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Category Archives: movie review

‘Battle of the Sexes’: Game Comedy Can’t Find a Winning Formula

It’s incredible to think the real life Battle of the Sexes tennis match happened at all. Putting world number one woman tennis player Billie Jean King up against fifty-five-year-old former champ Bobby Riggs was a patently insane contest. But feminism was breaking new ground, sexism was rampant, and this circus sideshow became a cultural juggernaut. Their man vs. woman match is still the most watched tennis event ever, to this day. Does the movie Battle of the Sexes live up to its namesake, the wacko pinnacle of seventies gender wars? Or is it just a lot of racket?

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TIFF 2017: Beast

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Beast wasn’t in my original TIFF plans. Extremely limited press screenings forced me to blow up my schedule twice, but I saw the main things I wanted. Beast was a pick-up, from promising new filmmaker Michael Pearce. In the film, a woman is forced to defend her lover when he falls under suspicion for a series of brutal murders. While the film’s twists yank it a tad too far from the realm of believability, it’s a tense thriller and a quality debut.

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TIFF 2017: Zama

Zama, the long-anticipated return of Argentinian director-extraordinaire Lucrecia Martel, is an astonishing work of colonial examination and technical perfectionism.

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TIFF 2017: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Martin McDonagh’s likes his comedies like his coffee: black. Actually, I have no idea how McDonagh takes his coffee, if he takes it at all. But boy does he have a way with finding the humour in very dark situations. His first two features were uneven, but both In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths unearthed surprising depths among their myriad quirks. With his latest, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDonagh has created a richer film, bubbling with tension, stark satire and even a hint of that elusive trait redemption.

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TIFF 2017: The Shape of Water PLUS Red Band Trailer

The Shape of Water is, ah, shaping up to be the film of the year. Guillermo del Toro’s latest brilliant film just won the top prize, the Golden Lion, at the Venice Film Festival, and it’s a good bet to win at least The People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. It’s been such a hot ticket, it took me two tries to see it. And that’s at press and industry only screenings! It doesn’t come out until Friday, December 8th in North America, but lucky for all y’awl, the Red Band trailer just dropped. That and a mini-review after the jump!

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TIFF 2017: mother!

This year at TIFF we’re seeing the Trump era’s first real artistic blowback. I started with Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (opening across North America this Friday, September 15th), and holy cow, it kicked things off with a bang. That exclamation point in the title is wholly deserved, and you can add about fifteen more in your head. Part psychological horror, part religious allegory, part study of the narcissistic vampirism of the artist/creator, mother! keeps coiling in on itself, like a serpent swallowing its frenzied, burgeoning tail. But is it a tale worth watching, or the sort of child only a mother could love?

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TIFF 2017: Beyond The One and Strangely Ordinary This Devotion

Beyond The One and Strangely Ordinary This Devotion are two works of art with major texture and substance. Paired together as a double bill (both films clock in at under an hour), they explore concepts of love, relationships, and intimacy in powerfully poetic ways.

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TIFF 2017: Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes, Chinese artist Xu Bing’s first foray into feature-length filmmaking, is a direct glimpse into what the future of cinema might be.

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TIFF 2017: High Fantasy

Jenna Bass’s latest film, High Fantasy, is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of South Africa’s multi-cultural youth. Appearing as a sort of homemade travelogue, High Fantasy is filmed as if collected from a group of friends’ various iPhones and then officially edited together afterwards.

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Birth of the Dragon: The Hero Nobody Wants or Needs


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He might’ve died forty-four years ago, but Bruce Lee still attracts controversy. Director George Nolfi found that out, with the release of his Lee sort-of biopic, Birth of the Dragon. Centering on the legendary 1964 fight between Lee and Suaolin master Wong Jack Man, the film bowed yesterday clouded by accusations of white-washing. Does Birth of the Dragon deserve to be kicked around? Find out after the jump!

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