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TIFF DAY 2: THE POWER OF THE DOG

By John H. Foote (****) The last great film Jane Campion made was the exquisite The Piano (1993), which made her just the second woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar. The Piano received universal acclaim and was the only challenger as the year’s finest film to Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Schindler’s List. It has been…

TIFF DAY 2: ATTICA

By John H. Foote (****) “Attica was fear …” – former inmate The first time I heard the word “Attica”, it was from Al Pacino as Sonny in the superb Sidney Lumet film Dog Day Afternoon (1975). In the scene, he is grandstanding in front of the bank he and his partner are robbing, as…

TIFF OPENING NIGHT: DEAR EVAN HANSEN

By John H. Foote (**) Why did I get the nagging feeling I was watching an after school special? Throughout Dear Evan Hansen, based on the Tony Award winning musical, I had this constant sense I was watching a kids level After School Special with major movie stars sprinkled throughout the film for mainstream appeal.…

TIFF 2021 KICKS OFF TODAY

 By John H. Foote TIFF officially opens today in Toronto, the annual celebration of cinema from around the globe. As always, I am excited to be covering the festival, though for the first time in three decades of attending and writing about the films, I am admitting to some disappointment. For weeks now, as the…

TIFF NO SHOWS

By John H. Foote The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has long been the major launching pad of the year’s Oscar challengers, studios bring their films here in hopes of gaining that all important fall “buzz” that could lead them to that golden circle on the evening of the Academy Awards.  Not this year though.…

TIFF 2020: WRAP UP

By John H. Foote At the end of it all, I would be lying if I said I had the slightest enjoyment of TIFF this year. I missed the energy of the cavernous, crowded Scotiabank Theatre or the spacious, still new Lightbox, the many busy conversations in the audiences before each film, other critics picking…

TIFF 2020 DAY 6: I AM GRETA

By John H. Foote (****) What is she like, this grave, serious, often stern 16-year old who was TIME Magazine’s Newsmaker of the Year in 2019, and brought piercing attention to climate change? Who was this girl, this Greta Thunberg? In this extraordinary documentary we are given remarkable access into her life, her home, see…

TIFF 2020 DAY 5: GOOD JOE BELL

By John H. Foote (***) Based on the true stories of Jaden Bell and his father Joe, portrayed with infinite sadness by Mark Wahlberg, this deeply heartbreaking film, so aching with profound honesty and loss, is a powerful experience. Jaden Bell was a gay teenager who was bullied relentlessly by the students at his high…