TIFF 2018: The Public

Not one to fall far from the tree, writer-director Emilio Estevez uses the narrative in The Public to send an important message. Libraries are vital to the nation’s existence.  They represent what the American democracy is all about.  Many of us go there to borrow books, research information, and whatnot.  For other people, going to the library is a means to get off the street.  The Public takes place in the downtown branch of the…

"TIFF 2018: The Public"

TIFF 2018: The Land of Steady Habits

Based on the book of the same name, The Land of Steady Habits is more comedy than drama in this newest film from Nicole Holofcener. When we first meet Anders Hill (Ben Mendelsohn), he has retired from working in finance and is sleeping with other women after divrcing his ex-wife, Helene (Edie Falco).  Okay–so he’s a womanizer.  At first, a totally unlikable character, we’re finding ourselves gravitated towards rooting for him.  It makes so sense–I know–but this…

"TIFF 2018: The Land of Steady Habits"

TIFF 2018: The Sisters Brothers

While not entirely a comedy, The Sisters Brothers certainly provides an interesting take on the Western genre during the height of the Gold Rush. Set in 1851,  Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are a pair of fascinating figures.  Working for The Commodore (Rutger Hauer), the duo follow scout John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the hunt to capture a chemist on the run, Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed).  Warm is a gold prospector…

"TIFF 2018: The Sisters Brothers"

A Simple Favor: A Fun Comedic Thriller

Based on the book of the same name, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor offers a charming fun comedic thriller with a side dish of mystery. Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a vlogger who investigates the disappearance of her best friend, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively).  They met because of their children attending the same elementary school in their small Connecticut town.  Quickly becoming friends, Stephanie helps Emily’s husband, Sean Townsend (Henry Golding), during this time of…

"A Simple Favor: A Fun Comedic Thriller"

TIFF 2018: I’m Still Boycotting Girl

A cisgender male director, Lukas Dhont, directs a cisgender male, Victor Polster, in an attempt to depict the transgender experience in Girl. I had a sigh of relief going into the morning in which the final TIFF films were announced.  Then I cringed.  This is because of yet another film starring a cisgender male as a transgender film.  It had been selected to screen during TIFF and I could not be angrier. As I arrived to…

"TIFF 2018: I’m Still Boycotting Girl"

TIFF 2018: Giant Little Ones

Giant Little Ones captures how high school environments have and haven’t changed in a generation where LGBTQ acceptance is becoming common. Friends since they were young, Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) have been able to lead similar lives.  They’re popular in high school and both are members of the swim team.  On the outside looking in, they appear to be popular with the girls.  All of this changes when Franky celebrates…

"TIFF 2018: Giant Little Ones"

TIFF 2018: Her Smell

Actress Elisabeth Moss delivers what may be among her finest performances as alcoholic musician Becky Something in Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell. Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) made it big out of the 90s punk rock scene.  Her band, Something She, isn’t anywhere near the glory that they used to be.  The trio, including drummer Ali van der Wolff (Gayle Rankin) and guitarist Mari (Agyness Deyn), can no longer sell out arenas so they stick with more…

"TIFF 2018: Her Smell"

TIFF 2018: Free Solo

Free Solo documents free soloist Alex Honnold in his attempt to climb the Freerider route (2,900 feet) of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park. Alex Honnold is seen a phenomenon in the eyes of free soloist climbers.  It’s a dangerous profession–one that surely holds a risk given how ropes are not involved.  One wrong move while climbing and it’s life or death.  Co-directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin follow the climber every step of…

"TIFF 2018: Free Solo"

TIFF 2018: Destroyer

Destroyer features a strong performance from actress Nicole Kidman but its storytelling decisions might prevent some from truly enjoying the film. LAPD detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) remains haunted by events from years earlier while working undercover.  One day while at the office, Bell becomes the recipient of mail containing dyed money.  She knows then and there that gangster Silas (Toby Kebbell) is back in town.  She’s hell-bent on finding him after what happened years earlier…

"TIFF 2018: Destroyer"

TIFF 2018: Wild Rose

Serving as a love letter to Glasgow, Wild Rose shows how far one woman will go if it means becoming a star in Music City. Rose-Lynn Harlan wants (Jessie Buckley) to hit the big time as a country singer but there’s one minor problem–she lives in Scotland.  This isn’t to say that pursuing her dreams will be easy because it won’t.  Her own economic situation, let alone a drug-addiction past that put her in jail,…

"TIFF 2018: Wild Rose"