The Tropic Cinema’s S. Runi Goyal is at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here are some of her highlights—keep an eye on the Tropic’s screens as these films get theatrical distribution!
It was not designed to be, but today was the day of “based on real life” movies at TIFF. As with most real life stories, I tend to be a bit more forgiving and allow the filmmakers some room to move. Since I don’t judge quite as harshly as I normally would, you can assume that the below films are flawed, but the stories were important to tell.
Premiered at Venice
To be released on October 12
The Academy Award–winning team of director Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash,” “La La Land”) and star Ryan Gosling team up for Neil Armstrong’s biopic covering the 8 years Armstrong worked at NASA. I was nervous that Chazelle wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but he did. The sound design was outstanding, and Armstrong was portrayed well. And in case you are questioning the American flag controversy … there is an American flag on the moon and everywhere in the film, because, you know, it’s NASA in the 1960s.
The Old Man and The Gun
Premiered at Telluride
To be released September 28
Based on the true life of Forrest Tucker, Robert Redford plays a charming “Over the Hill” bank robber. The film also stars Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, and Sissy Spacek. It’s an easy film to watch, mainly because it doesn’t take any risks, but the charm of Redford carries the film just enough to enjoy it.
The Sisters Brothers
Premiered at Venice
To be released September 21
I expected to see a well-made Western, gritty and blood-thirsty, since Jacques Audiard was at the helm (his “Rust and Bone” is one of my faves). Although the story isn’t true, it’s based on the California Gold Rush. Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly play two brothers, whose last name is Sisters, who are sent to do a job for their boss. The film was definitely gritty and bloodthirsty, but it was also funny and intimate. And the ending was unlike most Westerns I’ve seen in recent years. It’s definitely worth watching, although I can’t promise you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Premiered at TIFF
To be released on November 21
I wasn’t sure what I was watching at first. Since it was the premiere, I didn’t read any reviews or have any idea what the film was about. I only knew it starred two very fine actors – Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. I found myself laughing all the way through, waiting for the climactic moment when everything goes horribly wrong and gets turned upside down. That moment never came, but the laughs continued. There is no better way to describe this based-on-real-life story than to say it’s “Driving Miss Daisy” meets “Moonstruck.” This is the feel good movie of the year.