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November 4, 2022


Bitesize Breakdown’s mission is to bring you multiple viewpoints for every movie we review. That is why, as you may have noticed, you’ll never find a movie review with fewer than two reviews (television is a different story). That said, in sending three writers to TIFF, there are several movies where our viewership didn't overlap. Sure, we all saw Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, but we also broke off individually to discover some smaller titles on our own. While full reviews for the major titles, like Glass Onion, will arrive closer to their official release date, we don’t know when, if ever, many of the following films will be made available for you to watch.

So, in an effort to prevent these titles from falling through the cracks, the following reviews are our TIFF Solo Shots: individual reviews of TIFF films that only one of Nick, Quentin, or Adriano was able to see. We encourage you to keep an eye out for them in theaters or on streaming in the coming months because some of them definitely deserve your attention.

BLACK ICE Starring: Akim Aliu, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Dumba, Sarah Nurse, Anthony Duclair, Saroya Tinker, and P.K. Subban

Director: Hubert Davis


Stylistically, Black Ice is a well-shot documentary. The player interviews taking place on the ice of an empty rink adds to the message of the feature, and there are a wide array of voices featured, including Willie O'Ree, the first black NHLer. Just the fact that the first black NHLer is a lively 86 year old man in 2022 tells you why this documentary exists. Unfortunately, as a hockey fan, most of the information presented is fairly common knowledge, making this a documentary made more for the common fan. That said, the message is the important thing: Hockey needs to change. - Nick




WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? Starring: Lily James, Emma Thompson, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, Sajal Aly, Asim Chaudhry and Jeff Mirza

Director: Shekhar Kapur


I’m just gonna get this out of the way: What’s Love Got To Do With It? is obscenely predictable. You know what’s gonna happen from the opening scene, and the ending came as a shock to absolutely nobody. Honestly, it’s predictable to the point where I’m not totally sure they weren’t trying to be predictable. All that said, it certainly entertained the rom-com lover inside of me. It has laughs, it has some interesting perspectives not usually addressed in rom-coms, and our two leads, Shazad Latif and the always lovely Lily James, have fantastic chemistry together. So, despite the predictability, it’s still worthwhile. - Adriano



SUSIE SEARCHES Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Alex Wolff, Jim Gaffigan, and Ken Marino

Director: Sophie Kargman


When watching Susie Searches, it’s very easy to see that this feature-length movie is based on a short film. It’s 105 minutes long, but the entire thing can be reduced to 3-4 “moments,” and the story and character development connecting those moments is either weak or entirely unnecessary. Everything else is well done, from the acting to the sometimes-too-quirky direction, and I admit the aforementioned moments add some genuine intrigue, but Susie Searches is the movie equivalent of a meeting that could have been an email. - Quentin



Starring: Jason Logan

Director: Brian D. Johnson


I can’t say I ever wondered what can be used to create ink or how it connects to the Earth, but upon watching, I’ve learned the process is fascinating. The documentary itself is well-shot, while Jason Logan makes for a solid narrator; however, the film branches out to too many side stories. It would have been far better served sticking with just Logan and a few of the artists he provides ink to (or, honestly, even just Koji Kakinuma). The imagery of the ink is nothing less than serene, but, unfortunately, the repetitive nature of the story caused me to lose my focus. - Nick




FIXATION Starring: Maddie Hasson, Genesis Rodriguez, and Atticus Mitchell

Director: Mercedes Bryce Morgan


Fixation does what it wants to do – at least, what I think it wants to do – very well. It puts you in the mindset of a potentially crazy woman undergoing experimental treatment in an institution. She has no idea what is happening, and neither do you. You are on the same ride she is on. However, you still need to tell a story. Fixation is just 99 minutes of intense and trippy imagery that makes you feel as exhausted and insane as she may or may not be. So, if that was the goal, then A+, but that’s also a dumb goal for narrative fiction. - Quentin



THE LOST KING Starring: Sally Hawkins, Steve Coogan, and Harry Lloyd

Director: Stephen Frears


I’m sad to say that I was not into The Lost King. It’s definitely not without its funny moments, mainly courtesy of Steve Coogan’s hilariously dry delivery and Sally Hawkins being as wonderful as always, but the plot was never engaging enough for me. I never really cared about this woman’s goal, nor did they give me much of a reason to. So, as a result, the movie just kinda drags, which is the last thing I want a movie to do. - Adriano




PROJECT WOLF HUNTING Starring: Seo In-Guk, Dong-Yoon Jang, and Dong-il Sung

Director: Hongsun Kim


Fair warning, if you don’t like subtitles, this movie maybe isn’t for you. I’m not a huge fan either, and Project Wolf Hunting has them in abundance. At times, there were so many characters speaking that I couldn’t tell which sub went to which person, leaving me somewhat lost in the story. That said, the story takes a massive backseat to the extremely violent carnage on screen. You know in Morbius, when Jared Leto changes for the first time and kills everyone on the boat? This movie is basically that for two wild and bloody hours. With that action, who needs story? - Quentin



Starring: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp, Tom Burke

Director: Oliver Hermanus


Living is certainly not bad, and Bill Nighy’s fantastic and heartbreaking performance makes this film super watchable as it features a lot of British charm, humor, and a decent amount of heart. That said, the film can feel like it’s rushing at times, but merely spinning its wheels at others. It’s a weird combo, but by the one hour mark, I was shocked at how quickly they got to a certain plot point and by just how much more movie was left. Overall, I’m more mixed on this than outright like or disliked. - Adriano



DALILAND Starring: Ben Kingsley, Barbara Sukowa, Christopher Briney, Rupert Graves, Alexander Beyer, Andreja Pejic, Suki Waterhouse, Avital Lvova, and Ezra Miller 

Director: Mary Harron


Given Salvador Dali’s eccentricities, it’s disappointing this semi-biopic is so damn flat. I say semi-biopic because it’s presented similarly to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, where Dali (Ben Kingsley) isn’t the focal point. Instead, the story is told through the experiences of his assistant (Christopher Briney, who lacks the charisma to carry the movie as the lead). Kingsley, of course, handles himself well, but in what feels like a heavily cut role resulting in minimal screen time, Ezra Miller (as young Dali) is the only actor bringing any life and allure to the screen. Even for the painter’s most ardent fans, this is a bore. - Quentin



Starring: Manal Issa, Nathalie Issa, Ahmed Malek, Matthias Schweighöfer, Ali Suliman, Kinda Alloush and James Krishna Floyd

Director: Sally El Hosaini


The Swimmers is a crowd pleaser for sure, but it’s definitely a bumpy one. The first two acts, I was locked in. An extremely engaging and harrowing thriller that teaches us the horrors of the crisis in Syria. There is one sequence involving a life boat that’s amongst the year’s most terrifying, and the two leads, Nathalie Issa and Manal Issa, do an incredible job. The third act, though, just suddenly becomes a formulaic sports biopic. Kind of a completely different tone, I’d say. I’m sure others will enjoy it, but I wasn’t too impressed. - Adriano



Starring: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, Lee Ji-eun, and Lee Joo-young

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda


Broker is amazing. Writer/director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns to similar themes that he has visited in the past, and while the results may not be as strong as his previous efforts, they're still effective and heartfelt. The cast works wonders in a story that is consistently warm and welcome yet never overly sentimental in its approach to finding the joy in the messiness of life. Some moments can teeter on melodrama, but those moments are small nitpicks in the grand scheme of this film. - Adriano



WILDFLOWER Starring: Kiernan Shipka, Dash Mihok, Charlie Plummer, Alexandra Daddario, Brad Garrett, Reid Scott, Erika Alexander, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Samantha Hyde, Jacki Weaver, and Jean Smart 

Director: Matt Smukler


If you love small indie movies about finding your place in an unconventional family, Wildflower should definitely be on your radar. It doesn’t break a ton of new ground, sitting comfortably on the shelf next to movies like CODA and Lady Bird, but it’s full of incredible heart and delightful charm. The all-star cast of proven role players (Jean Smart, Jacki Weaver, and Dash Mihok, especially) seem to give relative newcomer Kiernan Shipka the confidence to really dig into this character. I could go on, but the biggest compliment I can give is that I, a 41-year-old cynical male, really enjoyed this sweet, female-driven, coming-of-age tale. - Quentin

Photo Credits: TIFF

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