Gary Oldman plays Churchill, and a revitalized Paul Schrader gives Ethan Hawke one of his best roles

“Did Jesus worry about being liked?” The unexpected surprise of this year’s TIFF turned out to be Paul Schrader’s First Reformed (Grade: B+), a grotesque dual homage to Diary Of A Country Priest and Winter Light in which the alcoholic rector of a nearly empty church in upstate New York is asked to hide a suicide bomb…

Louis CK struggles to separate the art from the artist in I Love You, Daddy

Let’s get it out of the way: Louis CK’s I Love You, Daddy (Grade: B-), which was filmed in secret on an infinitesimal budget and added as a surprise to the TIFF line-up, is about Woody Allen. But the more general subject is lenience, a masochistic study of a man beset by all the slack he has cut for the things and…

Jennifer Lawrence goes Black Widow in the first Red Sparrow trailer

Marvel is really dragging its feet on giving Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow her own movie, so 20th Century Fox and director Francis Lawrence have decided to just beat Marvel to it with Red Sparrow. This trailer doesn’t offer a ton of information about the film, but what’s here is so reminiscent of Marvel’s super spy…

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist gives The Room its own lazy tribute act

Every night, Peter Kuplowsky, the baby-faced new curator of TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, has a wooden hat rack brought out to the stage of the Ryerson Theatre so he can try and land his king-of-the-geeks fedora on one of the hooks. A carnival game to go with the idea that this is the festival’s midway and…

Will the creator of Veep win an award in Toronto for his savagely funny new political comedy?

For decades, Toronto was a strictly noncompetitive film festival: Rather than pit movies against each other like race horses, it simply gathered them all together in one place and let audiences vote on an overall favorite. But that changed three years ago with the introduction of Platform, a dozen-movie competition…

First They Killed My Father depicts genocide through a child's eyes 

B

The most remarkable thing about First They Killed My Father is how quiet it is. Angelina Jolie’s film—about the Khmer Rouge regime that killed one quarter of the population of Cambodia between the years of 1975 and 1979—is based on a memoir by human-rights activist Loung Ung, who was 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge…

God is a gaslighting husband in Darren Aronofsky’s brilliantly deranged Mother!

B+

Darren Aronofsky’s preoccupation with paranoid, physically grotesque searches for meaning—a curious mix of deep-think and makeup effects that goes back to his black-and-white debut feature, Pi—grimly paints humanity as a species defined by obsessions, addictions, delusions, and self-destruction, its only prophets…

Bond 25 producer Barbara Broccoli says "of course" she'd consider a female director

Lucasfilm recently had an opportunity to bring a female director into the Star Wars fold when Colin Trevorrow was fired from Episode IX, but the studio went with J.J. Abrams instead. Meanwhile, MGM and Eon Productions are readying the next James Bond movie, and with no director attached yet, people are wondering if…

Guillermo Del Toro gets in touch with his sentimental side in extravagant The Shape Of Water

Guillermo Del Toro’s baroquely whimsical Cold War fairytale The Shape Of Water (Grade: B) is one of those movies that seems to imprint its gushing love affair with other movies—with the flickering euphoria of classic cinema—onto every image. Cinephilia has always been creative elixir for the Mexican genre maestro…

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Hollywood’s new “it couple” is the Babadook and Pennywise

It can be horrifying to merely be alive in 2017, for myriad reasons. Hell, the endlessly sensationalist American Horror Story even set its current season in our world. Perhaps this increasing anxiety and paranoia is why we’ve flocked to horror films like Get Out and now It in record numbers—there’s something almost…

Netflix documentary trailer highlights The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

Netflix is quickly building up a large library of true crime documentaries, but subjects of those documentaries aren’t normally as famous as Marsha P. Johnson. A leading figure in the gay rights movement in the ‘60s, Johnson was found dead in the Hudson River in 1992, but there was no investigation because the police…

Alec Baldwin to play John DeLorean in scripted scenes for new documentary

It looks like Alec Baldwin is trading in the orange makeup from his recurring gig on Saturday Night Live for some stainless steel and those sweet gull-wing doors, as Variety is reporting that he’ll be playing John DeLorean in a new documentary about the DMC founder and excessively innovative car designer. Apparently,…

Chicago, visit The Florida Project's magic kingdom early and for free 

The Florida Project doesn’t have the hook of Sean Baker’s first film, Tangerine (a.k.a “the iPhone movie”), but according to The A.V. Club’s own A.A. Dowd, it’s got all of the charm. Dowd caught The Florida Project at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where he said, “[w]hat’s perhaps most miraculous about it is the…