the shape of water red band trailer

Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.

Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.

For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer Review

While watching The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a passage from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary came to mind: “It’s probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls — as little as one may like to admit it, human experience tends, in a good many ways, to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”

Yorgos Lanthimos, director of the bleak but funny The Lobster, takes his penchant for the unpleasant to the next level with The Killing of a Sacred Deer. As the film unfolds and grows progressively disturbing, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Why am I watching this?”

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Review

It seems Wonder Woman has not one but two origin films in 2017. After breaking the box office and single-handled rescuing the DCEU with Patty JenkinsWonder Woman, the Amazon Warrior’s impetus is explored even further with Angela Robinson’s sweet, funny, and sexy Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.

Robinson’s film follows the people who helped create the most popular female superhero, and it’s not your typical creation tale. Instead, this is a polyamorous love story about the man and two women who fell in love with each other and eventually put their heads and kinks together to create Diana of Themyscira.  
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The Florida Project Review

The Magic Kingdom colors almost every scene of The Florida Project. Sean Baker’s achingly beautiful and heartbreaking new film is set in Florida (obviously), very close to Disney, and nearly everything in the background advertises the The Most Magical Place On Earth. Tourist trap stores with huge painted signs advertising Disney merch constantly lurk in the periphery.

But the characters in The Florida Project occupy their own kingdom, one comprised of rundown motels and abandoned buildings. These might seem like squalid conditions, but Baker finds a way to make them seem warm and welcoming without ever trying to glamorize them. The sunsets are fierce and gorgeous, lush pinks and reds and golds, vast and seeming to stretch on for infinity. They feel like home.
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lady bird trailer

Greta Gerwig is passing down her mumblecore crown to Saoirse Ronan in her semi-autobiographical film, Lady Bird.

The indie darlings team up in the coming-of-age film replete with quirky shenanigans and whimsical musings on life, with Ronan starring in the Gerwig-surrogate role as a stubborn aspiring bohemian who clashes with her equally strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf).

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the killing of a sacred deer trailer

The Lobster was a bit of a shock for everyone who went in expecting an off-kilter black romance — instead director Yorgos Lanthimos served up a disquieting social satire with underpinnings of horror as his first English-language feature.

Now, reuniting with his Lobster star Colin Farrell, Lanthimos is going full psychological horror with his newest film The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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the disaster artist review

If there’s one opinion we really want to hear about The Disaster Artist, it’s from the director of The Room. Considering Tommy Wiseau lived it, he probably has more than a few thoughts on how actor-director James Franco has depicted him and his beloved bad movie. After seeing the adaptation of actor Greg Sestero‘s book at the SXSW Film Festival, he only took issue with .1% of the movie.

Below, find out Wiseau’s thoughts on The Disaster Artist.

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the disaster artist trailer

I remain curious to see if regular audiences will flock to see a movie about the making of a film so bad it has earned a strong cult following over the years. But I can tell you this much: The Disaster Artist is hysterical and weirdly moving and not the movie you think it is. James Franco‘s heartfelt and deranged comedy about bromance, jealousy, and seriously ill-considered filmmaking decisions is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in 2017.

And now, the first The Disaster Artist trailer is here to sell this movie to everyone else.

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A Ghost Story Ending Explained

This past weekend, A Ghost Story joined the specialty box office line-up by hitting theaters in New York in Los Angeles before the Sundance selected drama from Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery expands in the coming weeks. Having caught the film at Sundance, I can say you haven’t seen a movie quite like this before. However, the title might be a little misleading for those expecting a ghost story that’s more horror than thoughtful drama. Furthermore, the ending may leave many perplexed as the scope of the narrative expands and becomes something bigger than you’d expect.

Thankfully, director David Lowery was asked about the ending to A Ghost Story, and he was happy to provide a little more explanation for those who might be confused when the credits start to roll. If you haven’t see A Ghost Story yet, don’t read any further because there are spoilers abound, and you really should wait for clarification until after you’ve seen it for yourself, even if that doesn’t happen until it’s available on home video. Read More »

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Barry Jenkins Next Movie

As you might expect from the creator of this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has been keeping busy. He hopped over into the TV world to direct the fifth episode of Justin Simien‘s excellent Netflix series Dear White People, and Jenkins is staying in that medium to write and direct a small screen adaptation of Colson Whitehead‘s best-selling novel The Underground Railroad for Amazon.

But fear not, movie lovers, because Jenkins won’t be in the TV realm for long. He’s just set up his next movie: an adaptation of James Baldwin‘s acclaimed book If Beale Street Could Talk.
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