Going to an event like the Toronto International Film Festival is an amazing experience – even if you’re a seasoned festival goer. With so many movies spread across so many days and theaters, it’s hard to avoid feeling like you’re missing out something. At the same time, it is very refreshing. As regular movie theaters continue to be dominated by small lineups of blockbusters and endless franchises, the breadth of films screened at TIFF is a reminder of why movies are great.
I’m still refreshed after spending the past week at TIFF’s 2022 iteration. I didn’t see everything I expected. In particular, I couldn’t squeeze in Park Chan-wook’s new film Decision to leave On my schedule and now to my ticket which is in dispute The People’s Joker Canceled — but I still managed to screen a huge variety of movies, from very goofy biopics and sweet stories about kidnapping to some beautiful stop-motion animation.
With the caveat that I can’t see everything there, here are my favorite films I saw at the festival.
A sweet road trip about selling children
If you’ve seen past work from director Hirokazu Kore-eda, like his award-winning shopkeeperAfter that his latest film, the mediatorSounds familiar in many ways. the mediator The director once again sees people on the fringes of society exploring morally questionable ways to survive. In this case, two men own a business selling orphaned babies to rich couples looking to adopt them. It was very confusing: especially when one of the mothers came back to check on her kid.
She joined them on a sales road trip across Korea, and from there, the mediator Gradually turns into a surprisingly sweet story about families found and the horrors of navigating bureaucratic systems. For every dark moment — like a couple haggling over a baby’s price or an actual murder — there are tender scenes of people trying to make the best of what they have. Think of it as a crossed crime drama Little Miss Sunshine. the mediator There is also a great cast including a parasite Song Kang-ho stars as one of the brokers Sense8Doona Bay police officer is trying to catch them.
the mediator It will hit the theaters on December 26.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
The Whodunit franchise was born
Netflix spent an eye-watering amount of money on the sequels Knives out And, if the first is any indication, the investment could be worth it. Glass onion Director Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig both see the return of Benoit Blanc as the charming detective to solve a new mystery. This time, it’s a murder on the private island of a tech billionaire who’s hosting a retreat for his closest friends, which includes everyone from an MRA YouTube star to a state governor.
Craig is having a lot of fun doubling down on his southern sardonic persona here, but Glass onion Also notable is how great the rest of the cast is: Edward Norton as a douchebag tech bro with more money than sense; Janelle Monae was rejected as his ex-partner; Kathryn Hahn as a politician of questionable morals; Kate Hudson is an impossibly clueless fashion designer; And — perhaps best of all — Dave Bautista is very insecure as a guy swimming with his pistol. If Glass onion This group only had 90 minutes of fun on an island I joined, but it was a very intriguing mystery. For more information Glass onionBe sure to check out my full review.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery It will begin streaming on Netflix on December 23rd, but will be in select theaters sometime before then.
Come for the beautiful Icelandic landscapes, stay for the ruminations on life and faith
Devbhumi Based on true events but in a unique way. The filmmakers used found photographs from the 1800s as inspiration for this quiet, thoughtful story about a Danish priest who travels to Iceland to establish a church in a remote village before winter. It’s filled with stunning shots of the stunning Icelandic landscape, from freezing waterfalls to flowing lava, alongside true-to-life scenes of rotting and butchered animals. And the story touches on many big themes, from our relationship with the land that sustains us to the uneasy divide between colonizers and the colonized.
That’s pretty cool about it, too Devbhumi, however, is the way it is portrayed. Director Hlinur Palmasson is truly photographic inspired, with square frames and close-up shots of the cast that often look like portraits. Sometimes, it really feels like you are looking through the lens of a priest’s camera. It was unlike anything I had seen before.
It is not yet clear when Devbhumi will receive a wide release.
Good night oppi
A space documentary with a touch Star Wars
of Amazon Good night oppi A documentary that follows the unexpectedly long life of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. For the most part, it has what you’d expect from this type of film. There are many great interviews with former engineers and scientists who worked on the project, along with archival footage to show what things were like at the time.
But what makes it special is the visual effects. Star Wars Visual effects house ILM worked on the film, creating incredibly detailed and realistic CG scenes that bring the rovers and the Martian landscape to life. There are sandstorms all over the planet that seem out of place Mad Max And lots of close-ups of the robots make them look and move Star Wars Droids. It adds a new dimension to a familiar story.
Good night oppi It will begin airing on Prime Video on November 23.
An unrelenting spy thriller from Star Squid game
hunting Directed by long-time Korean star Lee Jung-jae, who became world famous through Netflix. Squid game. It is a spy thriller set in the backdrop of a failed attempt to assassinate the president of South Korea in the 1980s. Afterwards, two KCIA chiefs — one of whom is played by Lee himself — race to find a suspect amid rising tensions with North Korea.
Spy thrillers are always full of deception. That’s kind of it. But hunting Takes things to the extreme with a series of twists and turns that make it almost impossible to know who is on which side and who you can trust. (Hint: You probably can’t trust anyone.) It’s relentless, rarely giving you a second to catch your breath before throwing another new wrench in the process. Things end up a bit strange, but the ride is a lot of fun.
hunting No theatrical release date yet.
Mia Goth shines in this slasher origin story
the pearl It’s the second entry in Ti West’s burgeoning horror franchise, but it’s also basically a prequel X, which was released earlier this year. It’s an origin story, with Mia Goth reprising her role as Pearl, who transforms from a humble farm girl into a bloodthirsty monster.
If you see XNot many surprises here, though the pearl Still works because of Goth’s amazing performance, he’s really scary, as well as the stylistic mix The Wizard of Oz, Psycho, and a straight-up slasher. For more information the pearlBe sure to check out my full review.
the pearl It will hit the theaters on September 16.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Absolutely ridiculous in a music biopic
Most biopics help viewers understand a person’s life. When it comes to musical biopics, this usually means following a traditional arc from kid to superstar, with all the ups and downs in between. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story It does all of this but with one important difference: almost nothing you see in the movie is real.
Instead, abnormal Parody of biopics (fits the master of musical parodies) Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox the story Than rocket man – and it’s absolutely hilarious. It takes Yankovic’s life story in absurd directions, from a drug-fueled journey through hell to a real-life battle with a drug lord. Daniel Radcliffe fully commits to the titular character, adding a level of intensity that makes the jokes even harder. For more information abnormalYou can see my full review here.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Coming to Roku Channel on November 4th.
Wendell & Wilde
An amazing stop-motion adventure from the minds behind Coraline And No
Names related to certain people Wendell & Wilde Enough to see them. After all, it’s back to stop-motion animation co-written by director Henry Selick No The director is Jordan Peele and the first film from Selick since 2009 Coraline. Peele also stars in the film alongside his longtime comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key. On paper, it’s the perfect Halloween movie.
Fortunately, it looks good on screen too. Combining some of the best stop-motion animation I’ve ever seen — seriously, the level of detail is incredible, from the rumbling radiators to the bubbling pots of curry — with a crazy, scary and heartfelt story about a young woman with literal demons fighting to find her place in the world while saving an entire town. It’s a typical Selik coming-of-age story but with a pointed critique of the prison industrial complex.
Wendell & Wilde It will begin streaming on Netflix on October 28.