Movie Times Magazine

Best Movies of TIFF 2017

I have just finished attending my first ever film festival in Toronto. I saw 20 movies this year which is a decent number for my first time (hopefully I will see more in subsequent years) so for those wondering what I thought of them, I have ranked them in a list below and included their release dates. I also encourage that you read my individual reviews as well.


  1. Brawl In Cell Block 99

    S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK) returns with his sophomore feature, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. An exhilarating exercise in analog violence, CELL BLOCK follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves. Movie Trailer

    Brawl In Cell Block 99
  2. The Florida Project

    Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at The Magic Castle, a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmatesincluding Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee's best friendfearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they've been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter. Movie Trailer

    The Florida Project
  3. Suburbicon

    Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) must navigate the town's dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit, and violence. This is a tale of very flawed people making very bad choices. This is Suburbicon. Movie Trailer

    The Florida Project
  4. The Current War

    THE CURRENT WAR tells the story of two powerful moguls battling over the supply of electricity in the late 1880s. Edison is on the verge of creating a marketable and sustainable electricity system for the first time in history, when Westinghouse notices a grand weakness in Edison's design and ignites a war of currents between these two rivals. Movie Trailer

    The Current War
  5. Stronger

    THE CURRENT WAR tells the story of two powerful moguls battling over the supply of electricity in the late 1880s. Edison is on the verge of creating a marketable and sustainable electricity system for the first time in history, when Westinghouse notices a grand weakness in Edison's design and ignites a war of currents between these two rivals. Find Movie Times

    Stronger
  6. Roman J Israel, Esq.

    Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended when a turbulent series of events challenge the activism that has defined his career. Colin Farrell costars as the ambitious, monied lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm. Find Movie Times

  7. Brad Status

    When Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) accompanies his college bound son to the East Coast, the visit triggers a crisis of confidence in Brad's Status, writer and director Mike White's bittersweet comedy. Brad has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban Sacramento where he lives with his sweet-natured wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and their musical prodigy son, Troy (Austin Abrams), but it's not quite what he imagined during his college glory days. Showing Troy around Boston, where Brad went to university, he can't help comparing his life with those of his four best college friends: a Hollywood bigshot (White), a hedge fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement), and a political pundit and bestselling author (Michael Sheen). As he imagines their wealthy, glamorous lives, he wonders if this is all he will ever amount to. But when circumstances force him to reconnect with his former friends, Brad begins to question whether he has really failed or is, in some ways at least, the most successful of them all. Find Movie Times

    Brad Status
  8. Mother!

    A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice. Find Movie Times

    Mother!
  9. The Upside

    A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy paraplegic and a unemployed man with a criminal record who's hired to help him.

  10. Downsizing

    Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community a choice that triggers life-changing adventures. Find Movie Times

    Downsizing
  11. Darkest Hour

    Within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history. Find Movie Times

    Darkest Hour
  12. Lady Bird

    The relationship comedy stars Saoirse Ronan as Christine McPherson, a rebellious student at a conservative Catholic Sacramento high school who wants to escape her family and small town constraints to go to college in New York. Find Movie Times

    Lady Bird
  13. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

    The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he's ever done. Find Movie Times

    The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
  14. The Shape Of Water

    THE SHAPE OF WATER - an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment. Find Movie Times

    THE SHAPE OF WATER
  15. Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool

    Based on Peter Turner's memoir, the film follows the playful but passionate relationship between Turner (Bell) and the eccentric Academy Award-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Bening) in 1978 Liverpool. What starts as a vibrant affair between a legendary femme fatale and her young lover quickly grows into a deeper relationship, with Turner being the person Gloria turns to for comfort. Their passion and lust for life is tested to the limits by events beyond their control. Find Movie Times

  16. Battle Of The Sexes

    The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs was billed as THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became the most watched televised sports event of all time. The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world. Find Movie Times

    Battle Of The Sexes
  17. The Disaster Artist

    Based on Greg Sestero's best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau's cult-classic disaster piece THE ROOM ("The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made"), THE DISASTER ARTIST is a hilarious and welcome reminder that there is more than one way to become a legend- and no limit to what you can achieve when you have absolutely no idea what you're doing. Find Movie Times

    The Disaster Artist
  18. I, Tonya

  19. Call Me By Your Name

    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by Andr Aciman. It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothe Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows wit h natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. Find Movie Times

    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
  20. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated. Find Movie Times

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
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