Regal Recap from TIFF 2019

  The official creative (title logo) for the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

DAY 9

FRANKIE

Set on a single day around the densely forested yet elegant environment of Sintra, Portugal, Frankie tells the story of three generations of an extended family that are about to face drastic change. A beautifully crafted story, eloquently told by American writer-director Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On, Little Men) and executed by a commanding cast, Frankie is a modern piece of cinematic art on love and mortality.

Featuring a strong cast headed by Isabelle Huppert as Frankie, we also receive Jérémie Renier as her son Paul, Brendan Gleeson as her former-husband Jimmy, and Vinette Robinson as her daughter Sylvia. As Frankie calls her family together, we soon learn of her intentions for bringing together the assembly driving us into the lives of these characters as they face a difficult life decision that they all have to make together. As the course of the movie progresses from early morning to evening, Frankie symbolically captures the essence of an entire lifespan in a mere day.

The movie screened at Winter Garden Theatre surrounding the bustling downtown Toronto. Regal fans can expect to become well acquainted with the characters and observe as one vigorous woman faces her destiny while walking away appreciating the complexities of life just a little bit more. Frankie comes to select Regal theatres on November 15th. 

Frankie-Tomei and Huppert

 

HUSTLERS

Based on Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York magazine article titled "The Hustlers at Score,” we follow a group of former strippers who unite to give what they feel is owed to their highly lucrative Wall Street clients.  

Hustlers is told from the perspective of Destiny (Constance Wu) as she is being interviewed by a journalist, Elizabeth (Julia Stiles), about the womens’ crimes. She reflects on her time spent with Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), with whom she is no longer in contact. As we view the movie through a series of flashbacks to Destiny’s experience at the club, we find a modern Robin Hood story filled with sex, crime, and a lot of money. The mood of New York during this time is dark and continues to get darker as we witness the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. Hustlers tells a cautionary tale of the power men have on the workforce, which directly impacts the livelihood of women. 

The energy around Scotiabank Theatre as fans lined up was electric. In the center of downtown Toronto, this entertainment district was the perfect location to screen this movie. Regal fans can expect a dazzling cast featuring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles and many others. Hustlers is now playing at Regal. 

Hustlers-one sheet

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LUCY IN THE SKY

Going to space literally changes a person; your bones diminish, your muscles atrophy, and not to mention the mental strain it puts on a person. After returning from a taxing trip in outer space, Oscar®-winner Natalie Portman plays Lucy, who is having an extremely difficult time adapting back to life on Earth. This debut feature movie from Noah Hawley tells of the reality that one faces after drifting, isolated amongst the cosmos.

Hawley consumes the screen with Lucy in the Sky by beautifully capturing compelling imagery of life outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The constant aspect ratio changes throughout the movie is a direct insight into Lucy’s unstable and unhinged mind. When Lucy returns from space, her thoughts are consumed by how she can get back as she realizes how dull her life was back on Earth—everyday things like grocery shopping, work, home rituals and even her love life now seem dreadfully mundane. A passionate exciting affair and fixation on returning to the one place Lucy felt exhilarated leads to a complete dismantling of her personal and professional life. An out-of-this-world cast supports Portman, featuring Ellen Burstyn, Zazie Beetz, Nick Offerman, and Tig Notaro.

Lucy in the Sky showcased at the Princess of Wales Theatre in the heart of downtown Toronto. As we filed into our seats, we were unaware of the emotional and, at times, anxiety-inducting journey we were about to embark on. While watching, we learned as humans how mind-boggling our existence truly is. Lucy in the Sky comes to select Regal theatres on October 11th. 
 

Lucy in the Sky-Natalie Portman

 

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

An adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel by the same name, we follow the life of a lonely New York private detective living with Tourette syndrome. As the audience embarks on a quest alongside Det. Lionel Essrog (played by Edward Norton) as he attempts to solve the murder of his mentor and best friend (played by Bruce Willis), this old-timey crime mystery period piece promises to keep you on the edge of your seat.

As the writer, director, producer, and star of Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton brings us a new crime-drama for the era. 

We get a deep character background of Lionel, looking into his past as an orphan suffering from Tourette syndrome, as he develops into his profession as a Brooklyn detective with a photographic memory—a gift that his boss and mentor, Frank Minna (Willis), finds quite useful. When Frank is killed during an investigation, Lionel takes up the task of discovering the truth behind his boss’ murder. As he picks up the trail of a major corruption case centered around the “master builder,” Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin), his investigation potentially endangers social activist Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a woman Lionel has been developing feelings for.

The Princess of Wales Theatre was surrounded by people chomping at the bit to get inside. Being a quarter of a century old, the theatre was the perfect location to indulge in this 1950’s era crime-drama. Regal fans will witness fascinating performances from the cast including Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and William Dafoe. Motherless Brooklyn is set to be released November 1st. 
 

Motherless Brooklyn-Mbatha-Raw and Norton

 

DAY 8

JUDY

Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger gives a deeply immersed performance in this biopic of Judy Garland, the child star of The Wizard of Oz (1939) and A Star is Born (1954) in the last years of her life.

Director Rupert Goold spotlights a specific intimate yet troubling time period in Judy’s life—she goes a long way from the heavenly actress that most of the world identifies her as. The story takes place in the balance of Judy’s young, hopeful, and promising years to the present punctured with grief and struggle. 

We begin in 1939, the age of classic Hollywood cinema, as a young Judy Garland (played by Darci Shaw) is having second thoughts about her life as a child actor. She has completely crumbled from the relentless shooting schedule and the control the MGM studio head, Louis B. Mayer, has on every single aspect of her life. We flash forward thirty years to a Judy who is riddled with debt and a fleeting singing voice, as she prepares to perform at a small venue in Los Angeles.

We see a classic cautionary Hollywood tale as the once-adored star is now middle-aged, homeless, impoverished, consumed by a custody battle, and blacklisted in Hollywood. After accepting a residency at London Theater, Judy struggles to make it on stage to perform. As she regains composure and finally does begin to perform, we get to witness her magnificence and realize the center stage is where she belongs. 

Attending the red carpet of Judy the night of the premiere was a stunning experience. Renée Zellweger beams as she explains what a special experience it was to be on set and to become apart of Judy Garland’s world. Judy showcased at the Princess of Wales Theatre in the middle of downtown Toronto with the gleaming city surrounding it.

Gold explains this movie is “both an origin story but also a final redemption.” Judy comes to select Regal theatres starting September 26th, 2019.

Judy-Renée Zellweger

 

HONEY BOY

A script that initially started out as a therapy exercise during a court-appointed rehabilitation blossoms into a deeper understanding of the tenderness of childhood trauma and the attempt at reconciliation. Honey Boy features actor and screenwriter Shia LaBeouf, who displays parts of his own life in this collaboration with director Alma Har’el in her first narrative feature.

In the second half of the festival at TIFF ‘19, the excitement is not slowing down. One of the most beautiful theatres in Toronto, Elgin Theater, was swarmed by a crowd of eager fans who were waiting to witness this confessional mastery.

Honey Boy begins with Otis (Lucas Hedges) who, after suffering from a car crash and a string of reckless behavior, is placed into a recovery program where he is told he suffers from PTSD. We then flashback to a 12-year-old Otis (Noah Jupe) living in a dissolved hotel with his father James (Shia LaBeouf), a recovering alcoholic, registered sex offender, war veteran, and ex-rodeo clown. James is quite envious of his son's successful acting career and objects Otis to various forms of abuse and psychological trauma. In the midst of this, James is also seen in a more amiable light, teaching Otis life lessons that would shape his life in the future. 

Regal fans can prepare for an emotional trip from a turbulent childhood to adult life as this cast of complex characters reveal the bare bones of a tragically unique family experience. This movie shares something exceptionally personal that connects us as humans exploring the impact of our experiences. 

Honey Boy-Noah Jupe

 

DAY 7

JOKER

Is Joker an astringent look of the violence and disturbance that we see daily within this country? Or is it a cautionary tale of a man disregarded and dissipated from society? It quite possibly might be both. One thing for sure is that Joker is no laughing matter. 

Todd Phillips’ standalone origin story gives a never-before-seen look into the villain that we all thought we knew. We find the early makings of Joker in Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a hopeful comedian and street clown living in a dilapidated apartment building with his ailing mother. He dreams of fame in show business as he looks up to his hero, talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), but these dreams are quickly quashed as the nightmarish reality of his surrounding world closes in on him. Arthur reaches a breaking point as a series of humiliations, rejections, and physical assaults ignites the madness within him that will fuel the decay of the already-spiralling Gotham City. 

The surrounding city of was electrified by the premiere of Joker as a surge of fans and critics buzzed around the entrance of Scotiabank Theatre. The line surrounded the entire building and multiple staff stood by to answer the slew of questions that people had about how and when can they get into this theatre to witness this long-awaited, heart-rending movie. 

The details of Joaquin's performance are hypnotizing—everything from the manic laughter, constant mood swings, and manic dancing are beautifully unhinged and you can’t help but indulge in these moments. The setting of 1981 Gotham City, inspired by New York of the same era, adds such authenticity to the movie showcasing the blatant crime and corruption of a rotting Gotham. 

This movie is a character study where oftentimes you find yourself sympathizing with Arthur as he descends to the person he is meant to become: Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime. You can’t help but try to put on a happy face as you watch the madness unfold in Joker, coming to Regal October 4th. 

Joker-Joaquin Phoenix

 

UNCUT GEMS

From Josh and Benny Safdie comes an invigorating crime-infused thriller set in the diamond district of New York City following the story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jeweler constantly in search of his next opportunity. He is flung into the middle of a rather difficult situation when his merchandise is stolen from his top distributor and must cover the high debt.

As we keep up with Howard, we find him taking on more risks during a series of high-stakes bets in a frantic effort to get back the money he lost. With little success, he finds himself being tailed by the very men he owes money to. We feel the tension and frustration grow on screen as we see how desperately Howard wants to leave his current underdog life to lead a similar lifestyle to the influential athletic clients that he deals to.

Watching Sandler’s performance as Henry was taxing at times—as an audience member, you often find yourself torn between rooting for him and feeling completely unsympathetic. Adam Sandlar does an excellent job at delivering this exhaustively frustrating anti-hero as he maneuvers the abrasiveness of New York City that the Safdie brothers captured so well. Featuring former NBA star Kevin Garnett and The Weekend playing themselves, there is an added, lively visual of the city.

Uncut Gems was shown in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Tiff Bell Lightbox, leaving the street completely blocked off on both sides. Proceeding the screening we stopped by Luma, a restaurant located within the Tiff Bell Lightbox that contains delicious global Canadian cuisine— a splendid location in the midst of TIFF 19. 

The authenticity of the world that is created here is a delight to witness.

Uncut Gems-Sandler

 

DAY 6

ORDINARY LOVE

Directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn transport us into the turbulent world of the health-conscious, long-married couple Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville). As a casual walk through their busy neighborhood street quickly turns into a shocking discovery of a lump on Joan’s breast, the couple soon realize that their lives are going to change forever. As the struggle with coping continues to grow, both Joan and Tom realize that some paths must be walked alone.

Waiting in line at the Winter Garden Theatre was completely invigorating as crowds flooded the streets in anticipation of what they were about to witness. The theatre itself is one of the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatres in the world, and the beautiful architecture and ambience made it the perfect setting for this emotional triumph.

With the screenplay written by Owen McCafferty and with the vision of the directors D’Sa and Leyburn, Ordinary Love truly shows the torment and agony Joan and Tom are going through with such benevolence. The achromatic colors in the movie often reflect the grim situation that they are currently in.

Ordinary Love shows an unprecedented look at a rather typical marriage.

Ordinary Love

 

HARRIET

It’s often with great historical figures that we forget about the lives they lead beyond their contributions—those that altered the fabric of our world. Director Kasi Lemmons embarks on a dedicated mission with Harriet. Filled to the brim with poignancy and purpose, this movie is a gripping documentation of the gorgeous will of Harriet Tubman. 

Lemmons plunges us head first into the turbulent waters of Harriet’s life. We see what circumstances lead her to become the force she was meant to become; yet, most importantly we see her for her humanity. Just like all of us, she was human: a woman with hopes, fears, losses, and heartbreaks, but for her, all of this existing in a world of slavery and incomprehensible injustice. Cynthia Erivo commands the screen as Harriet, showing us every nuance of her internal revolution and how her personal transformation led her into becoming the leading conductor of the Underground Railroad. 

Alongside Erivo, Joe Alwyn delivers a bone-chilling performance. Filled with rage and yearning, he leaves us left to digest the incredibly complex relationship between a slave owner and his slave—when they have both grown up together. Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, and Zackary Momoh also deliver compelling and bright performances rounding out this mighty cast. The movie runs like a hymn and the audience was absolutely spellbound. Tears were shed, moments were shared, and everyone left the theatre profoundly touched. 

We get to watch what makes a titan. One that is selfless. One that is kind. One that is transcendent. During a time where slavery and injustice reigned supreme, we experience how a black woman subverts an entire system designed for her detriment. This movie leaves in the palm of our hands a deeply moving portrait of the weight of fear on the relentless road to freedom. Harriet comes to Regal November 1, 2019. 

Harriet

 

DAY 5

THE LIGHTHOUSE

Leaving audiences in a craze of excitement and turmoil in his feature debut, The Witch (2015), director Robert Eggers returns to the festival with his thrilling tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and obscure New England island. 

The Lighthouse follows Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) as he spends his days with grueling exertion while during the nights, his elder cohort Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) keeps up the procedure. Shot on 35mm, black-and-white film, this psychological thriller is a chilling display of the slow descent into madness of these two lighthouse keepers. The movie gives the audience a rather theatrical feel, as though they were watching a play, given the fixed location and intimate cast. Robert Eggers framing and ability to capture the deep sense of isolation made the audience feel as though they were transported to this remote New England island in the turn of the 19th century.  

The story begins when a very ambitious Ephraim and Thomas arrive at the lighthouse to relieve another pair of men. Each night, the men come together for dinner and, rather, forced conversation—it’s in these moments that we learn more about the temperament of the main characters. Thomas resents Ephraim for his youth and liveliness, while Ephraim believes Thomas to be nothing more than an irascible drunk who is on the verge of insanity. 

Our journey takes us into a slow, mentally unraveling of distinctively different men. Eggers displays to the audience the characters’ ideas of masculinity towards each other and how they view themselves. The men’s psyche is a direct status of their status at their job. They are constantly trying to get ahead of one another.

The Lighthouse is a stunning masterpiece which truly shows the frailty of the human mind. With two amazing performances by Dafoe and Pattinson, we eagerly await its release at Regal on October 18th, 2019.

 

DAY 4

HOPE GAP

Oscar®-nominated writer-director William Nicholson's penetrating drama will have all who see it completely absorbed. Hope Gap extends a lens to a uniquely intimate situation as we follow a couple as they go to visit their son. Things take a dramatic turn when the father tells him he plans on leaving his mother. 

Premiering at TIFF ‘19 the first weekend, the streets surrounding Winter Garden Theatre are filled with people rushing to get in and out of screenings as thousands have come to witness first hand some of this year’s most highly anticipated movies. 

Featuring superb performances from Bill Nighy and four-time Oscar®-nominee, Annette Bening, viewers will resonate with characters if they have ever maneuvered the difficulties of long term love.

 

PAIN AND GLORY

In this deeply personal movie, Almodóvar and his core creative team—cinematographer José Luis Alcaine, production designer Antxón Gómez, and composer Alberto Iglesias—return to TIFF for this inspired collaboration. Pain and Glory (original title, Dolor y gloria) provides dazzling color and emotional inventiveness. We follow an aging filmmaker, Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas) as he struggles with his unclear future and reflects on the circumstances that shaped his successful but troubled life.

As one of the first movies to premiere this weekend at TIFF, you can feel the energy around Scotiabank Theatre as fans eagerly wait to get inside. 

Regal fans can expect to experience a very personal, in-depth movie, as though we are reading through the pages of the diary of Salvador Mallo himself. Almodóvar opens his soul to the audience in such a compassionate way that you can't help but be fully submerged in the fervor of his character. 

Pain and Glory gracefully displays pain, sadness, self-discovery, and forgiveness—truly a movie that embodies the spirit of overcoming. Experience Pain and Glory when it comes to select Regal theatres starting October 11th, 2019.

 

DAY 3

A PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

Winner of both Queer Palm and Best Screenplay awards, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [original title]) is a stunningly heartwarming love story will continuously captivate you. Celine Sciamma’s all-female cast provides a wistful and unique experience. Set in the 18th-century, Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows an artist selected by an Italian noblewoman to paint a portrait of her isolated daughter who is soon to be married. Captured beautifully by cinematographer Claire Mathon, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) are shown in stunning symmetry juxtaposed by a wedge of tension as they discover their unexpected feelings for each other. The camera follows each character as the audience feels the anticipation and excitement building between them. Fans patiently waited outside as the rain began to fall, ready to completely engulf themselves in this brilliantly captivating movie. Regal fans will be immersed in the sentiment of the characters as their love story unfolds where they learn what it truly means to see and to be seen. Portrait of a Lady on Fire comes to Regal on December 6th.

 

JUST MERCY

Can one man with a passion for justice and a desire for change really make a difference? How valuable is the perception of the condemned to the world?

Just Mercy is a powerful true story of a Harvard-educated lawyer on the quest to answer these important questions. The movie follows Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan: an educated lawyer who goes to Alabama to defend the disenfranchised and wrongly condemned, primarily Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.

This true story beautifully captures Bryan Stevenson's (Jordan) desperation for truth all while reminding us of the very importance of our individual freedom and what that can do to someone once it is taken away. Director Daniel Cretton really puts you into the perspective of the characters—when they feel, you feel. When they cry, you can’t help but cry. The story begins with a young Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) naive to the implications of what it is like being on death row, but desperately wanting to do anything he can to help. After this encounter, he is filled with the desire to help individuals who people have forgotten. The more truth he discovers the more people around him try to stop him. Walter McMillian has given up and asks Stevenson what is he going to do differently. We follow Stevenson as he never stops trying to pursue justice. The movie takes us through rural Alabama cities with a star-studded cast of actors including, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and Jamie Foxx.

 

DAY 2

PARASITE

In this Palme d'Or-winning thriller, Joon-ho Bong continues his expansive, international career with a movie that returns to his home country. On the heels of Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017), Parasite provides an exciting blend of genres with plenty of suspense. As we follow the unemployed Ki-taek family, they take a peculiar interest in the wealthy and charismatic Park family for their contrasting livelihood, until they get entangled in an unexpected and shocking incident. As one of the first movies to exhibit at TIFF ‘19, the air was full of excitement and anticipation as an eager line wrapped around the block to get into the Scotiabank theatre. Regal fans should prepare to experience the gambit of emotions as Joon- ho Bong weaves us through this unique and heart-pounding story. Parasite beautifully displays ordinary people who fall into an extraordinary situation. As Joon-ho Bong describes this movie, it’s “a comedy without clowns, and a tragedy without villains.” Immerse yourself in this tragicomedy that will have you on the edge of your seat, and experience the groundbreaking Parasite when it comes to Regal on October 11th.

 

THE GOLDFINCH

Are loss and gain inexorably tied to one another? How do we assign meaning, importance, and beauty to the objects and people in our lives? The Goldfinch is a blurred coming-of-age story that ventures to answer these questions. The movie follows Theodore Decker, played by both Ansel Elgort and Oakes Fegley, after a tragic bombing in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art turbulently alters the trajectory of his life and how a stolen painting becomes his saving grace. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name by Donna Tartt, the movie eloquently captures her sprawling poignancy and detail. Director John Crowley and cinematographer Roger Deakins paint a cinematic portrait glistening with melancholy and emotional fervor. The story is told in a non-linear approach, threaded by series’ of flash-backs and flash-forwards. The movie runs as a vibration of Theodore’s mind, constantly re-living, re-telling, and re-molding his ever-evolving, aching memories of that fateful day in the museum. Revealing how trauma remains entrenched in our psyches. Yet, how its roots carve pathways for great light to enter our lives. We watch how Theodore grows into his fate, through violence and grace. The film takes us through New York, Nevada, and Amsterdam and features a compelling list of actors including Nicole Kidman, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, and Luke Wilson. The audience was stirring at the advanced industry screening which was held on the opening day of the festival. An impassioned way to kick off the first weekend at TIFF’19. The power of a painting. Grief, loss, shame - How time transforms those burdens. How life breaks one thing, to make it into another. Although we as humans cannot decide all that happens to us, our hands hold the weight of what we give meaning to. The Goldfinch comes to Regal September 13th.

 

DAY 1

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicks off today and will run through September 15. As part of TIFF’s dedication to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema, noteworthy movies such as American Woman (2018), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), Ford v Ferrari (2019), Frankie (2019), Joker (2019), Jojo Rabbit (2019), Knives Out (2019), and Motherless Brooklyn (2019) will be screening at gala and special presentations throughout the festival. In addition to these screenings, and many more, TIFF offers lectures, discussions, workshops, events, professional development, and opportunities to meet and listen to filmmakers from around the world.

Regal will be in Toronto for the duration of the festival to provide you industry access to red carpets, movie premieres, and interviews with your favorite actors. Follow @RegalMovies and continue to check back to Regal Reel for all the latest movie news!

 

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