À l’intérieur

A stylish and gory film, with some very effective moments of horror, A L’intérieur creeps inside your brains and stays with you for days. The woman-attacked-in-a-home trope is elevated here with a pregnant protagonist, chased by a female assailant intent on causing as much ruckuss as possible. For those averse to sheer bloodsport, this certainly […]

Surfwise

Not your everyday documentary about a family of Mexican/American Jewish surfing prodigies, their Stanford Educated doctor father who gives up his practice to raise his family on the beach in a used campervan. Yet another doc at this years fest that goes well beyond the expected scope, remaining compelling throughout its running time once the […]

Nothing is Private

Alan Ball had made a career out of lifting the covers on suburban normalcy to find a far more dark, more menacing core that’s hidden by the façade of manicured lawns and wide streets. This film takes him down a starker path than even his celebrated American Beauty, as a tale of Lolita-like lust, xenophobia, […]

Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who

This rock-doc presupposes one thing right off the bat, that you’ve seen the previous definitive Who documentary, The Kids are Alright, so you have a general familiarity with the band and their antics. From this point it carves out its space as one of the more effective music documentaries in some time, a fine tale […]

Dainipponjin

A surreal, unique monster film, a Man Bites Hulk mockumentary about a hapless individual who is called upon by his nation to be electrocuted on a regular basis. This process causes him to become a giant, fated to fight the enormous monsters that plague Japan, following in the giant footsteps of his father and grandfather. […]

Weirdsville

A Canadian stoner caper flick, complete with Satanists, drive-in cinemas, and a lot of weed. In fact, weed is no doubt the motivating factor for not only the protagonists but for the writer himself (whose notable credit prior to this was production assistant on Bride of Chucky). It’s all completely over the top, with fairly […]

Son of Rambow

Like Millions from a couple years back, Son of Rambow is a cute, precocious film about a couple kids that want to remake First Blood with their clunky VHS camera. This is surrounding a tale of the class bully becoming friends with one of his victims, stories of childhood neglect, all wrapped up in a […]

Flash Point

Donnie Yen’s latest film incorporates his newest fighting fetish, the so-called “Ultimate” style. A combination of boxing, kickboxing, Asian martial arts and street-level shit-kickings, this makes for some tremendous fighting moments. Choreographed by Yen himself, the fight scenes are brutal, kinetic and compelling, upping the ante from his previous films and creating some genuine remarkable […]

Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case

With the end of the cold war, spy-on-spy intrigue has taken a back burner in our popular consciousness. When a former KGB officer was found in a London hospital, dying from what turned out to be poisoning due to Polonium exposure, the international media went into a tizzy covering the event. I had assumed that […]

Lars and the Real Girl

A feel good, quirky-as-hell, high-concept comedy offering at this year’s fest, one that’s sure to please a wide audience. The conceit is simple while unique – a compulsively shy man, Lars, presents his mail order sex doll (the ironically dubbed titular “real” girl) as his girlfriend to his brother, sister-in-law, and small community of friends […]

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Wayne Wang returns with this quiet, slow paced tale of a Chinese man who moves to the West to live with his daughter. As he adjusts to life in North America, struggling with his English, he befriends a local woman, and they meet daily on a park bench to discuss their families in their broken […]

Walk All Over Me

A quirky film about an accidental dominatrix, some Quebéquois gangsters, and a fluffy little tale of robbery set in the mean streets of the Vancouver suburbs. Sobiesky plays a girl forced to leave her hockey playing boyfriend to crash in the swank pad of her former baby sitter. She soon discovers the nocturnal S&M-ployment of […]

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawk bring their A-game to this wonderful caper/character piece by veteran Director Lumet. Cut together in a masterful back-and-forth of time, slipping in and out of chronological order in a way that never feels forced or precious, this is a wonderful example to younger filmmakers about how tastefully such fragmented […]

Shake Hands with the Devil

Romeo Dellaire experiences in Rwanda have proven to be fodder for a diverse, multimedia examination over the last several years. First came the autobiography, a confessional of his demons and the horrors that he witnessed. Secondly came the extraordinary documentary of the same name, where he returns to the scenes of the crimes he witnessed, […]

La Citadelle Assiégée

One of the pleasures of any serious film festival is that you’ll encounter films from all over the world. It becomes easier with time to note particularities about certain films from certain countries. France certainly isn’t some hidden treasure of cinematic charm, its contributions to the cinematic art are obviously as established as any country […]

Encounters at the End of the World

Yet another brilliant film from Werner Herzog, this one seeing him give a warts-and-all look at the continent of Antarctica. His dry narration is as inquisitive and sarcastic as ever, pointedly referencing more pedestrian looks at South pole, mere “penguin” movies designed to show a pristine environment as some form of pretty exoticism. The encounters […]

Chacun Son Cinema

The Cannes festival commissioned 33 films from some of the world’s most renowned and respected filmmakers to craft their take on the nature of cinema. This mish-mash of styles can be quite energizing when done well, with each small film playing off one another in a collision of ideas. Unfortunately, only a few films step […]

Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Quite simply, this shooting-from-the hip digital doc is one of the best looks at the current conflict in Iraq that’s been made. The story begins with the boys from Vice magazine wishing to document the Metal scene in Iraq, as a series of Western-leaning locals were trying to put on a Metal show after the […]

Sukiyaki Western Django

SWD is a deliriously bent, un-apologetically incoherent blast of a film. This is the disfigured lovechild of Leone’s Western shtick and hyper-gory Hong Kong action tropes, with dialogue performed by some diabolical Berlitz “Lern to Speek Inglish” language tape. For casual viewers, the obvious connection would be to the filmmaker who shows up first on […]

Honeydripper

John Sayles sets his latest film in a sticky, sunburnt Alabama of 1950. “Pine Top” Purvis (Danny Glover) runs a dilapidate juke joint called the Honeydripper, eeking by with performances by authentic Blues artists. As the neighboring bar uses its recorded songs to drive traffic through its doors and away from the HD, Purvis presents […]

Death Defying Acts

After last year’s back-to-back magical romps and the continuing slew of biopics, it must have been inevitable that someone greenlit a picture about Harry Houdini. While Gillian Armstrong wouldn’t necessarily be the director that you first thought of to do such an endeavor, it’s less surprising when the story proves to be one of complicated […]

I’m Not There

There are a couple of things that need to be in place in order for you to enjoy Hayne’s pic about the spirit and music of Bob Dylan. First of all, you have to like Dylan. I’m not sure those that can’t stomach what they feel to be a nasally voice and aggressive manner will […]

Sleuth

I must admit that I’m not a big play-loving guy. I don’t mind reading them, but I simply don’t do well suspending disbelief in a staged environment. That said, some of my favourite films, such as Dogville, utilize the stage conventions, breaking down on screen the physical and dramaturgical limits of the traditional stage page. […]

With Your Permission

With Your Permission is another viciously dark romantic comedy out of Denmark, this one centering on domestic abuse. Jan is a member of the catering staff on a Denmark-to-Sweden ferry, a ship full of the elderly and bored passengers who have chosen not to take the newly constructed, far more convenient bridge linking the two […]

Reclaim Your Brain

The premise is great – coked up TV exec, responsible for such Reality TV tripe as a Eugenics show (designed to create the next gen of Wunderkind), gets his comeuppance and turns his passion into making better shows for the masses. His grand plan, naturally, is to hijack the ratings boxes, sending populist crap into […]

King of California

Michael Douglas tries his hand at the Robin Williams-as-crazy man motif, this is your typical tale of a dad, his daughter, and the quest for lost gold in modern day suburban California. Arriving home after years of being institutionalized, Charlie must reconnect with his daughter who has been essentially orphaned by his absence. While Miranda […]

Margot at the Wedding

A dry, dark comedy, with Margot Baumbach eschews the colour and flamboyance he picked up from his days with Wes Anderson. The sense of lightness that even the dour story of Squid and the Whale still hinted is pretty much absent in this underlit, raw film. Despite this imposed seriousness, the film remains quite enjoyable. […]

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Kapur has done a tremendous thing with The Golden Age – he created a sequel that’s a worthy successor to his much beloved earlier work about the virgin queen, one that may even be the better of the two films. Of course, the continuation is helped tremendously by the two main returning performers, namely the […]

Erik Nietzche The Early Years

Lars von Trier was a precocious film student? Who knew? This loosely autobiographical tale, written and narrated by Lars himself, is certainly the most lighthearted of the films he’s been associated with. That’s not to say, of course, that this film is free from a certain sardonic edge that we’ve all come to know and […]

Across the Universe

A psychedelic, bubble-gum scented love poem to the Beatles’ oeuvres by visionary director Taymor. Giant marionettes cavort in fields, while businessmen clatter in unison using their briefcases as percussion instruments. Strawberries become fine art, and a loose tale of love, loss, and redemption is told with a great deal of fun and frolicking. In short, […]