I just wrapped my 12th and final film for the TIFF 2017 film festival, and I gotta say I have an impressive batting average for this year’s rounds. I usually am raking up between 30 and 35 films at TIFF, but thankfully this year I was too busy with the final touches on Hellmington to get around to seeing more. That being said, for 12 films I saw some great pieces of art.
Not all are going to jive with you, but that’s the fun of the film festival experience. You get to be apart of the hype, and set the tone for the films to come as opposed to hear the feedback and then base your judgement on that. You get to have a completely unbiased opinion towards this film. I have to admit, I do sometimes give a film a higher rating because I feel that awkward, “Everyone likes this movie, so I’m an asshole if I don’t.” But I always try to call myself out on it and remind myself why I love movies. Here are my picks for the best flicks to come in 2017/18 from TIFF (Of what I saw…):
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Starting off with my favourite of the festival. Martin McDonagh’s 3rd film shows just how versatile and original this filmmaker is. Not only did this film have me busting a gut with laughter, but at times I was full on weeping in my goddamn seat. And to paint you a picture, this is the first film I’ve seen in ages that while I was crying my damn eyes out, two seconds later I would burst out laughing, and then get back to my nice cry a few seconds after that. I don’t want to say anything else about this film because the less you know the better… because I know the majority of you will have already seen the trailer. Don’t watch any more, just watch the film.
My good pal Dylan (who I have been TIFFing with since 2012) forced me to see this one. I didn’t have too much of a desire to see it, but then when he described the story my ears perked up. I had never heard of Tonya Harding, but I had heard the name Nancy Carrigan. That’s as far as my knowledge went. After seeing this film, I spent hours watching old footage of the case. It completely enveloped me for an entire day. This film is dark, hilarious, tense, and breathtaking. Margot Robbie kills it (as always), Sebastian Stan blew me away and Allison Janney earns my top vote for Best Supporting Actress. Go see this film. It’s pure cinema at it’s finest.
When I first saw Force Majeure, I thought to myself “this is the kind of abstract comedy that I love." I was so happy that there was a filmmaker out there who treats his comedy with the same respect as the film’s style. It’s where style and substance make a beautiful union. The Square takes it about 10 notches further. Again, this is a film to NOT look too much into. I read a summary before the film that was actually incorrect, so when the final credits rolled the only thing I thought to myself was “goddamn, that was so much better than I thought it was gonna be.” A pitch black comedy that dives into the relationships that shape our world. It’ll leave you wanting more, and I hope we get more from Mr. Ostlund sooner than later.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
I’ve been a massive fan of Yorgos Lanthimos since his breakout film Dogtooth. Next up was Alps, then The Lobster, and for me the next best is The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This film is so insanely dark, that I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And when I look back at the films of Mr. Lanthimos, I can’t help but smirk and say “Why am I not surprised?” And I feel like that’s what he wants. To surprise us with his warped vision of our world, and believe me… this film is absolutely warped. And it’s magnificent.
Brawl in Cell Block 99
It was only a week before seeing this that I watched the debut of S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk. A film that really you can’t gauge until the end credits. Is it a slow burn western? Is it a cannibal horror film? It’s both! And the format doesn’t stop with Brawl. I won’t say what the two sub-genres are, but when that midpoint reversal happens, it hits you with breakneck speed and leaves you shocked in your seat. Vince Vaughn absolutely wowed me, and the way Zahler is able to keep you in your seat is something to truly marvel. What a career he has ahead of him.