TIFF Blog: More movies, On The Come Up, Glass Onion, and Steven Spielberg

by W. Andrew Powell
TIFF Blog 2022 - Day 3 and 4

This has been a great year at TIFF. The festival has been better than it was even in 2019, and between Saturday and Sunday I screened more of my top picks from the festival, I had a great interview, and I had the chance to see legends of film in person.

[Read my blog post from the first two days of TIFF]

Colombian Film and Television Industry breakfast

Saturday morning I had a breakfast session with the Colombian Film and Television Industry, learning about production in the country, and what’s been happening in the industry there over the last few years. The country has two incentive programs that benefit productions, and most importantly, a wide range of beautiful regions that can look like almost anywhere in the world.

I missed the SATW travel conference in Bogota this week to be at TIFF, so it was great having a chance to learn a bit more about the country, and production industry, but now I’m really looking forward to visiting Colombia. Thanks to ProColombia for the invitation.

My big interview for the weekend was a chance to sit down with On The Come Up stars Jamila Gray and Da’Vine Joy Randolph to talk about the incredible drama, the rap battles, music, and director Sanaa Lathan’s incredible team to bring the novel to screen.

Gray and Randolph had great details to share about how they connected to the material, how Gray prepared for the rap battles, and how much it felt like a family on set. I’ll have that video interview coming up this week, so stay tuned. On The Come Up is a fantastic drama, with a big heart, and I love the cast.

On Saturday I also watched I Like Movies by director Chandler Levack, and I was at the premiere of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery thanks to my friends at Canada Goose.

I Like Movies was a complete surprise for me because I went in really not knowing anything about it, and I love that it’s an all-out suburban 90s dramedy. The opening is almost to good to be in a movie, it’s packed with film and Toronto references (the “Cashman” stood out, in particular), and stars Isaiah Lehtinen, as film lover Lawrence, nails everything about the role.

My favourite part of the film though was the scene-stealing Romina D’Ugo, who played Lawrence’s boss at a video store. She made every scene she was in, I loved the chemistry with Lehtinen, and her sense of humour, on top of the emotion she brought to a couple of key scenes, blew me away.

And then there was Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. This is easily my favourite movie experience that I’ve had in a long time. It’s a total crowd-pleaser, it’s so funny and sharp, and it’s a much more complex film from the original.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery premiere
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery premiere

The best part of Rian Johnson’s new murder mystery though is the whole mood. The original Knives Out had that classic murder-mystery feel, inside a crusty old mansion, and while it was funny, Glass Onion is a lot of fun. The new film is on comedy adrenalin, it frequently mixes the action and comedy together, side-by-side, and yet it maintains some excellent dramatic moments.

I could watch a hundred more movies with Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, and then there’s the great Janelle Monáe. Monáe is a standout in the film, and that’s saying something next to Craig, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, and Madelyn Cline.

And then there was The Fabelmans. As a movie fan for as long as I can remember, it’s hard to explain how much it meant to be just in the same room as the great Steven Spielberg. He introduced the film, and then I watched one of the most astonishing movies.

The Fablemans is really like nothing else that I’ve seen from Spielberg. The semi-autobiographical story follows the Fableman family, and their son Sam’s (played as a teenager by Gabriel LaBelle) love for making movies. For a 2 hour and 31 minute long movie, it feels brisk and draws you into to this family’s turmoils as Sam struggles with his passion for art, his love for his family, and the everyday.

Lastly, I was at the premiere for Netflix’s The Good Nurse, and it’s a fascinating story, based on a novel which is actually based on real events. Jessica Chastain stars as the “good nurse” opposite Eddie Redmayne in one of his best performances. Chastain puts all of her heart into playing Amy, and I really appreciate the empathy she brought to the role.

Redmayne on the other hand is at his most likeable, maybe ever, until he’s not, and he’s spectacular at both. He bristles, and he’s electric, and frankly scary at times, to the point that even his hand gestures are creepy.

What was amazing to me though is that the real Amy Loughren lived this story. She did something, while she was ill, that most people could never imagine, and the standing ovation she received at the end of the film, when she stepped out on stage, was fantastic, and yet I’d say based on her story, could have still been longer.

Thanks to Netflix for the invite to the premiere.

I’ll have more from TIFF all week. Here are a few photos that I snapped during the last two days with my phone.

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