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szdaily -> Weekend
Toronto film festival wave:10 best movies of 2017

    2017-September-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

WITH another Toronto International Film Festival in the history books, the stage is set for the awards season to begin. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” scooped up the highly prized Grolsch People’s Choice Award in a surprise victory. Set for release on Nov. 10, the Martin McDonagh-directed film features Frances McDormand as a small-town woman who launches a very public campaign to arrest the man who raped and murdered her daughter. Now that Toronto audiences have spoken, Yahoo Entertainment picks their favorite 10 best movies they saw in Toronto.

Battle of the Sexes

For much of its runtime, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’s dramatization of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is more of a coming-out tale than a traditional sports movie. But it’s precisely that attention to the main character’s internal drama that places “Battle of the Sexes” in the company of genre classics such as “Hoosiers” and “Rocky,” which similarly seek to tell grounded, relatable stories in the run-up to the big game. And when Billie Jean and Bobby finally do face off, the tennis is absolutely top-notch.

Bodied

The winner of this year’s Grolsch People’s Choice Award from the Midnight Madnessprogram, Joseph Kahn’s battle-rap satire is slightly overlong, occasionally didactic … and funny. With the help of screenwriter Alex Larsen, star Calum Worthy, and producer Eminem, Kahn takes the basic premise of “8 Mile” and turns it into a savage Network-like satire, with Worthy’s white rapper discovering both the beauty and destructiveness of his chosen art form. The movie’s greatest asset is its fearlessness as it boldly challenges stereotypes.

Brad’s Status

On the surface it looks like another one of those “middle-aged white guy problems” dramedies, but that’s exactly why this razor-sharp comedy of awkwardness from writer-director Mike White (“Year of the Dog”) is so effective and affecting. Ben Stiller is fantastic as a Sacramento father on the verge of a nervous breakdown as he tours Boston colleges with his son, bitter that he never sold out — and prospered — like his old buddies.

The Disaster Artist

James Franco’s raucous tribute to Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult classic, “The Room,” isn’t as graceful and elegant a film as Tim Burton’s Ed Wood … but then again, neither is “The Room.” What the Burton and Franco movies do share is a genuine affection and enthusiasm for their respective cult filmmakers, as well as career-best performances by Johnny Depp and Franco, respectively. The movie is a portrait of an unlikely artist trying to realize his dream that will provoke plenty of laughs on its own terms.

Downsizing

Is “Downsizing” Alexander Payne‘s best film? At the very least, it’s the most ambitious and original work yet from the “Election” and “Sideways” writer-director. His sci-fi comedy about a near-future society where humans (including lead Matt Damon) are shrunk down to the size of insects to live luxurious lives (and decrease their carbon footprints) is a biting, hilarious satire that examines greed vs. the greater good.

I Kill Giants

A rare example of a nonsuperhero comic book movie for kids, “I Kill Giants” feels like a welcome throwback to movies like “Stand By Me” and “My Girl,” which wrestled with weighty subjects in a way that entertained young viewers without talking down to them. The setup is reminiscent of “A Monster Calls” — a young girl (Madison Wolfe) disappears into a fantasy world in order to escape emotional trauma — but “Giants” is less heavy-handed in pushing the audience’s emotional buttons. Think of it as the comic book movie bridge between the likes of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “American Splendor.”

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

We’ve always heard about actors who insist on staying in character on set; Chris Smith’s terrific documentary shows us exactly what that looks like. The film alternates between remarkable behind-the-scenes footage shot on the set of “Man on the Moon” — the 1999 Andy Kaufman biopic that starred Jim Carrey as the discomfiting comedian — and a supplemental contemporary interview with Carrey reflecting on his experience.

Loveless

Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2014 drama “Leviathan” provides another harsh critique of his homeland. When the young son of a Moscow couple in the midst of a brutal divorce goes missing, the parents circumvent the country’s glacial bureaucracy to find him. Aesthetically austere and emotionally devastating, “Loveless” seems poised to bring Zvyagintsev a second Oscar nomination.

Lady Bird

One of our very favorite discoveries of the festival had to be this crowd-pleasing autobiographical tale from actress-turned-writer/director Greta Gerwig. The habitually excellent Saoirse Ronan could very well lock down a third Oscar nomination for playing Gerwig’s avatar, a high school senior with bad grades, a testy relationship with her nurse mother (the great Laurie Metcalf), and a desperate desire to get the hell out of Sacramento. It’s a sweet, super-funny, tearjerking coming-of-age tale.

The Shape of Water

Fresh off its Venice Film Festival victory, Guillermo Del Toro’s creature feature romance worked its magic on Toronto audiences as well. A tale of sexual liberation told in the visual language of ’40s monster movies (and musicals!), “The Shape of Water” features all the hallmarks of a Del Toro joint — beautiful production design, atmospheric cinematography, and practical special effects — coupled with an emotional (and erotically charged) love story.

(SD-Agencies)

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