I saw only five movies at the Toronto International Film Festival this year because of some unforeseen medical bills. (Not me! This is Canada, after all.) I did not see any masterpieces this year, or near-masterpieces, but I saw some good films and some films that inspired me with hope for future good films.
El Reino (aka The Realm), directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen (9/10)
This thriller, about white collar corruption in Spain, is nearly a great film, but goes off the rails in its third act. It’s still a pretty incredible film, with one really incredible moment which should be in a different film but it’s still incredible.
Museo, directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios (8/10)
This is a fantastical re-imagining of an archaeology heist in Mexico city in the 1980s. The film is a barrage of different styles and filmmaking techniques, and usually I find this extremely off putting in a film. But given the skill that is used to tell this story in those different styles, and given that the film itself is so damn entertaining, I really did enjoy the different styles and the strange and fantastical retelling of this story, which makes no pretense to being true.
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, directed by Henry Dunham (8/10)
This is a pretty great debut film, which suffers only from its script, which is stagey in the extreme and a little unrealistic. Ignore the reviews which tell you it’s too similar to Reservoir Dogs. This movie is well shot, well edited and really well lit.
Screwball, directed by Billy Corben (7/10)
This is a pretty damn amusing, albeit overly glib, documentary about the Biogenesis baseball scandal. It’s not journalism, so don’t go into it expecting it is, but it’s really entertaining.
Hold the Dark, directed by Jeremy Saulnier (7?/10)
My most anticipated film was also the film I like least. I don’t know if it’s the bigger budget, or it’s the first time adapting source material, but things do not work as well as in Saulnier’s earlier films, which are all worth watching.