ford v ferrari review

Ford v Ferrari is an old-school Hollywood drama – the type that is in short supply these days. It has movie stars! It has an uplifting, all-American message! It has timely needle-drops that make you perk-up and say, “Hey, I love that song!” We need more movies like this, especially these days – when multiplexes are overrun with franchises and superheroes. But that doesn’t excuse how dull long stretches of James Mangold‘s racing pic are. Whenever the film hits the track, it’s exciting as hell. But as soon as the cars are parked, all the life runs out of this thing like gas from a leaking tank.

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synchronic review

Note: it is nearly impossible to talk about this film without giving away some small spoilers, so be warned. 

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the filmmakers behind ResolutionSpring, and The Endless, have assembled a unique, familiar series of films that all deal with the same theme: time. The persistence of it, the lack of understanding of it, and the potential ability to control it. They’re so focused on the subject that you might call it an obsession at this point. The duo’s latest, Synchronic, takes that obsession to a whole new level. It’s their biggest, most ambitious movie yet.

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joker review

“He’s a lonely forgotten man desperate to prove that he’s alive.” That’s the tagline of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, but it might as well serve as a rallying cry for Todd Phillips‘s Joker, a violent, nihilistic horror film masquerading as both a character drama and a comic book movie. Realizing that it’s next to impossible to get a studio-backed character piece greenlit, Phillips has decided to use the Joker as a gateway drug, giving him a chance to more or less remake Taxi Driver for a whole new generation of moviegoers – the ones who’ve grown up on a steady diet of superhero movies. Joaquin Phoenix‘s Arthur Fleck is that lonely forgotten man – a mentally unstable loser just aching for acceptance. He says he wants to be a standup comedian, but what he really wants is attention. And he’s willing to kill to get it.

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marriage story review

It begins with kindness. Through a series of charming montages, we watch – and listen – as married couple Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) list off the things they love about each other – the types of quirks, in-jokes, and eccentricities that two people who have lived together for some time grow so familiar with over time. The type of personality traits that might seem baffling or even annoying to outsiders, but can be utterly lovely when they’re performed by someone you’ve given your heart and soul to. It’s a sweet, romantic start – and it’s something of a huge fake-out. Because despite their laundry list of compliments for one another, Charlie and Nicole’s marriage is over, and we’re about to watch things get ugly.

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jojo rabbit review

There’s some sort of strange magic residing in Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit, a film that really shouldn’t work – but does, with remarkable results. Waititi’s World War II satire is both a magic trick and a high-wire act – the filmmaker keeps pulling rabbits out of his hat while balancing comedy, kindness, and often shocking darkness. The end result is a heartfelt, sweet, blackly comedic coming-of-age journey that tries to find hope in hopeless times.

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waves review

Few filmmakers working today know how to induce anxiety in their audience as masterfully as Trey Edward Shults. Even during scenes when things technically aren’t going wrong, Shults’s focus creates a palpable sense of dread. Yes, everything might be fine on screen for now…but it’s only a matter of time before some sort of Sword of Damocles drops and shatters everything, and everyone, to a million pieces.

Shults gave us the cinematic panic attack that was Krisha and the slow-burn post-apocalyptic horror-family-drama It Comes At Night. With Waves, the director has crafted his most ambitious film to date – a dizzying, weighty, heart-wrenching saga of one family disintegrating right before our eyes.

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the personal history of david copperfield review

Armando Iannucci is responsible for the acidic, acerbic dark humor that prevails in In the LoopThe Death of Stalin, and Veep. But anyone expecting more of that nasty, cutting comedic bite from Iannucci’s latest work is in for a pleasant surprise. Working with co-writer Simon Blackwell, Iannucci has taken the autobiographical Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield and spun forth a film bustling with wit, grace, slapstick comedy, and one big beating heart. It’s an utter joy to watch.

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TIFF 2019 Streamer's Guide

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gained international prominence over the last few decades by billing itself as the “Festival of Festivals.” That distinction means, in essence, that if you go to TIFF, you won’t need to go to another festival all year. With more than 300 titles hailing from across the globe, one can only dip their toe into the riches of Toronto’s lineup even with wall-to-wall screenings over its 11-day duration.

By the time the oft-Oscar prognostication People’s Choice Award winner is announced on Sunday, September 15, two of TIFF’s biggest premieres – The Goldfinch and Hustlers – will be playing across North America. But let’s say you don’t want to wait until then to get in on the Toronto viewing? Here are ten curated titles that you can program as a streaming festival adjacent to Toronto. That way, once these titles hit theaters over the next year, you’ll have a leg up on some of the past work of cinema’s coming vanguard.

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TIFF 2019 Gala Presentations

The first 2019 Toronto International Film Festival announcements are here, and they don’t disappoint. The special and gala presentation titles include Todd Phillips‘s Joker, Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out, Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit, and many more. The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 through September 15, 2019. See the full TIFF 2019 gala presentation line-up below, along with the special presentation titles.

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