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Thread: Toronto Film Festival Sept. 5- Sept 15, 2019

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    Toronto Film Festival Sept. 5- Sept 15, 2019

    Toronto Film Festival Sept. 5- Sept 15, 2019

    Emerging favorites



    NOAH JUPE IN HONEY BOY

    Honey Boy (Alma Har’el). 3/5 stars from Benjamin Lee for Guardian, it's a "modest" autobiographical tale from Shia LaBoeuf, who wrote and is one of the actors, playing his own abusive father. A wonderful child performance by Noah Jupe is included. See the TRAILER.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield (Armando Iannucci) got 4/5 from Guardian's Lee, who is pleased with Iannucci's "buoyant and incredibly funny crowd-pleaser." It's color-blind casting includes Dev Patel in the lead role, with Tilda Swinton. Eric Kohn of Indiewire was not so pleased, thinking this was Iannucci's "first mixed bag."

    Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire/Portrait d'une jeune fille en feu. A story said "everybody loves" this movie now at Toronto, but it was already a hit at Cannes (and will be in the NYFF Main Slate. Metascore now 93%. It comes out in France Wed. Sept. 18, and then we'll see how it scores with the Paris critics.

    Once Were Brothers (Daniel Roher) . The Toronto opening night film was this documentary about Robbie Robertson and The Band- with "sour notes and reckless self-mythologizing, stunning archival footage, enviable talking heads, and a queasy disregard for alternate opinions" - Indiewire, Kate Erland.

    Waves (Trey Edward Shults) (debuted at Telluride) 3/5 stars from Guardian's Benjamin Lee. The director previously made the female-meltdown drama Krisha and It Comes By Night, a two-layered horror movie. This features Kevin Harrison Jr. (of Luce, a movie I found contrived, but he's charismatic) as a high school student under growing pressure then shifts to a sweeter, quieter half about his sister, who falls for Lucas Hedges. Lee found the film split in two, but was impressed by Shults's aesthetic skills.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2019 at 02:26 AM.

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    From Mike D'Angelo


    STILL FROM ABOUT ENDLESSNESS

    By "subscribing," you can get D'Angelo's Patreon reviews, in lieu of his former succinct Twitter ones, which for some reason his (more straitened) circumstances don't permit. Here are ratings and a few comments on his viewings at Toronto so far. These are in reverse order. Nothing earthshaking yet, but these show why I have missed D'Angelo's thumbnail festival reviews the past few years.

    TIFF 2019: Day 2

    Guest of Honour (Atom Egoyan, Canada): 45. "Easily his dumbest original script." With David Thewlis in the lead as "a persnickety health inspector" (in Canada).

    About Endlessness (Roy Andersson, Germany/Norway/Sweden): 65. Despite the high rating he acknowledges that without a "dinstancing effect" that supplies "a tangy flavor" things might otherwise seem "a tad rote."

    Beanpole (Kantemir Balagov, Russia): 52 "A superlatively made historical bleakfest with which I sadly never quite connected." This is on my NYFF to-do list. Deals with the nation of Russia's "unimaginable trauma" after WWII. Coming in the NYFF Main Slate.

    Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, Portugal): 59 He notes he doesn't like Costa but remembers he did like the "gorgeous concert film Ne change rien" though he thought it was marred by Jeanne Balibar's "mediocrity as a chanteuse." Really? Then he must not like Mathieu Amalric's Barbara, where Balibar I thought stood in quite well for the chanteuse.

    TIFF 2019: Day 1


    Les Misérables (Ladj Ly, France): 55 "Like Do the Right Thing or La Haine as experienced primarily by the racist cops, which I suppose does qualify as a somewhat fresh angle." It's beginning to emerge that these are somewhat arcane selections on D'Angelo's part. But that's the beauty of them - he makes TFF seem like ND/NF, Film Comment Selects or Locarno.

    Frankie (Ira Sachs, France/Portugal): 47 A thoroughly nice, sincere, compassionate ensemble piece that never stirred me beyond polite attentiveness. Huppert shrugs and sickly-smiles her way through the title role, frankly. . ."

    The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu, Germany/France/Romania): 58 "Needed more whistling." (Cannes.)

    Zombi Child (Bertrand Bonello, France): 50 He found this Haitian zombie film by a French director is totally off the wall." the sinuous Bonello magic surfaces only on occasion. Feels like a misfire, but I’m not confident in that assessment as yet." (Cannes.)

    Liberté (Albert Serra, Germany/Portugal/Spain/France): 16 "Worst. Pornhub channel. Ever. Pure sadomasochism bores me out of my skull (one reason I adore The Duke of Burgundy), and Serra’s latest expends well over two hours lovingly (yet monotonously) cataloguing all of my least favorite perversions, from whipping to water sports to the world’s ugliest phalluses." Fair warning.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2019 at 02:31 AM.

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    From Mike D'Angelo (2)


    JAMIE LEE CURTIS IN RIAN JOHNSON'SKNIVES OUT

    (Note these are just excerpts of his longer short reviews except The LIghthouse.)

    TIFF 2019: Day 3

    The County (Grímur Hákonarson, Germany/Denmark/France/Iceland): 53 More conventional and less inventive than Rams—it’s basically an Icelandic Norma Rae, with one angry widow standing up to a corrupt co-op by starting a rival, farmer-run co-op of her own.

    The Traitor (Marco Bellocchio, Italy): 54 If we must have biopics (and really, must we?), let them at least be as relentlessly eventful as this one. . .[not] really about much of anything, content merely to tap all the historical bases. . . [employs] formal devices. . .that arguably confuse more than they clarify.

    Knives Out (Rian Johnson, USA): 81 Not just the crackerjack mystery I’d hoped for, but also deeply cathartic in ways I’d never have anticipated. Final shot is pure �� [symbol of knife].[He is holding further details till it comes out in Nov. The Metascore at present is 83%.]

    [For more detail about Knives Out see as Dave Erlich's review in Indiewire: "a crackling, devious, and hugely satisfying old-school whodunnit with a modern twist — wants you to know that it takes place in the world of today" and constitutes "a sharp takedown of white entitlement."]
    The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, USA): 49 [Entire thumbnail review:} Reminded me strongly of Soderbergh’s Kafka, another b&w sophomore effort that I respected for its crazed ambition but didn’t actually much enjoy (and have never had any desire to revisit). Dafoe and Pattinson are certainly having a swell time, and I laughed at numerous salty lines and much of the gull-related comedy. Ultimately, though, the madness feels arbitrary, skin-deep, as if Eggers settled on the actors and location without fully working out what they’d do there. The Witch drew considerable power from its sheer nightmarish conviction, and that element is largely absent here. Also not a big fan of fart jokes, so maybe I’m just not the target audience this time around.

    So I guess the only ones we should really be bothered about so far are About Endlessness and Knives Out..
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2019 at 02:38 AM.

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    D'Angelo day four


    MICK JAGGER IN THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY

    TIFF 2019: Day 4
    The Burnt Orange Heresy (Giuseppe Capotondi, UK/USA): 61 [complete review]
    Gotta say, Donald Sutherland’s legendary artist doesn’t make much sense, reputation-wise: Seemingly renowned for a single conceptual piece (literally an empty frame) half a century ago, he’s somehow at the center of a forgery scheme involving traditional oil-painting techniques—it’s as if Banksy had produced just one stenciled graffito and were treated like Monet following 50 years of Salinger-style seclusion. (I’m guessing Willeford’s novel handles this aspect with more clarity.) Solidly entertaining otherwise, with Debicki in particular fairly igniting the screen with casual insouciance—an especially canny performance given what we ultimately learn (or don’t learn) about her character. Capotondi strikes me as Mr. Reliable Pro.

    Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello, France/Italy): 50 [complete review]
    Has there ever been a truly strong Jack London adaptation? (I have somewhat fond memories of Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf, but it’s been a long time.) Martin Eden’s emphasis on autodidacticism and political theory makes it seem especially ill-suited for the screen, and while Marcello knows his way around an arresting image, he can’t prevent Martin’s slow, tiresome metamorphosis into the kind of guy who’s forever shouting his convictions at anyone within earshot. Social-climbing element proves strongest, though even that boils down to a comparison between two women (with London’s focus on the stigma of manual labor mostly lost). Has many passionate fans among hardcore cinephiles, but seemed like just another case of literary lepidopterology to me.

    Synchronic (Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, USA): 47
    Benson (who writes the scripts) keeps coming up with fascinating premises and then taking them in what I find to be bizarrely unsatisfying directions.. . . . a potentially good idea semi-squandered.

    Comets (Tamar Shavgulidze, Georgia): W/O He "Didn't think" he'd "actually see" this. It "seemed to chronicle a reunion between two middle-aged women who’d perhaps been in love as teenagers (with some as-yet-unspecified trauma having separated them for many years. . ." He left the theater after 37 mins.; usually his rule is after giving a film 40 minutes of his time, he can walk out.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2019 at 02:42 AM.

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    From the Guardian (Benjamin Lee)


    STILL FROM HUSTLERS

    Hustlers (Jessica Pressler) got 4/5 stars fromBenjamin Lee of the Guardian, who said watching JLo ((Jennifer Lopez) "steal" this "strippers saga" is a "vicarious thrill," "a slick, flashy, seductively entertaining segue from one season to the next" (summer to fall). A drama about a group of strippers drawn into crime robbing customers and stealing their credit card info.

    Rian Johnson's Knives Out: Like D'Angelo, the Guardian's Lee loves this one and gives it 4/5 stars, calling it a "meta" mystery homage to Agatha Christie. Johnson, working from his own script, outdoes himself here. Clearly a must-see for everybody.

    The Friend (Gabriela Cowperthwaite). A fact-based but sanitized film from the director of Blackfish. Benjamin Lee gives it only 2/5 stars. "Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck play a couple dealing with cancer with help from a friend" in this " meandering drama," he says.

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller) It's not just a repeat of the doc about Mr. Rogers but more a scoffer-converted tale of a cynical journalist sent to cover him who expects to see through him but leaves converted. 4/5 also from Lee. "Tom Hanks charms as Mister Rogers: The star takes on the beloved children's TV figure in a moving and engrossing departure from a traditional biopic." Warning: the story is only partly true.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-09-2019 at 10:39 AM.

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    More from the Guardian


    NICOLE KIDMAN AND ANSEL ELGORT IN THE GOLDFINCH

    The Goldfinch (John Crowley) Benjamin Lee gives 3/5 to this adaptation of Donna Tartt's 800-page globe-trotting novel: "meh." It's neither good nor bad, just okay, "neither a rousing success nor an embarrassing failure, falling somewhere in between, closer to admirable attempt." At least it avoids being an "ungainly mess" as "some had expected," its "many, many moving parts" "stitched together with an elegant hand."

    (This is how I often feel about movies, that at best they fall somewhere in between rousing success and embarrassing failure.)

    Owen Gleiberman in Variety calls The Goldfinch " the year's prestige literary adaptation" that's "scrupulously faithful, yet still misses the book's captivating essence." Vanity Fair calls it "dutiful" and "well mounted but tepid" with "not enough rough texture and feeling. "

    The story line many know and is intriguing. A bombing at the Metropolitan museum, leads to a boy staling a painting while his mother is killed in the explosion. He keeps and is haunted buy the stolen secret treasure. It also has Jeffrey Wright and Sarah Paulson. Indiewire and The Globe and Mail both called Goldfinch "a disaster."


    Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi) is a repetitive satire that plays all Nazis as silly morons, Hitler most of all, where Hitler is just a character's imaginary friend. In the Guardian Benjamin Lee gives this 2/5 stars but says Scarlett Johansson, who's on a roll lately (isn't she always?) "is the best thing about" this movie. Owen Gleiberman of Variety calls this a " feel-good hipster Nazi comedy" (which he thinks may be a first) and " a movie that creates the illusion of danger while playing it safe." The filmmaker directed Thor: Ragnarok .

    Bad Education ( Cory Finley) From the director of Thoroughbreds is a "shaggy" retelling of a high school corruption story that Lee sees as solid but lacking except for a strong central turn by Hugh Jackman as an official determined to push the school to the bop, while Ailson Janney is a "dialed down" version of her "quippy, alcohol-soaked, Oscar- and Emmy-winning shtick," as an official who senses something fishy going on. 3/5 stars from Benjamin Lee.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-14-2019 at 02:52 AM.

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    D'Angelo day five
    [Excerpts from his reviews below]



    Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, USA): 66
    Like The Squid and the Whale, perhaps a bit too emotionally straightforward to really rattle me—I tend to prefer Baumbach when he’s hiding behind brittle humor (though not when he pushes that into outright sourness). Consequently, the big knock-down drag-out toward the end, though beautifully acted by both Johansson and Driver, left a shallower wound than ... when and how Nicole should serve Charlie with divorce papers... [ With Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.]

    Bad Education (Cory Finley, USA): 62
    ... He’s a director-for-hire here, doing a creditable but unexciting job; had he made this prior to Thoroughbreds, I wouldn’t have been particularly curious to see what came next. True story’s a doozy, though, and screenwriter Mike Makowsky fashions it into a fairly incisive portrait of self-justification, taking care to note how all of the embezzlers—but especially Jackman’s vain superintendent—think of themselves as fundamentally decent ... [Benjamin Lee's 3/5 star review quoted above.]

    State Funeral (Sergei Loznitsa, Lithuania/Netherlands): 52
    ... consists entirely of footage shot during the several days that Stalin’s embalmed corpse lay on display in Moscow, leading up to his temporary burial in that dumb-joke staple, Lenin’s Tomb. ... Two hours and change of heartbroken Soviets was a lot more than I needed, frankly... Might work better as an installation that one could watch for as long or little as one likes.

    Letter to the Editor (Alan Berliner, USA): 58
    Half a dozen different films get thrown together here beneath the tattered umbrella of Berliner’s obsession with the New York Times, from which he’s been clipping photos since 1980. His gift for rapid-fire montage remains awe-inspiring... he also wants to mourn the impending loss of physical newsprint, and chide Trump for calling the free press "the enemy of the people" ... reminisce about ... Ground Zero on 9/11, and discuss the way that smartphones have made photojournalists of us all, and it all starts to feel undisciplined and incoherent and overlong (at only 89 minutes)... [All 7000 images are NYTims photos, he says so it's "worth seeing for that alone."]
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-10-2019 at 09:58 AM.

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    Today's Toronto films (Tues., Sept. 10)


    ADAM SANDLER IN UNCUT GEMS

    The Aeronauts (Tom Harper). "Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones reunite for a sweet tale of daredevil balloonists in Victorian England," reports Peter Bradshaw, giving 3/5 stars to this new English film. It's a fictionalized account of how scientist James Glaisher took to the skies in hot air balloons to do meteorology. Unfortunately the producer withdrew the film from iMax: aerial views of 19th century London are spectacular.

    Ford vs. Ferrari[ (James Mangold) got a miserable 2/5 stars from Bradshaw, apparently a clinker starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale about the rivalry between the American and European car industries with self-regarding, dull, macho blocked-out characters."Christian Bale plays Ken Miles, the difficult, impulsive, grumpy but brilliant Brit hired by Shelby as his star driver – to the irritation of the pointy-headed, bean-counting suits at Ford, who want an obedient team player." So ". Tracy Letts plays Henry Ford Jr with gusto and Josh Lucas plays Leo Beebe, his creepy assistant."

    Uncut Gems (Safdie brothers). Sounds like a surprise from the Safdie brothers, a 4/5 star winner starring Adam Sandler, says Benjamin Lee in the Guardian: "A towering performance from the often tiresome actor drives an anxiety-inducing film about a risk-addicted jewelry dealer" who is forever "caught in a trap of his own making." Well, not a surprise actually, very much on the pattern of Good Time, but with a warmer, more sympathetic (even if annoying) protagonist.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-11-2019 at 09:43 AM.

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    D'Angelo day 6

    Uncut Gems (Josh & Benny Safdie, USA): 73
    D'Angelo saw and loved the new Safdie brothers film too, giving it his highest TFF '19 score so far, a 73 and writing, "Watching it felt a bit like watching Philippe Petit walk the wire between the Twin Towers: exhilarating and nerve-wracking in roughly equal measure. I was pleasantly surprised by Sandler’s paternal gentleness in The Meyerowitz Stories, but it’s hard to imagine him ever topping this majestically self-absorbed performance."
    Lee explains: [Sandler] "plays fast-talking jewelry dealer Howard Ratner, a man who spends his days frantically trying to make money while being followed by the men he owes money to, an exhausting lifestyle he can’t seem to escape.
    This sounds all too like the Safdie brothers; but if Sandler can imbue it with humanistic warmth, that would make all the difference.

    Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, Belgium/Brazil/Spain/France): 43. D'Angelo almost cut it when he learned Assayas was gong to recut it. It's about Cuban spies, but boring. Imagine Carlos without Carlos, says D'Angelo. Yes, Edgar Ramirez is on hand, but playing "a dullard this time." "Whatever attracted Assayas to this particular story never found its way onscreen."

    To the Ends of the Earth (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Qatar/Uzbekistan): 56

    "Kurosawa does Coppola—Sofia, that is, removing Bill Murray’s character from Lost in Translation and making it about a young Japanese woman adrift in Uzbekistan. Fascinating change of pace..."

    The Wild Goose Lake (Diao Yinan, China): 38

    He " rather liked both [Yinan's previous films] Night Train and Black Coal, Thin Ice" but found this "extravagantly empty" and "hated" it. Though "plenty of 'stuff' 'happens'—it's quite a busy film, in fact, replete with lengthy flashbacks and conflicting vendettas" nonetheless D'Angelo felt none carried "emotional weight" "and precious little of it offers much in the way of superficial pleasure, either." So there. I hope I like it better.

    He also walked out after 47 mins. on a film about sudden deafness with 12-step overtones:
    Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, USA): W/O)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-11-2019 at 10:10 AM.

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    Oscar bait? Or not?

    Harriet (Kasi Lemmons) 4/5 stars from Peter Bradshaw: "Cynthia Erivo is sublime as legendary slave rebel [Harriot Tubman]" "the Spartacus of the American South." This is " somewhere between a slave-escape drama, an action thriller, a western and even an unexpected kind of superhero film." It " tremendously charismatic and muscular performance from Erivo, who may well be in the frame for awards." But Owen Gleiberman in Variety found it "more dutiful than inspired."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-11-2019 at 10:09 AM.

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    More from Toronto


    STEEVE COOGAN IN GREED

    Greed (Michael Winterbottom) gets 3/5 stars from Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. It's a satire ("mocumentary") starring Steve Coogan as a "high-street fashion tycoon" that "presents a hideous carnival of obscene wealth, vanity and moral squalor." Sounds fun, though he says it hardly challenges Coogan's skill in this "shallow, if entertaining, role." Coogan looks very entertaining as this privileged egocentric creep. CLIP.

    American Son (Kenny Leon), from a play by Christopher Demos-Brown and adapted by him (often a mistake) is a 1/5 star disaster, according to Bradshaw. It concerns racism shown when a black mother vs. her ex, a white FBI officer father, speak to a cop at a police station about their missing 18-year-old biracial son. But, says Bradshaw, the dialogue is "cardboard" and stagey and nothing convinces.

    Mrs Fletcher (Nicole Holofcener. Introduction to a new HBO series which Benjamin Lee gives 4/5 stars to. It is an adaptation of a novel by Tom Perotta, whose work has tended to adapt very well (Little Children, Election, The Leftovers). This concerns a mother who faces empty nest syndrome and her popular high school jock son who goes off to college. Perotta worked closely with director Nicole Holofcener for the adaptation, which Lee considers a plus.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-12-2019 at 07:38 PM.

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    D'Angelo TFF '19 day 7


    BINOCHE, HAWKE, DENEUVE IN KOREEDA'S TRUTH

    He was not enthused about this set and said the NYFF selection committee "went a bit loco" in his view (the NYFF includes Saturday Fiction and Fire Will Come). Ratings and excerpts of his reviews for yesterday.

    Saturday Fiction (Lou Ye, China): 42
    Had assumed—quite happily, I confess—that Lou was basically over, as it’s been a full decade (and five features) since he last showed up in Cannes Competition or NYFF. For some reason, though, Kent Jones & Co. got excited about this laborious espionage thriller, which somehow squanders both Gong Li and monochrome... [Remember ScreenDaily said it was "confused" and Variety called it "muddled." D'Angelo says you only know who the bad guys are when the guns come out. It's those they're being pointed at.]

    The Truth (Kore-eda Hirokazu, France/Japan): 53
    Very much of a piece with Kore-eda’s recent work, though the comparative lack of cultural specificity makes it feel a bit generic. Deneuve’s diva, it retroactively occurs to me, presents something of a challenge for a Japanese filmmaker (though Kore-eda conceived this story himself)—such preening is considered far more gauche in Japan than elsewhere... [but] brittle mother-daughter dynamic suits Deneuve and Binoche quite well, and The Truth works best as an emotionally direct two-hander, ŕ la Marriage Story but with two people who can never split up. Didn’t really need the usual intrusive tinkly score ...or Ethan Hawke just hanging around looking pleasantly surprised to be in a Kore-eda joint. [David Erlich reviewed a bit more favorably in Indiewire.]

    I Was at Home, but… (Angela Schanelec, Germany/Serbia): 40
    ...In theory, I can appreciate this sort of syntactic, allusive approach, which is more or less what Haneke does in Code Unknown. But I genuinely don’t know the code, in this case, ... maybe I’m just too much the rationalist for this mode of filmmaking. Though I really dug the similarly amorphous Kékszakállú, so who knows.

    Fire Will Come (Oliver Laxe, Spain/France/Luxembourg): 41
    Begins operatically (almost literally—Laxe uses the same haunting Vivaldi cue that recurs throughout Dogville...with monumental shots of trees being felled in a mist-shrouded forest; ends by fulfilling the title’s prediction, briefly metamorphosing into a documentary about containment measures. There’s just not enough going on in between, as we await the inevitable conflagration. I’d thought Laxe might be slowly building to the point where his ex-arsonist protag finally snaps...
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-12-2019 at 07:34 PM.

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    What Toronto will mean to us.


    SCARLETT JOHANSSON, ROMAN GRIFFON DAVIS IN JOJO RABBIT

    TTFF '19 IS OVER. Topics to discuss include Fiona Apple in Hustlers, tour de force scenes by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, the new take on a comic book and franchise character by Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, other new takes and comebacks in Jojo Rabbit, Renée Zellweger in Judy, Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems, Wesley Snipes in Dolemite Is My Name. Snipes and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (about Mr. Rogers) will be Oscar possibilities. Other Oscar topics are shaping up.

    Word is that Cynthia Erivo as Harriot Taubman in Harriot and Kristen Stewart as the ill-starred 1960s film star Jean Seberg in Seberg (Benedict Andrews), though neither film is reportedly great, could both be Oscar nominees.

    Two of TFF '19's big premieres are in theaters near you this week: Hustlers (oscar buzz for JLo), The Goldfinch from the Donna Tartt Novel starring Ansel Elgort, but not getting good reviews (Metascores, Hustlers,79, The Goldfinch,[/I] 41). The NYTimes critic-picked Ms Purple, though I found it unconvincing. The Sound of Silence has Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones; the child soldier drama Monos.

    This week’s documentaries out (in New York) include America about a Mexican family; Cracked Up, about comedian Darrell Hammond; and Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in three Movements about a deaf family with a shared love of Beethoven.

    Of course Mike D'Angelo's 2019 Toronto viewings and thumbnails and usual precise numerical ratings will add solid notes to refer to above and beyond the mainstream entertainment and awards-obsessions. Thanks for the Patreon reviews - but regrets that he doesn't have a gig as a correspondent and get to write those great daily roundups from the festival (and Cannes)..
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2019 at 09:22 PM.

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    Yesterday at Toronto with the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, who finds three pretty good ones.


    NORTON IN MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

    Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton) 3/5 stars, "respectable if heavy going" - Peter Bradshaw. This " adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s bestselling novel about a New York private detective with Tourette syndrome" which is "as loving as it is laborious, maybe" writes Bradshaw: Norton produced, wrote the adaptation, directs, and stars. At the coming New York Film Festival (Sept. 27-Oct. 13) it will be the Closing Night Film. shown Oct. 11. Metascore 62%. It's got Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe and period New York and looks like it might be fun.

    The Two Popes (Fernando Meirelles) 3/5 stars (Bradshaw) "nthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce find some tremendous actorly form in this humorous, indulgent, lop-sidedly sentimental “Pope-off” which becomes a Pontiff bromance written by Anthony McCarten and directed by Fernando Meirelles." Sounds very complicated to me, you might need to be a bureaucracy-conscious Catholic to like it.

    Lucy in the Sky (Noah Hawley) again 3/5 stars from Bradshaw. " Noah Hawley’s intriguing film, based on a true story, is about the effects on those who go to space of coming back to Earth’s quotidian reality" focused on a woman of NASA played by Natalie Portman. Bradshaw liked it, but not many other critics did. The Metascore of 37 makes it look like a clinker.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2019 at 08:42 PM.

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    More, and final, D'Angelo TFF '19 reviews.


    VIRGINIE EFIRA IN SIBYL

    He saw Motherless Brooklyn too and gave it a 60. Substituted it at the last minute for Soderbergh's The Laundromat "which hasn’t been very warmly received[Metascore 56%] and will be readily available on Netflix soon whereas this he'd have to "shell out $10-12 to see at home." He thinks liking it so much is partly a function of organizing his festival viewing around "challenging art films," so something mainstream and enjoyable (relatively) comes as a relief. But he had a good time and was impressed with Norton's technique, though hearing the film violated the novel in various ways.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield (Armando Iannucci, UK): 35. He feels Dickens has too much plot, and felt it was being "projectile-vomited" at him "for two solid hours."
    I was exhausted after roughly 15 minutes, and stared glassy-eyed at the rest, springing to life only when Peter Capaldi and Hugh Laurie occupy the screen simultaneously and my brain needed to expend extra effort in order to keep track of which one is which.
    [But the Guardian review gave it 4/5 stars and the Metascore is 73.]

    The Moneychanger (Federico Veiroj, Argentina/Germany/Uruguay): 48. He found the exposition neglected the money-laundering complexities of the main character and treated the viewers like idiots. "Granted, the film is primarily a character study, not a procedural, but Daniel Hendler never makes this worm interesting enough that we become invested in seeing him turn. Only Dolores Fonzi, as the moneychanger’s scarily pragmatic spouse, provides any real charge."

    [The trailer looks both bolder and more conventional than Veiroj's previous films.]

    Sibyl (Justine Triet, Belgium/France): 63 [I'm so glad he liked this so much: Amerivcans have not seemed to particularly "get" Triet's previous films.] "Stupendously diected from the very first shot." Triet "shoots like an editor and repeatedly took my breath away with simple cuts..E ven the "ruthlessly configured" "expository flashbacks" satisfied him. Some plot elements went totally astray for him, but Virginie Efira "looks like a potential breakout" and "Triet’s so blatantly gifted that I’ll follow her anywhere for a while." He has not seen her previous ones. We'll see if he sees them and how he reacts.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-13-2019 at 11:53 PM.

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