Tag Archives: 2014

April 11

Shorts Spotlight: Cowboy Ben

You may have notice things have been a bit light around here over the last few days. While I would like to offer some fantastical explanation, the truth is parenthood, life responsibilities, a broken computer and festival coverage preparation have taken up most of my time. Fear not though, some great things are coming down […]

September 01

Shorts Spotlight: #AmeriCAN

Actor Nate Parker (Beyond the Lights) directs this emotionally gripping look at the racial turmoil that is ripping America apart at the seams. Focusing his narrative on the seemingly endless violence against black males at the hands of police officers, Parker is not shy about his intentions. Taking the stance that “all lives matter,” the […]

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 […]

March 08

Maps to the Stars

Maps to the Stars paints Hollywood as a ghost town in more ways than one. Both the main characters–aging, washed-out actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) and cocky child star Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird) interact with the dead: Benjie’s is a young fan; Havana’s is her mother (Sarah Gadon), a starlet who died young. Other ghosts are metaphorical: […]

March 02

John Wick

“Oh” Rarely has two letters carried so much comedic weight in the world of action films as they do in John Wick. It is the response that is uttered from seasoned gangsters and young upstarts alike upon hearing that they have angered the Boogeyman. Actually it is worse than that. They have essentially pissed off […]

February 16

A Measure of the Sin

I’m not entirely sure at what point I realized the events of A Measure of the Sin were meant to be approached symbolically, not literally, but I’m pretty sure I figured it out before the bear showed up. Let me rewind. Meredith (Katie Groshong) is one of three young women who live in an ancient rambling […]

February 10

TBFF 2015: Manos Sucias

Executive produced by Spike Lee, Manos Sucias tells the tale of two brothers struggling to survive in a world drowning in poverty and endless corruption. Delio (Cristian James Abvincula) is a 19 years-old new father living in the slums of Buenaventura, Columbia. When not dreaming of making it big in the music industry, he plots […]

January 24

Inherent Vice

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice is a strange mystery-comedy based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon. Set in 1970 Los Angeles, the film follows a hippie private detective named Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) on a series of misadventures. Sportello’s latest job involves helping an ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth […]

January 19

The Guest

Filmmaker Adam Wingard began his career making so-called “mumblegore” films in the low-budget, naturalistic vein as his frequent collaborator Joe Swanberg, but 2011’s You’re Next saw him adapt a unabashedly “retro” and less lo-fi style similar to that of colleague Ti West. Wingard’s latest effort, The Guest, continues in the same direction. The Peterson family are struggling […]

January 18

Top Five

There is a hilarious scene in Chris Rock’s latest directorial effort, Top Five, where Andre Allen (played by Rock) lays naked quivering in a hotel bed surrounded by, to put it tactfully, the excessive remnants of another man stealing his thunder. This is easily one of the film’s crudest moments, but also one of its […]

January 16

American Sniper

Journalist Chris Hedges wrote in his 2002 novel War is the Force that Give Us Meaning that “the rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years.” A truncated version of this quote was immortalized in Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award winning film The […]

January 13

Selma

A man on horseback emerges out of the dense fog like a hunter who has spotted his prey. Unraveling the whip in his hand, he strikes down one of the terrified individuals running away in fear. It is easy to imagine this scenario playing out in a traditional slave narrative, but this is Selma, Alabama […]

January 08

I Put a Hit on You

Similar to the central relationship at its core, I Put a Hit on You is not all it appears to be on the surface. The films wears the garments of a screwball romantic comedy, complete with an outlandish premise, but aims for something leaner and more resonating. The fear of the unknown may be the […]

January 07

Into the Woods

Into the Woods has a pretty long history on the road to the big screen. The closest they have come was a 1991 televised version of the stage version on PBS (with Bernadette Peters as the witch). Who would have guessed it would take Disney to create the film version of a messed up series […]

December 29

The Interview

In light of the recent controversy, which even had the President weighing in, The Interview has been on the tips of everyone’s tongue. Now that the film has been given a limited release in theatres, and streaming online, the conversation can finally turn towards the actual merits of the film itself. Directed by Seth Rogen […]

December 23

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

There is a moment towards the end of Peter Jackson’s final chapter of The Hobbit series in which a wounded Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Artimage), in his farewell to his friend Bilbo (Martin Freeman), proclaims “If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world.” His words speak to the greed that […]

December 16

Still Alice

There is a moment in Still Alice where directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland plant the camera over Alice’s (Julianne Moore) shoulder as she sits in a chair. In the background are blurred images of her husband and children in conversation at the dinner table. They talk frankly about Alice as if she is not […]

December 15

Mr. Turner

J. M. W. Turner’s (Timothy Spall) world is one where beauty and contradictions are intertwined. One of the greatest painters of the 19th Century, Turner had a visionary eye when it came to capturing landscapes and natural light on his canvases. However, he was also a man who was frustratingly complex. Turner was a boorish […]

December 11

Nightcrawler

Louis “Lou” Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a man who knows what he wants out of life and is determined to get it. He is assertive, a quick learner, and truly believes that “good things come to those who work their asses off.” If nothing else, Bloom is a man who knows that branding oneself is […]

December 09

Félix and Meira

Meira (Hadas Yaron) is a young Hasidic Jewish mother in Montreal slowly drowning in plain sight. Living within an Orthodox community, and feeling suffocated by the strict rules of her faith, Meira’s daily life is one of sadness. She no longer finds joy in traditional religious tunes sung at the dinner table and has no […]