Author Archives: Courtney Small

September 25

Changing Reels Ep. 28 – Creed

Ryan Coogler’s Creed, much like its protagonist Adonis Johnson Creed, strives to carve out its own path while dealing with the weight of his legacy. The seventh film in the Rocky franchise, not only pays homage to the films in the series that came before it, but forges its own identity while carrying the torch […]

September 24

TIFF 2017: Mary Goes Round

The idea of a substance abuse counsellor who is an alcoholic herself is a premise ripe for comedy. In the hands of Molly McGlynn, the writer-director of Mary Goes Round, the jokes, as sly has they might be, take a backseat to the intricate drama on display. Prior to her DUI arrested, Mary (Aya Cash) […]

September 24

TIFF 2017: AVA

There is something undeniably universal about the teenage experience. While it can be argued that no two teens are exactly alike, the curiosities about the opposite sex and the questions about their own place in the world are identifiable regardless of where this coming-of-age ritual takes place. This is one of the reasons why Sadaf […]

September 23

TIFF 2017: A Season in France

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun has an uncanny ability of exploring the impacts of war in a poetic way. He displayed this in both A Screaming Man and the documentary Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy, and he does so again with his latest work A Season in France. The story follows Abbas (Eriq Ebouaney), a refugee who is […]

September 22

TIFF 2017: The Florida Project

The Florida Project, director Sean Baker’s follow-up to Tangerine, takes place just on the outskirts of the most magical place on earth, but is far from a whimsical dream. Baker’s profound and moving film turns a light on a side of Florida that few are willing to see. Focusing on the day-to-day life of 22-year-old […]

September 22

TIFF 2017: Molly’s Game

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) has been a fierce competitor all her life. If not for a freak accident on the slopes, she would probably have a few Olympic gold medals and numerous sponsorship deals. Unfortunately, Bloom’s life took a different turn after her skiing career abruptly came to an end. Working as a personal assistant, […]

September 21

TIFF 2017: Public Schooled

Public Schooled, the latest film from actor-director Kyle Rideout, is one of those coming-of-age romantic comedies whose premise could only exist in the movies. After being home schooled for his entire life, Liam (Daniel Doheny) is one equivalency exam away from graduating high school and pursuing his physicist dreams at Cambridge. On the day of […]

September 21

TIFF interview with The Crescent’s Seth A. Smith and Danika Vandersteen on Frameline

In part three of Frameline’s coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Barbara Goslawski and I spoke to director Seth A. Smith and actress Danika Vandersteen about their film, The Crescent, which screened in the Midnight Madness programme. We also discuss a few other films that screened at the festival this year including: The […]

September 20

TIFF 2017: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh’s latest film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is a darkly comedic drama that explores the dangerous cycle that can occur when anger and hate replace grief and compassion. At its core is Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a mother who decides to take action when the investigation into her teenage daughter’s murder begins to […]

September 20

TIFF 2017: Brad’s Status

There is a wealth of films that have looked at men going through what can only be called mid-life crisis. By all accounts Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) seems to be going through one, at least internally. From the outside, his life seems to be pretty good. He is the head of a non-profit organization, his […]

September 18

TIFF 2017: Loveless

Staying together for the kid is never a good idea. It is equally problematic when you are in the process of a divorce and have no clue what to do with the kid. This is the situation that Boris (Aleksey Rozin) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) find themselves in. Their marriage has dissolved to a level […]

September 18

TIFF 2017: The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

After looking at the decline of a relationship in his previous film, Road to Yesterday, Nigerian director Ishaya Bako lightens the mood this time around with The Royal Hibiscus Hotel. The film is everything you would expect from a romantic comedy, which carries its fair share of pros and cons depending on your viewpoint. At […]

September 17

TIFF 2017: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water, the latest work from Guillermo del Toro, proclaims to be a tale of love and loss and the monster who tried to destroy it all. If you are familiar with del Toro’s previous works, then you will know that the real monsters are not always the ones with the scary exteriors. […]

September 17

TIFF 2017: Suburbicon

The peaceful community of Suburbicon, an idealistic 1950’s destination for those who like their Americana to be filled with apple pies and white picket fences, is turned upside down when the Meyers, an African-American family, moves in. While the folks in the community would be the first to state that there is not a racist […]

September 16

TIFF 2017: I, Tonya

For those of us who remember the 1994 figure skating controversy that erupted when US medal hopeful Nancy Kerrigan was unexpectedly assaulted, it was the ultimate good versus evil narrative. Kerrigan was the apple of America’s eye and Tanya Harding was the villain, by association to the men behind the assault. As a result, Harding’s […]

September 15

TIFF 2017: Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Grace Jones’ lengthy career has spanned the worlds of music, fashion and acting, so it is somewhat surprising that no one thought to make a film about her life until now. Thankfully Sophie Fiennes’ new film Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is here to fill that void. Taking an unconventional approach, the film forgoes the […]

September 14

TIFF Interviews with Yassmina Karajah, Linsey Stewart, Mouna Traoré and Dan Browne on Frameline

In part two of Frameline’s coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Barbara Goslawski and I spoke with some fierce women who made great contributions to the Short Cuts programme. It was a pleasure to sit down with directors Yassmina Karajah (Rupture), Linsey Stewart (Bickford Park), and actress Mouna Traoré (The Drop In). We […]

September 14

TIFF 2017: Bodied

Much like the rap battles it both elevates and deconstructs, the Eminem produced Bodied is full of insight and contradictions. It is a film that wants to have its cake and eat it too, and for the most part it succeeds. Frequently funny, Joseph Kahn’s latest work offers some of the most scathing commentary you […]

September 13

TIFF 2017: Black Cop

Black Cop (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) goes by many names, many of which are not pleasant, making his real name not that important. In the community which he serves, Black Cop is viewed as the enemy, a traitor whose uniform is considered implied support for the frequent harassment and murders of black individuals. Amongst his fellow […]

September 13

TIFF 2017: In the Fade

Considering the rash of hate crimes occurring against non-whites in North America and Europe, Faith Akin’s latest film, In the Fade, is both timely and necessary. The film focuses on a woman, Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger), who must deal with the sudden loss of her husband and son to a terrorist bombing. Going through the […]