TIFF 2016: Beware of Monsters and Monstrous Behavior 

click to enlarge Lewis MacDougall stars in A Monster Calls - PARTICIPANT MEDIA
  • Participant Media
  • Lewis MacDougall stars in A Monster Calls
There are monsters all around Toronto International Film Festival 2016.

The highest-profile monster movie so far has been A Monster Calls, a tearjerker about a 12-year old boy—played by the impressive Lewis MacDougall (Pan)—who is living with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and coping with his mother's (Felicity Jones) fatal illness. The boy summons a gargantuan tree monster (Liam Neeson) to act out his rage. During the screening, many of the audience members wept, but I found A Monster Calls too sentimental and manipulative.

click to enlarge Anne Hathaway stars in Colossal - VOLTAGE PICTURES
  • Voltage Pictures
  • Anne Hathaway stars in Colossal
Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudekis, is an odd-duck of a movie. Hathaway plays an alcoholic who discovers her movements control a terrifying Godzilla-type monster threatening Korea. The film, an unsubtle allegory, is sometimes hilarious, sometimes moody and even occasionally dull. 

Other monsters at TIFF include the aliens in Arrival and the earthbound animals in Morgan Spurlock's spine-tingling documentary Rats and the murderous creature in The Limehouse Golem.
click to enlarge Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke star in The Limehouse Goldem - NUMBER 9 FILMS
  • Number 9 Films
  • Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke star in The Limehouse Goldem
The Limehouse Golem, an English horror film starring the always-wonderful Bill Nighy, is a devilish Victorian-era thriller set in 1880 London. A string of grisly murders are happening in the notorious Limehouse district, home to a music hall. A number of the hall's troupe are suspects, including actors, a playwright and even Karl Marx—but the press exploits the idea only the mythical Golem, who delights in preying upon immigrants and the poor, could be responsible. Scotland Yard Inspector Kildare (Nighy) must track down the killer, who- or whatever it may be. 

"I'll wager that there's a tale being told here," says Kildare. "But it's up to us to decide if we can sink to the Golem's level of damnation to solve it."

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