The first weekend of the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival is already behind us, and most of the heavy hitters and major awards contenders have made their debut. How are the reviews? How were the star-studded Q&As? What’s being talked about for Oscars? Have there been any big disappointments? Check out all the essential buzz below.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Perhaps the big winner in terms of critical favor so far, this heist drama with importance takes Steve McQueen into relatively mainstream fare as he finally delivers a follow-up to his Best Picture-winning 12 Years a Slave. Stars Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki are standouts among a strong ensemble cast.
You could isolate any single scene in WIDOWS and I'd have more to say about it than most movies I've seen this year— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) September 9, 2018
The Hate U Give
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
This YA adaptation has a lot of timely importance regarding race in America, and it reportedly delivers, never sinking to the level of most Hollywood productions aimed at teenagers. And speaking of lesser YA fare, Amanda Sternberg really matures out of her Hunger Games beginnings to prove herself an impressive young talent who will only go further as a star.
The Hate U Give is a wondrous unicorn: a massively appealing/teen-friendly studio dramedy that somehow also never sells short its deadly serious themes. Marveling at how the cast, filmmakers & Fox were able to pull this off.— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikWaPo) September 8, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Out of the gate, Jonah Hill’s feature directorial debut is a winner. The drama offers the genuine realism that comes from its semi-autobiographical origins and the kind of performances you expect, but don’t always receive, from an actor going behind the camera.
A Star is Born
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Continuing its raves following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Bradley Cooper’s feature directorial debut is plowing through the festival season as one of the most notable and, for those not in attendance, most anticipated efforts of the year. This is going all the way come Oscars time, for sure. The musical remake features a performance from Lady Gaga that elevates her to full movie stardom, while veteran actor Sam Elliott reconfirms his legendary status.
Well...@starisbornmovie completely destroyed me. No spoilers, but what begins as a kinetic experience filled with love, music and energy slowly dissipates into reality, filled with frustration, impotence and silent rage. Great filmmaking. Every time @ladygaga sang I bawled.— Grae Drake @ #TIFF18 (@graedrake) September 7, 2018
If Beale Street Could Talk
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Another director following up a Best Picture win, Barry Jenkins delivers another sublime adaptation with this drama based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name. The movie looks and sounds about as good as cinema gets. Relative newcomer leads KiKi Layne and Stephan James are great, though it’s Regina King who comes out on top with a late-career breakthrough.
Oh man. @BarryJenkins gets a standing ovation and tears up after the screening of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. The movie is a stunning achievement. I... can’t even tell you.— Elamin Abdelmahmoud (@elamin88) September 10, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
This year’s second big indie about gay conversion therapy camps is another important and respectable and heartbreaking movie for the issue at hand, even if it’s not a perfect drama with regards to its storytelling. Director Joel Edgerton has assembled a strong cast, including himself and Nicole Kidman, delivering her umpteenth award-worthy performance of the decade.
#BoyErased hit me like few movies in recent memory have. Gay, straight, or otherwise, if you’ve ever had challenges communicating with parents, it will get you. (And if you’ve ever fretted over what they will think of what you’ve written— doubly so.) Bravo @joeledgerton1 and co.— Joel Meares (@joelmeares) September 8, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
While some longtime fans of the Halloween franchise and the 1978 original in particular still aren’t having the latest attempt at resurrection, this direct sequel to the first movie is delighting others as a worthy successor and tribute to what James Carpenter started. It’s as scary and gory as you hope, Jamie Lee Curtis is totally badass and Carpenter’s new score rocks.
HALLOWEEN is a total blast and is going to make a killing at the box office. Blumhouse does it again. Jamie Lee Curtis is still kicking ass and taking names. I can see fans watching this over and over again. The best Halloween since the original. #HalloweenMovie #TIFF18 pic.twitter.com/TSbtXr5Nuy— Scott Menzel @ TIFF (@TheOtherScottM) September 9, 2018
“Keep it simple and make it relentless” was John Carpenter’s advice for the 40 years later sequel to Halloween. pic.twitter.com/OtLztLiad0— Fandango (@Fandango) September 9, 2018
Danny McBride accidentally says “drugs” while explaining the many jokes in the Halloween sequel. pic.twitter.com/QCDx1H9PSb— Fandango (@Fandango) September 9, 2018
Goodnight, Toronto! pic.twitter.com/QfvIcDll6a— Fandango (@Fandango) September 9, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Young star Timothée Chalamet could be looking at his second Oscar nomination in a row for his performance as a drug addict in this drama based on a true story, while Steve Carell has received some raves as well. But overall, the heavy and wrenching movie isn’t garnering the level of raves that we were expecting.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 60%
Hardly the kind of movie you expect to see at the prestigious fall festivals, The Predator was a nice late-night kickoff anyway for fans of the franchise and filmmaker Shane Black in attendance. The sci-fi action sequel hits theaters very soon, and it’s the sort of funny, bloody, thrill-ride entertainment you anticipate with something like this, nothing more.
THE PREDATOR: A lean, mean, brutal movie that somehow feels like bothva throwback and fresh. Great cast. Fantastic pacing. This is art?— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) September 7, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 11%
The big disappointment of the festival given its usually stellar ensemble cast, its creative talent’s link to the hit TV series This Is Us and such an ambitious narrative scope, Dan Fogelman’s multigenerational drama is soapy and sappy and self-important with laughably on-the-nose lines and a lot of odd moments.