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TIFF 2023: A Playlist of Memorable Soundtrack Moments

As has become a September tradition at That Shelf, we’re taking time out of our recovery to revisit our favourite needle drops from the many memorable films we screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). So now that the People’s Choice picks have been announced (American Fiction was tops!) and the final film screened, it’s time for a well-deserved rest. So relax, put your feet up, and settle in for a playlist of songs that hack immediately back to…

Moanin’ over Moana? Disney’s been doing remakes for 100 years

It’s been a weird year to be a Disney fan. Putting aside the corporate drama — like Bob Iger’s return as CEO in November and the continuing feud in Florida with Gov. Ron DeSantis — we’ve seen the company struggling at the box office, despite several high-profile releases. The once-untouchable Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t selling tickets like it used to, The Little Mermaid failed to make a splash, and Pixar’s return to theatres, Elemental, is underperforming financially (so far, anyway)…

The Best Films of 2023 So Far: Uncle BlackBerry Who Can Recall His Past Lives

If you thought going to the movies in 2020, 2021 or 2022 was weird, take a look at theatres in 2023. At least in Toronto, a homegrown movie like BlackBerry is packing them in, while rooms showing the latest Marvel movie have a vacancy rate that’s usually reserved for Canadian films. Audiences are back and the movies are back, so pass the popcorn because 2023 is only halfway done!

Asteroid City Is Wes Anderson’s Wacky Ride with Meta-Theatre

The stage was set for Wes Anderson. The auteur de quirk’s latest film, Asteroid City, opens with a prologue that admittedly threw this reviewer for a loop. A host (Bryan Cranston) advises the audience that Asteroid City, the film you’re about to see, is actually a play. Anderson’s film is a film-within-a-film. Or, rather, it’s a play-within-a-film. The conceit seems like a smart continuation of the formal sophistication Anderson displayed with The French Dispatch. After paying homage to the literary world with an anthology…

It’s Time to Embrace the 3-Hour-Long Blockbuster Again

“Why would they do that?” questioned my 7-year-old daughter as the credits began to roll for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Her query did not stem from the foggy haze of confusion surrounding a plot point, but from the clear-eyed rage of anger. For 2 hours and 20 minutes, a child who normally gets restless in movies was fully engrossed in the adventure of Miles Morales and his Spider-Verse friends and then the plug was pulled.

Interview: Jared Harris on The Ghost of Richard Harris

Irish actor Richard Harris may be best known to modern audiences as the first man to inhabit the role of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise but for older audiences and classic film fans, he is an iconic actor on par with Albert Finney and other ‘angry young men’ who rose to prominence during the 1960s. A Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner, and two-time Oscar nominee, he’s often held up as one of the greatest actors Ireland has ever produced.

Recent reviews

Rachel Sennott is on a hot streak, which looks like it won’t end anytime soon. The Shiva Baby, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and Bottoms star now appears in Ally Pankiw’s Toronto-set drama I Used to Be Funny. The film follows Sam (Sennott), a comedian living in Toronto who has recently fallen into a funk. As the title suggests, she used to make people laugh, but after the young woman she used to nanny for, Brooke (Olga Petsa), goes missing, she falls…

The 30-minute Strange Way of Life marks a fully English-language production for Almodóvar after his mostly silent short The Human Voice. While the shift from flamboyantly European aesthetics of his features to the all-American tropes of this western might make the film seem like a departure, make no mistake: Strange Way of Life is Almodóvar through and through. It’s a revitalising melodrama with gorgeous colours and an adept sensibility for the awkward messiness of love. It’s a film of restrained…

The Exorcist is a stone-cold classic. For fifty years, it’s held a special place in pop culture, renowned as one of the scariest and most iconic films of all time. William Friedkin’s horror masterpiece may not be a perfect movie, but it exists as such in moviegoers’ hearts and minds.

So how does a filmmaker follow up what’s regarded as the scariest movie ever? Doing so seems like an impossible job, but writer-director David Gordon Green is up for the task. His latest film, The Exorcist: Believer looks at faith and demonic possession through a modern lens.

Read Victor Stiff's full review:

Is it time to declare Louise Archambault Canada’s humanist filmmaker? Archambault’s recent offering One Summer, aka Le temps d’un été, is further proof that she captures the poetry of life in a way that few artists do. Much like her acclaimed dramas And the Birds Rained Down, Gabrielle, and Familia, and her recent TIFF premiere Irena’s Vow, One Summer favours quotidian moments to deliver a deeply refreshing and down to earth portrait of the common threads that unite us. Evoking…

Liked reviews

"How doth ye like yon apples?!"

Simultaneously one of the great action parodies because beyond the expertly crafted Looney Tunes visual gags, on a filmmaking level it's frequently indistinguishable from the real thing (god McTiernan) and one of the best movies about a movie star literally wrestling with their own Hollywood fantasy image and myth. "You've brought me nothing but pain!"

Full discussion on episode 57 of my podcast SLEAZOIDS.

15-YEAR OLD ME: "Oh boy! A RESIDENT EVIL film and a remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD! I hope this means there will be a new wave of zombie films!"


Zack Snyder can craft a fun action scene, but I am baffled as to why he wanted to make ARMY OF THE DEAD.

It's a zombie heist film (There's potential there!), with a charming gang of actors (I do love Dave Bautista!), buckets…

So weird, so Danish, and yet, not even Anders Thomas Jensen’s weirdest Danish film.