Author Archives: Francis McKay

November 15

Trolls

Danish toymaker Thomas Dam created Good Luck Trolls in 1959 for his daughter to help her to get over her fear of monsters. They had big eyes, crazy long colourful hair, large heads, short bodies and bare feet. In the film Trolls, directors Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell keep faithful to Dam’s original concept as […]

July 28

Fantasia 2015: The Demolisher

The Demolisher sets a startling tone from its haunting opening moments. A female officer, Samantha (Tianna Nori), is paralyzed by cult members while attempting to stop a ritualistic sacrifice. Unable to part with his obsession of what happened to his now wheelchair bound wife, Samantha’s husband Bruce (Ry Barrett), a cable repairman, takes it upon […]

July 27

Fantasia 2015: Cash Only

Elvis Martini (Nickola Shreli, who also wrote the script) is on a really bad streak. He’s behind on his mortgage for the rental apartment he owns and the bank wants to foreclose. The majority of his tenants are behind on their rent and the ones who pay on time are constantly nagging him to fix […]

July 23

Fantasia 2015: Ludo

In Kolkata, it is nearly impossible for teens like Ria (Subolina Sen) to have a little privacy. Her parents constantly check her phone, force her to dress conservatively, and threaten potential suitors. Living under such strict confines, it is understandable that Ria and her pals – her best friend Payal (Ananya Biswas), Payal’s boyfriend Babai […]

July 20

Fantasia 2015: Therapy for a Vampire

The recent resurgence of vampire themed comedies was ignited with last year’s festival circuit smash What We do in the Shadows, and continues this year with David Rühm’s strong Austrian entry Therapy for a Vampire. Rühm’s film focuses on the Count Geza von Közsnöm (Tobias Moretti), a vampire who no longer loves his wife and […]

July 19

Fantasia 2015: Bridgend

A grey dreary atmosphere hovers above the town of Bridgend thanks in part to the high number of teen suicides that the region is experiencing. Unaware of the mysterious deaths occurring, Sara (Hannah Murray) embarks on her new life in the quaint town with her dad (Steven Waddington), a widowed police detective, and her horse […]

July 18

Fantasia 2015: Miss Hokusai

Haniko Sugiura was a famed Japanese manga artist whose work often focused on the Edo period in Japan’s history. A time when fighting amongst the different warrior factions eased, and the merchant class came to the forefront of Japanese society. The shift from years of warfare to more economical ventures led the inhabitants of Edo […]

July 11

Amy

Amy Winehouse’s life had a certain inevitability to it from the first time she burst onto the scene. Anchored by a weak support network of enablers and hangers on, some of whom unfortunately included closes relatives, her lyrics often hinted to where the talented artists’ life was headed. Asif Kapadia’s Amy tells the tale of […]

June 05

Spy

Spy opens the way you would expect from most espionage films to begin. A secret agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law), infiltrates a high end cocktail party in search of his target, Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi). Fine gets himself in a bind and relies on his trusty desk analyst, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), back in the […]

May 21

Far from the Madding Crowd

The year is 1870 and Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) spends her days riding across the great hills and valleys of the Dorst countryside. A wealthy land owner named Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), who has 200 sheep on his 100 acres, takes a fancy to Everdene and even asks for her hand in marriage. However, the […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2015: Drone

Tonje Hessen Schei’s Drone takes a detailed look at the growing, and disturbing, use of drone technology to fight the war on terror. The documentary offers a shocking, but well-rounded, examination of the personnel controlling the drones, the people who endure daily attacks, and those who are critics of the technology. Focusing her camera on […]

April 29

Hot Docs 2015: Daughter of the Lake

Nelida, a young Andean woman, is going to law school in the city in an attempt to gain formal training to battle a corporation threatening her community. The corporation in question is a mining company determined to extract gold deposits valued in the millions sitting beneath her village. Determined not to give up, Nelida’s actions […]

April 24

Hot Docs 2015: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck tells the story of a musician who, early on in his career, was hailed as the voice of a generation and struggled to cope with such a weighty designation. Utilizing a mixture of homemade movies, animation, archival footage and current day interviews, the film provides a vivid and intimate portrait […]

April 20

True Story

After his journalistic integrity is questioned, as a result of numerous inconsistencies in his stories, disgraced New York Time reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) finds his life in a tailspin. Dismissed from the Times, Finkel is stuck in his Montana home with no job prospects on the horizon. While his wife Jill (Felicity Jones) heads […]

April 09

TIFF’s Östlund Retrospective: Force Majeure

This week TIFF will be hosting In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund, a travelling retrospective on the Force Majeure director’s canon of films. Playing from April 9 to 14 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the series will be highlighting Östlund’s rich and diverse works of which includes two of his award-winning short […]

April 08

TIFF’s Östlund Retrospective: Play

This week TIFF will be hosting In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund, a travelling retrospective on the Force Majeure director’s canon of films. Playing from April 9 to 14 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the series will be highlighting Östlund’s rich and diverse works of which includes two of his award-winning short […]

April 04

HRWFF 2015: Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story

Christopher Beck retired from the United States Navy in 2011 after 20 years of service. During his time as a Navy SEAL, Beck was involved in the first Gulf War as well as tours of duty in Bosnia, Serbia and Afghanistan. Not only was Beck present for the fall of Saddam Hussein, he was also […]

April 01

HRWFF 2015: Burden of Peace

Burden of Peace opens with a grainy televised clip of former dictator Efraín Rios Montt speaking to the Guatemalan people. He is preaching for the need to be ruthless when dealing with communist enemies. The image is followed with a couple of soldiers in Ríos Montt’s army remarking that the concept of “human rights” is […]

March 26

Home

Oh (Jim Parsons) is part of an alien race, known as the Boov, who have been on the run from their arch enemy, the technologically advanced Gorg, for as long the Boov can remember. Lead by Captain Smek (Steve Martin), the best of their species at running away from trouble, the Boov are proud of […]

March 03

Focus

“Never drop the con. Die with the lie.” is the mantra of third generation confidence man Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith). Running a small, but skilled crew of pickpockets and con artists, Nicky’s structured life becomes complicated when he meets Jess Barrett (Margo Robbie) while posing as a famous chef at a hotel bar in New […]