Lady Bird ⭐⭐⭐½

The surprise film in this year's LFF is Greta Gerwig's directorial debut that she also wrote. If you know Gerwig's work as an actress, there is no surprise here as this has the same quirky and witty sentiments of her other films - but thankfully, this is not Damsel in Distress 2. As Christine McPherson, …

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The Cakemaker (Is) ⭐⭐

A married Israeli man on business in Berlin meets a young German baker and begins a year-long relationship with him in this patience testing, slow and predictable Israeli drama. Despite two solid performances from Tim Kalkhof, who plays the emotionally repressed baker and Sarah Adler, who plays the married man's wife, the film already begins …

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Happy End (Fr/Austria) ⭐⭐½

When a Michael Haneke film clicks (Hidden or Amour), it can be an incredible and exquisite thing but when it doesn't (Funny Games), it can be irritating as hell. Unfortunately this family drama about the wealthy Laurents is more of the latter. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays the patriarch and Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz, his grown-up …

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Brawl in Cell Block 99 ⭐⭐⭐½

In writer-director S. Craig Zahler's debut, Bone Tomahawk, he mixed genres and turned a Western into something much more violent and horrifying. He does it again in his follow-up, this time for the grindhouse prison revenge drama. The storyline cannot be more straightforward but unusual for a film of this genre, Zahler interestingly decides to …

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The Shape Of Water ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Re-inventing The Creature from the Black Lagoon as an inter-species love story, with an eye firmly on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Guillermo del Toro manages to marry his sci-fi fantasy geek credentials with the big fluffy romantic he is at heart. Set in the early 60s, this allows his sumptuous production design to create an Amelie-like …

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A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantastica) (Chile) ⭐⭐⭐

A young transgender woman suffers a tragic personal loss in this Chilean drama set in Santiago and the aftermath illustrates in no uncertain terms the hostility and discrimination she experiences in a society that still find her unacceptable and perverse. While the film tries not to be over-melodramatic in its handling of events and not …

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