The trial of Chicago 7
The Trial of Chicago 7 is a courtroom drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. The film is about the 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government for conspiring to incite the riots that erupted in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
This movie made me so angry. The idea that the U.S. government tried to intimidate, and punish peaceful protestors is infuriating. And don’t even get me started with the corruption, rigged courts, and systematic racism. It's impossible to not compare the events of this movie with the ones happening these days in the U.S. 50 years later, not much has changed.
The film has some fantastic performances. The cast is stacked with amazing actors such as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, and Jeremy Strong, who is finally getting the attention he deserves. But Sacha Baron Cohen was the one who impressed me the most. His performance is absolutely amazing.
Aaron Sorkin is a great screenwriter, one of the best working in Hollywood right now. And The Trial of Chicago 7 has a sharp script and great dialogues but I wasn't crazy about his direction. This film would be so much better with a more experienced director. There is nothing extraordinary about the cinematography in the film and some of the scenes feel a lot like a 90s or early 2000s TV show. The film has also one of the worst endings I have seen. Sorkin went full cliche and the level of cheesiness was way too high for my taste.
But despite all my gripes with the direction, I totally recommend the film.
Kajillionaire is definitely not for everyone. This is both the weirdest and also one of the best films I’ve seen this year.
Writer/director Miranda July created a very unique film that is surreal, awkward, very funny, but at the same time heartbreaking. She explores deeply troubling themes such as emotional abuse, loneliness, and poverty in an unpredictable and interesting way.
The film is well-paced, very well shot and edited, has a beautiful score, and is wonderfully acted. Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger are great but Evan Rachel Wood and Gina Rodriguez are both outstanding. They have such amazing chemistry.
If you are looking for an offbeat indie film to watch, Kajillionaire is your answer.
The way I see it
The way I see it was screened at TIFF back in September and I was lucky enough to watch it when I attended the Festival. The film is based on Pete Souza's photography book Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents. Souza, who was the White House official photographer for the Barack Obama administration, captured historic and intimate moments inside the White House like no one had done before.
Pete is a brilliant photographer and President Obama gave him unrestricted access to document the 8 years of his presidency. The result of this combination is an amazing collection of images. The film also shows how important the role of the POTUS is and why an empathetic leadership really matters.
U.S. politics are none of my business and I understand that President Obama wasn't perfect. But he is so smart, thoughtful, charismatic, and cool. It is almost impossible not to love the guy. And this film only reinforces that.
I’m really glad I decided to watch this at the Festival. The way I see it is a must-see documentary.
Borat subsequent moviefilm
This is an unexpected follow-up “Moviefilm” to the 2006 Borat. A movie that when came out, was probably one of the funniest movies ever made.
I want to start this review by saying the obvious, this sequel is not as funny as the first movie. And to be honest, I never expected it to be. Mostly because is pretty much impossible to pull the same joke twice. Also, Sacha Baron Cohen doesn't have the advantage of anonymity anymore and that played a crucial role in the first movie.
However, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is still very funny and entertaining. SBC is one of the greatest performance artists of all time. So, I’m not surprised he made a pretty good movie. This time around his main goal was to make fun of conservative America. He traveled through the core of Trump's base and tackled themes like abortion, disinformation, and xenophobia.
America is such an easy target at moment. It is not very difficult to make fun of a country facing so many challenges and divisions. But somehow SBC managed to squeeze some awkward, and cringeworthy (I’m looking at you, Rudy Giuliani) laughs out of me. And at the same time, he made some very interesting social-commentaries.
The highlight of the movie for me was the newcomer Maria Bakalova. She plays Tutar, Borat's daughter, and she is absolutely brilliant. Her performance is amazing and I think that she and SBC made a great comedic duo. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the future.
Overall, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a fun experience, and I really enjoyed watching it.
The new corporation: the unfortunately necessary sequel
This is another film that I had the chance to see at TIFF and I couldn’t stop thinking about since.
The New Corporation is an excellent documentary that provides some very interesting insights and really lays out everything you need to know about capitalism in 2020. It shows how corporations have rebranded themselves as socially responsible entities and are shamelessly influencing governments, destroying the environment, and threatening our democracy.
This is an extremely important film to watch right now. It captures the hopeless feeling of 2020 but at the same time lets us know that it might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
This surprisingly fun show is about the small-time U.S. American Football coach, Ted Lasso. He is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer.
I was very skeptical when I first heard about this show. Because it was based on a comedy sketch created for an advertising campaign. The ad was very funny though however, I couldn’t see that becoming a full season of a TV show.
Well, I was totally wrong. Ted Lasso is awesome! I don’t care about soccer or any other sports besides the NBA and I loved this show. It’s a good underdog story, so positive and warm. The writers used all the same old tropes and formulas from other sitcoms but the execution here is perfect. The whole cast is great but Jason Sudeikis really shines as the main character. Ted is witty and clever, but never a smartass. Just naively optimistic.
Anyway, Ted Lasso won me over. I can't wait for season 2.
I may destroy you
I was so impressed with this show. At first, I had second thoughts about watching it due to the heavy nature of the topic. But I’m glad I did because this is a gem!
I May Destroy You can be raw, uncomfortable, and brutal but also strangely funny at times. The show is based on the real-life experience of writer/director/actress Michaela Coel. She stars as Arabella, a young woman dealing with the consequences of a sexual assault she suffered after having her drink spiked at a bar in London. The show is difficult to watch at times however, the layered and provocative storytelling makes it worthy.
I May Destroy You is great, one of the best shows of the year. And Coel, which is super talented, might have helped some people dealing with the same kind of trauma she went through.
The third day
The Third day is a limited series created by Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly. The show's six episodes are divided into "Summer" and "Winter." "Summer" stars Jude Law and Katherine Waterson and "Winter" stars Naomie Harris.
I had a chance to watch two episodes of this show at TIFF and it really intrigued me. So I decided to check the other four.
This is not the easiest show watch. And I wouldn’t recommend it to people who have a short attention span. I caught myself reaching out for my phone a few times while watching it. Also if you want to check this out, you will need to accept the show weirdness and its long and sometimes boring scenes.
The Third Day unfolds like one long acid trip. There is a lot of suspense and psychological drama here. The acting is superb. And probably the best thing about this show. The cinematography is also great and I liked how they used different color pallets for summer and for winter.
I liked the show overall, but I found the ending to be a little underwhelming. Worthy checking it for the great acting alone though.