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Film Festivals

Toronto Review: ‘Boy Erased’ (★★★½)

Joel Edgerton has crafted a compassionate family drama with extraordinary performances from Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe In Boy Erased, based on Garrard Conley’s best-selling memoir of the same name, Jared, a 19-year old college student, is whisked away from his Arkansas home in the dark, early hours of the morning by his mother to 12-day gay conversion …

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Toronto Review: ‘Green Book’ (★★★)

Peter Farrelly’s race relations road movie may be safe and conventional but winning performances from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali make it a crowdpleaser “Inspired by a true story” as an opening title card often says more about what a film is not about rather than what it’s about. An even looser term than “based,” we know going in that …

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Toronto Review: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (★★★★)

KiKi Layne and Stephan James in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Barry Jenkins follows up his Oscar-winning Moonlight with another masterpiece;  a lush, visual love story and the first ever film adaptation of James Baldwin’s work It doesn’t take long to fall in love with Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. In the film’s opening shot, a gorgeous crane movement …

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Toronto Review: ‘Beautiful Boy’ (★★★)

 Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet both give Oscar-worthy performances as a father and son dealing with the son’s drug addiction in this affecting true story Stories about drug and alcohol addiction almost come ready with no empathy assembly required. We want to see people overcome this disease and are automatically rooting for them to do so. But, we also know that …

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Toronto Review: Nicole Kidman in ‘Destroyer’ (★★★½)

In Karyn Kusama’s gritty and grimy crime thriller Destroyer, Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, a grizzled LA detective only James Ellroy could love and gives one of the best performances of her career. Kusama, with her best film since her 2000 Sundance debut Girlfight (starring a then-unknown Michelle Rodriguez), wastes no time getting to it opening with an unrecognizable Kidman; …

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Toronto Review: ‘Widows’ (★★★½)

Steve McQueen’s twisty thriller finds room for a heist, family drama, racial politics and violence, and gender issues all led by a powerhouse performance from Viola Davis Widows doesn’t waste any time setting itself up. In a virtuoso opening sequence, a heist gone wrong led by Harry (Liam Neeson) with his cohorts Florek (Jon Bernthal) and Carlos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), is intercut …

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Toronto Review: ‘Consequences’

Courtesy TIFF Looking back at childhood from the safe distance of adulthood, many of us find ourselves surprised to realize that our parents essentially had no idea what they were doing.  They may have projected a stalwart front, hiding a   closely guarded secret, yet making it up as they went along.  Sometimes, miraculously, this approach stumbles into accidental effectiveness. …

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Toronto Review: ‘Capernaum’

Photo courtesy: TIFF There is a moment in Nadine Labaki’s CAPERNAUM which perfectly encapsulates the profound conundrum it presents. Her face crumpled with premature age and agony, Saoud (Kawthar Al Haddad), makes a plea to a judge that will ultimately decide the fate of her family. We, the audience, feel as if she is imploring us directly: don’t judge me. You haven’t walked a …

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