SILENT NIGHT (TIFF2021) – Review by Pam Grady

Apocalyptic stories are no strangers at the Toronto International Film Festival, my favorite of all time (granted one that predates my time at the festival) being Don McKellar’s TIFF award-winning Last Night, in which the Toronto native imagines how a group of city residents count down humanity’s final hours and emerges with a drama that is captivating and oddly, beautifully romantic. This year, the festival chose writer/director Camille Griffin’s Silent Night, another end-of-the-world story that like McKellar’s film tries to strike a tone beyond pure horror, but one doesn’t quite work with pieces that don’t quite fit. Griffin deserves credit for taking the risk, but it is one in which pay off proves elusive.

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SILENT NIGHT (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Can you remember the first time you really knew you were going to die? You know, when you learned that every human and living being on the planet has an expiration date, including you? What if that date was Christmas, and everyone else was going to die, too? That’s the premise for writer/director Camille Griffin’s film Silent Night. The film is terrifying and as dark as a starless sky, not because of the premise itself, but because of how the story unfolds. Absolutely not for children, and not even for adults who avoid movies with children in peril, this is decidedly not a Christmas movie.

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OFFICIAL SECRETS – Review by Laura Emerick

In 2003, while the American media batted around the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and some outlets even helped to advance the Bush administration’s march to war, Britain faced its own press-related crisis that didn’t receive much coverage outside the United Kingdom.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Keira Knightley talks OFFICIAL SECRETS – Brandy McDonnell reports

“I was sort of fascinated that either I’d forgotten, or I’d never known about Katharine Gun and I’d never known about this memo. So, I felt like, you know, just as far as kind of a historical piece in sort of shedding light on that, the lead up to that conflict, I thought it was a very important story to tell,” says Keira Knightley.

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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Like recent Disney live-action adventures like 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful and this year’s A Wrinkle in Time, The Nutcracker is visually gorgeous and entertaining enough, with some interesting approaches to adapting familiar material, but the results don’t quite cook up as well as you’d like, especially considering the first-rate ingredients.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Nov. 24-30: THE IMITATION GAME

Opening Nov. 28, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The Imitation Game, the compelling real-life story of how mathematical genius Alan Turing (played to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch) and a team of numerologist cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code, bringing an early end to World War II. Read on…

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