CUB, A Campfire Story That Fizzles Out

Cub is another of those genre films that has a terrific premise, some really nice moments, but overall comes across as pretty flat and uninteresting. The story begins when a group of cub scouts are led out into the woods for a camping retreat. As is the case whenever a bunch of young adults are […]

ST. VINCENT Delivers Vintage Bill Murray

Not everybody watches quite as many films as some of us. There are those where getting out to a theatre isn’t a weekly (or, in my case, daily) occurrence, where the schlepp of getting there, standing in line, getting a ticket, and spending a few hours in a darkened theatre requires a bit of patience […]

THE LOOK OF SILENCE Is A Film For The Ages

Since I saw it back at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act Of Killing has lived up to my early impression – that the work is truly one of the great films of all time, documentary or no, providing a startling insight into the banality of evil, the stories we tell […]

THE VOICES, Silly And Schizoid

It’s days after I saw it, and I still haven’t decided if Marjane Satrapi’s The Voices is sublime or shit. I think, frankly, that it’s an unholy combination of both, a mess of a film that still has moments that beyond any credulity actually work. Toeing a very fine line between comedy, horror, and melodrama, […]

Guest Article – WILD CARD

Review: Wild Card (2015) Jason Statham’s many action films have had an audience over the years, albeit rather small. However, one of his latest films, the 2015 movie Wild Card probably had the smallest. When a film receives a $30 million investment, more often that not the moviemakers expect a return – this wasn’t the […]

THE IMITATION GAME Falls More Than A Bit Flat

From a British Nation that has had its fair share of scientific geniuses, it’s perhaps no surprise that the life and work of Alan Turing has spawned its fair share of dramatic works. There have been TV versions, drama/docs, and even a musical with the score by The Pet Shop Boys. Now, with The Imitation […]

Kevin Smith’s TUSK Gleefully Plays By Its Own Rules

“Why don’t you ask him if he’s going to stay? Why don’t you ask him if he’s going away? Why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” – TUSK, Fleetwood Mac Kevin Smith is many things to many people – stoner disciple, prurient podcaster, agitprop commentator, guerilla filmmaker. Yet at its heart the phenomena surrounding […]

WILD, A Decent Film

Taking on another true story after his hugely successful Dallas Buyer’s Club, Jean-Marc Vallée this time turns his lens onto the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman with a past who takes it upon herself to hike hundreds of miles on the Pacific Coast Trail. Shooting from a screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby, the scribe […]

RUN Finds Thrilling Drama In Fractured Character

Ivorian Philippe Lacôte’s film Run is a brash fiction debut for this documentarian. The film begins with an off-camera assassination, and through a series of concentric flashback’s we’re told the story of Run. Part gangster and part activist, Run also proves to be a man with a complicated past and a strong moral code. With […]

THE CONNECTION Misses Its Mark

The Connection (titled La French in its native county) has the makings of a great film, which is what makes the final product such a disapointment. Drawing upon the same case that was the basis for the William Friedkin classic, this companion piece to The French Connection should have it all – power, money, hubris, […]

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Celebrates The Messiness Of The Universe, Concisely

James Marsh’s eye for documentary is a welcome aspect to this biopic about one of the most recognizable scientists to have ever lived. Stephen Hawking is perhaps known more widely for his physical struggles, synthesized voice and pop culture appearances than he is for his scientific work, but for many he embodies the brilliant scientist, […]

THE LAST FIVE YEARS Is On-Screen Music Theater Done Right

It’s common knowledge that a pure musical takes more than a bit of suspension of disbelief. From the first notes, you kind of have to go with the flow, taking in the abstraction as it comes. On stage, this level of abstraction is often heightened by the stage design, the proscenium forming a canvas on […]

MONSOON Paints A Brash, Beautiful Portrait Of India And Its Storms

There’s something primal about our fascination with storms, something connected for even the most urban of city dwellers to the enormous forces that shape our planet. It’s no surprise that earlier civilizations named gods after these elements, and that for millennia the cleansing and chaos brought by heavy rain has shaped our very existence. There […]

NIGHTCRAWLER Out Networks NETWORK

Soon after seeing this film, I just kind of blurted out what this film meant to me when talking to fellow critics – it may be premature to declare it as such, but what the hell: Nightcrawler is my Network. Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film is a scathing commentary on the News business, but it’s also […]

BIG GAME, Big Fun That Feels Totally Fresh

It’s such a delight to see a film that plays by its own rules, fulfilling the premise that it sets up, and delivering right through to the conclusion. This is especially true for Midnight movies, as often you get a mildly clever idea, only to have it beaten to death (sometimes quite literally) as the […]

THE PRICE WE PAY, One Of The Most Compelling Docs Of The Year

It’s not often that something as dry as tax theory can result in an engrossing night at the movies, but credit Harold Crooks and his team for providing an exceptional articulation about the vagaries of “off shoring” in an accessible, engaging way with The Price We Pay. Crooks co-wrote the narration for Mark Achbar and […]

ROSEWATER, Jon Stewart’s Debut Is Earnest, If Middling

It’s safe to say that for the last several decades Jon Stewart has been one of the most powerful voices in comedy. Since taking over The Daily Show, his show has been the beacon for popular American political satire, showing through his witty segments, farcical interviews done by a series of correspondents, or his probing […]

TIFF 2013 SCREENING LIST

  12.12.12full review 12 YEARS A SLAVEExtraordinary, moving, the perfect blend of a historical drama and artfilm. McQueen’s masterpiece, instantly jumps to consideration for top of any best-of-year list A TOUCH OF SINfull review A FIELD IN ENGLANDA surreal, baffling, yet (blessedly) humourous experimental film by Ben Wheatley that is sure to divide audiences, but […]

When Jews Were Funny

Once upon a time, Jews were funny. You’d turn on Ed Sullivan, and some Ashkenaz from the Lower East Side would be kvetching about his wife (please), or slyly kibitzing about slurping soup in a deli. Alan Zweig’s documentary makes a bold claim, that 20th Century American comedy is Jewish comedy. Born from Yiddish theatre […]

Unforgiven

The cross-pollination between Japanese chambara films and the traditional Hollywood-style Western has resulted in some of the most important films in cinema history. As Kurosawa looked to John Ford for inspiration, the cycle would continue in the 60s and 70s as Italians like Sergio Leone would traipse all over Spain remaking one Japanese film after […]

TIFF Interview – R100’s Matsumoto Hitoshi

Thursday, September 12, 2013 proved to be one of those extraordinary festival days for me. I found myself closing the day with a trio of highly interesting films from Asia, the last two forming one of the most perfect double bills in my two decades of attending TIFF. Cold Eyes is a decent thriller, falling […]

Rhymes For Young Ghouls

“The day I found my mother dead I aged by one thousand years.” So begins this harrowing, explosive debut from Jeff Barnaby. The backstory may be unfamiliar to audiences – the post-genocide period of our countries treatment of its Native population was governed by the Indian Act, words from which serve as the introductory passage […]

Enough Said

I saw Enough Said at a festival screening surrounded by several of my colleagues. They laughed at the jokes (there are many), they fell for the characters, and they left the film happy and content with this presumably insightful and warm portrayal of a woman coming to terms with her foibles. I, on the other […]

Starred Up

Starred Up is a gritty, intense, and shockingly unique take on the prison drama genre. Yes, there are echoes of the likes of HBO’s OZ, but David MacKenzie’s take on the family dynamics in jail is executed in a fresh and vital fashion. When we meet Eric (Jack O’Connell), he has just been transferred from […]

12.12.12 / Made In America

There are loads of ways to do a concert documentary. One is to simply shoot the goings on that take place on stage – set up a bunch of cameras and be done with it. Given that the majority of big shows are shown via video screens anyway, this is hardly an uncommon process, as […]

Sunshine on Leith

What would happen if Ken Loach or Mike Leigh made a musical? You know, cast a bunch of hardscrabble Brits in a family drama, add a bit of grit and friction, and set it all within the context of a jukebox musical? It shouldn’t work at all, yet Dexter Fletcher’s Sunshine on Leith manages, almost […]

The F Word

Ah, the 20-something romantic comedy. A genre usually filled with twee Emo-soundtrack tunes, magical or manic pixie dreamgirls, and the shuffling boys who win their love through good heartedness. Some are decent, some utterly wretched, but most follow a pretty narrow path. It’s to Michael Dowse’s credit that The F Word manages to feel so […]

Bad Words

The career of Jason Batemen is rather fascinating. Rising from a sidekick on Silver Spoons early in his career, he stumbled through a number of films that his sister’s sit-com sibling would pass on (including the truly egregious Teen Wolf Too). He showed up as a minor character in a few projects here and there but […]

Enemy

With film, things often come in pairs. Sometimes the doubles are explicit; some studio vying with another for a given plot, be it a tale of animated insects or impending asteroid impacts. Sometimes, the twinning takes the form of accidental synergy; say the back-to-back S&M Asian romps of Moebius and R100 that I experienced earlier […]