The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, or "TIFF" is now over half-way through. Critics covering the Festival digitally (like myself) have been robbed the opportunity to view some of the most buzz-worthy films that were available only to in-person crowds in Toronto - films like "Dune," "Belfast," "Spencer" and "Last Night in Soho" - all of which have sky-rocketed to the top of award-season radars following their TIFF debuts.
But as the week has marched along, there have been several other noteworthy films that have premiered on the digital platform, with documentaries still leading the way as the most impactful films of this year's TIFF.
If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of our TIFF coverage here.
Read on for Part 2!
(The "Tom at TIFF" series, with WXYZ film critic and Movie Show Plus's own Tom Santilli, follows Tom's digital coverage and his ongoing reports on TIFF throughout the Festival, which runs from September 9th to September 18th.)
The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, or "TIFF" if you want to sound cool, is well under-way. While several of the Festival's biggest films - like "Dune," "Dear Evan Hansen," "Spencer" and "Last Night in Soho" - have already made their TIFF premieres, only those physically in attendance in Toronto were able to see them. For many other critics across the world who chose to attend TIFF virtually, these films were not made available, thus leaving these big holes in our ongoing coverage.
But not to fret. There were several other great (and some not-so-great) films that premiered over TIFF's first weekend on the digital platform, led by two riveting documentaries that are not to be missed.
Read on for "Part 1" of the "Tom at TIFF" series, with WXYZ film critic and Movie Show Plus's own Tom Santilli, where Tom will give his reports on TIFF throughout the Festival, which runs from September 9th to September 18th.
The Toronto International Film Festival - or TIFF - is set to begin today, September 9th, 2021, running through September 18th, 2021. It's one of the biggest film festivals of each and every year and one of the most important: It's early September date usually is what kicks off what is known as "awards season" for the film/movie industry.
Film Critic Tom Santilli (me!) will be bringing you the highlights from TIFF all week long with this "Tom at TIFF" series. If you don't know much about TIFF or are interested in what's going on at this year's festival, you've come to the right place!
One of the most delightful, impressive, heart-warming and optimistic productions you will ever witness comes to Apple TV+ this weekend. "Come From Away" is a Tony-winning musical that was filmed and made into a movie (just like "Hamilton" was for Disney+ in 2020), and it comes just in time for the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
Yes, the "feel good" movie of the year centers around one of the worst, horrific tragedies in American history, and if there was ever something that this divided nation should be able to agree on, it's that "Come From Away" is an absolute treasure and should be seen by every American...despite it taking place in Newfoundland, Canada.
An assassin with a heart of gold (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has less than 24 hours to live, so she uses her finite time on the planet to take down as many of her enemies as she can.
That's the elevator pitch for "Kate," and despite some stylish action, this is an all-too-familiar thrill ride devoid of any real thrills...a film that will remind you of other films but that doesn't quite rise above any of them.
"Small Engine Repair" is a small film that you root for. The camaraderie between the three main actors is the definition of chemistry, and you'll find yourself laughing and caring for these bums in surprising ways.
But with a quick jump out of the gate and a slowly accelerating pace that will have you easily accepting your invitation to ride, "Small Engine Repair" nearly runs itself off the road as it hits a late patch of dark ice...however it ends up staying on track somehow, due to the three red-hot performances steering the wheel.
Since "Avengers: End Game" in 2019 and the pandemic that would follow, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been mostly a slow-burn...much of the excitement has shifted away from cinemas to at-home Disney+ series like "WandaVision," "Falcon & The Winter Soldier" and "Loki," with the MCU having started to set the stage for its "Phase Four." The only theatrical MCU film since "End Game" has been "Black Widow," a movie that chronologically took place back following the events of "Captain America: Civil War," so it feels like forever since the movies have actually propelled us forward in any major way towards whatever the MCU might have in store upcoming.
With "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the Marvel origin-story formula is palpable, but while it fails to launch us forward into the teased "multi-verse" that we know is around the corner, it introduces one of the coolest, original characters the MCU has seen in quite a while: Shang-Chi. Unlike the TV shows that have introduced possible "new" versions of The Falcon, Captain America and Loki, Shang-Chi and the artifacts known as the "Ten Rings" feel fresh, and they open up new possibilities for the MCU at large.
There are fewer than 15 known paintings in existence today known to be painted by "The Master" himself, Leonard da Vinci. In the documentary, "The Lost Leonardo," the incredible story of a painting known as the "Salvator Mundi" (latin for "Savior of the World") is told...is this in fact a lost Da Vinci painting? Or is it one of the art world's greatest scams?
Shea Whigham definitely has what it takes to be a leading man, despite making a career out of being an ensemble player. He deserves better than "The Gateway," a film that is squarely a B-movie, but not in a nostalgic or fun sort of way.
What is the value of a human life? Almost everyone would most likely agree that it's absurd to place a dollar amount on the worth of a person's life, but that's exactly what D.C. attorney Ken Feinberg (Michael Keaton) was tasked with.
In the days and months following the horrendous terrorist attacks on 9/11, Feinberg stepped in trying to do the right thing: He was heading up the daunting job of coming up with financial compensation for the victims of 9/11 and their families. But how does one go about valuing the compensation one should receive for the loss of a parent, sibling or child? Again I ask: What is the value of a human life?
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