This is the Toronto Film Critics Association’s voting weekend, so I’ve been gorging on awards contenders between meeting various deadlines. It’s been a rough week.
Yes, I know, I could actually have to work for a living. But I’m still exhausted. What’s opening today, you wonder?
Chavela: Five years after her death, Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi give Chavela Vargas — whom they consider the Edith Piaf of Mexico — her artistic due with this affectionate documentary. Susan loved it.
Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman’s naturalistic take on Churchill is pretty great, and stands in stark contrast to Joe Wright’s overweening bombast. So that’s nice.
Dim the Fluorescents: I’ve been campaigning for Daniel Warth’s idiosyncratic mash-up of workplace comedy and psychodrama — starring Claire Armstrong and Naomi Skwarna as codependent corporate seminartists — since I saw it a year ago. Now you can find out why.
The Other Side of Hope: I’m guessing some critics will hold the warm familarity of Aki Kaurismaki’s latest movie against him, and yeah, it’s pretty much just Le Havre again. But it’s a message worth repeating, you know?
Pyewacket: An angry teenager impulsively curses her mother — and damns them both — in Adam Macdonald’s slow-burn horror movie. And yeah, it stumbles at the finish line, but Nicole Munoz is still terrific as the troubled lead.
The Shape of Water: Guillermo Del Toro’s swooning monster movie was one of my favorite movies at TIFF; a few months later, I’m calling it one of the year’s best. Why? Just go see it.
Wonder Wheel: Don’t look at me, I reviewed the last Woody Allen picture. And Susan has no time for this one.
Also, I took a look at the Jayu Human Rights film festival, which takes over the Hot Docs Cinema this weekend because why not cram one more festival into the calendar before the holidays.