‘Lucy in the Sky’ TIFF Review: Noah Hawley’s Directorial Debut Falls Short of the Diamonds

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Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies, somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, Natalie Portman arrives with kaleidoscope eyes. Television legend Noah Hawley of Fargo and Legion promises as much with his feature film directorial debut, but even the thought of a film about a woman’s journey to outer space and back sounds too good to be true after fittingly being named for a Beatles song. Yet as Lucy rises up to the sky, you’re wondering where all the diamonds are, for Lucy in the Sky doesn’t shine as much as you’d want something that sounds like a jewel to do so. It isn’t a bad movie per se, but given the sort of potential that this could have been considering the talent involved, Lucy in the Sky should have been a diamond – but it just never quite gets to that level.

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2018: Another Year of Cinema Come and Gone

This year was a real game changer for a person like myself. To kick things off, it was the first year in which I was able to attend TIFF as a press member rather than as any other audience member. It was a defining moment for myself, though I don’t want to brag a little too much about what happened there. It was just a good year for cinema in general. That’s all I can really say, and I want to bring more attention to the many films that I absolutely loved this year – and so many of them came around this year and so forth. We’re already nearing the end of a decade, and through the good and the bad, the cinema has always been able to provide nothing but the greatest pleasures through and through. Although as we look through the films that have come to define 2018 as a whole, there were many surprises that came along the way just as there were disappointments – all of which came in between the very best and the worst in cinema through the year. So without further ado, let us begin. Continue reading →

Barry Jenkins Gives a New Life to James Baldwin’s Legacy with If Beale Street Could Talk: TIFF Review

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If there’s anything to be said about Barry Jenkins, his track record is already setting himself up to become one of this generation’s best working filmmakers after his Academy Award-winning second film Moonlight, so how does he manage to follow up with his third film? Adapting the words of James Baldwin onto the screen shouldn’t seem like such an easy task for just about any writer-director, yet Barry Jenkins shows himself to be the perfect choice with relative ease. But as every small detail starts to come together in order to form what Barry Jenkins manages to bring to life in his own adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk, you already start to feel that this film was so clearly made out of love for the text of Baldwin. This is a romance story on the surface, but Jenkins also takes that template to make something more meditative, just as Baldwin’s own social critiques would have inspired from American society back in his time – for watching this film we only find his message is still alive. There’s no better way to put how fully realized an effort like this is, and for all I know it may very well be one of the decade’s most beautiful films.

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Assassination Nation is a Muddled Mess That Doesn’t Know Its Audience: TIFF Review

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If you already saw from the trailers that this movie passes itself as a long trigger warning, you’re expected to get what exactly you think this film is going to be. If there were a much simpler way to describe what Assassination Nation is, it’s a nearly two-hour long trigger warning that dwells upon the worst parts of American society, without ever offering much satire in order to make it last longer. But even with all the worst qualities of a film like this shining out on the screen, it’s somehow not a complete waste of time – which isn’t what I would have expected to get from a film that seems to set the bar so low for tolerance of standards among America’s own youth. It’s a film that just finds itself being so fascinating because of how out of touch it really is with the way the world works simply from the fact it’s trying to be so relevant to the way our world is moving. By the time you finish watching the film, you’re only asking yourself what was the point that the movie is trying to make especially when it seems it can’t figure that out.

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