Author Archives: Courtney Small

November 24

BITS 2017: Paint the Town Red, Itch, Crux: Black Sol Empire

Paint the Town Red Scoring tickets to an ultra upscale night club, Josephine (Ariel Hansen, who co-directs the film with Christopher Andrew Graham) and Andie (Allison Klause who is delightful in the role) are excited to have a girls’ night out on the town. Unlike her oblivious party eager friend, Andie cannot help but notice […]

November 23

BITS 2017: Kill Order

James Mark’s Kill Order plays like a throwback to the type of action films that were prevalent in the 90’s. The foot to face martial arts films that helped to make individuals such as Billy Blanks, Cynthia Rothrock and Jalal Merhi international stars. If there is any justice, then Chris Mark will follow suit. An […]

November 22

BITS 2017: Red Spring

It is tempting to call Jeff Sinasac’s Red Spring a vampire film for The Walking Dead generation. The film features a group of survivors thrown together in a land ravaged by vampires with only each other to rely on. However, such a simplistic comparison does a disservice to all the things that makes Sinasac’s tale […]

November 20

Changing Reels Ep. 32 – Hush

We are joined once again by film critic Kristen Lopez to discuss the representation of disability in cinema. This time we dive into the horror genre with Mike Flanagan’s 2016 thriller Hush. The film focuses on a writer who is deaf whose solitary life in the woods is disrupted by a masked killer. We also […]

November 18

25 Years Later Malcolm X Still Resonates

25 years ago today Spike Lee’s Malcolm X was released in theatres. The fact that it even made it to theatres is remarkable. Unlike Martin Luther King, who has benefitted from revisionist history, Malcolm X was a figure not looked upon with the same rose coloured glasses. X’s use of his platform to bring awareness […]

November 15

New on Blu-ray: In this Corner of the World

It is common for films recounting the turbulent nature of World War II, especially the bombing of Hiroshima, to focus on the devastation. The horrors of war is something that audiences still find disturbing and fascinating with equal measure. This is why Sunao Katabuchi’s In this Corner of the World is such an intriguing work. […]

November 14

Reel Asian Interview with Alice Kim on Frameline

On the most recent episode of Frameline, Barbara Goslawski and I continue our Reel Asian Film Festival coverage by speaking with director Alice Kim about her short film Don’t Cry. We also reviewed Evan Wu’s The Boss and Chien-Hung LIEN’s 100th Birthday Wish, we also discussed some of the events and special programs that are […]

November 13

Black Star: Lime Kiln Club Field Day

As the nimble fingers of jazz pianist Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo glided across the ivory keys of the piano on the side of stage, my eyes were transfixed on the images being projected on the screen in front of me. It quickly became clear that what I and others in the theatre were witnessing was a […]

November 12

Black Star: Imitation of Life

John M. Stahl’s 1934 version of Imitation of Life may be a product of a certain era, but some of its themes still feel relevant today. It is a film that speaks to all those who, even for a fleeting moment, wished they were born into different circumstances. Adapted from Fannie Hurst’s novel, Stahl’s film […]

November 10

Black Star: Black Mother Black Daughter, Whitewash and Black Soul

Three vastly different films. Three female directors. One enriching experience. This was not the official tagline for this particular Black Star shorts program, but it could have been. Though the centerpiece of the program was Sylvia Hamilton and Claire Prieto’s 1989 documentary short Black Mother Black Daughter, there was a thematic link with the two […]

November 09

Expect the Unexpected: Justice, My Foot!

In Johnnie To’s 1992 action comedy Justice, My Foot!, justice is far from blind. In fact, it is downright crooked. The convoluted plot centres around Sung Sai-Kit (Stephen Chow) a lawyer in Guangdong who has a track record of winning all of his cases. Part of Sung’s success comes from the fact that he is […]

November 08

Black Star: Carmen Jones

One cannot help but think about what could have been for Dorothy Dandridge while watching Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones. Dandridge was the first African-American actress to ever be nominated for any Academy Award in the best actress category for her work in the iconic musical, but she was never able to cash in on her […]

November 07

Mudbound

Mudbound has been on my mind a lot since I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival a few months ago. In observing the vitriol spewed toward NFL players peacefully invoking their right to protest, my thoughts have turned to one of the common talking points regarding how such protests are a slap in the […]

November 06

Talking Black Star and Reel Asian on Frameline

On the most recent episode of Frameline, Barbara Goslawski and I took a look at some of the highlights of the TIFF Cinematheque Black Star series. We also gear up for the upcoming Reel Asian Film Festival by reviewing Dear Etranger, Bad Genius, Gook and A Whale of a Tale. If you missed the episode […]

November 06

Changing Reels Ep. 31 – Saved!

Film critic Kristen Lopez returns to Changing Reels for the first of two shows looking at the representation of disabilities in cinema. This episode we revisit Brian Dannelly’s 2004 satire Saved! The film follows Mary, a student at American Eagle Christian High School, whose life takes a drastic turn when she becomes pregnant after losing […]

November 04

Black Star: Jean of the Joneses

Do not be fooled by the jazzy New York vibe of Stella Meghie’s multigenerational comedy Jean of the Joneses. While it is reminiscent of the works of Woody Allen and Whit Stillman, Meghie’s film has its own wonderfully distinct voice. The film follows the mishaps of Jean (Taylour Paige), a promising young writer who is […]

November 03

Black Star: In the Heat of the Night

Growing up my mother was not a big fan of movies, but she loved Sidney Poitier. If To Sir, With Love or Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was on, we would be in front of the television. Oddly enough, of the three iconic films Poitier was a part of in 1967, Norman Jewison’s In the […]

November 01

Rendezvous with Madness Turns 25

The 25th Anniversary edition of Rendezvous with Madness, the first and largest mental health film festival in the world, kicks off on Friday. Running from November 3 – 11, 2017, the nine-day festival showcases 16 features and 34 short films from across the globe, including a series of curated short film programs, vital discussions and […]

October 31

What To See at TIFF’s Black Star Series

This weekend marks the start of TIFF Cinematheque’s Black Star series celebrating 100 years of black excellence on screen. Running from November 3, 2017 to December 22, 2017, and featuring a slew of feature length and short films curated by Ashley Clark, a writer and senior programmer of cinema at BAM in Brooklyn, the series […]

October 30

The Square

The standout scene in Ruben Östlund’s latest satire The Square involves a performance artist (Terry Notary) mimicking an ape at a black-tie fundraiser. The guests are amused at first as the muscular figure beats his chest and stares down those in his path. The assertion of dominance quickly descends down a dark path as the […]