Meg Shields

TIFF 2022 | Empire of Light (Sam Mendes, UK/US) — Special Presentations

By Meg Shields They said it couldn’t be done. But someone has finally made a boring movie about Olivia Colman being horny. Directed by Sam Mendes, shot by Roger Deakins, and scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Empire of Light is a technically proficient but hopelessly superficial tale that follows Hilary (Colman), a listless…
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TIFF 2022 | Bros (Nicholas Stoller, US) — Special Presentations

By Meg Shields Despite being billed as a satire, Bros is, formally speaking, a familiar bedfellow within the rom-com space. Nicholas Stoller’s crowdpleaser slots in nicely alongside a long lineage of anti-romantic comedies so named for their fiercely independent protagonists who find their way from cynicism to sentimentality in the presence of The One Person…
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TIFF 2021 | Dune (Denis Villeneuve, US/Hungary)

By Meg Shields In retrospect, Denis Villeneuve’s career has always been hurtling toward Dune, given its fateful melange of unadaptable sci-fi (Arrival), closely guarded cult objects (Blade Runner 2049), and morally fraught political sandstorms (Sicario). Adapting the first half of Frank Herbert’s monumental sci-fi novel, Dune begins with an uneasy exchange of power: the transfer…
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Knives Out (Rian Johnson, US) — Special Presentations

By Meg Shields Knives Out is a massively fun, if blissfully unsubtle, old-school whodunnit from Star Wars helmer Rian Johnson. The film takes place in a manor presumably built by the same contractor behind Laurence Olivier’s mansion in Sleuth, and revolves around the mysterious death of the Thrombrey family’s patriarch, Harlan (Christopher Plummer). The writing…
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Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu, US) — Gala Presentations

By Meg Shields Clemency was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance festival, and maybe it’s time we accept that the altitude is having some pernicious effect on Utah audiences. The film follows Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard), a beleaguered Death Row warden who takes her job very seriously, but is starting to feel…
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My English Cousin (Karim Sayad, Switzerland/Qatar) — TIFF Docs

By Meg Shields My English Cousin is probably what it would actually feel like to be a fly on the wall: people scratch their asses, bicker harmlessly with loved ones, and pack and repack their bags. It’s a hard truth: most people just aren’t that interesting. The documentary follows director Karim Sayad’s cousin Fahed, who…
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My Life as a Comedian (Rojda Sekersöz, Sweden/Belgium) — Discovery

By Meg Shields Within the first several minutes of My Life as a Comedian, it becomes readily apparent that something terrible is going to happen: the kind of inevitable third-act tragedy that leaves now-grown protagonists with weighty shoulders and instant recoil at the mention of hometowns. This is certainly the case with Juha, a now…
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