The last two weeks have been a bit of a break for a change, after what I can only call one of the best years ever for The GATE. There were highs and lows, but most of all, I just feel very thankful.
Hustlers has been one of 2019’s most talked about films, and it’s started a number of conversations that dig deeper than just the crime-driven story, but the glitz, glam, and attitude sure don’t hurt either.
Joker, director and co-writer Todd Phillips’ dark and violent attempt to tell the origin story of one of the nastiest comic book villains of all time, is, like the character at the centre of it all, hard to define, but leaves an indelible impression.
Not much more than another standard tale of a young person learning to get over a tragic loss and believe in themselves through the help of a magical creature, Abominable doesn’t break any new ground in animated storytelling whatsoever, but at least it’s cute, enjoyable, and has a lot of heart.
Swerving around many of the cliched potholes modern day biopics about famous performers all too frequently and gleefully drive over at full speed, Judy smartly profiles its larger-than-life subject and talent at a couple of fixed, well chosen points in time rather than mounting a standard riches to rags tale.
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band – which recently became the first ever Canadian documentary to open the Toronto International Film Festival – is a one-sided, boilerplate, but somewhat personable look at one of rock and roll’s most divisive figures.
Austere and restrained almost to a fault, the Danish thriller and family drama Resin is a fairly forgettable tale told with plenty of brooding style, great performances, and not much else worth recommending.
Hustlers is a real gem. The film is star-studded, earnest and heartfelt, and it’s also a crime-drama about a group of women hustling Wall Street scumbags.
Adapting something as sprawling, highly detailed, strange, and twisty as Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winning 2014 novel The Goldfinch for the big screen might’ve been an impossible task for anyone to attempt, but director John Crowley and screenwriter Peter Straughan certainly give their all with this uneven, sometimes bizarre, but never boring literary epic.
The German domestic thriller Pelican Blood starts off by employing a more psychologically based approach to a Bad Seed story of a child with violent impulses, but quickly devolves into monotony and cliches, despite the best efforts of all involved.