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TIFF 2020: Tomm Moore's Animated Film 'Wolfwalkers' is Magnificent

Wolfwalkers Review

One of the very best independent animators / filmmakers making movies right now is Tomm Moore. This isn't even a subjective opinion, it's pretty much just a fact at this point. Moore's third feature film is titled Wolfwalkers, and it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this year. Ohh my it's magnificent. This movie follows his other two underrated, outstanding animated features The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014). Wolfwalkers is actually co-directed by Tomm Moore and his long-time concept artist colleague Ross Stewart (making his directorial debut). It's clear this is the perfect collaboration - almost every frame in Wolfwalkers looks like concept art, with all the characters brought to life by Moore's distinctly gorgeous animation. Plus, of course, it's driven by a lovely story of wolves and women and magic and mother nature.

TIFF 2020: Francis Lee's Lovely Seaside Romance Film 'Ammonite'

Ammonite Review

"I don’t want to go back to the life I had before you…" Love is a powerful force. And love can be a beautiful thing, especially when it connects two people who don't have any interest in love. But true love is also rare, and honestly hard to find. As hard to find as a complete, unbroken fossil hidden inside a rock, just waiting patiently for millions of years to be discovered. That is the primary metaphor in this film, and it's a lovely metaphor. Ammonite is the second feature from British filmmaker Francis Lee, following his breakout debut God's Own Country a few years ago. It was selected for the Cannes Film Festival this year, but instead is premiering at the Toronto & London Film Festivals this fall (following Cannes' cancellation). I was lucky to catch the film, as Lee only wants to show it in a cinema. Rightfully so - it's worth to wait to see it properly.

 Posted September 24 in Review, TIFF 20 | Comments

TIFF 2020: 'Shadow in the Cloud' Creature Feature on a B-17 Bomber

Shadow in the Cloud Review

One of my favorite things about film festivals is discovering exceptional filmmakers by stumbling upon their break-out features. This film is one of the best discoveries of the 2020 Toronto Film Festival, playing in the prestigious Midnight Madness category. Shadow in the Cloud has a crazy, wickedly impossible concept - follow a woman who gets on a rickety B-17 Bomber, known as the "Flying Fortress" in WWII, as she escorts a special classified package that must not be opened. The whole film takes place on this B-17, nicknamed the "Fool's Errand" (yeah) by the crew. This means they could film it on a very small set but also somehow have to make the entire thing believable and authentic. To top it off, once she gets on the flight (and is relegated to the ball turret), she spots some gnarly gremlin crawling around and ripping apart the plane. This creature feature element of the film is a distinct nod to "The Twilight Zone" gremlin, yet isn't even the main conflict.

TIFF 2020: 'Another Round' is One of Thomas Vinterberg's Best Films

Another Round Review

"The world is never as you expect." That's the truth, even when we don't want it to be. Originally selected as a 2020 Cannes Film Festival premiere (before that fest was cancelled this year), Thomas Vinterberg's latest film is instead premiering at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival this fall. Another Round brings Vinterberg back home to Denmark and reteams him with exceptionally talented Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen to tell a story about drinking alcohol. Druk is the film's original Danish title, essentially translating to "drunk" or the act of binge drinking. Which is exactly what the four main characters in the film do, along with all of the students they're teaching. "Everyone in this country has a drinking problem," one character says in the film, which is true about Denmark and about pretty much every other country in the world, if we're to be honest. It is what it is, and we can't really stop it (prohibition didn't work, remember?). But can drinking be good?

 Posted September 18 in Review, TIFF 20 | Comments

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