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  • 'May December' Review

    'May December' Review May 25, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen May December premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Netflix will release it in theaters and on its streaming service later this year. Director Todd Haynes’ approach to the material within May December becomes clear immediately. The opening credits arrive accompanied by Michel Legrand's hyper-stylized theme from The Go-Between , harkening back to the pulpy works of Brian De Palma and Old Hollywood melodrama. It’s an immediate disarmament, signaling a lighter attitude toward this true-ish tabloid story of an affair between a thirty-something housewife and her thirteen-year-old co-worker. How could someone find the humor in this situation, you ask? A brief tour of Haynes’ filmography illustrates a filmmaker who has always been fascinated with infiltrating mainstream material with independent ideas. Velvet Goldmine and I’m Not There turned the musician biopic on its head, Far from Heaven used Douglas Sirk pastiche to approach 1950s racism, and Carol tells the age-old tale of forbidden love, this time with a queer angle. Even Haynes’ most mainstream film, the legal thriller Dark Waters , subtlely undermines genre clichés with impeccable mise-en-scene. May December is his most playful exercise in tone and expectations, delivering something that is both mature and overtly theatrical. The illegal affair is only the preface to the main story. Gracie (Julianne Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton) Atherton-Yoo are still together twenty years after their scandalous romance shocked the world. They live in a Georgia suburban home paid for by their tabloid cover photos. Their youngest children are about to graduate high school, making Joe an empty-nest parent before he’s even the age Gracie was when they met. Despite their attempts to lead a quiet life, the couple is always reminded of how they’re perceived in the public eye, whether it be the infrequent anonymous hatemail or the arrival of actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman), who’s playing Gracie in a new Lifetime original movie about the romance and is staying with the family to do research. Gracie hopes that the film and Elizabeth’s performance will help reshape the public’s perception of how she and Joe came to be. Elizabeth totally agrees and presents herself as an ally to the couple, at least on the surface. There’s something off about how Elizabeth injects herself into the couple’s lives. She’s inferred to be on a downward trajectory in her career, so maybe the juicy material will put her back in the headlines? Haynes and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt - stepping in for Ed Lachmann, as he was off shooting Pablo Larraín’s El Conde in Chile - always have Elizabeth standing a bit off-center, usually obscured by an object or observed through a mirror. Reflections in both its literal and figurative form are the key to Samy Burch’s screenplay (touched up by Haynes). Gracie, Joe, and Elizabeth all have ideas about what they want out of this, but none of them truly know if they’re willing to mine deep inside of them to get it. There’s an artifice to every interaction, with the truth lurking around the corner. Some of these conversations, filled with jagged edges and heightened stylizations, lean a little too close to slapstick, undermining a bit of the emotional resonance. But those interspersed moments of whimsy are also the best parts as they turn up the heat on the oftentimes room-temperature plot developments. The actors are all game for their roles. Moore and Portman have delicious chemistry in their scenes together, with it never being totally established who is observing and manipulating the other. It’s catty as hell, with Haynes never allowing it to be misogynistic. Charles Melton joins Austin Butler as a CW television veteran who has quickly climbed the Hollywood ladder. It's obvious he’s never fully processed his robbed childhood, leaving him still a kid in an adult body. There’s enough camp within May December that smores might as well be served alongside it. It’s morally ambiguous in its message, but never in its approach. At the very least, the high-drama of it all will allow a new generation of Netflix watchers to be introduced to Haynes’ filmography. Must Read 'Lee' Review Lee Miller lived a life worthy of a Kate Winslet performance, but she also deserved a movie that captured her story with the same level of interest. SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP

  • TIFF23 Ranked

    TIFF23 Ranked September 20, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen Now that TIFF23 has come to a close, it's time to embark on the challenging task of ranking all the films I had the opportunity to watch. While it's no easy feat to compare such a wide range of genres and styles, my goal is to celebrate the artistry and innovation that permeated throughout the decadent TIFF venues. I also won't lie in saying that there's a small amount of joy I get by bashing in the poor films one more time. From large studio tentpoles to small international projects, I invite you to explore what the festival had to offer in 2023. 27. North Star Maybe not every actor should be allowed to make their directorial debut. Kristen Scott Thomas' first foray behind the camera (while still being in front in a supporting role) is littered with choppy editing, poor pacing, and a scattershot script that has way too much on its plate. Emily Beecham is the only shining star (pun intended) in a cast that includes Scarlett Johansson fumbling a British accent and Sienna Miller being fine, I guess. This is surely bound for VOD/streaming way down the line. 26. Finestkind Writer/director Brian Helgeland told the TIFF audience that he wrote the script for Finestkind thirty years ago, a fact that becomes glaringly obvious the longer the film goes on. The story is stuck in the past in the worst ways possible, soaked with cheesy sentimentality, a laughably underdeveloped female character that Jenna Ortega somehow signed up for (did she owe someone a favor?), and an out-of-nowhere crime plot that undermines all the heart and soul mined in the first half. As per his contract demands these days, Ben Foster goes crazy a few times, and so does Tommy Lee Jones as he realizes he’s appearing in a stinker. It’s a Paramount+ production, meaning it’ll play well to the “guys being dudes” crowd that has been gorging on Taylor Sheridan's diminishing machismo these past few years. 25. Knox Goes Away Between the other hitman-focused movies at the fall festivals and how much it seriously fumbles the great concept of a hitman battling rapidly developing dementia, Michael Keaton’s sophomore directorial outing fails to be anything more than a depressing shrug. Luckily for the actor/director, he’s slightly exonerated from blame as Gregory Poirier’s CSI-level script is what sinks this ship. Al Pacino gives his most comfortable performance sitting in some luxurious recliners, and Marcia Gay Harden does Keaton a favor by showing up for one half-decent scene. 24. His Three Daughters Azazel Jacobs’ follow-up to French Exit (remember that during the pandemic?) starts incredibly rough as our three lead characters act as if they’re aliens who are trying to replicate drought emotions. This bug may be a feature to some, but it ends up feeling like a grating mashup of Yorgos Lanthimos and Wes Anderson. Things do settle down later, allowing the actresses to flourish. Natashya Lyonne stands out as the slacker of the three sisters, and yet she seems to have the firmest grasp on the mysteries of life. 23. Rustin Rustin won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo’s performance. It’s a shame the whole package couldn’t come together, but it’s hard to complain when the headliner is just that good and the objective of the mission is to enlighten just as much as it is to entertain. Full Review 22. Quiz Lady By far the broadest film TIFF programmed this year, Quiz Lady is your typical streamer comedy. Director Jessica Yu has helmed episodes of prestige television as well as both feature and short documentaries (winning an Oscar for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien ), yet you’d never be able to tell based on what she delivers here. Everything is filmed with basic competence, with the actors filling much of the empty space with hit-or-miss jokes. It’s fun to see Oh cut loose, and Ferrell’s wholesome game show host turns out to be his best role in years. You can have some decent fun with this on a Friday night, forgetting all about it when you wake up the next morning. 21. Nyad Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin are still able to showcase their prowess with editing in their first narrative feature film. The directing duo crafted some fine moments of underdog drama, following Diana Nyad as she tries to overcome the impossible. There are no surprises or standout moments, but Annette Bening's commitment to the role makes for an inoffensive watch. 20. The Royal Hotel It’s adapt or die for Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liz (Jessica Henwick) as they take jobs as bartenders in the only pub in a remote Australian mining town. The temp agency warned the girls that they needed to be “okay with a little male attention,” which turns out to be quite the understatement as their first night is filled with nasty jokes, unruly stares, and just general douchiness. Choosing adaptation is a death sentence, as there’s no reward for allowing this toxic mob to take control of their mind and body. Director Kitty Green announced her talent with the matter-of-fact The Assistant in 2019 (also starring Garner). This sophomore effort is a leveling up of her prowess behind the camera, lining every scene with a grimy sense of dread. It feels like a thrill ride, except none of the thrills are satisfying. Green greatly elevates her script, written by Green and Oscar Redding, which never packs the depth needed and tends to loop around as it tries to sustain the 90-minute runtime. Garner and Henwick are powerful anchors, “supported” by some convincing creeps. I have no doubt Green will be hitting it big within the next few years. 19. Woman of the Hour Anna Kendrick dominated the actor-turned-director battle at this year’s TIFF, with her film, Woman of the Hour , being quite an impressive statement of her skills behind the camera. Now all she needs to do is find a good script because the one here doesn’t give her enough to work with. While well staged, much of the “action” of the film by the serial killer feels like filler, and the main ideas are spelled out as if they're competing at a spelling bee. Netflix opened the market with an $11 acquisition, giving this true crime film the perfect home. 18. Reptile Reptile will likely fall into the pantheon of semi-forgettable Netflix originals. I can’t say that’s a shame because the movie doesn’t do a lot to make a case for its existence in my memory outside of a few questionable choices. But when compared to the other forgotten content, it’s a cut above. Full Review 17. Pain Hustlers Pain Hustlers is just an inferior copycat of The Wolf of Wall Street , which is exactly what you get when you have David Yates instead of Martin Scorsese. Emily Blunt and Chris Evans are as charming as ever, but there's nothing special about this run-of-the-mill rise-and-fall story. If you recently watched Dopesick or Painkiller , then you might find a little more here. 16. The Critic While writer Patrick Marber and star Ian McKellen are having a delightfully catty time with The Critic , director Anand Tucker takes the material too seriously, making it uneven, yet still enjoyable. McKellen plays the internet's stereotypical version of a critic: mean, smearing, and always out to make himself the star of the show. Times are changing in London as the newspapers are merging, threatening McKellen’s job, and the fascists are becoming more radicalized. Marber’s script is a little too scattershot, never developing its numerous plotlines and characters outside of the central McKellen story. The glossy production values make this a decent package as a whole. A perfect piece of entertainment to get a spring theatrical release as counterprogramming to a superhero blockbuster. 15. Lee Lee has a lot of famous actors, but only Kate Winslet is playing a character. The rest of the cast, along with almost every other aspect of the movie, feels like they're playing dress-up. It's neither good nor bad, just forgettable. 14. Les Indésirables Ladj Ly's sophomore effort is not an answer to a question, but a further examination of it. There's dissatisfaction at the end of the road, both intentionally through Ly's honest depiction of political warfare and unintentionally through the overloaded script that tries to combine too much. Even with this slight slump, Ly's voice continues to grow, and I can't wait for it to click sometime in the future. 13. Dumb Money Just like the memes that inspired the movement, Dumb Money is fun in the moment, but has little to no substance underneath the surface. If you’re looking for entertainment, you get just enough of it to make this worthwhile. If you’re looking to be educated on this event, I’d recommend literally anything else. Full Review 12. Seven Veils It wouldn’t be a normal TIFF if it didn’t feature the newest film by hometown hero Atom Egoyan. Amanda Seyfried plunges headfirst into her role as the new director of a revival of Salome at the Canadian Opera Company, a production Egoyan himself helmed while making this film. There are a lot of big swings, with more than half of them not connecting. But the ones that do connect are really special, such as the audacious staging of the material. The bar may be low, but this is Egoyan's best work in decades. 11. Fingernails Christos Nikou’s sophomore feature is a leveling up of his production values, but never quite reaches the thematic heights it aims for. There’s a nice love story in here, it’s just buried under too much mundane material. 10. Dream Scenario Nicolas Cage has never been funnier (at least in an unironic way) than he is in Kristoffer Borgli’s English-language debut. The famed madman actor plays a dorky professor who inexplicably appears in everyone’s dreams, making him the most famous person on the planet. The fame quickly gets to his head, but it also brings unintended consequences once the dreams start taking darker turns. Borgli's examination of cancel culture isn’t all that skillful, with most of the insights being surface-level. Cage is what sells this whole premise and covers any of the minor problems. While he’s still appearing in VOD garbage more often than he should, there have been just enough auteur-driven projects to keep him an icon to the Letterboxd generation. Being that this specific film is an A24 production, be prepared for the ensuing meme frenzy come November. 9. One Life No modern movie has had a more significant fourth-quarter comeback than One Life . The first 90 minutes of James Hawes’ feature directorial debut has the same dry cracker texture as many other British WWII period pieces you’ve seen over the years. An immediate 180° is made in the climactic scene (you'll know it when you see it), leaving me and the rest of the audience in tears. Anthony Hopkins stars as the older Nicholas Winton, with Johnny Flynn playing the younger version that made it his mission to rescue children out of the Holocaust ghettos of Eastern Europe. It’s Hopkins’ segments in the 1980s that give the film the spurts of life it needs. Recently minted Oscar-winner Volker Bertelmann provides a sweeping score, accenting the epic work done by this humble humanitarian. 8. Memory Two people with memory issues come together in writer/director Michel Franco’s newest film, which doesn’t wallow in mystery as his past filmography would suggest. Sylvia (Jessica Chastain) is a mother who can’t seem to forget her past drug and alcohol struggles, while Saul (Peter Sarsgaard) has dementia and can’t seem to remember much of his past life. These two troubled souls are attracted to each other, even if the forces of the world, notably their families, would like them to stay apart. The script places all its priorities on these two performances, both of which reach near perfection. There’s sadness and pain in their stories, but they unlock small linings of hope when they appear in each other’s lives. Franco doesn’t offer much in terms of answers, not that anyone should expect struggles of this magnitude to be so easily solved. 7. Next Goal Wins Next Goal Wins makes fans out of all of us, both thanks to Waititi’s skill and the simple goal it strives for. It’s effortlessly watchable, uncontroversial, and full of good vibes, making it one of the best options for the family this year. Full Review 6. Hit Man If Top Gun: Maverick wasn't enough to convince you of Glen Powell's movie star charisma, then Hit Man will certainly be the successful pitch. Richard Linklater's film is a sexy romantic comedy pairing Powell with Adria Arjona to electric results. While the Netflix acquisition means fewer people will get to see this crowdpleaser in theaters, it'll surely have a long and successful life on the streaming platform. 5. The Boy and the Heron There are animated films for children, and there are animated films for adults. This is an animated film for everyone, and the world is a much better place because of it. One of the greatest, if not the greatest, figures in animation history has provided us with his swan song, and now it’s time for us to continue his legacy with the pieces left behind. Full Review 4. Origin Ava DuVernay blends academia and entertainment to sprawlingly epic results in her adaptation of the Isabel Wilkerson novel. I'm still not sure if DuVernay succeeds in making all her connections, but she always makes them compelling through her direction. Aunjanue Ellis capitalizes on her first lead performance, anchoring the emotion within this sweeping story. 3. Evil Does Not Exist Drive My Car writer/director and all-around arthouse superstar Ryûsuke Hamaguchi makes his most outspoken work with Evil Does Not Exist . The tranquility of a Japanese village is being threatened by the introduction of a “glamping” (glamorous + camping) site proposed by a talent agency. The site would negatively impact much of the environment around it, with many of the village resident’s livelihoods being forever altered. Despite being clear in his message, Hamaguchi never eviscerates the villains of this story. The extreme slow cinema approach will test the patience of many expecting a return to the leanness of Drive My Car . Those who embrace the molasses will find themselves powerfully transported to one of the few places left that hasn’t been bulldozed by capitalism. Eiko Ishibashi delivers a magnificent score. It angers me that I’ll have to wait several months until it’s available to stream on Spotify. 2. The Beast Bertrand Bonello’s The Beast is the pretentious European version of Cloud Atlas , which is a statement that tells you everything you need to know about whether you’ll like it or not. I was all in on this movie, even if its ultimate message and specific story beats are hard to follow. Bonello jumps between 1904, 2014, and 2044, intersplicing the three time periods to tell a story about love conquering time. Léa Seydoux and George MacKay play characters in each period, navigating the unknowable connection they feel for each other. It’s overindulgent and excessive, but Bonello displays a mastery of tone and vision across the 146 minutes. There’s passion, fear, humor, drama, and everything in between. I’d love to see it again sometime down the line. 1. The Holdovers Through his directorial choices, Alexander Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. The cinematography glows like a warm fire and the relaxed pacing allows these characters to breathe. This is a melancholic film, with Payne knowing that the holidays are not full of yuletide cheer for everyone. But there are still seasons greetings to be had, just enough to make you want to be a better person and stay close to those that matter most. What more could you ask for in times like these? Full Review Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • 2022 Twin Cities Film Festival - A Preview of the Program

    2022 Twin Cities Film Festival - A Preview of the Program October 19, 2022 By: Hunter Friesen After partaking in this year's Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto Film Festivals, I'm glad to be finishing off with one close to home. This year's edition of the Twin Cities Film Festival promises to be a great one with it's mixture of high-performing indie titles and awards hopeful studio projects. Here six films that I'll be seeing over the next week. Look forward to a review of each one shortly! Till Till is a profoundly emotional and cinematic film about the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who, in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world. My Policeman A tale of forbidden romance and changing social conventions, My Policeman follows the relationships between three people - policeman Tom (Harry Styles), teacher Marion (Emma Corrin) and museum curator Patrick (David Dawson) - and their emotional journey spanning decades. Aftersun At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum (Paul Mescal). As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie's tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't, in Charlotte Wells’ superb and searingly emotional debut film. She Said Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that helped propel the #Metoo movement, shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever. Women Talking A group of women from a remote religious community deal with the aftermath of sexual assault perpetrated by the colony’s men. A film of ideas brought to life by Polley’s imaginative direction and a superb, fine-tuned ensemble cast—including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Ben Whishaw, and Judith Ivey— Women Talking is a deep and searching exploration of self-determination, group responsibility, faith and forgiveness, philosophically engaging and emotionally rich in equal measure. The Inspection In Elegance Bratton's deeply moving film inspired by his own story, a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • Top 10 Oliver Stone Films

    Top 10 Oliver Stone Films September 15, 2022 By: Hunter Friesen As one of the most controversial figures in American filmmaking, Oliver Stone has never been shy about wearing his politics on his sleeve, which were shaped by his experiences in the Vietnam War, and the American cultural turmoil of the 1960s. Films such as Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July , and JFK gave way to his meteoric rise as an outspoken voice against a country he loves so much. But even with all that success early on, Stone hasn’t been able to find a footing in the 21st Century, turning in subpar work that doesn’t contain the epic anger he once had. In honor of his 76th birthday today, here’s a look at Stone’s ten best films as a director, many of which remain American classics. 10. Salvador This biographical war drama went largely unnoticed in 1986 due to the fact it was released the same year as Platoon . In fact, Stone competed against himself at the 1987 Oscars as both Salvador and Platoon were nominated for Best Original Screenplay (both would lose to Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters ). Salvador falls right in line with Stone’s career ambitions as he critiques America’s involvement in Central American politics during the Reagan administration, which had been embroiled in controversy over the Iran-Contra Affairs. James Woods, who was Oscar-nominated for his leading role, doggedly carries the film as a burnt-out journalist who slowly begins to see the horrible truth the further he goes down the rabbit hole. 9. Talk Radio With Talk Radio , Stone had finally met his match with a protagonist that was as angry as he was. Eric Bogosian reprises his stage role from the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play he created, delivering a grotesquely unlikeable character that you dare not look away from. In a similar vein to Paddy Chayefsky’s Network , Stone’s film is a scathing critique of our mass media culture, a subject he would tackle again with Natural Born Killers . With Robert Richardson’s dizzying circular camerawork and Bogosian’s never-ending tirade of insults towards his listeners, Talk Radio is in-your-face entertainment from beginning to end and has only gotten more and more relevant in our age of clickbait media. 8. The Doors Similar to the fate of Salvador , The Doors has often been pushed under the rug due to it being released a mere nine months before JFK . Following the larger-than-icon of Jim Morrison and the formation of the titular band, Stone’s film was the perfect combination of the psychedelic style of the creators and the period. Critiqued for its historical inaccuracies (which Stone is no stranger to), the film is best remembered for Val Kilmer’s stunning performance as the central figure. Kilmer was reportedly mistaken several times for the real Jim Morrison and did his own singing in each of the film’s concert sequences (take that Rami Malek). 7. Wall Street Only a year removed from Platoon , Stone switched his sights from American foreign policy to the domestic financial industry with Wall Street. Most famous for coining the multi-meaning quote “Greed is good,” and giving finance bros a figure they (wrongly) looked up to, Wall Street is overly naïve and mostly just two hours of Stone yelling about how capitalism is broken. But that doesn’t mean his simple statements aren’t correct, nor does it make the film any less entertaining with its flashes of excess that would later become popular in films such as Boiler Room and The Wolf of Wall Street . It’s a shame the 2011 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps wasn’t able to match the heights of its predecessor, especially considering the ripe material Stone was given with coming out of the Great Recession in 2008. 6. Any Given Sunday With enough light and noise to give even the audience a concussion, Stone makes Any Given Sunday into a war picture. He never lets you forget that football is not played on just a simple field, but a battlefield. The score is everywhere, the blood is spilling, and everybody is playing for their survival. Stone's direction is ambitious and loud, which is the sort of thing that works perfectly for this type of sports movie. Everything is heightened to the highest degree, both emotions and physicality. It's no wonder the NFL didn't approve of this movie as no viewer can come out of this and be motivated to watch football, let alone play it. 5. Born on the Fourth of July With a great Tom Cruise performance at its center, Born on the Fourth of July is an endearing, yet conventional, biopic. Centering on the loss of innocence and the façade of the American dream for the Vietnam-era youth, Stone returned to his Platoon roots. He crafts several ingenious individual scenes with his might behind the camera, which earned him his second Oscar for Best Director. The scenes at the prom, Vietnam, and the Syracuse protest are just some of the great moments. John Williams’ score perfectly supplements the sweeping nature of the story, as it contains trumpet swells that recall youthful patriotism and a string orchestra that signals the haunting moment reality has crushed those once bright dreams. 4. Nixon A few years after making JFK , Stone gave Kennedy’s 1960 election opponent the full cradle-to-grave epic biopic with Nixon . Surprisingly not as damning as one would think and turning out to be a box office bomb by grossing only $13 million against its $44 million budget, Stone’s film plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy as our “hero” rises to the highest mountain, only to be eventually brought down to the lowest valley. The Welsh Anthony Hopkins, who, unlike Val Kilmer, doesn’t share many resemblances to his counterpart, gives a great performance, complete with a foul mouth and overwhelming thirst for alcohol. Hopkins was Oscar-nominated for his portrayal, as was Joan Allen as First Lady Pat Nixon. 3. Platoon As the film that quickly raised Stone’s status as an American auteur, Platoon is a dizzying autobiographical masterpiece. There's no order to anything that happens, from the battle scenes to the doldrums of downtime. Along with your confusion, you feel despair and a loss of purpose. What's the point of any of this? Soldiers are sent to die, or they survive and wish they were dead. The film was an enormous box office hit, grossing nearly $150 million on only a $6 million budget. It would conquer the 1987 Academy Awards with a haul of four awards, including Best Director for Stone and Best Picture. It would also launch the careers of several of its stars, many of which would work with Stone again (Charlie Sheen in Wall Street and Willem Dafoe in Born on the Fourth of July ). 2. Natural Born Killers Making each of his previous films look tame in comparison, Natural Born Killers creates a hellscape within the mind of the viewer as Stone savagely takes down the true-crime obsession of the American public. Matching the bewildering chaos on-camera was a bevy of troubled stars behind-the-scenes, such as the drug-addicted Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Sizemore, and Juliette Lewis beginning to practice Scientology. You also had Quentin Tarantino - who had just won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Pulp Fiction - lambasting the film for its reworking of his original script. All that drama fueled public anticipation for the film as it became a box office success while being banned in several countries and demonized by politicians for its unflinching violence and gonzo style. With the 2010s seeing a boom in true-crime podcasts, scripted television, and reality shows, the film has only gotten more relevant as time went on, with several critics praising the film for its messaging during its 25th anniversary in 2019. 1. JFK Accurately described as a “mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma,” Stone’s magnum opus is his quest for truth and justice against the military-industrial complex that stole his innocence. It’s a masterwork of cinematography by Robert Richardson and editing by Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scalia, both of which won Academy Awards in their respective categories. Richardson employed 7 cameras and 14 film stocks during the production, ranging from 16mm to 35mm, as well as color and black and white. Despite some of the film’s claims being later debunked, the “counter-myth” Stone proposes is nonetheless enticing at the moment and makes you wonder what else could be lurking in the shadows. The meeting between Jim Garrison (wonderfully played by Kevin Costner) and Mr. X remains one of the most effective conspiracy scenes in cinematic history. While it was trounced by The Silence of the Lambs in each of the above-the-line categories it was nominated for at the 1992 Academy Awards, JFK remains one of the quintessential films of its time and genre. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • The Greatest Irish Filmmakers

    The Greatest Irish Filmmakers March 17, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If we’re going by the past few years worth of Oscar nominations, it would seem that the Irish film industry is going through a renaissance period. The dark humor and rough political history of the land lend well to complex films, most recently seen in The Banshees of Inisherin and Belfast . Along with celebrating those films, I want to take a look at some of the top filmmakers to hail from the “Old Country.” Because of the close geographical proximity and political intertwining, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to distinguish someone as either Irish or English. Of course, there’s no law against being both, but I’d like my list to be narrowed down to only filmmakers that identify as Irish and mostly create Irish films. This excludes people such as Kenneth Branagh and John Boorman, as they tend to be more British with their identity and work. Fear not though, as there are still several venerable names that will be featured here, with all of them building up a distinct filmography ripe for discovery. Neil Jordan Jordan has long been fascinated by unconventional sexual relationships, which makes sense when you consider that The Crying Game was his big breakout, netting him an Oscar for his screenplay. Jordan has split his time between his homeland and Hollywood over the decades, with Interview with a Vampire, Michael Collins, The End of the Affair , and Breakfast on Pluto being some of his more popular works. He’s also helped launch the careers of several famous Irish actors such as Stephen Rea, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, and Saoirse Ronan. Martin McDonagh McDonagh has become the central representative for Irish cinema through his absurdist black comedies, with almost all of them containing acts of savage violence. Yet there’s always a little bit of humanity that gleams through the bloodshed. Colin Farrell has been his most loyal compatriot, appearing in In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths , and The Banshees of Inisherin . McDonagh has also successfully transferred his style to America, directing Oscar-winning performances from Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell (also in Seven Psychopaths ) in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri . Although he does technically have an Oscar for his 2006 short film Six Shooter , the world still awaits McDonagh to climb the Dolby Theatre steps for one of his feature films. Jim Sheridan Only a select few directors have had the pleasure of working with Daniel Day-Lewis on multiple occasions, with Sheridan being the only one to work with him on three films. Their first collaboration was for Sheridan’s directorial debut My Left Foot , which netted both of them Oscar nominations, with Day-Lewis winning for his lead performance. After a brief intermission with The Field , which got Richard Harris an Oscar nomination, the pair would reunite for In the Name of the Father and The Boxer . Sheridan would amass another surprise Oscar hit a few years later, with his warm immigrant tale within In America receiving double acting nominations along with a nod for his screenplay. Lenny Abrahamson Abrahamson was originally going to have a career in philosophy, but he abandoned his doctorate studies to pursue a career in filmmaking. While his parents may have been initially disappointed in him, the decision proved to be the right one, as he was the recipient of the award for Best Director at the Irish Film and Television Awards for his debut feature, Adam and Paul . He’s won the award another four times since, most recently for Room , for which he also received a surprise Oscar nomination. His work on the small screen has been just as fruitful, with 2020’s Normal People containing two breakout performances in Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. Terry George George started out as the writing partner with Jim Sheridan, sharing credit on the screenplays for In the Name of the Father and The Boxer . Sheridan would even co-write the screenplay for George’s directorial debut, Some Mother’s Son , starring Helen Mirren. He would make a splash on his first solo endeavor, 2004’s Hotel Rwanda , chronicling the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo would be nominated for their performances, along with George’s script. George would also lend his talents to HBO, working on prestige dramas such as In Treatment and Luck . John Carney Nobody loves folk music more than John Carney. He entered the scene with Once in 2007, a love story about two struggling musicians in Dublin. While a tiny production, the film was able to win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly.” 2013’s Begin Again shifted that story to American, with Keira Knightly playing a singer and Mark Ruffalo as a down-on-his-luck record executive. Another Oscar nomination would be earned for the song “Lost Stars.” He moved back to Dublin for Sing Street in 2016, which rode the indie circuit to enthuse reviews for its youthful exuberance. Now the two lands have come together for his latest film, where American Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars alongside Eve Hewson in a Dublin-set story about a mother and musician coming together through song. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it received strong reviews. Apple is set to release it sometime this year. John Crowley Crowley assembled an all-star cast consisting of Cillian Murphy, Kelly Macdonald, and Colin Farrell, for his debut feature film Intermission . The grungy aesthetics of that Dublin-set story would be translated into his next feature Boy A , which announced the talents of Andrew Garfield to the world. Saoirse Ronan would be the next young actor to work with Crowley, with Brooklyn netting her an Oscar nomination along with one for Best Picture. Unfortunately, Crowley wouldn’t reach the next level with The Goldfinch , but I’m hoping it’ll only be a brief stumble followed by a confident rebound. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' Review

    'Lady Chatterley's Lover' Review December 2, 2022 By: Hunter Friesen Life is coming together nicely for Connie Reid (Emma Corrin). She’s marrying the man of her dreams (or at least she thinks she is), Baronet Clifford Chatterley, who heads off to the British frontlines for the Great War the next morning. Connie awaits in London anxiously, knowing that Clifford will return home to take her to his estate of Wragby, where they will continue his family legacy. Clifford does return home, but not in one piece. He’s become paralyzed from the waist down, becoming a bit of a burden as Connie must tend to him, along with bringing the estate back to its former glory. There’s also now an absence of intimacy between the newlyweds, as Clifford’s paralysis also affects his you-know-what. The prospect of having an heir has all but vanished, sending Connie into a downward spiral of loneliness and feeling like a failure. Longing for companionship (and then some), Connie finds solace in the company of the estate’s gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors (Jack O’Connell). He seems to be the opposite of Clifford, with a rough exterior from the war, but a gentle soul underneath. Of course, things become steamy rather quickly, with the pair meeting in the woods quite often to indulge in their lusts. Before Fifty Shades of Gray lit up e-readers and books clubs around the world, D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover , had been banned and caused massive public uproar for its “sexual promiscuity” and use of a certain four-letter word that begins with F and ends with K. The 1955 French film adaptation was immediately banned for “promoting adultery,” (and also because it wasn’t very good). But with the Fifty Shades trilogy grossing over $1 billion, and Netflix becoming the new home for titillating material such as the 365 Days films, it seems appropriate for this classic novel to be told with modern sensibilities. Luckily, director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre - winner of several breakthrough awards for her debut feature, Mustang - doesn’t revel in the “smuttiness” within the sexually explicit material like the films mentioned in the preceding paragraph. There’s a true sense of character exploration, both physical and emotional, in the several sequences where the actors bare all. Benoît Delhomme’s cinematography is lush and dreamy, capturing these moments with shallow focus, exemplifying the character’s attitude toward living in the moment, not looking at the dangers that the future holds. Corrin and O'Connell are a great pair as the two free spirits in a land of stiff upper lips. It’s just a shame that the two of them are caught in material that can’t rise above conventionalism, nor has enough inertia to sustain interest across its two-hour runtime. Will the pair be caught in the act? How will Clifford react? Will they run away together to start a happier life? It’s all standard stuff, never breaking free from the Masterpiece Theater chains that have a grip on this specific British genre. Clermont-Tonnerre also butchers the film’s initially poignant cut-to-black final scene, ending this story on a mistimed note. Book club moms have a new film to swoon over in Lady Chatterley's Lover . Luckily, they can do it in the privacy of their homes on Netflix, and not out in public, where the prospect of a few gasps and quivers from the NC-17 material may cause embarrassment. People looking for more underneath the carnality might be a little disappointed, but there’s enough on the surface to keep attractions piqued. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • The Biggest Flops in TIFF History

    The Biggest Flops in TIFF History September 2, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen Every September, the city of Toronto becomes a hub of cinematic celebration as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) rolls out the red carpet for a myriad of films from around the world. A prestigious event that has launched countless Oscar campaigns and propelled numerous films into the limelight, TIFF is a cinematic playground where dreams are realized and reputations are solidified. However, amidst the glamour and fervor, there exists a lesser-explored facet of the festival – a realm of disappointment and missed opportunities. In this list, I’ll delve beyond the flashing cameras and standing ovations to shed light on the movies that, for various reasons, failed to strike the right chord with audiences and critics alike. The rules for this list are simple: The film must have had its world premiere at the festival The film must have had a certain amount of buzz around it. If a movie fails and no one was anticipating it, then it’s not really a bomb. The film must have massively underperformed on expectations, both critically and financially The Fifth Estate (2013) Benedict Cumberbatch was on the rise in the early 2010s with roles in War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , and the television series Sherlock . 2013 was bound to be his breakout year as he had FIVE films set to be released that year: Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, The Fifth Estate, August: Osage County , and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug . Three of those would play at that year’s TIFF, with The Fifth Estate opening the festival. The bright lights didn’t serve it well, as Bill Condon’s take on Julian Assage and WikiLeaks was met with mixed-negative reviews on account of its by-the-numbers storytelling and refusal to take a stance on the issue. 12 Years a Slave lit up the room a few days later, as did Ron Howard’s Rush , starring Cumberbatch’s The Fifth Estate co-star Daniel Brühl. Everyone was able to move on quickly, with the film grossing less than $3 million at the US box office a month later. Men, Women, and Children (2014) Jason Reitman was the most in-demand young director in Hollywood after the one-two punch of Juno and Up in the Air . Things went south rather quickly once he decided to make a movie about the perils of social media. Time Out ’s Joshua Rothkopf called it “the first Reitman film to make the 36-year-old director seem about 400 years old.” An outstanding cast consisting of Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort, and Timothée Chalamet was wasted in an out-of-touch and preachy story. The savage reviews killed the already minuscule audience interest in the film, with its $300,000 haul being one of the lowest ever for a film opening in >600 theaters. The Cobbler (2014) One TIFF, two Adam Sandler movies! It’s hard to criticize his choices (at least on paper), as both his 2014 films came from directors with a certain amount of pedigree. The latter was helmed by Tom McCarthy, who hadn’t missed yet between The Station Agent, The Visitor , and Win Win . Nothing worked this time around, with the terrible plotting and creepy undertones stripping the film of having the whimsical tone it wanted. It took the title of Sandler’s biggest bomb away from Men, Women, and Children when it was released six months later, only grossing a mere $24,000 on its opening weekend. A film failing that epically would have killed 99% of directors' careers. But somehow Tom McCarthy would pivot and return to TIFF in 2015 with Spotlight , finishing in the runners-up position for the People’s Choice Award and ultimately winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Kings (2017) Turkish writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven spent four years developing her script centering on the 1992 Los Angeles riots. She was finally able to get the film made a decade later once her debut feature Mustang was nominated for Best International Feature. She would experience a sophomore slump with her English-language debut, with critics finding the film messy and underdeveloped. Even with the star power of Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, the film wouldn’t be released until the next spring to no fanfare. Life Itself (2018) Amazon Studios was riding high off the awards success of Manchester by the Sea in early 2017 and wanted to continue in that sphere. Seeing the success of This Is Us on NBC, they snatched up writer/director Dan Fogelman’s next film for $10 million in late 2017. They remained confident when deciding to launch it at TIFF, premiering it at both Roy Thomsen Hall and the Elgin Theatre. All those rose-tinted hopes and dreams came crashing down once people saw the finished product. The overwrought and convoluted soap opera incited more ironic laughter than tears within the audience. The film debuted in theaters two weeks later, where it became the second-lowest opening ever in >2500 theaters with only $2 million. The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018) French Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan had already won the Jury Prize and Grand Prix at Cannes, as well as the César award for Best Director before he turned 30. The problem with that much success at such a young age is that you can go only down from there. Such was the case for his English-language debut about a famous actor having a correspondence with a young fan. The film spent almost two years in post-production, causing Dolan to miss the Cannes deadline. He chose to debut at TIFF instead, where he was met with the worst reviews of his career. The rumors of the film being trimmed down from a four-hour cut seemed to be true as entire characters and storylines were excised, lending to a rushed and underdeveloped plot about celebrity culture. It sat on a shelf for another year before limping into theaters in December 2019. Lucy in the Sky (2019) TIFF has a habit of showing their hands based on how they schedule their world premieres, with the better ones earlier in the festival and the not-so-good ones near the end when most of the press has left. Noah Hawley’s directorial debut, loosely inspired by the life of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, found itself in the latter camp, scheduled for a final Thursday night premiere. Whatever press was still left probably wished they had already left, as Hawley’s pretentious directorial choices and Natalie Portman’s wonky Texas accent were nails on a chalkboard. Distributor Fox Searchlight had other priorities at that TIFF with Jojo Rabbit and was still transitioning out of the Disney buyout of 21st Century Fox. Lucy in the Sky was released in theaters a few weeks later, grossing an abysmal $300,000 against a $25 million budget. Coincidentally (or maybe not), Hawley’s planned Star Trek film was canceled a few months later. The Goldfinch (2019) Amazon didn’t let the failure of Life Itself deter them from returning to TIFF the next year. This time they partnered with Warner Bros. on distribution and picked a safer project by adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Donna Tartt. With Brooklyn director John Crowley at the helm, Roger Deakins as DP, and an all-star cast, it seemed this would be the streamer’s return to the awards race. But the film ended up having a worse death than its predecessor. Early test screenings were disastrous, prompting the studio to lower the marketing budget. Despite that, they still took it to TIFF, where the reviews matched their expectations. A $2.6 million opening the following weekend led to losses of over $50 million when all was said and done. To add insult to injury, Tartt was so infuriated by the adaptation that she fired her agent for allowing it to happen and has rejected any talk of her work being adapted again. Dear Evan Hansen (2021) After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 edition of the festival to be a mix of drive-in and digital screenings, TIFF needed to put on a grand show to welcome everyone back to “normalcy” in 2021. Universal was more than willing to have Dear Evan Hansen be the opening night act on account of director Steven Chbosky delivering festival favorite The Perks of Being a Wallflower years earlier. But anyone who watched the trailers for the film in the summer knew that this project was doomed from the start. The 27-year-old Ben Platt was already too old for the part and enough discourse over the material’s attitude towards mental health had circulated online. Neither critics nor audiences were satisfied, leading to poor reviews and a lackluster box office gross. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • 'Don't Worry Darling' Review

    'Don't Worry Darling' Review September 23, 2022 By: Hunter Friesen No film has ever pushed the quote “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” more to the limit than Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling . So much has happened over the past few months that Cosmopolitan was able to make a full in-depth timeline , which is still ongoing. It wouldn’t be an understatement to expect the film to get its own Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse sometime in the future. And it also wouldn’t be an understatement to think that Wilde wants that documentary to happen so people will have something to remember Don’t Worry Darling , because the movie itself is nothing more than middling. It’s a Mad Men world for Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) as they start their new lives in the sun-drenched valley paradise known as Victory. Where it’s precisely located and how it got there is never explained, nor is it allowed to be questioned. The only strings attached to this haven are that you never ask anything, such as how the men spend their time, where the food comes from, or why everyone has the same memories before they got here. Your only duty is to conform, be supportive, and worship the project’s leader, Frank (Chris Pine), who’s viewed and behaves like the second coming of Christ. For Alice, these duties unlock everything she’s ever wanted. She has a great husband, a great house, and great friends. It’s all so perfect. This is why things seem so odd when her neighbor, Margaret (KiKi Layne), begins questioning everything. Just as if she was transmitting the common cold, Margaret’s skepticism makes its way into Alice’s head, leading her down a dark path to learning the truth about this modern utopia. On a purely productional level, Don’t Worry Darling is quite the accomplishment for Wilde. The period-accurate clothes and needle drops are a far cry from the modern teenage angst she announced her auteur status within Booksmart . The influences of Stanley Kubrick and Darren Aronofksy are easy to spot with the impressive sound and camera work. Those qualities should come as no surprise considering Wilde recruited regular Aronofsky cinematographer Matthew Libatique to lens her film. As a director, she lets the hysteria build and builds, waiting for us to beg for it to be released. But when that moment comes for Wilde to make her big swing, she manages to only hit a single instead of the expected home run. Because just like the town of Victory itself, Don’t Worry Darling often comes across as empty despite being littered with pretty sights (there’s even an unintentionally fitting scene where Alice cracks eggs, only for it to be revealed they’re empty). Reteaming with her Booksmart writer, Katie Silberman, Wilde’s interrogation of women’s societal roles and the men that oppress them is nothing that hasn’t been done before. Hell, works such as The Stepford Wives , The Truman Show , and even WandaVision have asked similar questions using a similar concept. Even though it’s all impressively done, there’s always this nagging feeling of being there, done that. That feeling also permeates the casting of Harry Styles as Jack, who’s been written as British, most likely to cover over Styles' inability to pick which accent he should be using. A stunt cast such as this may help the box office numbers, but it doesn’t help Florence Pugh, who’s left all alone to keep this ship from sinking under the weight of its ill-advised ambitions. Pugh seemingly can do no wrong, whether it be large-scale work in Black Widow or on a smaller level in Fighting with My Family . And considering the impressive work she did pulling apart at the seams for Ari Aster in Midsommar , this performance comes across as child’s play for her. Luckily, she has an equal in Chris Pine as the charismatic Frank. Pine has always been an actor that was cursed by his good looks, as it meant he was forced to play leading parts when he works much better as a character actor. Brad Pitt is another actor in a similar situation. In the brief scenes he shares with Pugh, Pine brings that tech-guru/crypto-bro smarmy charm that makes you believe why people worship him, while at the same time, you just want to punch him in his perfect teeth. If your intention of seeing Don’t Worry Darling is to look at beautiful people in beautiful clothes living in beautiful houses, Olivia Wilde supplies that in spades. But if you intend to see something that digs a little deeper under the surface and provokes ideas that haven't been explored by numerous other (and better) films, then you may want to start worrying. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • '80 for Brady' Review

    '80 for Brady' Review January 20, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen Lighter than a feather and filled with enough New England Patriots propaganda to get itself banned in Atlanta, Buffalo, New York, and Miami, 80 for Brady would probably have cleaned up at this year’s AARP Movies for Grownups Awards if it had been given a timely qualifying release. Of course, there’s always next year, where there’s potential for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon to be upstaged in the categories of “Best Buddy Picture” and “Best Intergenerational Film.” At the time of the film’s announcement, famed Patriots/Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady had just announced his retirement from football after 22 seasons, which included 7 Super Bowl titles, 3 NFL MVP honors, 15 Pro Bowl selections, as well as an extended list of other career achievements. It does take a certain amount of hubris on Brady’s part for his first post-football move to be the commissioning of a movie about four fans who worship him as a god. Granted, this is inspired by a true story, even if the script by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, part of the writing team behind 2019’s Booksmart , takes some very creative liberties with the truth. The 80 in 80 for Brady denotes the ages of four friends who have centered their strong friendship over their love of Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. It all started on September 23, 2001 (a date celebrated every year by Patriots fans) when Lou (Lily Tomlin) was stuck at home recovering from her last round of chemotherapy. Her close friends Trish (Jane Fonda), Maura (Rita Moreno), and Betty (Sally Field) tried to entertain her by getting the TV to work, but it was stuck on one channel. At that exact moment, young Tom Brady steps into the pocket after regular starter Drew Bledsoe was taken out of the game due to a nasty sack. From there, the rest is history, for both Brady and his cohort of dedicated octogenarian fans. Fast forward to 2017 and the Patriots are going to another Super Bowl. Instead of staying home like they always do, the group decides to make the trip down to Houston for the big game. “The Super Bowl is no place for four old women,” says Maura, who happens to be right. But that statement being true is what makes for the most of the fun within 80 for Brady , as four Hollywood legends with effortless charm and chemistry blaze through the biggest event of the year. Much of the material is light and fun, made to purely entertain you for the ninety-eight-minute runtime and nothing more. And compared to most of the entries in this specific genre, which include Book Club (plus its upcoming sequel) and Poms , this one works fairly well. Moreno, who technically doesn’t qualify for the club considering she’s 91, clearly has the most fun within the ensemble. It’s unfortunate that the only dance routine within the film is poorly choreographed and doesn’t allow the original cinematic Anita to show off her long-lived talent. There are some attempts at drama, but it’s all so clean and shallow that it barely even registers. The stakes are pretty much nonexistent, and the jokes can be seen from a mile away. Director Kyle Marvin keeps everything breezy, and cinematographer John Toll (recipient of two Academy Awards) makes the Super Bowl festivities look as appealing as possible. Football fans may not be totally won over by 80 for Brady , but its intended audience of retirees will undoubtedly eat it up. And in a time when one of the largest sustainers of adult theatrical programming is not returning to the cinema, we’ll take all the help we can get. So, take your parents and/or grandparents out for a nice time, and maybe try to convince them to get back into their old cinemagoing habits. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • Movies That Made More Money Than You Think

    Movies That Made More Money Than You Think August 7, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen In the modern world of cinema, the power of recognizable brands often sets the stage for box office success. However, now and then, something unique emerges that not only captivates audiences worldwide but also defies all expectations by amassing colossal profits beyond anyone's wildest imagination. These are the movies that made way more money than they were supposed to, shattering records and redefining the very essence of success in the film industry. One ground rule is that each selection for this list was released in 1990 or afterward. This is approximately the time the modern box office landscape was born, with multiplexes overtaking the long-standing mom & pop movie theaters. It’s also hard to compare and analyze box office performances from several decades ago, as it wasn’t uncommon for a movie to be in theaters for months on end. Both Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music were in theaters for over four years upon their initial release, which certainly gave them an advantage towards becoming two of the highest-grossing films ever. Several metrics were also used to make these selections, such as the amount of money the movie made, how much it was expected to make based on projections and the performance of similar movies, and its overall cultural relevance (or lack thereof). From underdog productions battling against all odds to star-driven blockbusters soaring to unprecedented heights, each film on this list has a unique tale to tell. Ghost (1990) ($500 million) 1990 was the year of surprise hits. Pretty Woman, Home Alone , and Dances with Wolves all hugely outgrossed expectations. But the best of the bunch was Ghost , a bit of female counterprogramming from Paramount against the boy-friendly summer titles of Die Hard 2 and Back to the Future III . Mixing steamy romance, crime drama thrills, the supernatural, and comedy, the film was the prototypical four-quadrant release. Its PG-13 rating wasn’t too risque for conservative viewers, while still pushing the envelope enough to entice teenagers. It opened #2 at the box office in July just behind the second weekend of Die Hard 2 . It would remain in either of those top two spots for the following nine weeks and would retain the same theater count (1700) until November. It had the third-highest domestic gross ever (behind E.T. and Star Wars ) before Home Alone dethroned it that holiday season. It’s a simply astounding feat for a film that has never inspired sequels, spin-offs, or even merchandise sales (at least not yet). What Women Want (2000) ($375 million) It’s hard to envision it now, but Mel Gibson was, for a brief moment, a romantic leading heartthrob. The $34.4 million opening weekend for Nancy Meyers’ film was the highest ever in December at that time and even bested Gibson’s action-oriented films like Ransom and the Lethal Weapon franchise. An EW poll found that nearly half the audience saw the movie for Gibson, who would receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (losing to George Clooney for O Brother, Where Art Thou? ). The film ended with $180 both domestically and internationally, claiming the fourth best worldwide cume of 2000. Meet the Fockers (2004) ($525 million) Gone are the days of star-driven studio comedies being at the top of the box office charts. Meet the Fockers earned the highest-ever Christmas Day gross at $19.5 million in 2004, even beating the previous’s year champion, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King . The character of Greg Focker was almost as lucrative as Harry Potter and Peter Parker that year, with the comedy sequel finishing its box office run with over half a billion dollars. It was Robert De Niro’s highest-grossing film for fifteen years until it was beaten by Joker in 2019. The Da Vinci Code (2006) ($760 million) While many films on this list accumulated their huge grosses due to good reviews and word of mouth, neither of those was the case for The Da Vinci Code . The film boasts a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and was the recipient of several rounds of booing during its premiere as the opening film of that year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film was also banned in several countries such as parts of India, Egypt, and China (after it had played for a few weeks), and was boycotted by several religious groups. None of those factors stopped audiences from flocking to the film that summer. It amassed a near-record worldwide total of $224 million on its opening weekend, thanks in part to the immense popularity of the novel and the star power of Tom Hanks. Over 70% of its $750 million total gross would come from international territories, with a similar breakdown occurring for the film’s two disappointing sequels: Angels & Demons ($500 million total) and Inferno ($220 million total). 2012 (2009) ($770 million) Sure, disaster movies are pretty dependable at the box office because of their simplistic storytelling and bang-for-your-buck visuals. But does it make much sense that one of the most forgettable entries in that subgenre, Roland Emmerich’s 2012 , is also one of the most successful? 2012 was boosted by a viral marketing campaign that latched onto the urban legend of the world ending in the year 2012. Comcast even blocked out a ten-minute chunk of time on nearly every genre to show a clip of the film. Even with a less-than-ideal leading man in John Cusack, the film accumulated almost $800 million worldwide. Almost 80% of those dollars came from overseas, as the film was the first $700+ million grosser to make less than $200 million stateside. True Grit (2010) ($250 million) It only took twelve days for this Western remake to become the highest-grossing film within the Coen brothers’ filmography. The strong critical reactions and awards buzz helped the movie double its opening weekend projections, pulling in over $25 million during the holiday weekend. There was also the advantage of the Coens dialing down their eccentricities for this film, delivering a more conventional crowdpleaser that had a more long-lasting theatrical appeal. It ended up being one of the highest-grossing Westerns ever, finishing with $171 million domestically and $81 internationally. That holiday window happened to be the coronation of star Jeff Bridges, who also appeared in the chart-topping TRON: Legacy . Black Swan (2010) ($330 million) While it is nice to see Oppenheimer and Barbie sparking a renewed conversation about the merits of “original” programming at the box office, it is still a little disheartening to see that this same conversation was taking place over a decade ago thanks to Black Swan . Strong interest in Darren Aronosky’s film started from the viral marketing campaign, which didn’t commence until just a few weeks before the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The buzz out of the fall festivals matched the enthusiasm online, something relatively unheard of for an arthouse movie. Along with the strong critical remarks it received, especially for Natalie Portman’s lead performance, one of the biggest benefits of the movie was that it was somehow able to appeal to nearly every demographic. Arthouse cinephiles were excited about a new Aronofsky film, dance and theater fans got a unique reimagining of Swan Lake , and horror junkies were treated to a dark psychological tale of obsession. The film would gross over $100 million domestically, all before it even had been released internationally, with many of those dates pushed up to capitalize on the demand. In the end, it grossed $330 million worldwide on a $13 million budget, placing it as the second biggest sleeper hit of 2010. What was #1 you ask? The King's Speech (2010) ($480 million) Everything Everywhere All at Once ’s worldwide gross of $140 million puts it near the top half of Best Picture winners in the modern era. But that total doesn’t even match the domestic cume of The King’s Speech , which only accounted for a little less than a third of the film’s global take of almost $500 million. Tom Hooper’s film is the second-highest-grossing Best Picture winner of the 21st century, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (which stands so far ahead with over $1 billion). Between claiming the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, having the highest per-theater-average opening weekend of the year ($350,000), and receiving a yearly best of twelve Oscar nominations, success followed The King’s Speech everywhere it went. It was hailed as one of the most successful British independent films ever only after a month of release, overcoming the controversial R-rating it received. The film also made over half its money after the Oscar nominations were announced, with the compelling exploration of friendship and resilience resonating deeply with viewers. American Sniper (2014) ($550 million) If asked to guess which film conquered the North American box office in 2014 most people would defer to a franchise film such as Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 , or Captain America: The Winter Soldier . Those would all be good guesses (they each placed within the top five), but sitting on the throne was 84-year-old Clint Eastwood with American Sniper . Showing the power of appealing to middle America and controversy about its messaging, American Sniper grossed $90 million in its opening weekend, more than double what it projected to do. The A+ CinemaScore and awards attention kept it at the top of the box office for the next six weeks, where it would end with over $350 million domestically and $550 worldwide. It still stands as the highest-grossing war film ever (not accounting for inflation) and is only behind The Passion of the Christ and Deadpool as the highest-grossing R-rated film in North America. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • 2022 Winners

    2022 Winners January 1, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen While it definitely wasn’t as bad as 2020 or 2021, 2022 could still be considered a rough year for most people. But there were a few that rose above the challenges set before them and came out victorious. In this list, I’ll be going through nine of the biggest winners of 2022, whichever way you want to define the term “success.” Of course, plenty more could have been included here, but margin space is tight so some tough decisions had to be made. Make sure to come back tomorrow to see the unveiling of the 2022 Losers list. A24 Just as they always do, the independent distributor offered several genre-drying outings from our best present and future filmmakers. Their presence was felt at every film festival, with Everything Everywhere All at Once (SXSW), Close (Cannes), and The Whale (Venice) grabbing headlines from all over the globe. And with the box office potential for arthouse films falling by the wayside at alarming rates, A24 has continued to position itself as a strong brand geared towards younger demographics, so its future looks as bright as its present. Colin Farrell In terms of both quality and quantity, the Irish actor knocked it out of the park, starring in several productions in varying genres and scales. He started off the year with After Yang at Sundance, reintroducing Kogonada’s film after its 2021 Cannes bow. He then went big, both literally and metaphorically, for The Batman , which has netted him his own future spinoff show. Then there was Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives , where he and Viggo Mortensen aptly led the inspiring true story of the Thailand cave rescue. And, finally, he returned to his native home country to work again with Martin McDonagh on The Banshees of Inisherin , receiving the best reviews of his career. He’s already picked up a number of critics' prizes and looks to be a prime contender for the Best Lead Actor Oscar. Jenna Ortega No one had a bigger rise to fame in 2022 than Jenna Ortega. She had the one-two punch of The Fallout and Scream in January, proving that she was both able to carry heavy dramatic material and be a box office star. She kept the horror streak going with a supporting performance in Ti West’s X , followed by the titular role in Wednesday , which has already become one of Netflix’s most popular shows of all time. She’ll reprise her role in the upcoming Scream 6 , meaning we may have a new scream queen for this generation. Legacy Sequels Who says a sequel needs to come right away? If 2022 taught us anything, it’s that no movie is too old to get a follow-up. Top Gun: Maverick demolished box office expectations despite thirty-six years between entries, and Avatar: The Way of Water will look to repeat the success of its thirteen-year-old predecessor. Jackass Forever brought back the usual gang of numbskulls after a dozen years apart, resulting in even more hilarious brain trauma. Finally, there was Scream , blending both fan-favorites such as Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox with a fresh-faced group of potential Ghostface victims. Claire Denis The revered French auteur released two movies in 2022, both netting her positive critical remarks and some hardware for her trophy shelf. The first was Both Sides of the Blade , premiering at the Berlin Film Festival and reuniting her with Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon. Denis would pick up the festival prize for her direction just as she was racing around the clock to put the finishing touches on Stars at Noon for it to be submitted for the Cannes Film Festival, her first time there in competition in over thirty years. Her hard work paid off, as the film was jointly awarded the Grand Prize of the Festival (second-place prize) along with Lukas Dhont’s Close . Brian Tyree Henry Between both movies and television, and comedy and drama, Henry reached new heights in his career. He stole the spotlight from both Brad Pitt with his Thomas the Tank Engine-obsessed character in Bullet Train , and Jennifer Lawrence as a grief-stricken car mechanic in Causeway , which might earn him an Oscar nomination. He also concluded his run on Atlanta with the final two seasons, putting him in a prime position for next year’s Emmy awards. Horror Movies While other genres saw dwindling box office numbers, horror movies kept theaters afloat, both in wide and limited releases. Smile was the big winner with over $100 million both domestically and internationally, with Barbarian and The Menu close behind. Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2 proved to be a great investment at a budget of only $250,000, grossing over $10 million despite staying in a small number of theaters. X and Pearl gave arthouse horror fans a surprise treat, Prey reimagined the Predator franchise, and Bones and All told a story filled with both literal and metaphorical heart. Cate Blanchett Considering the high bar Blanchett has set for herself throughout her career, it’s hard to imagine how she would be able to raise it again. But just as she’s always done, she doubted the naysayers, turning in one of best performances of her career in TÁR , writer/director Todd Field’s return to feature filmmaking after a sixteen-year absence. She’ll be a top contender for her third acting Oscar. She also provided monkey noises for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio , and her narration for The School for Good and Evil was the only positive thing critics had to say about that movie. Ethan Hawke The only thing consistent about Hawke’s output this past year was the excellence of its quality. He made his MCU debut, and probably made some good money, as the main antagonist in Moon Knight . He then did three wildly different roles, both in terms of size and range, on the silver screen: Leading The Black Phone , supporting in The Northman , and providing a cameo in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery . But Hawke wasn’t just satisfied with appearing in front of the camera, as he also directed the six-part HBO Max documentary series on the relationship between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

  • Cannes 2023 - Everything I'll Be Seeing

    Cannes 2023 - Everything I'll Be Seeing May 15, 2023 By: Hunter Friesen The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film events in the world, attracting movie buffs, critics, and industry professionals from across the globe. Each year, the festival showcases some of the most captivating and thought-provoking films, ranging from indie productions to big-budget blockbusters. As a film enthusiast, I am excited to once again attend this year's festival and share my thoughts on some of the films I'll be watching. The lineup promises to deliver a diverse range of stories and perspectives. In this article, I'll be taking you through some of the most highly anticipated films that I'll be watching at the festival, giving you a glimpse of what's in store for cinema lovers this year. *All film descriptions and pictures have been supplied by the festival program* The Old Oak (dir. Ken Loach, United Kingdom) The Old Oak is a special place. Not only is it the last pub standing, it is the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once-thriving mining community that has now fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline. TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner), the landlord, hangs on to The Old Oak by his fingertips, and his hold is endangered even more when it becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees who are placed in the village. In an unlikely friendship, TJ encounters a young Syrian, Yara (Ebla Mari) with her camera. Can they find a way for the two communities to understand each other? So unfolds a deeply moving drama about loss, fear, and the difficulty of finding hope. Black Flies (dir. Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, United States) Ollie Cross (Tye Sheridan), a young paramedic in New York, teams up with Rutkovsky (Sean Penn), an experienced EMT. Facing extreme violence, he discovers the risks of a job that every day shakes his beliefs about life… and death. Cobweb (dir. Kim Jee-Woon, South Korea) In the 1970s, Director Kim is obsessed with the desire to re-shoot the ending of his completed film ‘Cobweb’, but chaos and turmoil grip the set with interference from the censorship authorities and the complaints of actors and producers who can’t understand the re-written ending. Will Kim be able to find a way through this chaos to fulfill his artistic ambitions and complete his masterpiece? Kidnapped (dir. Marco Bellocchio, Italy) In 1858, in the Jewish quarter of Bologna, the Pope’s soldiers burst into the home of the Mortara family. By order of the cardinal, they have come to take Edgardo, their seven-year-old son. The child had been secretly baptized by his nurse as a baby and the papal law is unquestionable: he must receive a Catholic education. Edgardo’s parents, distraught, will do anything to get their son back. Supported by public opinion and the international Jewish community, the Mortaras’ struggle quickly take a political dimension. But the Church and the Pope will not agree to return the child, to consolidate an increasingly wavering power… A Brighter Tomorrow (dir. Nanni Moretti, Italy) Giovanni, a renowned Italian filmmaker, is about to start shooting a political film. But between his marriage in crisis, his co-producer on the verge of bankruptcy, and the rapidly changing film industry, everything seems to be working against him! Always on the edge, Giovanni will have to rethink his way of doing things if he wants to lead his little world toward a bright tomorrow. May December (dir. Todd Haynes, United States) Julianne Moore and Charles Melton star as a married couple whose 20-year relationship inspired a national tabloid obsession at its offset. Now preparing to send their grown children off to college – as Melton reconciles with empty nest syndrome in his mid-30s – an actress (Natalie Portman) embeds with the family to study them for an upcoming film where she’ll play Moore. The couple buckles under the pressure as Portman probes as deeply as she can for an honest performance. About Dry Grasses (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey) Samet, a young art teacher, is finishing his fourth year of compulsory service in a remote village in Anatolia. After a turn of events he can hardly make sense of, he loses his hopes of escaping the grim life he seems to be stuck in. Will his encounter with Nuray, herself a teacher, help him overcome his angst? La Chimera (dir. Alice Rohrwacher, Italy) Everyone has their own Chimera, something they try to achieve but never manage to find. For the band of tombaroli, thieves of ancient grave goods and archaeological wonders, the Chimera means redemption from work and the dream of easy wealth. For Arthur, the Chimera looks like the woman he lost, Beniamina. To find her, Arthur challenges the invisible, searches everywhere, and goes inside the earth – in search of the door to the afterlife of which myths speak. In an adventurous journey between the living and the dead, between forests and cities, between celebrations and solitudes, the intertwined destinies of these characters unfold, all in search of the Chimera. Anatomy of a Fall (dir. Justine Triet, France) Sandra, Samuel, and their 11-year-old visually impaired son, Daniel, have been living far from everything in the mountains for a year. One day, Samuel is found dead at the foot of their house. A suspicious death investigation has been opened. Sandra is soon charged despite the doubt: suicide or homicide? A year later, Daniel attends his mother's trial, a true dissection of the couple. Firebrand ( dir. Karim Aïnouz, United Kingdom) In the bloodstained England of the Tudors, Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, is appointed Regent during his military campaigns. With this provisional role, Katherine tries to influence the king's advisers towards a future based on her Protestant beliefs. On his return from combat, the king, increasingly paranoid and ill, accuses a childhood friend of Katherine of treason and sends her to the stake. Horrified by her act and secretly bereaved, Katherine fights for her own survival. Conspiracies ensue within the palace walls and the court holds its breath – will the Queen misstep and Henry have her executed? With the hope of a kingdom without tyranny, will she be able to submit to the inevitable for the good of king and country? Monster (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) When her young son Minato starts to behave strangely, his mother feels that there is something wrong. Discovering that a teacher is responsible, she storms into the school demanding to know what’s going on. But as the story unfolds through the eyes of the mother, teacher, and child, the truth gradually emerges. Palme d’Or winner and internationally acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with a delicate, powerfully moving story of love, duty, social conflict, and secrets. Asteroid City (dir. Wes Anderson, United States) In 1955, students and parents from across the country gather for scholarly competition, rest, recreation, drama, and romance at a Junior Stargazer convention held in a fictional American desert town. Writer/director Wes Anderson further plants Cannes as his home with this star-studded whimsical comedy. The Zone of Interest (dir. Jonathan Glazer, United Kingdom) The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp. Writer/director Jonathan Glazer returns to feature filmmaking after a ten-year absence with this highly original story of love in the darkest of places. Must Read TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 3 North Star, His Three Daughters, Seven Veils, Woman of the Hour, Knox Goes Away SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 2 The Royal Hotel, The Beast, Les Indésirables, Evil Does Not Exist, Finestkind SHOP TIFF23 Dispatch - Part 1 Dream Scenario, The Critic, Memory, One Life, Quiz Lady SHOP 'Rustin' Review It won’t live on in the public consciousness for its craft, but it most certainly will because of Domingo's performance. SHOP 'The Holdovers' Review Payne makes The Holdovers into a Christmas classic for adults. SHOP

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