Tag Archives: Best of 2014

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 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 05

CAST Awards Crowns Boyhood Best Film of 2014

Established in 2010, the Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto has been described as a ragtag group of semi-professional film bloggers, podcasters, tweeters and TIFF Lightbox lobby loiterers. What unites them all is a love for cinema and for the cinema culture in their city. Drawing from the massive pool of more than 500 theatrically released […]

December 28

Top Ten Films of 2014

2014 was a fantastic year for cinema! There was truly an abundance of riches to choose from. Below are the titles that left the biggest mark on me. To be eligible for a spot on this list a film had to either have a theatrical/VOD release in 2014, or screen at one of the local […]

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 […]

December 08

The Gambler

Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), an associate literature professor at a local University, is an all or nothing type of guy who firmly believes if you can’t excel at a task you should just give it up. He brings this attitude to his job as well. When not confronting his students with highly personal questions, Bennett […]

November 18

Dear White People

An unexpected thing occurred while watching Justin Simien brilliant comedy Dear White People. A wave of emotion washed over me, one that is tough to put in words. Sitting in a cavernous theatre with six other individuals, I was instantly transported back to my own university days. It was as if a time capsule had […]

November 10

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) explores a week in the life of a once-famous film star, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton who plays the role with a sense of gravitas), as he tries to mount a comeback on Broadway. Haunted by his decision to walk way for the third […]

October 30

Force Majeure

Set within the lush backdrop of the French Alps, director Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure is a fascinating study of a family relationship on the brink of collapse. On a much needed vacation, Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli), her workaholic husband Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and their kids (Clara Wettergren and Vincent Wettergren) have dedicated five days of […]

October 28

TAD 2014: The Babadook

Arriving on a stunning wave of critical praise, expectations for Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook were undeniably raised. Boosting buzz that hailed it as the scariest film of the year, many came from far and wide looking for a good jolt of fear. Due to the insane level of hype the film no doubt divided the […]

October 22

imagineNATIVE: What We Do in the Shadows

Life as a vampire is not as glamorous as it appears on the surface. They may no longer be real people, but they still have real problems. Besides struggling to keep up with the advancements of the modern world, there are also domestic issues to deal with. For example, how does one convince a vampire […]

October 18

TAD 2014: Housebound

If you have ever heard a strange noise in the night, thought you saw something moving in the shadows, or even remotely entertained the notion of your home being haunted, then Housebound is the film for you. Rejecting the found footage style filmmaking that has consumed the paranormal genre in recent years, Gerard Johnstone’s sensational […]

October 07

Gone Girl

There are huge pitfalls to avoid when adapting a really popular novel. An important hurdle being that the book became famous for its unique ability to set fire to a readers’ imagination. Enter David Fincher, likely the only director who could have directed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl for the big screen, which she also adapted. The […]

September 16

TIFF 2014: Leviathan

One of the many things that director Andrey Zvyaginstev nails in his latest work, Leviathan, is scale. The characters’ problems may be life altering, but they themselves seem small in comparison to the world around them. They are eclipsed by a landscape where the fossilized bones of a whale seem mammoth compared to the young […]

September 14

TIFF 2014: Mommy

There is a wonderful montage in the latter part of Xavier Dolan’s award-winning film Mommy that is both breathtakingly beautiful and devastating. Dolan uses this brief moment to perfectly encapsulate what it means to be a parent. Every hope and dream that comes with years of sacrifice captured on screen in vibrant colour. It is […]

September 12

TIFF 2014: Whiplash

Greatness is achieved through sacrifice and drive. It comes from the ability to push the body and mind further than anticipated. It is not something that is inherent in everyone. While the world is filled with talented people, only a few have what it takes to truly be great. Identifying who those select few are…well […]

September 10

TIFF 2014: Second Coming

As someone who was raised Christian, the story about the birth of Jesus has been ingrained in me from an early age. The immaculate conception of Mary, arguably one of the most important events in the bible, was always the most puzzling aspect for me. Whenever I questioned the logistics of Mary’s predicament, I was […]