TIFF22 REVIEW: Chevalier [2022]

Choice comes from within. The Toronto International Film Festival wasn’t kidding when they said they were welcoming director Stephen Williams back after pivoting into prestige television. It’s been twenty-seven years since his theatrical debut Soul Survivor with a laundry list of all your favorite shows in the meantime. It just goes to prove that sometimes it’s all about the right project bringing you back into the fold. And it seems a script by rising star Stefani Robinson (coming from FX shows such as “Atlanta” and “What We Do in the…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: How to Blow Up a Pipeline [2022]

If the law will not punish you, then we will. Logan (Lukas Gage) meets Shawn (Marcus Scribner) holding a red covered book within a section of a bookstore that both men are trolling for likeminded individuals. Our assumption is that the color means he’s leafing through Andreas Malm‘s nonfiction How to Blow Up a Pipeline in which the author argues for sabotage as a legitimate form of climate activism while also criticizing the pacifism and fatalism that has otherwise dominated the conversation instead. It makes sense then why Logan smirks…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: The End of Sex [2022]

Are you getting enough banana? Emma (Emily Hampshire) and Josh’s (Jonas Chernick) first kiss was at a summer camp as teenagers and, minus a few break-ups here and there, they’ve been together ever since. They’re best friends, awesome parents, and, because of their two daughters being their focus for every waking second of every single day, mutually apathetic to the concept of sex. So, now that it’s the girls’ time to start going to that same camp, Emma and Josh have no clue what to do with their independence. And…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Kar ve Ayi [Snow and the Bear] [2022]

This is a strange place. Asli (Merve Dizdar) didn’t have to come. It doesn’t matter that her compulsory assignment as a nurse was to be stationed in a small Turkish village in the middle of nowhere. Her father had strings to pull to get her reassigned. The reason she went anyway isn’t about not wanting to cheat the system like her parents think when they blame “stubbornness” as the cause of their fear for her safety due to blizzards and bear attacks. It’s because Asli doesn’t want to feel as…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: The Young Arsonists [2022]

I’m leaving too. Small town rural living tends to instill a sense of malaise in youth and neither Nicole (Maddy Martin) nor Veronica (Jenna Warren) are exceptions to that rule. They’ve already made a pact to eventually get out of here for no other reason than to aspire towards something that didn’t seem like a dead-end. Because that’s what life is like now—a purgatory of hardship, tragedy, and sorrow. Nicole’s family mourns the loss of her older brother Seamus (Kyle Meagher) in a farming accident that ultimately left them without…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Susie Searches [2022]

Be positive, homie. Susie Wallis (Kiersey Clemons) has never met a mystery she couldn’t solve. At least not when it comes to those that populate the crime books her mother (Jammie Patton‘s Anne) read to her as a child. It got to the point where she wondered if they should stop reading them altogether, but Susie refused. She didn’t care that she always guessed the culprit. All she cared about was spending time with Mom. So, when Anne’s MS diagnosis advanced enough to take away her speech, Susie took over…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Roost [2022]

I’ll see you in a little bit. This is a tricky film to talk about without massive spoilers unless, of course, the eventual marketing campaign decides divulging its secrets will help them sell it. I’m hoping they ultimately choose to keep its twists and turns under wraps because going in blind adds a dimension that I’m sure playwright Scott Organ (who adapts his own “The Thing with Feathers”) intended and director Amy Redford matches. As she mentions in the press notes, Roost is about provocation. It’s about telling us one…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Prisoner’s Daughter [2022]

Everything dies with me. Maxine (Kate Beckinsale) isn’t having a good day. She’s barely slept after working the nightshift cleaning the place where she used to pole dance and hopes to earn enough tips at her waitressing day job to pay for her son Ezra’s (Christopher Convery) epilepsy medication when her ex (his father) Tyler (Tyson Ritter) causes a scene that ultimately gets her fired. Then the school calls to say the boys who assaulted her son were suspended as though it would soften the blow that he’s being punished…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Fixation [2022]

The past is not the present. What did Dora (Maddie Hasson) do all those years ago? That’s the question she’s asking herself as she sits straightjacketed in a hospital she doesn’t remember entering. What did her family do to her to earn that ire? That’s the question her doctors (Genesis Rodriguez‘s Dr. Melanie and Stephen McHattie‘s Dr. Clark) hope to answer for her through an invasively experimental psychiatric evaluation. While the two questions ultimately go together considering her actions were a response to that abuse, separating them should always be…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Stellar [2022]

Hasn’t the world been ending since it started? It’s all a matter of perspective. If you’ve never known a privileged existence, what difference to your world would an apocalypse truly introduce? There’s always been fire for She (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) and He (Braeden Clarke). There’s always been tragedy. Whether living under the oppressive rule of Canadian law or being ignored and/or disrespected when leaving the reservation for the cities that they were told would open their arms if only they gave into demands for assimilation, life has always been a struggle…

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TIFF22 REVIEW: Rosie [2022]

Love is what makes a family. The last thing Frédérique (Melanie Bray) needs is another mouth to feed. She’s already sneaking out the fire escape to avoid her landlord and can barely hold down a job due to her “passionate” disposition, so a child services agent (Josee Young‘s Barb) dropping off a niece (Keris Hope Hill‘s Rosie) she didn’t know she had proves quite the shock. More than needing to deal with the logistics problem, however, Fred also possesses a wealth of guilt and regret considering the reason the two…

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