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With award season here, the number of movies on your to-watch list may be ramping up. The Globe and Mail critics round up some of their top choices of recent releases.

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


  • 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
  • Runtime 119 minutes
  • Opens in theatres March 17

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.

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
  • Runtime 98 minutes
  • Opens in select theatres March 20

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.

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
  • Runtime 117 minutes
  • Opens in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal March 17, with additional cities to follow

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.

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
  • Runtime 99 minutes
  • Opens in select theatres March 10

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.

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
  • Runtime 94 minutes
  • Opens in select theatres March 3

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.

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

Unseen Skies

  • Directed by Yaara Bou Melhem
  • Runtime 98 minutes
  • Opens March 3 in Toronto

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.

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

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
  • Runtime 116 minutes

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?

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
  • Runtime 122 minutes
  • Opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto March 3

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.

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


  • 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
  • Runtime 122 minutes
  • Premiers Opens in Canadian theatres April 28

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.

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
  • Runtime: 110 minutes

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.

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


  • 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.

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


  • 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.

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


  • 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.

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


  • Written and directed by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick
  • Starring Nia Long, Tim Griffin and Storm Reid
  • Classification PG
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Opens in theatres Jan. 20

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.

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.

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


  • 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.

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.

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; 117 minutes
  • Streaming on Netflix starting Jan. 27

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.

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.

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


  • 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.