CABRINI – Review by Loren King

Director Alejandro Monteverde means to educate and inspire as the film traces the diminutive Italian nun’s journey to New York from Italy in the early 1900s with the intention of establishing charitable missions. Settling with her group of five other nuns and joined by a young prostitute in the notorious Five Points where newly arrived Italians struggle to survive in grotesquely inhumane conditions, Cabrini battles virulent discrimination and indifference to eventually build orphanages and hospitals that will serve the Italian immigrants shunned by the rest of New York.

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CABRINI – Review by T.J. Callahan

Cabrini is a biopic that dramatically recounts the journey of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. The diminutive dynamo defied odds and the wrath of all the men who tried to stand in her way, including the Pope. She left her homeland of Italy determined to fight discrimination and put a roof over the heads of orphaned immigrant children everywhere. Mother Cabrini was expected to fail because she was a woman, but ended up doing things that, as she said, men could never do.

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LEE (TIFF 2023) – Review by Rachel West

Once an artist’s muse, Lee Miller revolutionized the way the world looked at wartime photography. Now, first-time director Ellen Kuras is telling her story in the compelling portrait, Lee, featuring another awards-worthy performance by Kate Winslet. Lee sets out to tell a straightforward story of Miller’s life and it does it quite well. Kuras makes sure that Miller’s story is front and centre at all times. It is her journey we are meant to follow as viewers are guided through her photographs, including her infamous portrait in Hitler’s bathtub.

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DALILAND – Review by Jennifer Green

Dalíland is a vibe. It’s never easy to capture the spirit of an individual on screen, particularly one as unusual and provocative as Salvador Dalí. The biographical details tend to be easier, depending on how a script is structured. Director Mary Harron’s effort, working from a script by her husband, John Walsh, is a mixed bag. Some aspects are wild, funny, and colorful, as the Catalan artist by all accounts was himself. Other parts of this movie, including some forced exposition through flashbacks and an ultimately cynical view of the surrealist painter and his wife, are questionable.

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CHEVALIER – Review by Rachel West

An epic biopic of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Chevalier, is anchored by a mesmerizing performance by Kelvin Harrison Jr. Born to a French aristocratic father and an enslaved Senegalese mother in Guadeloupe in 1745, Bologne was taken to France at the age of seven. With exceptional music talent and mastery of the violin at a young age, Bologne fought against the racism of 18th century Paris. Screenwriter Stefani Robinson’s rich social commentary shows how the composer can play by all the rules and still lose the game.

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EMILY – Review by Jennifer Green

Actor turned debut writer/director Frances O’Connor’s Emily Brontë biopic, Emily, boasts solid acting and beautiful cinematography, and its theme of intellects pushing against the boundaries of their day comes across well in the story and its many memorable moments of strong emotion. But the film also feels a little lost at times in its search for dramatic peaks and forced suspense to keep 130 minutes of screen time interesting. Shaving 30 or more minutes off in editing would have helped keep the story more focused and allowed the film’s many compelling elements to shine.

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ELVIS – Review by Susan Kamyab

You know his songs, but how well do you the man behind the music? Elvis Presley changed the world of rock and roll, and in Baz Luhrman’s new film, Elvis we get a deeper look at what inspired his sound and moves. Visually, Elvis is breathtaking and with bedazzling effects, but story wise, the film drags. the film is way too long, there were many unnecessary scenes that could have easily been cut to pick up the pace.

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THE SWIMMERS – Review by Lois Alter Mark

At a time when the governors of Texas and Florida are callously using refugees as political pawns, The Swimmers is a must-watch movie that puts individual human faces to the staggering number of people escaping war-torn countries to find a safe place to live. Almost seven million Syrians have become refugees since 2011 when civil war broke out, and The Swimmers, which is based on a true story, solidly focuses on two of them while never losing sight of the rest.

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WHITNEY HOUSTON: I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY – Review by T.J. Callahan

As special a voice as Houston had, I Wanna Dance With Somebody is your typical homogenized PG 13 bio pic to appeal to the masses. Domineering parents, talent discovered, fast rise to fame, breakneck touring schedule, unraveling relationships, a fall from grace, rehab, a failed comeback and a sentimental conclusion.

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