DUMB MONEY (TIFF 2023) – Review by Rachel West

The year is 2020. Confined to the insides of their homes and glued to the internet for lack of anything better to do during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, one YouTube live streamer and an army of Reddit investors pushed hedge fund billionaires to the brink in the infamous GameStop Wall Street scandal. Less than three years after the real-life event, director Craig Gillespie and writers Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo bring Dumb Money, the true story of the scandal that pitted average armchair investors – so-called “dumb money” — against hedge fund managers through a grassroots investing movement.

Read more

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Susan Granger

Secrets of synchronicity: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts once again lures fans back into theaters while the New York Times Business section lauds Silicon Valley’s highly anticipated new technology that would unite human and machine. Known as The Singularity, it envisions a self-aware superhuman machine that could design its own improvements faster than any group of scientists. That’s not what happens in the seventh movie in the family-friendly Transformers franchise, spawned by Hasbro action figures, but it’s not far off.

Read more

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is like an old car outfitted with some new accessories. The spoiler and the hubcaps change it up a bit, but it has the same chassis underneath. The seventh (!) film in an action franchise launched in 2007, Rise of the Beasts introduces some new characters (human and robot) who liven up things enough for the first half. Yet it ultimately devolves into a big smashing robot movie that’s so-so, with a final showdown that could have been avoided if a character behaved the way we’ve seen in other films.

Read more

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Nadine Whitney

In 2007 Michael Bay brought Tomy/Hasbro’s Transformers toys to live action with Transformers. Although there had been a series of animations Bay’s film kickstarted the cinematic franchise and allowed it to devolve into complete dross by the time the last film came around in 2017. That’s not to say that Transformers was any kind of marvel; typically shot in the frenetic ‘Bayhem’ fashion, the film was also uncomfortably exploitative of Megan Fox’s body and Revenge of the Fallen doubled down on the particularly predatory male gaze. Travis Knight’s 2018 Bumblebee corrected Bay’s formula and was genuinely good as an action film with an emotional core. Now we have Steven Caple Jr.’s Rise of the Beasts which avoids Bay’s worst directorial instincts but doesn’t measure up to Bumblebee in terms of quality.

Read more

IN THE HEIGHTS – Review by Susan Granger

Jon Chu’s In the Heights”is the most dazzling movie musical in years! Adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway show, the eye-popping cinematography and awesome choreography make it the summer’s first fun, feel-good movie. Washington Heights is a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Upper Manhattan near the George Washington Bridge.

Read more

IN THE HEIGHTS – Review by Leslie Combemale

In the Heights is universally aspirational in so many ways, but in particular it is inspiring for a country that has been through so much, and needs healing. It reminds us to turn our focus to better days and better times ahead. It’s such a pleasure to see pre-pandemic hugging, dancing, and celebration, knowing that as we transition beyond the nightmare of the last year and onto something better, we can imagine moments of celebration for ourselves and those we love.

Read more