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Knives Out, Weird Al, and More: Eight Great Movies From TIFF 2022

Going to an event like the Toronto International Film Festival is an overwhelming experience, even if you are an experienced festival-goer. There are just so many movies spread out over so many days and theaters that it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out something. At the same time, it can be incredibly refreshing. As mainstream movie theaters continue to be dominated by shrinking lineups of blockbusters and endless franchises, the wide range of films shown at TIFF is a good reminder of why movies are so great.

This mix of overwhelmed yet refreshed is exactly how I felt after spending the past week at the 2022 iteration of TIFF. I didn’t get to see everything I hoped for. In particular, I couldn’t squeeze Park Chan-wook’s new movie Decide to leave in my schedule, and my ticket to the now controversial The People’s Joker was canceled – but I still managed to screen a huge range of different types of movies, from extremely wacky biopics and sweet kidnapping stories to some wonderful stop-motion animations.

With the caveat that I couldn’t watch everything there, here are my favorite movies I saw at the festival.

Song Kang Ho and Gang Dong Won in Broker.

Song Kang-Ho and Gang Dong-won in Estate agent.
Image: Neon

Estate agent

A sweet road trip about selling babies

If you’ve seen director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s work before, such as his award-winning shopliftersthen his latest movie, Estate agentwill feel familiar in many ways. Estate agent again the director sees people on the fringes of society exploring and finding morally questionable ways to survive. In this case, two men run a side business that sells orphaned babies to wealthy couples who want to adopt. It is extremely confused: especially when one of the mothers comes back to check on her child.

Eventually she joins them on a road trip through Korea, and from there, Estate agent steadily turns into a surprisingly sweet tale of found families and the horrors of navigating bureaucratic systems. For every dark moment — like seeing a couple negotiate the price of a baby or an actual murder — there are tender scenes of people just trying to make the best of what they’ve got. Think of it as a crime drama crossed with Little Miss Sunshine. Estate agent also has a great cast including Parasite star Song Kang-Ho as one of the brokers and Sense8‘s Doona Bae as a cop trying to catch them in the act.

Estate agent hits theaters on December 26.

Janelle Monae in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

Janelle Monae in Glass Onion: A Knife Mystery.
Image: Netflix

Glass Onion: A Knife Mystery

A whodunit franchise is born

Netflix has spent a dazzling amount on the sequels to Blades off and if the former is any indication, the investment might have been worth it. Glass Onion sees the return of both director Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig and charming detective Benoit Blanc as they tackle a new mystery. This time, it’s a murder on the private island of a tech billionaire, who happens to host a retreat for his closest friends, including everyone from an MRA YouTube star to a state governor.

Craig is obviously having a lot of fun doubling down on his Southern caricature character here, but Glass Onion Also notable is how great the rest of the cast is: Edward Norton as a douchebag tech brother with more money than mind; Janelle Monáe as his rejected former partner; Kathryn Hahn as a politician with questionable morals; Kate Hudson as an impossibly ignorant fashion designer; and – arguably the best of them all – Dave Bautista as a man so insecure he swims with his gun. if Glass Onion were only 90 minutes of this group having fun on an island i would love it but it is also a very intriguing mystery. For more information Glass Onionmake sure to check out my full review.

Glass Onion: A Knife Mystery begins streaming on Netflix on December 23, but will hit select theaters at some point.

Elliott Crosset Hove in Godland.

Elliott Crosset Hove Godland.
Image: TIFF

Godland

Come for the beautiful Icelandic landscapes, stay for the rumination on life and faith

Godland is based on true events, but in a unique way. The filmmakers used a series of found photos from the 1800s as inspiration for this quiet, contemplative story about a Danish priest who travels across Iceland to set up a church in a remote village for the winter. It’s full of breathtaking shots of the incredible Icelandic landscape, from icy waterfalls to flowing lava, along with disturbingly real-life scenes of decomposing and butchered animals. And the story touches on some big topics, from our relationship with the land that sustains us to the uneasy divide between settlers and those who colonized them.

Which is also very striking Godland, however, is the way it was shot. Director Hlynur Pálmason really leans on the photographic inspiration, with square frames and close-up shots of the cast that often resemble portraits. Sometimes it feels like looking through the lens of the priest’s camera. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.

It is not yet clear when Godland gets a wider release.

A Mars rover in Good Night Oppy.

A Mars rover in Good night Oppy.
Image: Amazon

Good night Oppy

A space documentary with a touch Star Wars

that of Amazon Good night Oppy is a documentary about the unexpected longevity of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. For the most part, it has exactly what you would expect from this kind of movie. There are many great interviews with former engineers and scientists who worked on the project, along with archival footage to show how things were at the time.

However, what makes it unique is its visual effects. Star Wars visual effects house ILM worked on the film, creating incredibly detailed and realistic CG scenes that bring these robbers and the Martian landscape to life. There are planet-wide sandstorms that look like something out Mad Max and lots of close-ups of the robots that make them look and move like Star Wars droids. It adds a new dimension to a familiar story.

Good night Oppy begins streaming on Prime Video on November 23.

Lee Jung-jae in Hunt.

Lee Jung-jae in Hunt.
Image: TIFF

Hunt

A ruthless spy thriller from the star of squid game

Hunt marks the directorial debut of Lee Jung-jae, a longtime Korean star who gained worldwide fame through Netflix’s squid game. It is a spy thriller set in the 1980s after a failed assassination attempt on the South Korean president. In the aftermath, two KCIA chiefs – one of whom is played by Lee himself – race to find the suspect amid mounting tensions with North Korea.

Spy thrillers are always full of deceit. That’s kind of the point. But Hunt takes things to an extreme degree, with a dizzying array of twists and turns that make it nearly impossible to know who’s on which side and who to trust. (Hint: You probably can’t trust anyone.) It’s relentless, rarely giving you a second to breathe before throwing another wrench into the proceedings. Things end on a slightly strange note, but the ride is a lot of fun.

Hunt doesn’t have a cinema release date yet.

Mia Goth in Pearl.

Mia Goth in Pearl.
Image: A24

Mia Goth stars in this slasher origin story

Pearl is the second entry in Ti West’s burgeoning horror franchise, but it’s also primarily a prequel to X, which was released earlier this year. It’s an original story, with Mia Goth reprising her role as the titular Pearl as she transforms from a humble farm girl into a bloodthirsty monster.

If you’ve seen Xthere are not many surprises here, but Pearl still works because of the incredible performance of Goth, which is truly terrifying, as well as the stylistic mix of The Wizard of Oz, psychosis, and a straight slasher. For more information Pearlbe sure to check out my full review.

Pearl hits theaters on September 16.

Daniel Radcliffe and Quinta Brunson in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

Daniel Radcliffe and Quinta Brunson in Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic.
Image: TIFF

Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic

An absolutely ridiculous take on the music biopic

Most biopics are designed to help viewers understand a person’s life. When it comes to musical biopics, it usually means following a traditional arc from a kid to a superstar, with all the ups and downs in between. Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic does all of this, but with one key difference: almost nothing you see in the movie is actually true.

Instead of, Foreign is a parody of biopics (fit for the master of musical parodies) that is more like Run Hard: The Dewey Cox Story then Rocketman – and it’s absolutely hilarious. It takes Yankovic’s life story in absurd directions, from drug-fueled journeys through hell to a battle with a real-life drug lord. Daniel Radcliffe is fully committed to the titular role, adding a level of intensity that makes the jokes hit that much harder. For more information Foreignyou can check out my full review.

Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic is coming to the Roku Channel on November 4.

Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) in Wendell & Wild.

Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) in Wendell & Wild.
Image: Netflix

Wendell & Wild

An excellent stop motion adventure from the ghosts behind it Coraline and no

For some people, the names involved in Wendell & Wild will be enough to make them watch. After all, it’s a return to the stop-motion animation that director Henry Selick co-wrote with director Henry Selick no director Jordan Peele and Selick’s first film since 2009 Coraline. Peele also stars in the film alongside his longtime comedic companion Keegan-Michael Key. On paper, it’s the perfect Halloween movie.

Thankfully, it’s also great on screen. Combining some of the best stop-motion animations I’ve ever seen – seriously, the level of detail is incredible, from rumbling radiators to bubbling pots of curry – with a silly, terrifying and heartfelt story about a young girl with literal demons fighting for her place in the world and save an entire city at the same time. It is a typical Selick coming-of-age story, but also one with a side note of the industrial prison complex.

Wendell & Wild begins streaming on Netflix on October 28.

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