Movies Review

TIFF 2023 Preview: Boy Kills World, Hit Man, Sly and more!

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We preview some of our most anticipated movies from this year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

tiff 2023 banner

The time has come again for the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve been attending the festival for fourteen years straight (although I attended remotely during the 2020 COVID-19 edition), and I’m psyched to be heading to TIFF this week to send back reviews of all the great movies I’ll be seeing. Of course, this year’s TIFF is happening under the shadow of the dual SAG-AFTRA/ WGA strikes, meaning very few stars will be walking the red carpet, and some big movies will be waiting to make their debuts until the strike is (eventually) settled.

Nevertheless, tons of big movies are still playing at the festival this year. Here are ten of my most anticipated films:

The Toronto Film Festival has announced their ten film lineup for this year's Midnight Madness, including Boy Kills World

This one wasn’t on my radar until a sales trailer leaked onto the net a few weeks ago and offered us a glimpse at director Mortiz Mohr’s dystopian action epic, which looks like The Raid crossed with The Running Man. Bill Skarsgård makes his debut as an action hero here, playing the titular “boy” who seeks to take down the regime responsible for the murder of his parents. Jessica Rothe of Happy Death Day co-stars as an LED-helmet-wearing assassin named June 27.

Netflix pain hustlers

Pain Hustlers

Netflix had a big hit earlier this year with their opioid epidemic limited series Painkiller, and this star-studded movie is another entry by the streamer focusing on the tragedy. This one is from the eyes of the pharma reps, although the description seems to suggest it may not be directly tackling the opioid epidemic and Oxycontin’s role and perhaps is telling a more fictionalized version. Emily Blunt, Chris Evans and Andy Garcia star, with Harry Potter director David Yates at the helm.

Dumb Money

Another movie that’s ripped from the headlines, this one focuses on the GameStop saga, where some investors in the company took Wall Street hedge funds for a ride. Paul Dano stars as Keith Gill, whose advocacy for GameStop’s stock on Reddit and YouTube cratered the profits for a couple of hedge funds, with Nick Offerman, Seth Rogen, Sebastian Stan, and more co-starring in Craig Gillespie’s (I, Tonya) fact-based dramedy.

glen Powell hit man

Hit Man

Richard Linklater’s latest stars Glen Powell as an academic who inadvertently winds up working for the cops, posing as a hitman to entrap potential clients. Crazy enough, this is also based on a true story. The reviews for this one out of Venice have been outstanding, with many saying that this movie will solidify Powell’s stardom.

woman of the hour Anna kendrick

Woman of the Hour

Yet another true story, with Anna Kendrick making her directorial debut and starring in this wild true story of a Dating Game contestant who was matched with Rodney Alcala, a notorious serial killer who authorities believe may have murdered as many as 130 women. Truth is always stranger than fiction, folks.

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KILL

I’ve been waiting for Bollywood to create a kick-ass action movie. While War and Pathaan were good starts, the action was too over-the-top for my tastes. However, the buzz around KILL, which makes its debut at Midnight Madness, suggests that this may be India’s version of The Raid (which was unofficially remade in India as Baaghi). Also, it has a great title.

aggro dr1ft

Aggro Dr1ft

Harmony Korine’s movies aren’t for everybody. Heck, outside of Spring Breakers, I’d say they aren’t really for me either, but I’m intrigued by the sound of his infrared-shot action fantasia, Aggro Dr1ft. It played to pretty wildly diverse reviews at Venice, with some loving it and (most) others walking out. Perhaps they weren’t in the right headspace, but hey, weed and edibles are legal in Toronto. Just sayin’.

The Holdovers

It’s been seven years since Alexander Payne’s last movie, Downsizing, which was an enormous critical and financial flop. Since then, he has almost directed a few films (including The Menu) but is finally making a comeback with what’s being called a major return to form. It reteams him with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti for a comedy about a prep-school headmaster who’s stuck with a bunch of teens left behind at the school over the Christmas holiday. The trailer for this promises a profanely funny good time.

dream scenario Nicolas cage

Dream Scenario

The latest from A24, this one pairs Nicolas Cage and Ari Aster (who produces) with director Kristoffer Borgli, whose last film, Sick of Myself, earned raves. In it, Cage plays a regular guy who, to his horror, starts turning up in people’s dreams, which becomes complicated when the dreams and his role in them become more sinister and horrific.

Sly

One of the few big stars that will be attending TIFF this year is my idol, Sylvester Stallone, who will be there with his Netflix documentary, Sly (as it’s non-fiction, he’s allowed to promote it). He’ll also be participating in a masterclass, which I already acquired a ticket for, so I’m looking forward to reporting back on all things Sly!

What TIFF movie sounds the best to you? Let us know in the comments.

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