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Monos

Courtesy of TIFF

  • Directed by Alejandro Landes
  • Written by Alejandro Landes and Alexis Dos Santos
  • Starring Moises Arias, Sofia Buenaventura and Julianne Nicholson
  • Classification R; 102 minutes

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Go ahead and call Monos a Colombian riff on Lord of the Flies – the basic concept is children let loose in the elements, kicking up an end-of-days societal breakdown. Yet director Alejandro Landes and his co-writer Alexis Dos Santos have more on their mind than updating William Golding, only borrowing the novelist’s civilization-lost theme to explore the modern-day politics of child soldiers and guerrilla warfare in their fractured native land. (Opens Sept. 27 in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary)

Abominable

DreamWorks Animation

  • Directed by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman
  • Written by Jill Culton
  • Featuring the voices of Chloe Bennet, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson
  • Classification PG; 97 minutes

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This animated feature from DreamWorks and director Jill Culton (a storyboard artist for the Pixar films Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Monsters Inc.) offers up a plucky Chinese adolescent heroine and a young Yeti who needs to be back in his Himalayan home. Abominable is an adventure yarn, a morality tale and an Asian travelogue, all wrapped up in a big furry ball of fun – which is actually the best description of the film’s giant beast. (Opens Sept. 27)

Judy

David Hindley/The Associated Press

  • Directed by Rupert Gold
  • Written by Tom Edge
  • Starring Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock and Jessie Buckley
  • Classification PG; 118 minutes

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This is one of those solo turns where the star performance matters more than the story. In Judy, Renée Zellweger plays the legendary singer Judy Garland in her sad last months – broke, anxious, drunk, rueful, but still in it. Zellweger gives it everything she’s got, while screenwriter Tom Edge, adapting Peter Quilter’s stage play End of the Rainbow, does his best to put a fresh spin on familiar scenes. (Opens Sept. 27)

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Opening at VIFF: Documentary The World is Bright is an intimate look at grief

VIFF photo

Like countless people before him, Shi-Ming Deng came to Canada with the dream of a new life. But for Deng, things unravelled in Vancouver before he was found dead of a drug overdose by his roommate. It took a month for his parents in Beijing, Qian Hui Deng and Xue Mei Li, to be informed. In her documentary The World Is Bright, which has its world premiere this weekend at the Vancouver International Film Festival, filmmaker Ying Wang follows his parents’ quest for justice and illumination for more than a decade. (Screens at VIFF Sept. 29, Oct. 3 and Oct 9. VIFF runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 11)

The woman who changed VIFF gets ready to ‘rest’

This weekly guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reports from Barry Hertz, Marsha Lederman, Johanna Schneller and Brad Wheeler.

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