.
    Ex Libris (Wiseman): 53. I know we're supposed to rubberstamp these, but there's so much overlap here with AT BERKELEY. Feels redundant.
    Man Hunt [or maybe ManHunt, but definitely not Manhunt] (Woo): 50. Just all over the fucking place, from masterful to inept. Loved Angeles.
    The Shape of Water (Del Toro): 44. But I feel similarly meh about every film he's ever made. It's always "I acknowledge your cinephilia." [smiley]
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 10:06 PM.

  9. #9
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    More GUARDIAN coverage. Sept. 13.

    THE DISASTER ARTIST: – "James Franco's ode to bad film-making is a riot." - Benjamin L ee review - 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. "The story behind cult movie The Room is brought to life with affection and painstaking detail and features a staggering transformation from the lead Based on the book about the hilariously awful 2002 movie The Room." Directed by and starring James Franco, co-starring his brother Dave, and with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Megan Mullally, Hannibal Buress, Judd Apatow, Bryan Cranston, Zac Efron and Ari Graynor. In theaters December 8.

    FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER: "Angelina Jolie's triumph spotlights casualties of war." 4 OUT OF 5 STARS - review by Peter Bradshaw. "The actor turned director’s passion project is a psychological stunner that shows the effects the Khmer Rouge’s reign left on the people of Cambodia." A Netflix production which airs later this month.

    THE WIFE (dir. Björn Runge) – Glenn Close is unreadably brilliant as author's spouse plunged in late-life crisis." 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. "As the apparently-perfect wife of a Nobel prize-winning writer, Close gives arguably her best ever performance in an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel." - Peter Bradshaw review. He thinks her portrayal of the "unnervingly subtle, unreadably calm, simmering with self-control" wife of a famous New York author may be her "career best," ranking with her performances in Dangerous Liaisons and Fatal Attraction, a "hugely enjoyable drama" with Jonathan Pryce as the Nobel-Prize-winning husband in this adaptation of the novel by Meg Wolitzer.

    ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (dir. Dan Gilroy) – "Denzel Washington captivates in unusual legal drama." 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. "A nervy, compelling performance from the Oscar-winning actor dominates this unconventional morality play from the writer/director of Nightcrawler." Review b Benjamin Lee. Odd role for Denzel as a semi-autistic lawyer. Co-starring Colin Farrel as the slick head of a law firm who hires Israel, when his own firm collapses,and he is forced out of the woodwork. Out in the US November 3rd.

    HOSTILES: (dir. Scott Cooper) - "Christian Bale soldiers on in brutal, beautiful and flawed western." 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. - "Bale stars as an oppressive army officer seeking redemption in the Old West in Scott Cooper’s striking, if somewhat glib, take on the genre." Peter Bradshaw review. "[As Blocker, Christian Bale is] "An habitually ruthless oppressor of the Native American peoples, though certainly someone possessed of military discipline," who is forced to accompany a dying Cheyenne chief to his homeland. The film seems to think ramping up the violence and beauty of landscape can "dissolve historical wrongs." This "is a little glib."

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 10:23 AM.

  10. #10
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    Sept. 10 Guardian TFF reviews.

    "Exhilaratingly clever … Beast."

    BEAST: "Serial killer mystery offers a masterclass in slow-burn chills." - 4 OUT OF 5 STARS.- Peter Bradshaw review. - "Michael Pearce’s feature debut is a smartly layered thriller that draws haunting drama from a creepy location and an array of plausably shady characters." The title promises horror or melodrama but there "is little of both," instead more sharp domestic drama as serial killing of young women goes on outside on the island where this takes place, with an "exhileratingly clever and ambiguous" final scene with "finely judged performances" shot in an "intelligent, responsive way."

    DISOBEDIENCE: "Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams impress in powerful love story." 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. Peter Bradshaw review. "The English language debut from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio is a rich and rewarding drama about a woman [Rachel Weisz] returning home to the Orthodox Jewish community of north London." She becomes involved in a lesbian affair with her youthful best friend [Rachel McAdams], now the wife of her newly deceased rabbi father's main disciple, excellently played by Alessandro Nivola.

    THE CURRENT WAR: – ( dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) - "Benedict Cumberbatch transmits medium voltage portrait of Thomas Edison." Peter Bradshaw Review. 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. "The battle over rival electricity systems fought out between Edison and fellow inventor George Westinghouse is illuminating – but perhaps not quite as much as it could have been."

    THE CHILDREN ACT: – (dir. Richard Eyre ) "Emma Thompson rules over hot-button legal drama." Peter Bradshaw review. 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. - "Thompson’s performance as a brilliant but tortured judge elevates the second Ian McEwan adaptation of this year’s Toronto film festival, a stately courtroom saga with parallels to the Charlie Gard case."

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2017 at 10:07 PM.

  11. #11
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    D'Angelo. . .

    Lean On Pete (Haigh): 70. Flirts with doing something extraordinary, can't quite commit. But terrific detail even at its most conventional.
    Who We Are Now (Newton): 68. I'm now convinced this guy has a great film in him. Just needs to rid himself of a few Syd Field-y habits.
    Lady Bird (Gerwig): 62. A tad earnest for my taste (esp. its dedication of an ending), but a warmly funny “spiritual prequel” to FRANCES HA.
    Caniba (Paravel & Castaing-Taylor): 8. A deeply unpleasant experience offering virtually nothing in the way of insight or formal interest.
    The Globe and Mail calls Caniba festival's most confrontational film." It's about a Japanese cannibal, who does self-mutilation. I'm wondering how this fits in with the Harvard Sensory Ethnology Lab work, in any way? Or the careful environmental observational methods of Sweetgrass and Leviathan that I came to admire.

    Lean on Pete got high marks from the Guardian reported here earlier, 4 OUT OF 5 STARS from Xian Brooks at Venice.

    "Who We Are Now is a 2017 American drama film directed and written by Matthew Newton. It stars Julianne Nicholson, Emma Roberts, and Zachary Quinto. It screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festiva" -Wikipedia. "Matthew Newton's well-turned indie drama follows an ex-con who seeks custody of her son after a 10-year prison stint" - Scott Tobias, Variety.

    Here D'Angelo seems to have forgotten a numerical rating (amid the other numbers):
    BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 takes 45 (terrific) mins just to get to a prison, over 90 (terrific) mins to get to Cell Block 99. I love this guy.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2017 at 07:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    Bradshaw enthuses over Joe Wright's Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman's Churchill film.

    DARKEST HOUR: review by Peter Bradshaw - 4 OUT OF 5 STARS – "Gary Oldman is a tremendous Winston Churchill in high-octane drama." "An Oscar buzzed performance acts as the stoic centre of Joe Wright’s retelling of the events of 1940, played as a House of Cards style thriller.

    US on 22 November and in the UK on 12 January. This obviously is a must-see, a grand spectacle and a remarkable display of acting - even though I have a suspicion that as with his numb version of George Smiley for the (already shaky) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by Swedish Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson only more so, the working-class chameleon Oldman will be out of his element playing the patrician Churchill.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-16-2017 at 08:19 AM.

  13. #13
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    More Guardian coverage from Toronto 2017.

    Kate Winslet and Idris Elba in The Mountain Between US

    Two Arab directors and a Turkish one.

    THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US: "Kate Winslet and Idris Elba heat up snowy romance" (dir. Hany Abu-Assad) - 3 OUT OF 5 STARS - "A pair of engaging star turns elevate a satisfying, if simplistic, adventure about the blossoming relationship between plane crash survivors." Guardian review by Benjamin Lee, who believes that if you lower your expectations for this almost-but-not-quite Oscar-hopeful film, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. This may seem an odd choice for Abu-Assad, a Palestinian director, whose earlier films Paradise Now and Omar were Oscar-nominated, but he handles the ruthlessly efficient action portions with ease. Winslet is good but Idris excels.

    MARY SHELLEY: "Sturdy literary biopic fails to resurrect spirit of author" - 3 OUT OF 5 STARS - "Elle Fanning plays the Frankenstein author in a dutiful drama that’s adequately entertaining but indistinguishable from other similar films within the subgenre."Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first woman ever to direct a Saudi Arabian feature film - Wadjda (Filmleaf 2012), a portrait of a feisty tween girl. Benjamin Lee reviews, seeming less pleased this time than the above film: maybe the Guardian's ubiquitous 3/5 STAR rating needs some plusses and minuses added to it.

    KINGS – "Halle Berry and Daniel Craig fail to ignite baffling LA riots drama" - 2 OUT OF 5 STARS - review by Peter Bradshaw - "The second feature from Mustang director Deniz Gamze Ergüven is a frustratingly made film with brief flashes of power but a lack of focus." Why should an original Turkish director make a movie about the LA riots, anyway? Finally bad enough for two stars. It's a disjointed, uneven, structurally weak movie about a woman who cares for wayward kids in her home and a hunky Brit (Craig) next door. Some powerful moments but a misstep.

    All three of these sound pretty "meh" to me, the last the most "meh", by a fair margin.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-16-2017 at 08:14 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    D'Angelo, cont'd. He seems to have had a busy day.

    Jane Goodall in Jane
    Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Zahler): 75. Riveting amalgam of courtly and brutal, defined by Vaughn's ultra-low-key superhuman badass.
    He adds:
    Like BONE TOMAHAWK, it justifies its seemingly extreme length (132 mins here, felt like 85) via painstaking accumulation of pungent detail.
    Jane (Morgen): 60. Masterfully edits Van Lawick's long-lost footage so that it resembles a fiction feature. Rest is conventional bio-doc.
    Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond [etc.] (Smith): 55. More interested in watching Carrey channel Kaufman 24-7 than in hearing him self-analyze.
    Thelma (Trier): 54. Not sure “It's a *Good* Life” really works as a romance. Maybe with a more distinctive performance in the title role.
    Mom & Dad (Taylor): 41. An inspired idea rather poorly executed. Came for nutso Cage, wound up preferring feral Blair.
    The Day After (Hong): 37. His blandest film ever, both formally & structurally. The reason he favors diptychs becomes glaring via absence.
    The NYFF has two Hong Sang-soo films this year, and from the festival blurb they seem to be connected. The other is On the Beach at Night Alone. I am a fan of Hong Sang-soo and hope to see these, but others understandably find his work repetitious and bland.

    Mom & Dad: "A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids." WIth Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters. It sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant experience and a film to avoid.

    Jane is about Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, formerly the Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, now plain Jane Goodall to most, the primates expert, now 93. Directed by Brett Morgan. IMDb entry for this documentary: "Using a trove of unseen footage, the film tells the story of Jane's early explorations, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that she studied." Directed by Brett Morgan, an interesting documentary filmmaker. His previous films: Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015), The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002), the latter about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans. Jane Goodall is a fascinating figure and a pioneer in simion studies and this one surely is worth seeking out.

    On Joachim Trier the Norwegian filmmaker's Thelma, see Dave Erlich's Indiewire piece, "'Thelma' Review: Ingmar Bergman Meets Stephen King in Joachim Trier’s Beguiling Lesbian Horror Movie. The film is Norway's Best Foreign Oscar entry

    Trier's first two films were brilliant. His last one , in English, was a relative disappointment to me.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-16-2017 at 08:13 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    From the Guardian as Toronto winds down.

    SWEET COUNTRY: Guardian review by Peter Bradshaw – "Brutal Australian western soars with Biblical starkness." - 5 OUT OF 5 STARS - "The latest film from Warwick Thornton possesses both shocking cruelty and haunting beauty with its tragic tale of tensions in the outback." Mentioning Thornton's "superb debut with Samson And Delilah in 2009, Bradshaw describes his new as a "brutally powerful outback western populated by "'blackfellas' whose serfdom to the 'whitefellas' creates a society of paranoia and violence" that's a colonialism "nearer slavery than Jim Crow."
    It’s a stark, shocking movie, superbly shot by Thornton who is both cinematographer and director: a film which feels at one level like a provocative exploitation picture such as Straw Dogs or Wake In Fright, and at another level like a classic studio western, with something of The Searchers or Red River.
    Thornton's Samson and Delilah indeed was touching and memorable and this will be one to look for, I'm sure.

    MANHUNT: review by Bradshaw – "John Woo rolls back the years with big pharma bullet-barrage" - 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. "The godfather of balletic bloodshed is back to his pre-Hollywood best with this Japan-set action thriller about a lawyer on the run from his shady former boss," "based on the Japanese pulp novel Hot Pursuit by Juko Nishimura." This sounds like thoroughly enjoyable pulp in the style of Woo's original classic actioners.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-16-2017 at 08:09 AM.

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