‘Outlaw King’, Michael Moore film kick off Toronto film festival

Michael Moore’s new documentary about the Trump era opened the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018

‘Outlaw King’, Michael Moore film kick off Toronto film festival

TORONTO: The world premiere of Netflix’s Scottish drama “Outlaw King” and Michael Moore’s new documentary about the Trump era opened the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, kicking off 10 days of movies seeking to grab attention in the upcoming Hollywood awards season.
“Outlaw King” stars Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and director David Mackenzie walked the red carpet promoting the action movie about 14th century rebel Robert the Bruce and his fight to win back control of his homeland from an English occupying army.
In another Toronto movie theater, liberal activist Moore talked up “Fahrenheit 11/9,” his provocative look at the reasons behind the 2016 election of Donald Trump as US President.
“We explore the question of how the hell we got in this mess and how do we get out of it,” Moore told Reuters Television. “The film is also very much about who we are as Americans because he (Trump) didn’t fall out of the sky.”
Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Lady Gaga, Viola Davis and Ryan Gosling are among other celebrities expected at Toronto, which has become a key showcase in the awards season that culminates with the Oscars on Feb. 24 next year.
The Toronto slate this year includes 254 features and 88 short films.
Fresh from its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last week, singer Lady Gaga and actor-director Bradley Cooper bring their remake of music drama “A Star Is Born” to Toronto.
Actor-director Redford, 82, will present his final movie, crime comedy “The Old Man and the Gun,” after announcing his retirement from acting after a 50-year career.
Roberts, the latest Oscar-winning star to move into television, will present her psychological thriller “Homecoming” for Amazon.
The festival will also take on more serious issues.
“The Hate U Give” and “Monsters and Men” will look at the issue of police brutality in black communities, while “Hotel Mumbai” brings the story of the 2008 attack on a hotel in the Indian city to the big screen.
The 1988 US presidential campaign is revisited with “The Front Runner,” starring Hugh Jackman, about the derailing of Senator Gary Hart’s White House ambitions because of accusations of an affair.

REVIEW: 'Stranger Things' season three

Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Natalie Dyer (Nancy Wheeler) and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane Hopper). (Netflix)
Updated 21 July 2019

REVIEW: 'Stranger Things' season three

  • Hit series returns, funnier and freakier

DUBAI: Netflix’s “Stranger Things” crossed the line from hit series to cultural phenomenon pretty early on with its mix of Eighties nostalgia, sweetly humorous kids-coming-of-age story, sci-fi thrills and genuinely spooky scenes.

After a second season that brought a darker, more dangerous vibe but lost some of the fun, showrunners the Duffer Brothers seem to have struck a better balance between the two in the third season, released last week.

Set in the summer of 1985, the central gang of kids: Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Lucas Sinclair, Max Mayfield, Dustin Henderson and telepath Eleven (or El — or Jane Hopper as she’s now the legal adoptive daughter of Sherrif Jim Hopper) are on school vacation, and it’s that awkward summer when the boys start to take more interest in girls than in Dungeons & Dragons, much to Will’s chagrin. Mike and Lucas are (at the start of the series at least) bumbling their way through relationships with El and Max respectively. The Duffers mine these awkward ‘first-love’ scenarios for rich humor and some genuinely touching moments, as well as some realistic takes on how the complications of love interests affects the tight-knit gang of boys we met in the first series. And of how they enable Max and El to bond. It’s great to see El relax into hanging out with her first real girlfriend (in the platonic sense).

There’s plenty of humor too in the double-act of Dustin and Steve Harrington — formerly the high-school heartthrob, but now struggling to retain his ‘cool’ edge while working in an ice-cream parlor in the town’s new social hotspot, the Starcourt Mall. New arrival Robin is his co-worker — and thorn in side, constantly puncturing his ego.

Of course, there’s a darkness stirring too. The sinister, otherworldly monster defeated by El at the end of season two is not, it seems, as gone as everyone thought. Strange power fluctuations trigger Will’s awareness of his nemesis, and the kids quickly realize that their summer holidays aren’t going to be as carefree as they’d hoped. There’s the issue of exploding rats, for starters, and Max’s older brother, Billy, is acting very, well, strange.

Everything that made “Stranger Things” so wildly popular, then, is still in place, including stellar performances from the ensemble cast and the eye-catching attention to Eighties pop culture (new Coke, Phoebe Cates and Ralph Macchio, for example), to — of course — the unsettling notion of something very wrong happening just beneath Hawkins’ shiny, happy surface.