• Mass

    Mass

    ★★★½

    Starting this film out with a comedic tone was an effective choice for a film that becomes so heavy so quickly. Mass is a very tense experience. Due to it's very much play-like nature, the film is not entirely cinematic. However, it is very much performance driven, and due to the great screenplay, it works. All four leads are great; I was drawn to Martha Plimpton’s silences and Ann Dowd’s need to both attempt to comfort everyone around her and state her own case at the same time. Mass is a really complex and fascinating experience.

  • Nine Perfect Strangers

    Nine Perfect Strangers

    ★★★

    david e. kelley stay away from nicole kidman challenge

  • Small Body

    Small Body

    ★★★★

    TIFF 2021

    I was really moved by this film as it ended. Small Body, Laura Samani's directorial debut is a powerful, emotional journey film, all told in under 90 minutes. Led by a wonderful performance by Celeste Cescutti as a grieving woman, and featuring breathtaking cinematography, this ended up being one of the great surprises of TIFF for me this year.

  • Întregalde

    Întregalde

    ★★★½

    TIFF 2021

    A stressful experience. From the moment that the characters decided to try to drive on that road, I was getting flashbacks to when I was a kid, riding on the back of my dad's atv on muddy trails through the forrest. I would always start crying immediately if we got stuck, as my dad and his friends would often have to help each other pull their atvs out of the mud. Not exactly my idea of fun.

    Although it kind of felt like it ended a little suddenly, I really enjoyed Întregalde, the tense mood throughout captivated me.

  • Murina

    Murina

    ★★★

    TIFF 2021

    Swimming feels like freedom, and Julija is a strong swimmer.

  • Scarborough

    Scarborough

    ★★★½

    TIFF 2021

    Scarborough is a touching story about the ability of children to be resilient despite challenges, if and when they have the right support behind them. This may be a film about a particular area in Toronto, but it is a universal story. The camera stayed closed to its subjects, focusing on three young children and their parents, as well as a wonderful child care worker trying to do her best within the system to help the children and…

  • The Girl and the Spider

    The Girl and the Spider

    ★★★

    TIFF 2021

    The Girl and the Spider captures the feeling of having to adjust to significant life changes, and not being entirely ready for them. Henriette Confurius plays Mara, a young woman whose roommate is moving out. Confurius has a mesmerizing presence, drawing you into how Mara is feeling as a flurry of activities and people surround her. The use of colour in the film was gorgeous, and the tone was intriguing. There were, however, too many characters to keep track of, and subsequently some story threads ended up feeling superfluous. I enjoyed the vibe, but I didn't fully connect with the details.

  • The Humans

    The Humans

    ★★★

    TIFF 2021

    In an attempt to adapt his stage play into a film, Stephen Karam has used cinematography as a key component. Many scenes are framed through doorways, or down hallways. It's an interesting and strong choice, but with a story so centred on its characters; their connections, their fears, and their hopes, the cinematography ends up doing a disservice to the actors and their performances. The framing does work in the final scene, however, as it is used in…

  • Titane

    Titane

    ★★★★

    TIFF 2021

    Julia Ducournau's brain... I can't even imagine what goes on in there.

    Titane is an enigma. At times I almost had to watch through my fingers, at other times I was smiling ear to ear. The film constantly oscillates between the two extremes, often meeting somewhere in the middle to elicit an odd, synchronous feeling of repulsion and delight. Gross and beautiful.

  • The Worst Person in the World

    The Worst Person in the World

    ★★★½

    TIFF 2021

    Fantastic visual flourishes, natural performances, and great dialogue make for another noteworthy film in Joachim Trier's oeuvre. I felt like the film was a little bit longer than it needed to be, but it was a joy to watch. The scene from the image in the poster was the highlight for me.

  • Petite Maman

    Petite Maman

    ★★★★½

    TIFF 2021

    What a way to start off this year's festival! With Petite Maman, Céline Sciamma expertly mines for warmth and comfort within grief and sadness. Featuring impeccably directed child performances, gorgeous cinematography, and a stunning script, Petite Maman is an intimate story, with a profound heart. A deeply affecting, magical experience.

    I don't think I'll ever say a simple "goodbye" to the ones I love in the same way again.

  • The Maids

    The Maids

    ★★★

    i saw the maids on stage in 2014 starring cate blanchett, isabelle huppert, and elizabeth debicki. a couple years later, i was fortunate to meet and speak with isabelle. i mentioned that i saw and loved the play and wished it had been filmed so i could see it again, and she (somewhat surprisingly) agreed, and seemed very enthusiastic about the experience.

    i had been meaning to watch the film ever since, hoping it would capture some of the magic…