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Revisiting TIFF 2006: The Dog Problem

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.

In 2006, I made the decision to begin volunteering for TIFF, while also beginning studying for a degree in Film Studies at York University. Since a perk of volunteering included vouchers for festival tickets, this ended up being the first year that I saw more than 1-2 films at the festival. While I still only ended up seeing four films that year, it set the stage for my growing TIFF experience in the years to come.

Revisiting TIFF 2005: Revolver

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.

In 2005, the Toronto International Film Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary. In hindsight, I kind of wish that I saw more films during this year of the festival. This ended up being the final of my single-film TIFF years, with me choosing to go to the Ryerson Theatre to see a repeat screening of the Gala Presentation Revolver, which was produced by Luc Besson and directed by Guy Ritchie.

Revisiting TIFF 2004: Trauma

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.

I had a much easier time getting tickets for my second year of the festival, partially because this was the year TIFF introduced online ordering. However, that doesn't mean the year was without its hiccups. One of my selections for that year, Rob Stefaniuk's Canadian dark comedy Phil the Alien, went off-sale as I was processing the order and another screening, Stephen Chow's Kung-Fu Hustle, was cancelled the night before, due to a damaged print.

My Thoughts on Sinister 2

Another family is targeted by the evil deity Bughuul in Sinister 2. Following the events of the first film, Ex-Deputy So & So (James Ransone) has committed himself to investigating Bughuul and ensuring that it does not cause anymore deaths. So & So's investigation leads him to an apparently abandoned farmhouse, but he arrives to find it occupied by Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two sons Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan). As Dylan is enticed at night by ghost children, lead by Milo (Lucas Jade Zumann), Ex-Deputy So & So has to find a way to save Courtney and her family.

Revisiting TIFF 2003: School of Rock

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.

The Toronto International Film Festival is an event that I was well aware of growing up. I would either see festival coverage on the TV or read about the films in the newspaper. While, it's a little more lenient today, the festival used to have a strict 18 and over attendance policy, which delayed the time that I could have attended the festival myself.

Interview: Jeffrey St. Jules on Bang Bang Baby

This week saw the release of the 1960s-set musical fantasy film Bang Bang Baby. The film is the debut feature film for director Jeffrey St. Jules, who developed the film in the Cannes Film Festival’s Cin√©fondation. Bang Bang Baby had its premiere at the 2014 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Canadian First Feature. I had the opportunity to speak to Jeffrey St. Jules and discuss Bang Bang Baby.

Indie Spotlight: Bang Bang Baby

A small town girl strives for a career in the music business in the 1960s-set musical Bang Bang Baby.  Stepphy (Jane Levy) is an aspiring singer, who spends her time taking care of her alcoholic father George (Peter Stormare) and fending off the advances of Fabian (David Reale), the creepy owner the Purple Mist Chemical Plant.  One day, Stepphy’s dreams seemingly come true when her idol Bobby Shore (Justin Chatwin) arrives into town looking for car service.  However, strange things begins to happen when there is a sudden leak at the Purple Mist Plant.

My Thoughts on American Ultra

A stoner finds out he is a CIA assassin in American Ultra. Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pot smoking loser, who does not consider himself worthy of the affections of his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), whom he is working up the courage to propose to. However, unbeknownst to him, Mike was part of a secret CIA program that was shut down. When the smug Adrian Yates (Topher Grace) decides to unleash operatives to take Mike out, his former handler Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) activates Mike's CIA training, which he uses to defend himself against the onslaught of crazed assassins.

Blindspot 2015: 40 Years of TIFF: Whale Rider

The 2002 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival saw the world premiere of the New Zealand-set drama Whale Rider. The film went on to win the People's Choice Award that year and it resulted in 13 year old star Keisha Castle-Hughes to become the then-youngest person to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Whale Rider tells the story of Paikea Apirana (Castle-Hughes), a young Maori girl in a coastal community in New Zealand. Her twin brother and mother died during her birth, which brings shame to her grandfather and tribal chief Koro (Rawiri Paratene), who wanted a male grandchild to become the next chief. Against her grandfather's wishes, Paikea secretly trains to become a leader and join her family's long line of chiefs, dating back to the mythical Whale Rider.

My Thoughts on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

A CIA agent teams up with a KGB operative to stop a terrorist plot in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is an ex-con, who has become one of the CIA's best agents. He is assigned to recruit Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) and get her help in locating her Nazi scientist father. For the mission, Solo is reluctantly teamed with KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) and they set off to locate Gaby's father and stop the construction of a nuclear weapon he is being forced to build for Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki) and her husband Alexander (Luca Calvani).

Trailer: The Hateful Eight

The teaser trailer has arrived online for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (or H8ful Eight as it's spelled in the marketing). In a cheeky fashion, the film is being hyped as Tarantino's eighth film, even though it technically could be called his ninth or even tenth, depending on how you count the films in his filmography. Either way, the film is continuing the director's Western phase, which began with Django Unchained, even though some elements of this film also seems highly reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs, with it being great seeing both Tim Roth and Michael Madsen returning to the Tarantino fold, joining the main three of Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. With a planned 70mm presentation, The Hateful Eight will definitely be a must-see film this Christmas.

TIFF15: Vanguard Highlights

While Midnight Madnass is reserved for the crowd-pleasing genre films, Vanguard has emerged over the last few years to feature films for a more mature mind.  Not all of these films are as easy to digest as Midnight Madness, but they are just as, if not more, intriguing.

TIFF15: Midnight Madness Highlights

The Midnight Madness programme is always a highlight of the Toronto International Film Festival and this year is no different.  Six out of ten of this year's selection are world premieres, which includes a number of returning filmmakers.

TIFF15: Canadian Film Highlights

This year's edition of the Toronto International Film Festival has a very eclectic Canadian film line-up. While some old familiar filmmakers have new releases, there is also a lot of young blood in this year's line-up. The only thing missing is a new film by Xavier Dolan, who is still working on his follow-up to last year's Mommy.

TIFF15: Initial Galas and Special Presentation Highlights

The buzz has been building over the past few weeks for the 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival. My coverage of Fantasia caused to fall behind a bit on my usual pre-festival coverage, so I thought that I play catch up today and run down the films that have been announced in different programmes. I will begin with selections from the Galas and Special presentations that were announced at the opening press conference on July 28.

My Thoughts on The Gift

A married couple is stalked by an individual from the husband's past in The Gift. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a young married couple, who have just moved into a new house and are ready to begin starting a family. While shopping, Simon is reunited with Gordo (Joel Edgerton), an old acquaintance from high school. At first Gordo seems friendly and welcoming, but something seems off when he keeps appearing at the house when Simon's not home and leaves various gifts on the doorstep. Determined to investigate further, Robyn learns that a secret from the past might be the reason Gordo is stalking the couple.