Toronto International Film Festival Wrap-Up: The rest of the fest, from best to mess

For all our coverage of Toronto International Film Festival 2017, click here.

Well, it was my first Toronto International Film Festival this year as Vanyaland film editor, and it was a tremendously crazy six days while I was up there. I saw a total of 22 movies, including some that I'll be writing about later, but what we've got for you today, to wrap up our coverage of the TIFF, is a collection of capsule reviews -- what we've dubbed "the rest of the fest." Some are notable and award-winning, others are absolutely miserable and worth running away from. We have new works from Joseph Kahn, John Woo, Brie Larson, Scott Cooper, and many others telling tales from all ends of the genre spectrum. Hey, this list even includes one of the best films I've seen all year, so check it out.

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I Kill Giants

Barbara hunts giants in the woods. She’s the only person who can save the rest of her small coastal town from the impending devastation that this race of evil beings will wreak upon it, and it’s her responsibility to use her warhammer, the magical Kowalski, to smash the monsters right in the face and kill them. The only problems are that Barbara’s a middle-schooler, stuck in a sad home with an overworked sister (Imogen Poots) and an ignorant brother, and that her mystical enemies might not actually exist. This adaptation of Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s comic series, directed by Anders Walters, is a heartbreaker, but man, is it swell.

The young actors that Walters populates his film, including Barbara’s new English friend Sophia (Sydney Wade), with are truly and madly talented, and they’re given the kind of material that would make an adult jealous. They’re free to play well-rounded and intelligent characters, who have backstories and lives of their own which are never totally forced on the viewer, aside from Barbara’s, whose central mystery — why would such an intelligent young girl engage in this kind of violent play? — guides the plot. Wolfe is just wonderful, and it’s going to be so exciting to see what she does next- she’s ferocious and emotive and full of dark life.

Walters directs with a significantly lighter touch than J.A Bayona in his similarly-styled-and-themed A Monster Calls, and it pays off well-enough in the long run. The characters define this film, not the effects work, and it’s beautiful study of fear and isolation is painfully resonant. I Kill Giants is something to seek out, and I can think of ten different nerds I know who will have their shit wrecked by this film.

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