‘The Platform’ Review: A Satire Most Likely to Ruin Your Meal

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Perhaps the best word of advice prior to watching The Platform would be to watch it without having eaten a huge meal before viewing it, because this isn’t so much a delicious film to leave sitting in your mind after the images that it shows you. This isn’t a film for those with a weak stomach but in how Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia would show you even the most disgusting aspects of humanity on the spot, The Platform already feels like a daring experiment too. In fact I have not quite seen a satire much like this, one that feels so unafraid to delve into the worst of humanity but also one that blends that perfectly with entertainment value in order to create a bizarrely disgusting delicacy.

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‘Crazy World’ TIFF Review: A New Breed of Supa Action

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Joining me for this review is a fellow contributor who also attended the Toronto International Film Festival with me, Samuel Caceres.

There has never been a better time to be a Wakaliwood supa fan than the closing night at TIFF 2019. One would already wonder how much more insane could the no-budget studio from Uganda possibly take their passions for making action films after the sensation that is Who Killed Captain Alex? and Crazy World doesn’t let down upon expectations at all. 

[No, it hasn’t. As a matter of fact, this film alone has transcended from the medium when TIFF introduced the one and only VJ Emmie to perform live as the audience watched the Midnight Madness screening. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that no other audience can experience again.]

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‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ TIFF Review: Recapturing Fred Rogers’ Inspiring Legacy for a Modern Audience

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I’m not one to speak about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood because it was not a show that I watched growing up, yet I always felt that there was something special to be seen in the impact that he’s left behind on generations of viewers both while the show has been ongoing and even after its end in 2001. But to look at how far does the impact of Fred Rogers stretch, it’s already been stated in Morgan Neville’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which turned out to be one among a few reasons I was somewhat skeptical for what Marielle Heller would bring to the table here. Yet as I sat there in the movie theater, I was only wondering how I’ve managed to go all these years with Fred Rogers missing from my life.

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‘Atlantics’ TIFF Review: Mati Diop’s Feature Directorial Debut is Hauntingly Gorgeous

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The mysterious feature directorial debut of Mati Diop, Atlantics garnered the Senegalese-French actress the Grand Prix over at the Cannes Film Festival. In fact, her premiering of the film over at the festival set off an important first: she became the first black woman to direct a film featured in competition at the festival. There are many ways in which one can describe how mysterious Atlantics is unafraid to present itself to be, yet that’s also what makes this film so beautiful too. Every moment of this movie carries something wonderful within its subtleties, and as it slowly transforms into another film beyond your expectations, the results are a sight to behold.

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‘Waves’ TIFF Review: Trey Edward Shults’s Third Film is a Beautifully Chaotic Family Melodrama

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The third feature film of Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a family drama in the veins of his previous films yet one that also punches down at your emotions without any sort of compromise whatsoever. If anything else best captures what makes the experience of watching Waves every bit as powerful as it is, the title alone would already represent the sort of dynamics between family and friends that you’re seeing onscreen as they take on differing forms from start to finish. There’s no filmmaker working today with the same sort of eye for creating family dramas like Trey Edward Shults, and seeing how he adapts his distinctive style to different forms of storytelling will forever be fascinating to me.

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‘Honey Boy’ TIFF Review: An Unflinching, Heart-Wrenching Self-Portrait Unlike Any Other

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The public perception of Shia LaBeouf has altered far too drastically over the years, but he’s always remained such a fascinating presence in every sense of the word. Now as he takes on the challenge of writing a screenplay for the first time, there’s another site to Shia LaBeouf that feels more exposed on the screen – and as we get to see more of this from him there also comes Honey Boy, a stunning self-portrait that also serves as a therapy session in a sense. What some can call self-indulgent in this film about the strained relationship between himself and his father – there’s also something heart-wrenching to be found that makes Honey Boy so beautiful too. With this also being the narrative feature film debut of Alma Har’el, this also leaves me looking forward to what’s next in store for her.

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‘Saint Maud’ TIFF Review: A Paranoid, Horrifying Tale of Devotion from a Brilliant New Voice

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The debut feature film of Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a peculiar horror film of sorts but it’s one that works its way into your own mind before it taps into an area that only makes the experience feel all the more nerve-wrecking. It’s impressive enough noting that this is only a first feature film too, because Rose Glass already carries a distinctive approach to the genre that feels like the work of an established auteur. Akin to many other religious horror classics whether they go from William Friedkin’s The Exorcist or Ken Russell’s The Devils, Saint Maud finds itself ranking among the best of these sorts for a newer generation – and it only leaves me wondering what more can Rose Glass offer within the future.

 

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‘Marriage Story’ TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach at His Most Devastating, Complex, and Thoughtful

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Divorce is not an unfamiliar subject writer-director Noah Baumbach, as shown through his exploration of the psychological effect of joint custody on children in The Squid and the Whale. In Marriage Story, what Baumbach shows you is a different perspective of the divorce, rather one that takes the perspective of the adults in the situation as they are about to part their own ways. As one can imagine, it never would feel easy in any sense of the word and Noah Baumbach cuts really deep into where you really feel it hurts. These are people who know they can’t stick together any longer, but that uncertainty regarding how they feel about one another still rings so strongly. If there were anything else that best makes the film’s title fit so perfectly, it’s best described by what Baumbach shows about what we realize as something that seemed so meaningful finally must come to its own end.

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‘First Love’ TIFF Review: Takashi Miike’s Touch Still Remains Intact Over 100 Films in His Career

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It’s always astonishing to me how a director like Takashi Miike is able to push himself into making so many films compared to his own lifespan. There’ll come a point where I’d even find myself asking about how he remains so consistent with having made so many films with that same distinguishable style – but the fact that he’s still able to provide so many of these films would be more than enough to say that the Japanese film industry would never be the same without him. With his latest film, First Love, Takashi Miike does not quite enter new territory just yet but it does not make his films any less entertaining than they always are to watch. But even the tamest of Takashi Miike’s style of filmmaking can also have some of its more interesting aspects to observe and with First Love, he still provides an entertaining ride from start to finish.

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‘The Lighthouse’ TIFF Review: Robert Eggers’s Second Feature is Terrifying and Wholly Gorgeous

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The second feature film of director Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse isn’t the same sort of horror movie that one would expect following The Witch but it’s also every bit as terrifying for different reasons. Robert Eggers is quite a special talent for the horror genre to see today, not because he’s made horror films outside of the recognizable system but because of the measures he takes with making sure that you’re believing yourself to be in a different world entirely when watching his films. With his second feature film, Robert Eggers doesn’t simply make a perfect tribute to the classic era of horror films but it’s also every bit as beautiful too. Far more than just simply the talents of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson going up against one another, The Lighthouse is a chilling watch from start to finish – prepared to get under your skin and creep right out.

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