Murmur offers a taste of bold experimental filmmaking surrounding the connections between humans and the animals in our lives. Documentary-narrative feature hybrids are starting to become more of a thing. The main focus in this film is Donna (Shan MacDonald). Donna is an alcoholic and following a recent DUI charge, she’s been ordered to perform community service. Her community service obligations find her serving or time at an animal rescue shelter. While putting in her…"Toronto 2019: Murmur"
When a single mom invites her ex-husband’s wife and daughter to live with her, a rather interesting family dynamic begins to form in The Rest of Us. Aisling Chin-Yee makes her feature directorial debut with a story about a complex relationship. When Cami’s (Heather Graham) ex-husband, Craig, tragically passes away, she invites Rachel (Jodi Balfour) and her young daughter, Talulah (Abigail Pniowsky) to move into her house. If it must be said, Rachel is much…"Toronto 2019: The Rest of Us"
The Barefoot Emperor is a satirical film about forming a new Europe and is very fitting given the current political climate. Nicolas III (Peter Van den Begin) is so close to being able to get back home to Belgium. The only thing standing between him and members of the Belgian military retrieving him is a re-enactment of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s 1914 assassination. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong! Of course, he gets…"Toronto 2019: The Barefoot Emperor"
American Son makes the transition from the stage to screen with a powerful performance from Kerry Washington while still feeling theatrical in scale. Kendra Ellis-Connor (Kerry Washington) is a worried mother. Her son, Jamal, has been missing for a few hours. As she sits in the Miami police state, the anger begins to start flowing. How is a mother expected to stay calm when the calms hardly tell her anything. Forget a missing persons report…"Toronto 2019: American Son"
Coppers is an informative film with regards to the psychological toll that police officers undergo but the film doesn’t break new ground in the genre. Thirteen retired police officers share stories from their careers working the beat. Some of them share stories about their home life as result of growing up in a cop house or serving on the force themselves. One retired woman said that police officers tend to be “control freaks.” Should they…"Toronto 2019: Coppers"
Sea Fever offers viewers a genre hybrid but the film is more so on the thinking person’s level than being an action-packed adventure. Siobhán (Hermoine Corfield) is a solitary marine biology student. Because of her studies, she soon finds herself on a fishing trawler for a week. She’s a student who generally feels more at home when she’s working in the lab. Regardless of what her preferences may be, she is a redhead and this…"Toronto 2019: Sea Fever"
Clifton Hill is a psychological thriller that strangely enough also serves as a love letter of sorts to the city of Niagara Falls (Canada). Memory can be an interesting thing. When Abby (Tuppence Middleton) returns to Niagara Falls after her mother’s death, it leads to some stressful relations with sister Laure (Hannah Gross). It’s already bad enough that their mom’s hotel, The Rainbow Inn, is likely to be closed. Neither Abby nor her sister, Laure…"Toronto 2019: Clifton Hill"
Amy Jo Johnson’s sophomore feature, Tammy’s Always Dying, follows a working-class daughter as she cares for her alcoholic mother. Catherine “Cathy” MacDonald (Anastasia Phillips) works at a hotel bar to make ends meet. When she isn’t doing this, she is taking care of her alcoholic mother, Tammy (Felicity Huffman). It isn’t the best way to go about life but Cathy does her best. At the bar, Cathy has the freedom to be whoever she wants…"Toronto 2019: Tammy’s Always Dying"
Antonio Banderas delivers a stand-out performance as filmmaker Salvador Mallo in Pain and Glory as the film hits up the fall film festivals. A winner of Best Actor at Cannes, Pain and Glory hits both Telluride and Toronto on its way to a theatrical release in October. Pedro Almodóvar turns in a bold script here. Put it this way–hours after watching the film, I still struggled with what to say about it. On the one…"Toronto 2019: Pain and Glory"
The Father is about as dark and comedic as a film could possibly be when it comes to a husband suffering from the loss of his wife. I watched a number of films going into the festival but what struck me the most is the number of films dealing with death. Everyone responds to death differently. While one family member can go into a depression, another will go about their life acting as if nothing…"Toronto 2019: The Father"