Clay Pigeons

I hate films that rest upon one mistake that could readily be rectified. In the first five minutes, with a little bit of forensic investigation, the whole downfall-into-chaos could be averted. Once things get rolling, however, CLAY PIGEONS does pick up a bit of speed. In the end, however, I’m afraid that it just rests […]

Happiness

New Jersey has seen the emergence of two extremely quirky filmmakers – Kevin Smith, auteur of such films as CLERKS and CHASING AMY, and Todd Solondz, bespectacled brain behind WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE. His latest film, HAPPINESS, is a challenging, messed up film about finding happiness in even the most depressing or depraved of places. […]

Diary 5

Don’t lend out your pens. This is my advice to fellow journalists. I’ve lost maybe 15 pens in the last four days. The worst part is that I keep seeing the people I lent them too. Particularly with a name tag showing your press affiliation, it’s not such a good idea to bring up the […]

Diary 4

The Sunday of the festival is always reserved for the mammoth bar-b-que held by Norman Jewison at his Canadian Film Center. Hundred of people gathered around drink tables and skewered meat and shrimp as they mingled in the beautiful sunshine. It was my first Industry picnic, and I lucked into my invite by finding someone […]

Diary 3

I wrote last year about how the Midnight Madness screenings are a fantastic tradition of this festival. As I predicted, seeing the films that get screened late night simply aren’t the same with a room full of industry and press people. Many simply go to the Madness screenings, avoiding the rest of the fest all […]

Diary 2

Few days have been more psychotic. My introduction to the press conference scene, the day has been memorable. I started with a morning talk by the makers of the wonderful RED VIOLIN. I’ve long been a fan of Don McKeller (who has no less then 6 films showing this year that he’s either written, starred […]

Diary 1

Another year, another festival. Ten days of feeling that you are missing films rather then seeing them- there’s just too many, and you are bound to miss the big new discovery while you sit through a terrible, mundane screening. I’m blessed this year with a press pass – no mean feat, I assure you. For […]

Without Limits

The latest film by CHINATOWN scribe Robert Towne, Without Limits is the second film in as many years about the American track runner Steve Prefontaine. It is perhaps no surprise that the press conference for the film was dominated by questions for one of the film’s producers, Tom Cruise. Billy Crudup (‘cruh-dup’, not ‘croo-dup’ as […]

La Vita è bella (Life is Beautiful)

Already celebrated at Cannes, this magnificent film bravely toys with the twins of dramatic presentation, comedy and tragedy. What is remarkable about this film is not just that one can laugh whilst knowing the inevitable tragic outcome, but that these conflicting emotions are delicately nursed through wonderful physical acting combined with witty dialogue. For this […]

A long time collaborator with the Coen brothers, Raimi’s film is a pastiche of many of the elements that made films like FARGO so enjoyable. Incompetence, treachery, shotguns and snow can often make for a good movie, but hampered by yet another cardboard performance by Bill “I’m NOT Chet anymore!” Paxton the simple plan turns […]

Red Violin

Perhaps the greatest epic that Canadian filmmaking has ever produced, RED VIOLIN is a masterpiece of contemporary film making. Shirking the traditional Hollywood formula of linear story telling, Girard’s direction and ’98 Festival ‘god’ Don McKeller’s script seamlessly tie five stories together through the connection of a Red Violin’s travel through history. Girard, who’s last […]

Permanent Midnight

The proliferation of sub-genres in Hollywood continues to impress. You can imagine the pitch for this film – “yeah, it’s LEAVING LAS VEGAS meets WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, with the heroin stuff from TRAINSPOTTING!! The kids will LOVE it!!!”. Catchy pitch aside, in this land of permanent midnight, you just want to curl up and […]

Pecker

John Waters returns after his traditional hiatus between flicks with this quirky portrayal of a young photographer’s rise to fame. Set, as always, in the city of Baltimore, PECKER is a quirky, fun film that is sure to generate cult interest. PECKER, unlike his previous film, SERIAL MOM, seems to explicitly be a ‘John Waters […]

The Mighty

THE MIGHTY is hardly that – a derivative, manipulative film that makes SIMON BURCH look like an Oscar contender. It is an After-School special masquerading as a festival film, and proves to be little more then trite pap that gets fed to adolescents as entertainment. Kieren Culkin reverts to a Macaulay-style performance, complete with wide […]

Little Voice

LITTLE VOICE is a compelling, touching story of a mute woman who can only speak through the imitated voices of others. Based on the West End play that was commissioned to showcase the inimitable imitative talents of Jane Horrocks, the film is all the more remarkable in that the lead character actually is singing what […]

Hillary and Jackie

HILLARY AND JACKIE is the story of two musician sisters whose competitive urges drive them to great artistic heights and deep, personal lows. Based on the life of the du Pré sisters, this film is a tale of the tragedy of artistic genius and the limits of love and trust that may be exhibited by […]

Antz

Existentialism. Marx. Thomas Moore. Woody Allen. Computer generated bugs. As Seseme Street or the SAT’s would so eloquently put it, which of these does not belong? Frighteningly, and perhaps impressively, the correct answer is ‘none of the above’, as all these elements are wedded in this latest gee-whizz, full marketing speed ahead bug movie from […]