Mother! TV spot

Cinephiles rejoice anytime writer/director Darren Aronofsky makes a new movie, because love him or hate him, his films always give us plenty to talk about. That’s especially true with mother!, his horror thriller that’s been ripping audiences apart since it made its festival debut. The film is so divisive, in fact, that it earned a rare “F” CinemaScore when it opened in wider release last week and even inspired Paramount Pictures to release a statement defending their decision to distribute the film in the first place.

Paramount has been knocked over by a wave here, but instead of sputtering and quietly crawling back to the shore, the studio is embracing the film’s polarizing response and defiantly turning toward the ocean, arms spread wide and chin held high, ready to be sent sprawling by the next one crashing toward them.
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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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mother!

This week, DavidJeff, and Devindra discuss this year’s Emmy wins, ponder the commitment of American Vandal to the bit, and offer their interpretations of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!. Special guest Andy Signore joins us from Screen Junkies.
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What mother is really about

Leave it to Darren Aronofsky to lob a cinematic concussion grenade right in the middle of September. The writer/director’s latest film, mother!, is layer upon layer of allegory and metaphor, a movie that almost demands a long conversation afterwards to process what you’ve just seen. It’s earned a rare “F” Cinemascore, and Paramount even had to issue a statement defending their decision to release the film (read that here), which is a move that strikes me as crazier than anything that happens in the actual movie.

Aronofsky and his star Jennifer Lawrence have spoken about how they intended the movie to be about Mother Nature, and in a new interview, the filmmaker answers more questions about what mother! is really about. But do his intentions matter any more?
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tiff

Another Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, bringing with it a wealth of great movies and a few weirdly disappointing ones too. This usually sets the stage for the remainder of the year in film – the movies that generated buzz at TIFF will likely go on to be talked about ad nauseam come Oscar season. TIFF itself gives out awards as well, and the big winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which took home the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.

I didn’t see it. Sorry!

But I did travel to TIFF and take in a slew of memorable films, which I will now present special awards to for the sake of wrapping-up the fest. Some spoilers follow.

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mother! early reviews

(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: Darren Aronofsky’s mother!)

Darren Aronofsky’s talents extend beyond his gripping filmmaking, inspiring intense debate among those who watch the finished product. His latest film, mother!, is starting to inspire the loudest debate of all: those who have seen the film (whether or not they’ve walked out before it ended) are fiercely divided among those who love it and those who helped give it a CinemaScore of F this past weekend. Technically, a lot happens in mother!, but there’s not exactly a plot or character arcs on display (neither of which, of course, are necessary). The film does bear similarities to many of Aronofsky’s previous films, from Black Swan to Noah, but it’s still very singular. What else could you call a movie where a massive group of people devour a newborn baby?

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. To attempt to answer the question at the core of mother! — to wit, what the hell is this about? — it’s worth exploring the multiple allegories that present themselves throughout.

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mother cinemascore

mother! is polarizing, to say the least.

While critics have lauded the film for its provocative and daring narrative with an absolutely off-the-rails third act — while also eliciting a fair share of both revulsion and reverence amongst them — audiences are firmly against Darren Aronofsky‘s newest film. Blame it on misleading marketing, or star Jennifer Lawrence drawing in fans who “just wouldn’t get it,” but mother! has earned the rare “F” grade on Cinemascore.

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mother spoilers

[This post contains SPOILERS about the new Darren Aronofsky movie mother! For a look at the film without major spoilers, please read Chris Evangelista’s review from the Toronto International Film Festival. mother! is in theaters today.]

A poet and his wife live in a peaceful, idyllic home, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. While the woman is happy, the man begins welcoming strangers into their home and sharing his belongings, until the cost to his wife becomes unspeakably high.

This is the plot of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! which can be interpreted in many ways, but seems most obviously to be an allegory about the creation of the world, as told in the Christian Bible. I found the movie to be provocative, bold, and original, even as its basic conceit began to wear on me during the course of its two-hour runtime. This is a movie that will polarize people and cause some to walk out of theaters.

It’s also unlike most things we’ll see in at the mulitplex this year and for that, I’m grateful (it is absolutely insane that Paramount, a major studio, is releasing this). Here are five things I found to be the most interesting about the film.
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movies to watch with mother

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what mother! is about. I watched a trailer, I’ve read reviews, and it all looks like Darren Aronofsky will dose every audience member with ayahuasca before conducting Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Esperanto.

This response seems to be standard:

So, let’s figure out some movies to watch this wild animal.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

mother clip

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. Tying in with the release of mother! (which is apparently even nuttier than the trailers suggest), this week’s edition asks “What is the craziest movie you’ve ever seen in a theater?”

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