TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019 — 7 FILMS WORTH WATCHING FOR THE AWARDS SEASON
TIFF 2019 featured over 300 films from more than 80 countries. A few films were acquired by Amazon, Netflix or HBO rather than for the traditional theatrical releases. Since the Golden Globes and Academy Awards are just around the corner ‘tis the season to catch these films.
Hugh Jackman stars as a Long Island superintendent in “Bad Education,” a brilliant true-life crime drama about the biggest embezzlement scandal in the history of the American school system. The film is based on real-life events that occurred at writer and co-producer Mike Makowsky’s high school during the time he was a student there. With a cast like Jackman, Allison Janney and Ray Romano no wonder HBO Films acquired this flick for $17.5 million.
One of 3 TIFF films inspired by magazine articles, “Hustlers” was based on Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine article, “The Hustlers at Scores,” this movie stars Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star as the ringleaders of a group of New York City strippers who come up with a plan to scam Wall Street executives after the 2008 financial crisis leaves them with few other options. It’s worth watching.
Todd Phillips’ standalone origin story of an iconic arch-nemesis stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society. Joker is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles a star-studded cast — Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield — in this intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective (Craig) who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer).
One of this season’s most buzzed about films is the Palme d’Or–winning “Parasite” from Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho. A politically charged cinematic wonder described by Bong himself as “a comedy without clowns and a tragedy without villains,” the film moves quickly from one tone to another, mixing pathos and satire with thrills and drama, in a perfectly controlled blend of many different genres. Parasite observes and dissects with surgical precision the life of two families of different social backgrounds.
Acclaimed New York auteur Noah Baumbach digs deep into divorce with the ironically named “Marriage Story”. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.
Baumbach’s narrative goes back and forth through time, showing how Charlie and Nicole fell in love and built a life together alongside a detailed, blow-by-blow chronicle of their marital dismantling. This stellar cast includes Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. Catch it on Netflix right now.
“A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD”
Tom Hanks’ plays Fred Rogers AKA Mr. Rogers in this film that tracks the beloved TV host’s friendship with Esquire journalist Tom Junod, who profiled him for the magazine in 1998.