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TIFF 21 WRAP

By John H. Foote With the wildly loved and overrated Belfast winning the People’s Choice Award, TIFF is in the books for another year. Good for the people who run this massive event, they made it happen two years in a row amidst the COVID nightmare. I applaud their thinking outside the box, but truthfully,…

TIFF DAY 8: SPENCER

By John H. Foote (***) In 2016, Pablo Larraín brought his film Jackie to TIFF, a haunting film about Jackie Kennedy in the moments, hours, days and weeks after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Portraying Jackie in the year’s greatest performance was Natalie Portman. She masterfully captured that whispery voice, that shell-shocked…

TIFF DAY 7: THE STARLING

By Alan Hurst I love Melissa McCarthy. I think she’s one of the most inventive comedic actresses on the planet and she’s also a very fine dramatic actress. She won me over in a big way with Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013), Spy (2015), Can You Ever Forgive Me (2018), and in the first few…

TIFF DAY 7: THE SURVIVOR

By John H. Foote (***) Barry Levinson was at his peak in the 80s and early 90s, directing box office hit and critically acclaimed films such as Diner (1982), The Natural (1984), Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Tin Men (1987), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), his Oscar-winning Best Picture Rain Man (1988), which also won him the…

TIFF DAY 7: BELFAST

By John H. Foote (***) As a filmmaker and actor, Kenneth Branagh has run very hot and cold. Hailed as the heir apparent to Laurence Olivier (did we need one?), Branagh exploded into film with a bloody, realistic production of Henry V (1989) landing himself nominations for Oscars as Best Actor and Best Director. Never…

TIFF DAY 6: JAGGED

By John H. Foote (****) The song “You Oughta Know” begins with the singer spitting out each word venomously. “I want you to know….”, she tells her ex-lover, laying open her broken heart.  That song launched Alanis Morissette to the top of the Billboard charts, won her a boatload of Grammys, and established her as…

TIFF DAY 5: THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

By John H. Foote (***) Accolades came fast for Jessica Chastain, stardom did not. The beautiful red headed graduate of Julliard struggled for several years before finally landing a plum role in Al Pacino’s filmed adaptation of Salome (2009) as the dancing vixen who demands the head of John the Baptist. She had previously been…

TIFF DAY 4: THE GUILTY

By John H. Foote (***) Shot in a miraculous 11 days during the height of the pandemic, director Antoine Fuqua and actor Jake Gyllenhaal display remarkable artistry and discipline in creating this film. A straight remake of the Danish film of the same name, the major difference is Gyllenhaal, who racks up the intensity to…

TIFF DAY 3: DUNE

By John H. Foote (***) First of all, thank you to the programmers at TIFF for grabbing Dune as a screening work. In doing so, they landed one of the years most anticipated films as they did a couple of years back with Joker (2019) and A Star is Born (2018). Well done, folks!! “This…

TIFF DAY 3: JOCKEY

By John H. Foote (***) You know those actors you see from film to film, but never bother learning their name? They are strong character actors, sometimes something beneath being a character actor, and every so often they are given a chance to shine bright. That is the case with long time actor Clifton Collins…