Film reviews and more

Toronto 2018: Mid90s review

★★★★☆ Who would have thought that the foul-mouthed kid from Superbad would go on to direct one of the year’s best comedy-dramas? Yet here we are with Mid90s, Jonah Hill’s paean to youth, friendship and nostalgia. Shot in 1.33 : 1 aspect ratio and on […]

Toronto 2018: Her Smell review

★★★★☆ Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss), the front woman of punk band Something She, is in trouble. The band once hit the big time, but Becky’s intolerably erratic behaviour has virtually crippled the group and threatens to destroy Becky. Told in five distinct acts, Alex Ross […]

Toronto 2018: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan review

★☆☆☆☆ In 2006, 11-year-old Rupert Turner (Jacob Tremblay) strikes up a secret epistolary friendship with his TV star hero, John Donovan (Game of Thrones star Kit Harington), before he dies of an overdose, devastating the young boy. Eleven years later, he’s written a book of […]

Toronto 2018: American Dharma review

★★☆☆☆ Errol Morris tackles his most disturbing and slippery subject to date, Steve Bannon, in new documentary American Dharma. Morris paints a frighteningly apocalyptic figure, but in depicting Bannon as the kind of subject Satanic king-maker that he clearly admires, one wonders how much the […]

Toronto 2018: Gloria Bell review

★★★★☆ Gloria (Julianne Moore) is in her fifties, divorced and lives alone. A mysterious cat keeps finding its way into her apartment and the guy upstairs seems permanently in the throes of a nervous breakdown. When Gloria meets Arnold (John Turturro), life suddenly seems exciting […]

Toronto 2018: Maya review

★★★☆☆ When French war reporter Gabriel (Roman Kolinka) is released from being held hostage by ISIS, he insists that he’s fine, refusing help from his hospital-appointed counsellor. But when his relationship with his girlfriend breaks down, it’s clear that Gabriel needs time to reflect on […]

Toronto 2018: Kursk review

★★★☆☆ In August 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk suffered two devastating explosions during a test firing of torpedoes. Many of the crew were killed in the explosions, but as the wrecked sub sank to the seabed, twenty-three of the crew were trapped alive in one […]

Toronto 2018: Saf review

★★★★☆ Turkish director Ali Vatansever returns with his second feature, Saf, a social drama that examines the human cost of urban renewal. Out-of-work Kamir (Erol Afsin) seems perpetually on the brink of destitution. His faultless insistence on doing the right thing means that he won’t […]

Toronto 2018: Freaks review

★★★☆☆ In a cinematic landscape saturated with superhero mega-blockbusters from Marvel, Fox and Warner Bros., writer-directors Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein take their cue from the X-Men series’ themes of oppression to deliver Freaks – a small-scale, intriguing superhero indie with a killer hook. One of the […]

Toronto 2018: Cities of Last Things review

★★★☆☆ In the near future, Lao Zhang (Jack Kao) stalks and murders three people, including an elderly, hospitalised man and his ex-wife, before killing himself. The question at the heart of Ho Di Wing’s Cities of Last Things is what could have driven him to […]

Toronto 2018: Loro review

★★★★☆ Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro begins as it means to go on. A lawyer-baiting disclaimer informs us that the film is not based on real events (even when it is), that any similarity to real people is purely unintentional (even when it isn’t), and that any testimony from […]

Toronto 2018: One Last Deal review

★★★★☆ As Olavi (Heikki Nousiainen) approaches retirement, he reflects on his career as an antiques dealer. With little to show for it and no inheritance to leave his semi-estranged daughter Lea (Pirjo Lonka) and teenage grandson Otto (Amos Brotherus), he decides to go out with […]