By: Jessica Goddard A movie packed with subtlety and nuance, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women both wrenches the heart and flexes one’s critical capacities. Do we have sympathy for this character because we authentically suspect they’re a good person in spite of their actions, or do we desperately want them to be a good person because we feel so deeply sorry for them?
By: Jessica Goddard The Belko Experiment, directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), is a cruel, manipulative, needless exploit into pure violence and gore.
Do Donkeys Act? (DIR. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) Do Donkeys Act? takes an animal that is not usually afforded much dignity – the donkey – and gives movie goers an opportunity to let the animals speak for themselves (without speaking). The film takes its audience to visit various donkey sanctuaries around the world, where donkeys that have been subjected to abuse or neglect are cared for, healed, and allowed to relax and retire.
By: Jessica Goddard Gifted is contrived, tired, and – frankly – just plain boring. This story shamelessly and lazily recycles almost every component of its plot to the point where you’re left wondering why you’re not the one making millions writing such basic, formulaic scripts.
Obit opened last week at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox to warm reception. The documentary features the obituary department at The New York Times, and deconstructs the writing craft of an obituarist.
By: Jessica Goddard Obit is an irresistibly insightful film that completely delivers on its implicit promise to answer every question you ever had about obituaries (plus the questions you didn’t know you had).
By: Jessica Goddard There are two unique components to the premise of The Movie Experience hosted by The Secret Sessions – the featured film the event will be based upon is to be kept secret, and that the event is immersive. Patrons mingle with actors playing characters from the movie in a location decorated according to the mystery film’s setting, culminating in a screening of the movie that is simultaneously acted out by the cast.
By: Jessica Goddard A United Kingdom is a beautifully-made, sincere, and well-acted historical drama. Director Amma Asante (Belle) knows what she’s doing with this story, and hits all the right notes to make this an inspiring and uplifting film that still feels truthful and grounded in reality.
By: Jessica Goddard The Space Between Us really wants to be a ground-breaking, memorable sci-fi love story, and maybe if it’d stuck to that alone, it would’ve been a better film.
By: Jessica Goddard Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened is a documentary that operates largely like a moving, speaking scrapbook, and for this reason it is both preciously poignant and guilty of some (ultimately forgivable) navel-gazing.