FINGERNAILS – Review by Susan Granger

As a critic, I’ve seen wretched sci-fi romantic dramedies – but few as ludicrous and repugnant as Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou’s Fingernails. The premise is simple: What if technology could determine whether you and your partner are perfectly matched and in love? Would it matter to you if that simple test involved ripping out one of your fingernails – without anesthesia?

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NIMONA – Review by Nadine Whitney

Nimona is a beautifully made and realized LGBTQ+ fable that is full of rebellion, joy, and the message that empathy is essential in any society. When people are hunted for just existing the question arises – who are the real monsters? Nimona doesn’t dither with the answer. Nimona is, simply put, one of the best animations of the year and one of the most heart-warming and thematically rich.

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ENCOUNTER – Review by Diane Carson

In Encounter, the decorated Special Forces Marine combat veteran and father Malik Khan lovingly delights and amuses, then dominates and terrifies his two sons Jay and Bobby after he kidnaps them, certain he’s saving them from aliens. With Riz Ahmed as Malik, through intense physical scenes and a psychological labyrinth, the story moves through hairpin turns and tense confrontations.

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FLEE (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Danish writer/director Jonas Power Rasmussen’s documentary Flee about Afghan refugee Amin, his arduous journey getting to Denmark, and how that experience colors his current life, is destined to become a shining example of great indie animation. It may be painful to watch Amin go through the horrors he describes, but it is also an incredibly uplifting, inspiring story that will leave its viewers with a powerful feeling of hope.

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ENCOUNTER (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

An alien threat leads decorated soldier Malik (Riz Ahmed) to kidnap his sons Jay (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby (Aditya Geddada) and take them across the Southwest desert highways in Encounter, the latest genre-bender by English director Michael Pearce. The film, which is also co-written by Pearce, affirms him as a talent with vision, showing he has an ability to intermingle the tensions unique to psychodrama and sci-fi actioners, while offering a showcase for Ahmed, an actor who, with Malik, is adding to his arsenal of unforgettable performances.

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