TIFF 2020: PIECES OF A WOMAN REVIEW

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pieces Of A Woman stars Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby as a couple dealing with severe trauma, and opens with such an incredible, intense first thirty minutes (most of which being one single long take) that I’m pretty sure I just outright stopped blinking as I watched their evening unfold. Unfortunately the remainder of the feature never quite hits these highs again, but I’m still left thinking about that opening long after the credits have rolled.

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TIFF 2020: 76 DAYS REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hao Wu’s documentary is a glimpse into our planet as it changed, filmed in secrecy during the 76-day lockdown in Wuhan, China during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus.

76 Days focuses on the frontline medical workers during the lockdown and their frantic struggle to keep up with a new virus. The film grips you immediately with its opening, as a frontline professional begs to say goodbye to her deceased father whilst other workers hold her back, needing her to remain composed so she can continue to work with them.

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TIFF 2020: THE FATHER REVIEW

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Father is the gripping, heartbreaking debut feature from Florian Zeller about a man’s battle with dementia and the loss of identity. Anthony Hopkins stars in a performance that will surely earn him an Oscar nomination, as both he and the audience are consistently forced to question what is real and what is not.

Framed from the perspective of Anthony (Hopkins) as he struggles with his mental state and refuses to lose his independence, Zeller disorients viewers through repeating conversations, shifting surroundings, and even having multiple characters play the same role. By the time the credits roll, you can piece together what really happened and when – if you aren’t too busy crying / scared of getting dementia yourself, obviously.

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TIFF 2020: I CARE A LOT REVIEW

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

J Blakeson’s I Care A Lot is a stylish, gripping thriller that is thoroughly entertaining throughout – pitting a conwoman against her toughest mark yet and letting the audience watch as each side continuously one-ups the other.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson, a self-confessed lion amongst the sheep who cons her way into becoming the legal guardian of vulnerable isolated elderly people, helping herself to their estates while she cares for them in corrupt facilities. Her perfect scheme runs into trouble when she aims her sights at the wrong target – Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest). It sounds awfully dark, but I Care A Lot is so, so much fun to watch – it is, at its core, a game of cat and mouse; the tone is kept relatively light despite the subject matter, with fun dialogue, stylish direction, and an incredible wardrobe department. 

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TIFF 2020: SUMMER OF 85 REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

François Ozon’s Summer of 85 is a French LGBTQ+ coming-of-age movie that chooses to gloss over the ‘coming out’ phase of the characters and instead focus on their relationships themselves, irrespective of sexuality. It’s refreshing to see LGBT features like this, that don’t dwell on the characters orientation – even more refreshing that this feature is set in the 80s and still doesn’t feature excessive homophobia or acceptance issues.

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TIFF 2020: PENGUIN BLOOM REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Penguin Bloom is Glendyn Ivin’s dramatization of the surreal true story of Australian Sam Bloom, who was left paralyzed and unable to walk after falling off a balcony during a vacation in Thailand. After her family take in a stray injured magpie that is unable to fly, she learns to adjust to her new disability through caring for the intelligent wild bird. It’s a heartwarming tale, with messages that are a little too on the nose and a script that is a bit too sickly-sweet – but an overall uplifting movie that will most certainly make you want a pet magpie of your own.

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TIFF 2020: NOMADLAND REVIEW

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland is generating a lot of hype right now, having just won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival. It’s a fascinating insight into the nomad lifestyle, and a showcase of Frances McDormand’s talent – the best performance I’ve seen during TIFF so far. Treading the line consistently between bleak and optimistic, loneliness and community, Nomadland kept me engaged and invested throughout, despite not a whole lot actually happening.

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TIFF 2020: SHIVA BABY REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby was equal parts hilarious and downright stressful. The film focuses on Danielle (Rachel Sennott), a student in her early twenties who is juggling a murky academic career, a sugar daddy, overbearing parents and an uncertain future after school. Taking place over the course of a single day, Danielle attends a shiva with her tightly knit community and struggles to keep a lid on all of her secrets.

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WONDER WOMAN REVIEW: A must-see in the oversaturated Superhero film genre

I basically watched the entire film with a smile on my face from ear-to-ear

 

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I’m not normally one for superhero films in all honesty, but this is a film where a warrior princess of Greek myth descent uses a golden lasso, a legendary sword and bulletproof bracelets to beat up evil men. Am I going to enjoy it…? Of course I bloody am!

Set in 1918, Wonder Woman sees Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) become the titular heroine after American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes ashore on her Mystery Island of Badass Amazon Warrior Women™ and takes her away from her home to fight in the on-going World War.

Wonder Woman quickly became my favourite superhero film I’ve seen, knocking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol II off of its pedestal almost as quickly as it got there. But it has to be said they’re very different films – there’s no upbeat soundtrack or heavy comedy in Wonder Woman. Massive amounts of comedy aren’t really needed when you’re too busy watching Wonder Woman effortlessly lasso a man and kick him in the head and loving every second of it. Continue reading “WONDER WOMAN REVIEW: A must-see in the oversaturated Superhero film genre”

La La Land REVIEW

AKA that film where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sing their way around Los Angeles and make you wish your life was a musical

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La La Land is receiving huge amounts of hype everywhere you look – with universal critical acclaim, being praised as one of the best films of 2016, and winning a record-breaking seven Golden Globe awards. If you’re hearing all the hype but not quite sure what it’s about: Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. Ryan Gosling plays an aspiring musician. The two of them fall in love and try to make their dreams a reality. Oh, and it’s a musical. Continue reading “La La Land REVIEW”