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Every week, the list of must-watch movies and new releases grows. To help you decide what to watch, The Globe and Mail critics round up some of their top choices of recent releases.


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Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen star in Fallen Leaves.The Associated Press

Fallen Leaves

Written and directed by Aki Kaurismaki

Starring Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen

Classification PG; 81 minutes

Opens in select theatres Nov. 24, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto

From Barry Hertz’s review of Fallen Leaves: Moments of levity in Fallen Leaves help pave the way for what’s ultimately a beautiful tribute to the power of resilience. As Ansa (which Google tells me is Finnish for “trapped”) and Holappa each lose a series of jobs only to pick themselves right back up, Fallen Leaves delivers on the promise of its title: This is a crisp autumn breeze of a movie, refreshing and invigorating even when it seems like things are falling apart.


Monster

  • Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Written by Yuji Sakamoto
  • Starring Sakura Ando, Eita Nagayama and Soya Kurokawa
  • Classification N/A; 125 minutes
  • Opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and Varsity Cinemas in Toronto Dec. 1, expanding to other cities Dec. 8

From Barry Hertz’s review of Monster: The split-POV conceit of Monster three perspectives are not so much in argument with one another as they are pieces of the same puzzle. And once they are locked together, the final portrait is staggeringly heartbreaking.


Maestro

  • Directed by Bradley Cooper
  • Written by Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer
  • Starring Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan and Sarah Silverman
  • Classification N/A; 129 minutes
  • Opens in select theatres Dec. 1, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto; streaming on Netflix starting Dec. 20

From Barry Hertz’s review of Maestro: Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro is a production built on practice, practice, practice. A movie made by a showman, about a showman, for audiences who appreciate showmen, Maestro has the rhythm, scope, and big brass, ahem, chutzpah of an artist who has honed his craft to as fine a form as possible.


Dream Scenario

  • Written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli
  • Starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson and Michael Cera
  • Classification 14A; 100 minutes
  • Opens in theatres Nov. 24

Barry Hertz’s review of Dream Scenario: What if everyone in the world started dreaming of Nicolas Cage – or at least some version of Nicolas Cage – at the very same time? And what if we couldn’t stop?

This is the chef’s-kiss premise of the new dark comedy Dream Scenario, a thoroughly imaginative and mostly brilliant movie from Norwegian director Kristoffer Borgli that is easily the best thing – real or otherwise – that Cage has starred in for ages.


Napoleon

  • Directed by Ridley Scott
  • Written by David Scarpa
  • Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby and Tahar Rahim
  • Classification 14A; 157 minutes
  • Opens in theatres Nov. 22

Barry Hertz’s review of Napoleon: The fun of a Ridley Scott film is not in figuring out how they add up to make a man, but in seeing which pieces that man gives of himself to make each film. And for Napoleon, Scott gives every last little slice of himself – the dramatist, the set-piece strategist, even, and especially, the comedian – to deliver what just might be his late-career masterpiece.


May December

  • Directed by Todd Haynes
  • Written by Samy Burch
  • Starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton
  • Classification N/A; 113 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of May December: The outlandishly queasy premise of May December could be so easily mangled in less inspired hands. Yet director Todd Haynes approaches the material with a lip-smacking enthusiasm, playfully mocking the high-volume drama as much as he embraces it. This is a juicy, outré exercise that gets its kicks from booting its audience into deliberately uncomfortable corners and then leaving them there to stew.


Priscilla

  • Directed by Sofia Coppola
  • Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley and Sandra Harmon
  • Starring Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi and Dagmara Dominczyk
  • Classification 14A; 113 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of Priscilla: Building the pseudo-courtship up at a careful, steady pace – almost as cautious as the young Priscilla is in getting close to Elvis – Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla finely draws the line between attraction and coercion, innocence and corruption, that defines one of the most famous “love” stories in pop culture.


The Holdovers

  • Directed by Alexander Payne
  • Written by David Hemingson
  • Starring Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa and Da’Vine Joy Randolph
  • Classification 14A; 133 minutes
  • Opens in Toronto theatres Nov. 3, expands across Canada Nov. 10

Barry Hertz’s review of The Holdovers: The Holdovers is character-first movie that embodies the best, most ambitious spirit of mainstream American entertainment. There is a joy watching interesting people change for the better while in a carefully crafted environment – a third-act trip to Boston feels like a true time warp thanks to meticulous production design – and director Alexander Payne knows just how to balance the sour and sweet.


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L to R: Paul Sparks and Nicholas Campbell in HANDS THAT BIND, courtesy of Mongrel MediaMongrel Media

Hands that Bind

  • Written and directed by Kyle Armstrong
  • Starring Bruce Dern, Paul Sparks and Nicholas Campbell
  • Classification N/A; 116 minutes
  • Opens in select theatres Nov. 3

Anne T. Donahue’s review of Hands that Bind: An exercise in mental and emotional claustrophobia, Kyle Armstrong’s new Canadian drama Hands that Bind succeeds beautifully at examining the social trappings of toxic masculinity, poverty and the desperation created by both.


The Killer

  • Directed by David Fincher
  • Written by Andrew Kevin Walker, based on the graphic novel by Alexis “Matz” Nolent and Luc Jacamon
  • Starring Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton and Arliss Howard
  • Classification N/A; 118 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of The Killer: David Fincher is in pure pioneer mode in The Killer, inventing a new kind of cinematic humour that can only come from his own uniquely icy perspective of the world. This is brutal, high-impact filmmaking that delivers its visual punchlines with the patience of a sharpshooter and the menace of a sociopath who has put in his 10,000 Malcolm Gladwell-style hours of practice in not caring about anyone or anything


The Delinquents

  • Written and directed by Rodrigo Moreno
  • Starring Daniel Elias, Esteban Bigliardi and Margarita Molfino
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 180 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of The Delinquents: Leisurely paced, thoroughly if not relentlessly deadpan, and quietly contemplative to the point of gentle sleepiness, Moreno’s The Delinquents is a challenging yet decidedly alive thing.


Killers of the Flower Moon

  • Directed by Martin Scorsese
  • Written by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese, based on the book by David Grann
  • Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro
  • Classification 14A
  • Runtime 206 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of Killers of the Flower Moon: With its crushing themes, massive run-time, vast array of ugly characters, and refusal to hand-hold audiences through its decades-spanning narrative, Killers of the Flower Moon can be a demanding film. But its rewards are rich, easy, inexhaustible.

In Cannes, Martin Scorsese balances carnage with Indigenous consultation to deliver a new American epic


Foe

  • Directed by Garth Davis
  • Written by Iain Reid and Garth Davis, based on the novel by Iain Reid
  • Starring Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal and Aaron Pierre
  • Classification N/A; 110 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of Foe: Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal dig into their roles with quiet, determined ferocity. The pair generate instant chemistry even – especially – when they are at odds with one another.


She Came to Me

  • Written and directed by Rebecca Miller
  • Starring Peter Dinklage, Anne Hathaway and Marisa Tomei
  • Classification N/A; 102 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of She Came to Me: Rebecca Miller’s She Came to Me conjures up one of the more wholly “original” romantic comedies to come along in years. The dominant plot thread focuses on New York opera composer Steven (Peter Dinklage), an irascible genius who is suffering a serious case of writer’s block, who is married to Patricia (Anne Hathaway), a type-A therapist who decides to become a nun and give up her worldly possessions. Meanwhile, a third storyline traces a teenage love affair between Steven and Patricia’s son Julian (Evan Ellison) and Tereza (Harlow Jane), which is threatened by Tereza’s overprotective stepfather (Brian d’Arcy James). It is overstuffed to be sure, but in an admirable way that underlines Miller’s fierce desire to enchant and entertain an audience looking for stories about people, not intellectual property.


The Royal Hotel

  • Directed by Kitty Green
  • Written by Kitty Green and Oscar Redding
  • Starring Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick and Hugo Weaving
  • Classification 14A; 91 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of The Royal Hotel: The harsh light of day plays a central role in Kitty Green’s unsettling and nerve-rattling new film, The Royal Hotel. Based on a 2016 documentary, Green’s new film continues a tense and important conversation that the Australian filmmaker began with her feature-narrative debut, 2019′s The Assistant. While that film focused on the million small aggressions that poisoned a workplace led by a Harvey Weinstein-esque movie producer, The Royal Hotel explores the toxic power dynamics that men can hold over women on a grander scale. One that is as blistering as it is frustrating.


Fair Play

  • Written and directed by Chloe Domont
  • Starring Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenreich and Eddie Marsan
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 13 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of Fair Play: The new film Fair Play is such a steamy affair – both metaphorically and literally, with mists escaping from shower stalls and sewer grates alike – that critics might feel the need to clear the air before getting lost in its thick vapours. By which I mean: Despite the many headlines proclaiming director Chloe Domont’s feature debut to mark the long-awaited return of the “erotic thriller,” Fair Play sits as far away from that genre as Paul Verhoeven is from Pixar.


Flora and Son

  • Written and directed by John Carney
  • Starring Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 97 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of Flora and Son: If you can walk away from a movie with a tune in your heart and a bounce in your step, then it’s safe to say that the film clicked in just the ways that were intended. And while fans of Irish filmmaker John Carney should expect nothing less by this point in his career, it’s still heartening to realize that the writer-director behind Once, Sing Street and Begin Again still has his musical-dramedy set-list locked down tight.


The Creator

  • Directed by Gareth Edwards
  • Written by Gareth Edwards and Chris Weitz
  • Starring John David Washington, Gemma Chan and Allison Janney
  • Classification PG; 133 minutes

Barry Hertz’s review of The Creator: There are a solid half-dozen moments during the new sci-fi thriller The Creator in which your head might explode. These are all welcome acts of cranial combustion, by the way – imagination-popping instances in which director Gareth Edwards thrills and seduces, his (mostly) original vision of a future gone to rot as fully realized in its world-building as it is pulse-pounding in its action.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

  • Directed by Jeff Rowe
  • Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jeff Rowe, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit and Brendan O’Brien
  • Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cantu, Ayo Edebiri and Jackie Chan
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 99 minutes

What our critic Radheyan Simonpillai said: Mutant Mayhem is a giddily fun and relentlessly eye-pleasing rebranding for the Turtles, which, like the Spider-Verse movies, mixes up daring and inventive animation styles while embracing visual imperfections as part of its soulful artistry.


Talk to Me

  • Directed by Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou
  • Written by Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman
  • Starring Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen and Miranda Otto
  • Classification 14A
  • Runtime 94 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Talk to Me aims for an elevated kind of hipster-horror thrill ride, a round of high-shriek scares amplified by the cynical consumerism of the TikTok generation. And damned if the movie doesn’t pull its sick trick off, delivering a jolt to the genre that should hopefully turn the summer around.


Oppenheimer

  • Directed by Christopher Nolan
  • Written by Christopher Nolan, based on the book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
  • Starring Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Classification 14A
  • Runtime 180 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: While Christopher Nolan’s new film, Oppenheimer, may look like a familiar biopic that has simply been scaled up to Nolan-sized heights, it is deeper, richer and more devastating than anything that the director has ever made.


Barbie

  • Directed by Greta Gerwig
  • Written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach
  • Starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 114 minutes

What our critic Chandler Levack said: Barbie is both a master’s thesis on feminism and an Austin Powers-esque romp. It is an absolutely deranged comedy that wants to humanize its titular plastic heroine, forever biting the hand that feeds it, in an attempt to gain some gravitas for our twisted world where the men are in crisis and the women are forever posting pictures of their boobs and butts.


Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

  • Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
  • Written by Christopher McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen
  • Starring Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell and Simon Pegg
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 163 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: No movie is worth dying for. But if Tom Cruise wants to sacrifice himself for this greater good, who are we to stop him?


Afire

  • Written and directed by Christian Petzold
  • Starring Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer and Langston Uibel
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 103 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Afire is a dramedy of manners that is as rich and rewarding as any of director Christian Petzold’s more ambitious films


Asteroid City

  • Directed by Wes Anderson
  • Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
  • Starring Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson
  • Classification PG; 104 minutes
  • Runtime 105 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Think of it as the Wes Anderson equivalent of the Marvel multiverse, except entertaining and inventive. This means that characters are doubled, sometimes tripled, and occasionally cross divisions of mediums and realities.


The Blackening

  • Directed by Tim Story
  • Written by Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins
  • Starring Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls and Antoinette Robertson
  • Classification 18A
  • Runtime 96 minutes

What our critic Sarah-tai Black said: The Blackening speaks directly to Black audiences: Characters communicate in full dialogue with each other through knowing exchanges of looks, in-jokes land sharply and are not explained any more than they need to be, and the playful reactions of Black audiences are echoed by characters in the flick itself. This is a horror movie that loves horror movies as much as it does its audience. Each and every joke and allusion lands with an easiness that could only come from its creators being fans of the genre.


Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella

  • Written and directed by Barry Avrich
  • Classification N/A; 80 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: If you don’t already know who Rosalie Abella is, then it is high time you learned – and the best entry point is Without Precedent, a new documentary that explores one extremely remarkable, perhaps underappreciated life.


Past Lives

  • Written and directed by Celine Song
  • Starring Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 106 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Past Lives is still a rare thing: honest, intimate, lasting. If it took centuries’ worth of inyun to make, then it was well worth the wait.


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In Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Shameik Moore returns to voice Miles Morales, the misunderstood Afro-Latino teen who hit a growth spurt after he was last visited by Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) and Gwen Stacey, a.k.a. Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld).Sony Pictures Animation/The Associated Press

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

  • Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson and Kemp Powers
  • Written by Phil Lord, Chris Miller and David Callaham
  • Featuring the voices of Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld and Oscar Isaac
  • Classification PG; 140 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse comes out swinging, hitting us with dazzling sights, a wicked sense of humour and the boundless energy of a restless teenager throwing everything they’ve got at you fast and furious.


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Nearly every performance in You Hurt My Feelings – starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies – is excellent, a beautiful balance of nerves and neurosesJeong Park/The Associated Press

You Hurt My Feelings

  • Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener
  • Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies and Michaela Watkins
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 93 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: The characters in You Hurt My Feelings are compelling and carefully crafted, inhabiting warm and witty worlds. And when embodied by the finest comic performers working today, the film’s well-to-do woe-is-me types cut through any shivers of privilege to deliver something wholly universal, and frequently hilarious.


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Mission Kandahar: To mangle a cliché – like Gerald Butler himself might mangle some poor bad guy’s throat – if it ain’t bloke, don’t fix it.Handout

Mission Kandahar

  • Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
  • Written by Mitchell LaFortune
  • Starring Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban and Travis Fimmel
  • Classification 14A
  • Runtime 100 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Mission Kandahar is not going to surprise or enthrall audiences, but it does deliver on the many B-movie promises that Gerard Butler has now built his throat-slitting career on. The movies need Gerard Butler like popcorn needs a layer of artificial butter. It’s not good for us, but we don’t – and shouldn’t – care.


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Fast X hits like a souped-up Dodge Charger whose engine runs on rocket fuel – a beast that knows no brakes.Giulia Parmigiani/Universal Pictures/The Associated Press

Fast X

  • Directed by Louis Leterrier
  • Written by Justin Lin and Dan Mazeau
  • Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Momoa
  • Classification PG; 141 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Fast X, the latest in the Fast & Furious remarkable megafranchise, hits like a souped-up Dodge Charger whose engine runs on rocket fuel – a beast that knows no brakes. Once it starts, you’re strapped in till the jaws of life (the end credits) can set you free.


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MASTER GARDENER follows Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton), the meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens. He is as much devoted to tending the grounds of this beautiful and historic estate, to pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). When Mrs. Haverhill demands that he take on her wayward and troubled great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) as a new apprentice, chaos enters Narvel’s spartan existence, unlocking dark secrets from a buried violent past that threaten them all. Courtesy of VVS

Master Gardener follows Narvel Roth, the meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens. He is as much devoted to tending the grounds of this beautiful and historic estate, to pandering to his employer.Bonnie Marquette/Courtesy of VVS

Master Gardener

  • Written and directed by Paul Schrader
  • Starring Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver and Quintessa Swindell
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime: 107 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Master Gardener is a complex and layered thing that is sturdily resistant to quick, dirty, in-and-out discourse.


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THE MAIDEN (2022). Best friends Colton (Marcel T. Jiménez) and Kyle (Jackson Sluiter) float the river and spray-paint in the local ravine. Like the boys, Whitney (Hayley Ness) explores the ravine, seeking solace by writing and drawing in her diary. But when her friend abandons her, Whitney disappears.

Best friends Colton and Kyle float the river and spray-paint in the local ravine. Like the boys, Whitney explores the ravine, seeking solace by writing and drawing in her diary. But when her friend abandons her, Whitney disappears.Courtesy of TIFF

The Maiden

  • Written and directed by Graham Foy
  • Starring Jackson Sluiter, Marcel T. Jimenez and Hayley Ness
  • Classification N/A; 117 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: An intensely atmospheric meditation on friendship, grief and the pains and wonders of being an adolescent outsider, The Maiden is a haunting work that announces the arrival of a startling new talent.


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Nimra Bucha stars as Raheela and Priya Kansara as Ria Khan in director Nida Manzoor’s POLITE SOCIETY, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC.

Nimra Bucha stars as Raheela and Priya Kansara as Ria Khan in director Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society.Parisa Taghizadeh/Focus Features

Polite Society

  • Written and directed by Nida Manzoor
  • Starring Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya and Akshay Khanna
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 103 minutes

What our critic Aparita Bhandari said: Polite Society is in a league of its own. The concept – a young Pakistani girl growing up in London with the desire to become a stuntwoman, just like her idol Eunice Huthart – is fresh and original.


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Jorma Tommila as Aatami Korpi in SISU. Credit: Lionsgate

Jorma Tommila as Aatami Korpi in Sisu.Lionsgate

Sisu

  • Written and directed by Jalmari Helander
  • Starring Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie and Jack Doolan
  • Classification 18A
  • Runtime 91 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: If you are entering Sisu hoping for some character development or exploration on the themes on war and trauma, stay home. But if you are hungry for excellently choreographed (if sometimes overly CGI-reliant) blood splatter, then Sisu is your ticket to sicko-cinema hea‐ven


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This image released by A24 shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from "Beau is Afraid." (Takashi Seida/A24 via AP)

In Beau is Afraid, Joaquin Phoenix stars as a man stunted on every level (emotionally, professionally, sexually).Photo Credit: Takashi Seida/A24 via AP

Beau Is Afraid

  • Written and directed by Ari Aster
  • Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Nathan Lane and Patti LuPone
  • Classification 18A; 179 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: To all those moviegoers who at any one point flee Beau Is Afraid, god bless, and enjoy the rest of your evenings. Because I will still be sitting there in the theatre, back row centre, soaking up all the demented psychological sludge that Aster is eager to serve up in heaping, overflowing spoonfuls.


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Rachel McAdams as Barbara Simon and Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret Simon in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Photo Credit: Dana Hawley

Rachel McAdams as Barbara Simon and Abby Ryder Fortson star in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.Dana Hawley/Lionsgate

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

  • Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
  • Written by Kelly Fremon Craig
  • Based on the novel by Judy Blume
  • Starring Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 106 minutes

What our critic Marsha Lederman said: Director and screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig does not mess this adaption of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. She has created a film that is true to the book’s heart, but is also its own thing.


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This image released by Neon shows Ariela Barer in a scene from "How to Blow Up a Pipeline." (Neon via AP)The Associated Press

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

  • Directed by Daniel Goldhaber
  • Written by Daniel Goldhaber, Ariela Barer and Jordan Sjol, based on the book by Andreas Malm
  • Starring Ariela Barer, Sasha Lane and Kristine Froseth
  • Classification 18A
  • Runtime 104 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: The very existence of How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a feat in and of itself, and will all-too-predictably flummox all manner of panic-pushers who have no such time or desire to examine its nuance and context. Ultimately, it is only as dangerous as you allow it to be. Whether you walk out of it radicalized or not might say more about you than the film.


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Michelle Williams in SHOWING UP.

Michelle Williams in SHOWING UP.Allyson Riggs/Courtesy of Sphere Films

Showing Up

  • Directed by Kelly Reichardt
  • Written by Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt
  • Starring Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, André 3000, Todd-o-Phonic Todd
  • Classification R
  • Runtime 108 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Showing Up works so well not only because of Kelly Reichardt’s typical technical prowess and attention to detail, but also because of the natural onscreen strength of Williams, working here with the director for the fourth time.


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This image released by Amazon Prime Video shows Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro, left, and and Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan in a scene from "Air." (Amazon Prime Video via AP)

Air

  • Directed by Ben Affleck
  • Written by Alex Convery
  • Starring Matt Damon, Viola Davis and Ben Affleck
  • Classification 14A
  • Runtime 112 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: On paper, Air is not a remotely enticing pitch. Yet through a series of minor filmmaking masterstrokes – rhythmic dialogue, bouncy pacing, a record store’s worth of needle-drops, wonderfully on-the-nose casting and one crucial storytelling decision that is so counterintuitive that it works in spite of itself – director Ben Affleck has produced the kind of smoothly entertaining movie that washes over you, like waves on a beach. Or sneaker squeaks on a basketball court.


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Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez start in a scene from Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.Paramount Pictures and eOne/The Associated Press

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

  • Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
  • Written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley and Michael Gilio
  • Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Hugh Grant
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime 134 minutes

What our critic Radheyan Simonpillai said : Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves – the big-screen adaptation of the popular role-playing game – is a giddy, comical and inviting brand expansion that gives its fans good reason to wear their nerdy affections with pride.


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Aaron Kingsley Adetola and Will Catlett star in A Thousand and One, the new film from writer and director A.V. Rockwell.Courtesy of Aaron Ricketts/Focus Features/The Associated Press

A Thousand and One

  • Written and directed by A.V. Rockwell
  • Starring Teyana Taylor, Aaron Kingsley Adetola and Aven Courtney
  • Classification 14A

What our critic Sarah-tai Black said: A Thousand and One is a thoughtful study of Black motherhood and Black boyhood as well as a sharp period piece tracking the changing social and political climate of New York.


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The remarkable, beautiful new Canadian drama Brother, writer-director Clement Virgo is adapted from David Chariandy’s award-winning 2017 novelCourtesy of TIFF

Brother

  • Directed by Clement Virgo
  • Written by Clement Virgo, based on the novel by David Chariandy
  • Starring Lamar Johnson, Aaron Pierre and Marsha Stephanie Blake
  • Classification N/A

What our critic Barry Hertz said: The remarkable, beautiful new Canadian drama Brother, writer-director Clement Virgo is adapted from David Chariandy’s award-winning 2017 novel of the same name. irgo’s film is a special work to be cherished and pored over for generations to come – an instantly essential addition to the Toronto cinema canon.


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Until Branches Bend (2022). Robin (Grace Glowicki) works as a grader for a cannery. When she discovers a peach that has been burrowed into by a beetle, she alerts her boss (Lochlyn Munro), who insists it’s probably nothing. But when her curiosity gets the best of her, it sets in motion a chain reaction that jeopardizes the economic stability of her town — as well as her social standing within it. Meanwhile, there is another discovery: an unwanted pregnancy from an illicit affair. Courtesy of Photon Films

Until Branches Bend stars Grace Glowicki who works as a grader for a cannery. When she discovers a peach that has been burrowed into by a beetle, she alerts her boss (Lochlyn Munro), who insists it’s probably nothing. But when her curiosity gets the best of her, it sets in motion a chain reaction that jeopardizes the economic stability of her town — as well as her social standing within it.Courtesy of Photon Films

Until Branches Bend

  • Written and directed by Sophie Jarvis
  • Starring Grace Glowicki
  • Classification N/A

What our critic Anne T. Donahue said: Until Branches Bend is the haunting debut from Canadian writer-director Sophie Jarvis, who examines the pervasive nature of broken systems working to uphold toxic norms. As deeply moving as it is upsetting, the film is an affecting drama that begs audiences to question their own social complacency.


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This undated handout photo obtained from the Toronto International Film Festival shows a movie still from Korean-Canadian filmmaker Anthony Shim's poignant coming-of-age story "Riceboy Sleeps". "Riceboy Sleeps" won a prestigious prize at the Toronto film festival, but Anthony Shim's movie about growing up as a Korean immigrant in majority-white Vancouver has also proved a hit in his native South Korea. Courtesy of TIFF

Anthony Shim directed a poignant coming-of-age story Riceboy Sleeps.Courtesy of TIFF

Riceboy Sleeps

  • Written and directed by Anthony Shim
  • Starring Choi Seung-yoon, Ethan Hwang and Dohyun Noel Hwang
  • Classification N/A

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Riceboy Sleeps is as impressive in its technical approach as it is in its storytelling. Director by Anthony Shim shoots coverage with a single camera, affording the director luxurious single-take scenes that allow the audience to watch the action like secret observers hiding in the shadows of a room. The young director coaxes truly wonderful performances from his central trio of actors, each asked to balance moments of tenderness, anxiety and hope.


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L to R: Percy Hynes White (Matt), Isaiah Lehtinen (Lawrence) and Krista Bridges (Terri) in I LIKE MOVIES. Photo courtesy of VHS Forever Inc.

I Like Movies is a smart, nostalgic throwback to the kinds of films that marked the late-nineties and early aughts heyday of high-school movies.Courtesy of VHS Forever Inc. / Mongrel

I Like Movies

  • Written and directed by Chandler Levack
  • Starring Isaiah Lehtinen, Krista Bridges and Romina D’ugo
  • Classification N/A

What our critic Amil Niazi said: If you are looking for a smart, nostalgic throwback to the kinds of films that marked the late-nineties and early aughts heyday of high-school movies, then I Like Movies deserves more than a rental – go see watch remarkable new Canadian video-store comedy I Like Movies in theatres.


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Catherine Clinch stars in a scene from The Quiet Girl.The Associated Press

The Quiet Girl

  • Directed by Colm Bairead
  • Written by Colm Bairead and Claire Keegan
  • Starring Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley and Andrew Bennett
  • Classification PG

What our critic Anne T. Donahue said: Through heart-wrenching, nuanced and arresting performances by Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley and Andrew Bennett, The Quiet Girl technically lives up to its name, but speaks volumes about the transformative power of what it means to be loved.


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Trevor Paglen in Glen Canyon, Arizona in director Yaara Bou Melhem’s UNSEEN SKIES, a The Impact Series release.
Credit : The Impact Series

Trevor Paglen in Glen Canyon, Arizona in director Yaara Bou Melhem’s Unseen Skies.The Impact Series

Unseen Skies

  • Directed by Yaara Bou Melhem

What our critic Chris Knight said: Although ostensibly an art doc, Unseen Skies will leave you with a great many questions and concerns about the place of surveillance in our lives, the ways that open-source artificial intelligence is getting in on the act, and what it might mean to the future of privacy and civil liberties. Do look up.


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This image released by MGM shows Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, left, and Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson, right, in a scene from "Creed III." (Eli Ade/MGM via AP)

Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed, left, and Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson, right, in a scene from Creed III.Eli Ade/MGM via AP

Creed III

  • Directed by Michael B. Jordan
  • Written by Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin
  • Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors and Tessa Thompson
  • Classification PG

What our critic Barry Hertz said: There is very little new in Creed III, but almost everything that is here works tremendously. So much so that I could see the Creed movies extending into Fast and Furious territory. I, for one, would watch Jordan punch Vin Diesel in space, wouldn’t you?


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Queens of the Qing Dynasty (2022). Star (Sarah Walker) is a neurodiverse teen in a remote small town who, following a suicide attempt, has been deemed unfit to live independently. Star’s everyday life is consumed with intrusive prodding by doctors and countless negotiations with social workers and nameless faces who can’t seem to break through. When An (Ziyin Zheng), an international student from Shanghai, is assigned to watch Star in hospital, a peculiar, promising relationship is ignited, one that offers a new lease on life. Courtesy of TIFF

Sarah Walker stars in Queens of the Qing Dynasty as a neurodiverse teen in a remote small town who, following a suicide attempt, has been deemed unfit to live independently.Courtesy of TIFF

Queens of the Qing Dynasty

  • Written and directed by Ashley McKenzie
  • Starring Sarah Walker and Ziyin Zheng

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Following two lost Cape Breton souls struggling to anchor themselves in a world that feels strange and hostile, Queens of the Qing Dynasty focuses on the teenage Star (Sarah Walker) and the twentysomething An (Ziyin Zheng). The two meet after Star is admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt, and An is assigned to watch over her as part of a volunteer outreach program.


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BlackBerry, a movie from Toronto filmmaker Matt Johnson about the immense popularity and eventual combustion of the smartphone, will have its world premiere in Berlin.HO/The Canadian Press

BlackBerry

  • Directed by Matt Johnson
  • Written by Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller, based on the book Losing the Signal by Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish
  • Starring Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton and Matt Johnson
  • Classification N/A

What our critic Barry Hertz said: BlackBerry is a relentlessly live-wire film that deserves its spotlight on the world stage at this year’s Berlinale: It’s funny, fast and nerve-rattling. And it is always – always – intensely entertaining.


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Dave Bautista, Abby Quinn, and Nikki Amuka-Bird star in Knock at the Cabin.Phobymo/Universal Pictures/The Associated Press

Knock at the Cabin

  • Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Written by: M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman, based on the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  • Starring: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff and Rupert Grint
  • Classification: R

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Knock at the Cabin is a film of curiously ambitious camerawork, fundamental misunderstandings of how real people might interact, idiosyncratic performances, and a twist that isn’t a twist at all. It is frequently eye-rolling but ultimately impressive filmmaking – M. Night Shyamalan remains a master mood-conjurer.


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Eden Dambrine, Émilie Dequenne and Gustav De Waele in a scene from the film Close.The Associated Press

Close

  • Directed by: Lukas Dhont
  • Written by: Lukas Dhont and Angelo Tijssens
  • Starring: Eden Dambrine, Gustav De Waele and Émilie Dequenne
  • Classification: N/A
  • Runtime: 104 minutes

What our critic Amil Niazi said: Fans of stunning cinematography, thoughtful writing and pure, unadulterated emotional torture will find Close to be worthy of the Oscar nod.


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Kayije Kagame, left, and Thomas De Pourquery in a scene from Saint Omer.The Associated Press

Saint Omer

  • Directed by Alice Diop
  • Written by Alice Diop and Amrita David
  • Starring Guslagie Malanda, Kayije Kagame and Valérie Dréville

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Alice Diop’s narrative feature debut Saint Omer is an attempt to answer, or at least explore, the vexing question of Fabienne Kabou, a woman who stood trial for murder over the death of her 15-month-old daughter. The basics of Kabou’s story remain the same, albeit transferred to the trial of Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanda), a Senegalese woman who travelled from Paris to the town of the title expressly with the purpose of murdering her young daughter. Just as neat answers evaded Kabou’s case, so, too, are they in short supply in Saint Omer. But this is a feature, not a bug: by letting the so-called facts of the shocking act hang in the air for everyone to interpret, Diop’s film revels in the enigmatic power of uncertainty.


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Bill Nighy as Williams in LIVING. Photo credit: Ross Ferguson / Courtesy of Number 9 films / Sony Pictures Classics / Mongrel Media

Bill Nighy stars as Williams in Living.Ross Ferguson/Courtesy of Number 9 films / Sony Pictures Classics / Mongrel Media

Living

  • Directed by Oliver Hermanus
  • Written by Kazuo Ishiguro, based on the film by Akira Kurosawa
  • Starring Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood and Tom Burke
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime: 102 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Living, while made with all the best intentions and ambitions by a supremely talented lot of artists, should not work. Yet it does, ultimately, thanks to the magnificent talents of its leading man, Bill Nighy.


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Gerard Butler, left, and Mike Colter in a scene from Plane.Kenneth Rexach/Lionsgate/The Associated Press

Plane

  • Directed by Jean-Francois Richet
  • Written by Charles Cumming and J.P. Davis
  • Starring Gerard Butler, Mike Colter and Tony Goldwyn
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime: 107 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: Plane is an exceedingly entertaining and ridiculously titled new thriller. Gerard Butler brings a low-rent-but-high-effort energy to a film that unfolds like a series of increasingly outlandish screenplay-writing “What If …?” exercises. No matter your stomach for copious acts of kneecapping and throat-slicing, Butler brings a believable sense of gravitas to the proceedings. He gets, and looks, tired. He sweats, he bleeds, he struggles. But as dedicated Butler-heads by now know, he gets the job done. One murder at a time.


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Storm Reid, left, and and Megan Sure in a scene from Missing.Photo Credit: Temma Hankin/The Associated Press

Missing

  • Written and directed by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick
  • Starring Nia Long, Tim Griffin and Storm Reid
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime: 111 minutes

What our critic Sarah Hagi said: Made by first-time directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick (and produced by the writer and directors of Searching) Missing follows rebellious teen June Allen (Storm Reid) as her mother, Grace (Nia Long), goes missing while on holiday in Colombia with her boyfriend, Kevin (Ken Leung). When June is set to pick them up from the airport and they don’t arrive, her worst suspicions are confirmed: her mother has gone missing in a foreign country and Kevin may not be who he says he is. Missing is essentially a stand-alone sequel to 2018′s Searching, a well-received film where a father has to find his missing daughter and which the audience experiences through his Google searches and video calls. Could effectively the exact same concept work again? Somehow, yes. Missing is a delightful surprise.


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Ever Deadly (Documentary). Featuring Tanya Tagaq, Inuit throat singer, and created in collaboration with filmmaker Chelsea McMullan. Tanya singing in concert. Her concerts are all improvisational in nature, giving the audience a once in a lifetime experience that will never be replicated. Courtesy of The National Film Board of Canada

Ever Deadly, a documentary featuring Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, was created in collaboration with filmmaker Chelsea McMullan.Courtesy of National Film Board of Canada

Ever Deadly

  • Ever Deadly
  • Written and directed by Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan
  • Classification: G;
  • Runtime: 90 minutes

What our critic Radheyan Simonpillai said: Tanya Tagaq is a disarmingly funny, unsurprisingly eloquent and playfully coy presence throughout Ever Deadly. The documentary, which she co-directs alongside Chelsea McMullan, is partly self-portraiture, but one in which Tagaq stays light on personal details and regularly turns the lens away from herself. The doc is a lot like the outfit Tagaq is wearing at the live concert it repeatedly returns to. It’s a dress covered in glass scales, catching in its reflections the world surrounding Tagaq. And these reflective fragments come together as something beautiful, cohesive and significant all on their own.


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PATHAAN (2023). Spy thriller starring Shah Rukh Khan, left, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, directed by Siddharth Anand. Credit: Yash Raj Films

Siddharth Anand's Pathaan is a slick action-thriller.Yash Raj Films

Pathaan

  • Directed by Siddharth Anand
  • Written by Siddharth Anand, Abbas Tyrewala and Shridhar Raghavan
  • Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham
  • Classification 14A;
  • Runtime: 146 mins

What our critic Aparita Bhandari said: Bollywood and Shah Rukh Khan are back, aided in no small part by other celebrities such as Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, in Pathaan, a slick action-thriller. Don’t bother looking for a plot. To be honest, things like a coherent narrative arc are not top priority in such action flicks. The story is merely a ruse to take the audience on a whirlwind globe-trotting tour as beautiful specimens of good guys take on bad guys, with the odd gal thrown in the middle somewhere.


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Alexander Skarsgård as James in Infinity Pool. Courtesy of Neon / Elevation Pictures

Alexander Skarsgård as James in Infinity Pool.Courtesy of Neon / Elevation Pictures

Infinity Pool

  • Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg
  • Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth and Thomas Kretschmann
  • Classification R
  • Runtime: 117 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: In other, cleaner hands, Infinity Pool’s high-concept pitch might devolve into a ponderous and rather dry exercise. A movie in which everybody asks the other, “Are you really you?” But in Brandon Cronenberg’s palms, the central identity-crisis conceit provides an opportunity to revel in an all-out primal nastiness. People are shot, stabbed, vivisected and treated like disposable playthings. This violence isn’t limited to acts of murder, either, with several sex scenes – including a drug-fuelled encounter that might hold the record for the longest onscreen orgy – treating the human body as a mutable thing, to be used and abused, worshipped and feared. This is unapologetic, assured filmmaking that has no qualms about sticking its face in the muck and staying there till everything turns black.


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Eddie Murphy, right, and Jonah Hill in a scene from You People.Tyler Adams/The Associated Press

You People

  • Directed by Kenya Barris
  • Written by Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill
  • Starring Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Classification R
  • Runtime 117 minutes

What our critic Barry Hertz said: The laughs in You People are not a chuckle or a polite throat-clearing: these were hearty, full-strength guffaws that kept coming and coming as Barris and Hill took their simple premise – a 2023-era Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – and laced it with enough sharp one-liners to punch up an entire year’s worth of other so-called Netflix comedies. This could be my Jewish High Holidays PTSD talking, but You People just might be the single funniest thing that the streaming giant has ever produced.


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Ellie Moon stars as “Rosy” in director Karen Knox’s ADULT ADOPTION, a levelFILM release.
Credit : levelFILM

Ellie Moon stars as Rosy in Adult Adoption.Courtesy of levelFILM

Adult Adoption

  • Directed by Karen Knox
  • Written by Ellie Moon
  • Starring Ellie Moon, Rebecca Northan and Michael Healey
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime: 93 minutes

What our critic Tabassum Siddiqui said: It’s tempting to label Adult Adoption as “quirky” – from the pastel-hued cinematography and thrift-store wardrobe to the electropop soundtrack. But bolstered by a cast of Toronto theatre veterans, filmmaker Karen Knox’s directorial debut delivers a narrative that is more complex than twee. That’s in large part thanks to a clever screenplay by award-winning playwright Ellie Moon.


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CORSAGE (2022). A contemporary waltz through the life of the extravagant Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Vicky Krieps), whose beauty and corsetry was famed in lands far and wide. Courtesy of TIFF

Corsage is a fictionalized account of Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s 41st year.Courtesy of TIFF

Corsage

  • Written and directed by Marie Kreutzer
  • Starring Vicky Krieps and Florian Teichtmeister
  • Classification N/A
  • Runtime 113 minutes

What our critic Kate Taylor said: In Corsage, a fictionalized account of Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s 41st year, writer and director Marie Kreutzer offers unrepentant anachronism and shifting perspectives on a character as unsettling as she is fascinating

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