Fireball Visitors From Darker Worlds Review

There are few things more soothing and sardonic than hearing Werner Herzog opine about an impending apocalypse. Along with collaborator and co-director Clive Oppenheimer, the filmmakers provide a science-rich documentary freed from the didacticism of the genre, reveling instead in the true wonder and weirdness of our existence. Their previous film, Into the Inferno, gazed into the maw of active volcanoes, while their latest, Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, looks at the impact that extra-terrestrial visitors have had on the history of our planet.

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Inconvenient Indian Review

In 2012 Thomas King published The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, a compendium of his writings about what it means to be Native, and the types of stories both ascribed to, and told by, the various individuals broadly contained within the aboriginal rubric. Michelle Latimer’s documentary, simply titled Inconvenient Indian, takes the themes of King’s work, narrated in part by his own words, and showcases a kaleidoscopic vision beyond the stereotype, showcasing the actuality rather than the empty costumes secured in museum cabinets that so often speak silently to what it means to be part of these communities.

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Enemies of the State Review

We live in a time that fetishizes a post-truth. In our post-fact world, suspicion of institutions is at an all time high, and citizens on both left and right find ways to pretzel themselves into believing in grand conspiracies as the mundane facts of incompetence and hubris feel too constrained for the magnitude of our society’s problems. Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary Enemies of the State, about a hacker kid, his crusading parents, and a tenacious legal system, brilliantly undermines these impulses.

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Get the Hell Out Review

During these times of social-distancing, it’s impossible to know how Get The Hell Out, part of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness slate, would have played to a boisterous and welcoming crowd. It’s fair to say it would have been a lot more fun with the rote dialogue being overpowered by hoots and screams, and the wrestling maneuvers cheered like at some mad luchador match. Instead, at home, the experience of sitting through the film is middling at best.

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The Truffle Hunters Review

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw have crafted a near fairy tale look at the life of some irate Italians as they clamber through the forest seeking a delicacy that by weight is more valuable than gold. The Truffle Hunters is a beautiful, experiential documentary, taking you into a world that feels completely from another time.

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The Nest Director Interview

Writer/director/producer Sean Durkin is unafraid to take us to some dark places, providing a unique and compelling vision along the way. The winner of the Sundance directing award for Martha Marcy May Marlene, he returned to that festival with The Nest, a creepy, harrowing character piece about a family’s struggles with their own dreams and expectations. It’s a film that takes genre elements and gives them a welcome twist, belying expectations at every move, resulting in a deep character piece that’s moving and effective.

In his original review, /Film writer Ben Pearson called the film a “searing, smoldering exploration of ambition”, and I also alliteratively described it as a “brittle, bleak take of a family fueled by hubris and ambition.” With an exceptional core cast of Carrie Coon, Jude Law, Charlie Shotwell and Oona Roch, there’s much to dig into this rich story.

/Film spoke to Sean by phone prior to the film’s theatrical relase.

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I Care A Lot Review

I did not care for I Care A Lot.

J Blakeson’s tonally deft and awkward thriller begins by introducing us to Marla (Rosamund Pike), a taut, chilly figure tasked by the court to provide care to those who have fallen through the cracks. Ostensibly a legal guardian, Marla’s true motivation is to exploit the vulnerable, shack them up in assisted living homes while living off the proceeds. When one unstable son (Macon Blair) is unable to visit his mother, their violent and awkward confrontation is dismissed as the cost of doing business.

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Limbo Review

Frank Zappa famously said “there is no Hell, there is only France.” If that’s true, there’s a strong case to be made that a bleak island off the Scottish coast may well be the perfect place to host purgatory. In Limbo, Ben Sharrokck’s dramedy about life as an asylum seeker, we get to spend time in this state between the horror of what’s been left behind and the interminable wait for what’s yet to come.

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The Father Review

One of the main joys of film festivals is to go into a film knowing as little as possible, guided by the hopes that the programmers have selected something worthy of your time. I’d missed Florian Zeller’s film The Father at its Sundance premiere, conflating it with another film about an ailing old-man as one of several dramas I skipped in order to focus on that fest’s remarkable doc slate. At TIFF I was allowed to finally dig into this movie, and it’s immediately become one of my favourite of this wild and troubled year.

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Ammonite Trailer

In the windswept, dreary coastal English town of Lyme Regis lives Mary Anning (Kate Winslet), a paleontologist who searches on the muddy beaches for fossils such from prehistoric creatures that gives Ammonite its name. Living with her mother (Gemma Jones), the two run a tourist friendly shop peddling tiny rocks to those wanting to have a tiny sense of wonder.

In her youth Mary found a particularly spectacular specimen, a nearly intact ichthyosaur, that’s on display without crediting the discoverer at the national museum. Her legacy erased in order to keep the lights on at home, she has spent the rest of her life into middle-age searching for something nearly as spectacular to bring a spark to her increasingly dour life.

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