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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Jack Ryan TV show teaser

Shows about spies have been a near-constant presence on television since the medium’s early days, and while we’ve seen properties like Get Smart and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. make the jump to the big screen in recent years, Amazon is about to reverse that trend by bringing one of cinema’s biggest spies to TV. The company has just released the first brief teaser for Jack Ryan, based on the Tom Clancy-created character that’s appeared in five movies so far, and you can check it out below. But if you’re looking for your first glimpse at The Office star John Krasinski locked and loaded as the title character, you’ll have to wait just a little while longer.
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Ben Affleck war movie

Director Ben Affleck has made a gangster film, a detective movie, and a heist film. Now, he’s in talks to add a war movie to that list with a Sony project, Red Platoon, based on Clinton Romesha‘s best-selling memoir. George Clooney and Grant Heslov are producing the film, which is about a firefight that lasted 14 hours at the Battle of Kamdesh.

Below, learn more about the potential Ben Affleck war movie.

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Dunkirk Script

Christopher Nolan is no stranger to dialogue-heavy movies, mostly because his films like Inception and Interstellar require plenty of exposition in order for the audience to fully understand the complex sci-fi concepts at work. But when it comes to his World War II drama Dunkirk, the filmmaker relied on significantly less dialogue, instead letting tension and suspense fill the screen as the action sequences unfolded. In fact, Nolan once considered shooting the movie without a script at all. Read More »

first they killed my father trailer

Angelina Jolie is continuing her rise as a prestigious director with First They Killed My Father, the harrowing true story of a Cambodian girl who is forced to become a child soldier under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

Based on the memoir of the same name, First They Killed My Father is about Loung Ung, who also penned the screenplay for the film along with Jolie. The film is being released by Netflix, but will also premiere in theaters.

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Dunkirk Spoiler Review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.)

In Christopher Nolan movies, the clock is always ticking.

Time is a precious commodity, and it’s also a luxury that the characters who inhabit Nolan films do not have. With his tenth film, Dunkirk, Nolan applies his favored ticking clock narrative to its fullest, crafting arguably his best film, or at least the film that most exemplifies his considerable talents. It’s also in a way a rebuff of the criticisms that have dogged many of his films up until this point – if you thought some of Nolan’s films before Dunkirk were too exposition-heavy, here is a film with almost no exposition to speak of. If you believed his previous movies lacked emotion or feeling, witness this: a film that is relentlessly tense and harrowing, concluding with a moment of perfectly rendered emotional triumph. It seems hyperbolic to throw the “masterpiece” designation around so soon after a film is released, but if Nolan’s Dunkirk isn’t officially a masterpiece yet, time may eventually fully reward it that distinction. The clock is ticking.

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Dunkirk score

The sheer amount of space in Dunkirk is overwhelming. There are three vast swaths of it: air, land, and sea, rendered in stark whites and blacks, and blues in-between. Men and boats alike come across as matchstick figures, just as dominated by negative space as any J.M.W. Turner painting. Warmer colors come in the form of the soldiers and civilians whose fight to stay alive forms the backbone of the film’s narrative, and as the tick-tick-tick of Hans Zimmer’s score kicks in and the three main storylines intercut, it becomes apparent that we’re not just looking at empty space; we’re seeing triple forces, slowly threatening to crush the men stranded at Dunkirk.

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Dunkirk

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Dunkirk.)

In the early summer of 1940, a group of Allied soldiers had to be evacuated from their position on the beach of Dunkirk, France, after being surrounded by Nazi troops in the first weeks of the Fall of France. The events necessitating their rescue, according to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, were a “colossal military disaster,” and the resulting mission (Operation Dynamo) is now know rightly as the Miracle of Dunkirk.

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you know that’s the subject of Christopher Nolan’s latest film, which has near-universal praise from critics. Some are pointing to the bleachers to predict an Oscar. Others are calling it his best film in a career littered with greatness.

Let’s see what kinds of movie connections we can make to Dunkirk as it dominates screens (big and bigger) this weekend.

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dunkirk review round up

Dunkirk seemed like a strange choice for Christopher Nolan‘s next feature, since he’s a director known for his abstract sci-fi features and clever plot twists. Box office predictors and audiences didn’t know what to make of the war epic about a relatively obscure (to American audiences) World War II evacuation, with some estimating that it would be his lowest-grossing movie in years.

But if the reviews are anything to go by, Dunkirk may be Nolan’s most stunning achievement yet. Dunkirk is being met by some of the most enthusiastic praise of Nolan’s career — and indeed, many critics are calling it the filmmaker’s best movie so far.

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the darkest hour

Gary Oldman has never been the kind of actor to go hunting for an Oscar, but Darkest Hour feels like the kind of movie that could thrust the always-brilliant actor into the awards spotlight in a big way. Vanishing under a pile of prosthetics to play Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain who led his nation into and through World War II, Oldman seems to be attempting a role unlike anything he has tried before.

We get our first taste of his performance in the first Darkest Hour trailer, which has just arrived.

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