2019 TIFF Movie Review: SORRY WE MISSED YOU (UK 2019) *****Top 10

Sorry We Missed You Poster
Trailer

A hard-up delivery driver and his wife struggle to get by in modern-day England.

Director:

Ken Loach

Writer:

Paul Laverty

Ken Loach’s (I, DANIEL, KES, MY NAME IS JOE) latest film centres once again on the common man facing injustice in the working system.  The film begins laying out the structure of employment at a parcel delivery company.  As such, it becomes apparent offering freedom to the worker is an excuse for the company not taking responsibility for work accidents. Set in Newcastle, Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is a former construction worker who lost his job and home in the 2008 financial crash.  

Eager to make a go at being his own boss, he takes a quasi-freelance delivery gig, though it means punishing hours, working under a ruthless manager, and making a substantial investment up front.  Ricky convinces his wife, Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), a home-care nurse, to sell her car in order to buy the van he needs for the job.  Complications mount as Ricky starts to discover the harsh realities of supposedly autonomous labour, his son Seb (Rhys Stone) courts trouble in his new-found, semi-politicized vocation as a graffiti artist.  One knows, from previous Loach’s films that things are not going to go smoothly for Ricky and family.   Loach goes deep into emotions and makes his audience feel the agony faced by both Ricky and Abbie. 

 The results are astounding.  The audience at the screening wept and cheered.  This is a remarkable and fully charged emotional ride.  Make sure you are not sorry to have missed this one.  Loach’s best since KES.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao

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2019 TIFF Movie Review: EMA (Chile 2019)

Ema Poster
Trailer

A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.

Director:

Pablo Larraín

EMA and her husband have just ‘returned’ their adopted son after he, (the adopted son) set fire to to his aunt’s face and the house.  They apparently regret the decision and go to great lengths to find the boy again.  At the same time, their marriage is on the rocks.  They are both in the dance scene, the husband a choreographer and she in his troupe, so there is plenty of dance choreography.  EMA is a total mess and so is Larain’s film.  

The film makes little sense though it looks great courtesy of his D.P.  Larrain includes scenes of orgy when Ema begins indulging with multiple sex partners including her lawyer.  Larrain directed the Oscar nominated JACKIE.  That film has a perfect segment when the camera roams the White House with the song Camelot playing in the background.  

There is a similar segment in EMA with a catchy song played as the camera roams around.  But the film still ends up a boring and pretentious artistic waste of time.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/357724067

2019 TIFF Movie Review: GREED (UK 2019)

Greed Poster
Satire about the world of the super-rich.

Writers:

Michael Winterbottom (screenplay), Sean Gray (additional material by)

Director Michael Winterbottom (THE TRIP, WONDERLAND, and his best film JUDE) and Steve Coogan have worked together many times and they seem too comfortable in this latest offering that tackles too many subjects. 

 The fashion industry, celerities biographies, Bangladesh garment manufacturing, the Greek commercial collapse, refugees are all targets that Winterbottom cannot decide which he should deem the most important.  His film is centred on a court inquiry of a retail fashion billionaire Sir Richard MCreadie (Coogan) nicknamed Greedy for short.

  His ex-wife (Isla Fisher) and dutiful subordinate (Sarah Solemani) aid him on the way.  While all this is going on, biographer (David Mitchell) puts in his two cents worth, but turns out more annoying than funny. 

GREED is indulged in expensive looking production sets and exotics locations and appears to be going against all the film is supposed to be fighting against.  Coogan prances around in this role like a wealthy peacock.  The entire result is less than impressive, like the amphitheatre being built by the refugees.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NNZHlIoA4U

2019 TIFF Movie Review: A GIRL MISSING (Japan/France 2019)

A Girl Missing Poster
Ichiko is a care-giver and a nurse. She provide home-care to the Oishos’ elderly woman and is almost considered part of the family as she visits and performs her tasks routinely. What is … See full summary »

Director:

Kôji Fukada

A nurse, Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui) goes to a hair salon and asks for a particular Kazumichi Yoneda (Sosuke Ikematsu) to cut her hair, while introducing herself using a different name.  He asks her if it is her first time and she says that he had never cut her hair before.  

The explanation she tells him later on in the film is ‘revenge’  an act thought out similar to Lina Wertmuller’s 1972 excellent satire THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI.  But this film has none of the wit or bite of Wertmuller’s film.  

Instead of being suspenseful and mysterious, Fukada only bores and confuses with its dual time-line story.  It takes a while before the audience can figure out what is really going on.  The story and message is how an incident in the past – a child kidnapping can affect ones future.  But isn’t this not the case for most incidents? 

 Ichiko also has a romance and an engagement with a doctor but this is one relationship that is the most unaffectionate in any film I have seen this year.  Apparently director Kukada has his heart missing in the making of this film.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzaXgx2tVuY

2019 TIFF Movie Review: BLACK CONFLUX (Canada 2019) ***

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Trailer

The seemingly separate lives of an anxious, disillusioned teen girl and a troubled, alienated man converge fatefully in this haunting exploration of womanhood, isolation, and toxic masculinity, set in 1980s Newfoundland.

Director:

Nicole Dorsey

Writer:

Nicole Dorsey

BLACK CONFLUX tells the dual stores of two disillusioned people set in 1980’s Newfoundland.  The film could very well be set in the present in Toronto close to where director Dorsey earned her film degree and lives. 

 The seemingly separate lives of an anxious, disillusioned teen girl and a troubled, alienated man converge fatefully in this haunting exploration of womanhood, isolation, and toxic masculinity.  Fifteen-year-old Jackie (Ella Ballentine) is navigating from vulnerable adolescence to impending adulthood. Dennis (Ryan McDonald) is a socially inept loner with a volatile dark streak and delusional fantasies of adoring women at his beck and call.  Director Dorsey loves to play with symbols.  

There are two scenes involving bugs, the significance only realized after a bit of deep thought at the end of the film.  Dennis’ story is more interesting as his character as an ambiguous creepy characters that could explode at any instant is more intriguing.  he film has a solid ending when the two stories eventually converge and the two meet making.  A very assured debut feature from Dorsey again enforcing the power of women.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auJvUxFK1TE

2019 TIFF Movie Review: WASP NETWORK (France/Belgium/Spain/Brazil 2019) ***

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The story of five Cuban political prisoners who had been imprisoned by the United States since the late 1990s on charges of espionage and murder.

Director:

Olivier Assayas

WASP NETWORK is a multi-level political thriller that tells the story of numerous characters set in the Cuban American cold war.  Director Assayas did CARLOS which spanned a 181-minute lengthy running time.  WASP NETWORK has more stories to tell and it seems really rushed in Assayas’ storytelling in this 2-hour film.  The primary story is set in December 1990. Airline pilot René González (Edgar Ramírez) steals a plane and flees Cuba, which is about to topple into an economic crisis precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Having abandoned his wife (Oscar winner Penelope Cruz) and daughter, René, now based in Miami, is regarded as a coward and a traitor, though in letters home he explains that he is fighting for a more just and prosperous Cuba as a member of the activist organization Brothers to the Rescue.  

Another character is fellow exile and pilot Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura). René gradually becomes more aware of the moral compromises the Brothers make to do their work — and the degree to which the CIA is involved in supporting anti-Castro activities.  Director Assayas makes the CIA the story’s chief villain.

Trailer: https://www.cineuropa.org/en/video/rdID/375491/f/t/

2019 TIFF Movie Review: FORD V FERRARI (USA 2019) ***

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Trailer

American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

Director:

James Mangold

FORD V FERRARI is the type of crowd pleasing action packed movie that critics generally dislike and audiences cheer to.  Director James Mangold (3:10 TO YUMA) and the 4 film writers tell the story of real-life superheroes Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, race car engineers who commandeered the resources of the mighty Ford Motor Company in the 1960s to go head-to-head with the gods of Italian auto racing, Ferrari. 

But it is the Ford motor company’s owner Henry Ford and marketing chief that the two have to keep fighting in order to beat Ferrari.  So the title of the film should be Underdogs V Ford.  

Cliche ridden, the film does contain two manipulative segments (the fight and the ride Ford takes in the race car) that got the audience applauding.  D.P. Phedon Papamichael shoots the race sequences, particularly the night ones spectacularly as if putting one in the driver’s seat. Christian Bale excels in his role as maverick Ken Miles, the British born American race car driver.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3h9Z89U9ZA