‘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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Jonah Hill’s Directorial Debut Mid90s and the Encapsulation of Time: TIFF Review

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To talk about Jonah Hill’s Mid90s one would have to mention how much a testament to said era this film truly feels like. But it also feels like very perfect material for him to cover knowing that he already had been made big thanks to the coming of age genre with Superbad, but I would never have suspected that anything near as good as this. Mid90s isn’t a film that shallowly builds itself upon a love for that place in time, but it’s a film that seeks to capture all the good and bad memories that have formed our own sense of nostalgia – if anything better creates a perfect time capsule from said era. Like the best coming-of-age films, the formation from a memory isn’t something new, yet the brutality of the honesty on the screen can also make such films resonate. Don’t think of this as being Jonah Hill’s answer to Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird from last year, but like said film, it’s his own capsule of what shaped him to be the person he is – and it all plays to such a wonderful onscreen testament.

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Boy Erased and the Stigma of Gay Conversion Therapy: TIFF Review

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During my high school years, I had often made an effort to hide the fact that I was queer from many of my peers – even my closest friends and family members. After coming out of the closet, I found myself within a greater state of freedom and yet even some of my biggest fears were also more realized too. I was always worried about what people would be saying to me, given as I had often been living under a conservative environment, and even been made to believe in – even if I never felt most comfortable with what I would be made to say about the world around me. This already feels most fitting for me to talk about as I talk about Boy Erased, because of the very fears that I know conversion therapy would be placing upon many LGBTQ+ individuals all across the world. Which makes talking about Boy Erased especially complicated because there’s another stigma that comes by that is also triggered by the concept of a church-funded conversion therapy. So among many reasons I wanted to see Boy Erased was because of what I hoped it would make the general public understand about what conversion therapy does to people like myself.

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Lady Bird – Review

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NOTE: This is a review I wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival, which I  had delayed posting here.

It’s probably just my own love of Greta Gerwig that’s taking me in, but I never expected Lady Bird to be a captivating experience in the manner in which it was. The whole night after watching Lady Bird, to say the least, I was in shock because I never expected something to play out to become nearly as resonant as it was – it wasn’t just simply funny anymore. But to see that Greta Gerwig managed to touch me in such a manner right on what was her directorial debut effort, I think the safest thing for me to say is that I’m already going to love what her output will present within the future. I was left thinking, perhaps this was something I needed my whole life – and for Greta Gerwig, I couldn’t possibly be more thankful.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Review

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At first I thought I knew what I was expecting because of the fact that Martin McDonagh was writing and directing. From In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths I would already have expected yet another dark comedy reveling in bloody violence and clever dialogue. What I didn’t expect was for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to also have much more of an emotional arc on its own behalf – all in order to back up what might also be one of the year’s most sociopolitically relevant films. This is a film that builds itself on anger, but it all seems so controlled to the point it even finds the perfect time for us to laugh. But many contradictions come along the way and soon reveal something all the more insightful and even if it may be drenched in what we’ve come to recognize from McDonagh’s trademarks it still feels so beautifully refreshing.

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Manchester by the Sea – Review

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There are three stories that I wish to share with each and every one of you as you read what I want to express after watching Manchester by the Sea. At only three feature films, Kenneth Lonergan has been able to create nothing but the most intimate portraits of flawed humans to have graced the screen within the 21st century and only this decade he has achieved the most power such seemingly simple studies of character could elicit – thus showing something only a director and screenwriter like Lonergan could have evoked within such a manner. And without further ado, said anecdotes will follow along as promised, in the order of chronological occurrence. While it may not be unfamiliar to see similar reactions coming out from Manchester by the Sea, there’s a shared gathering of emotion that I would nonetheless be happy to add to.

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