Listen to Me, Marlon
Help Us Find Sunil Trapathi
The Berkley Marathons
Best of Enemies
The Amina Profile
The Queen of Silence
What We Do in the Shadows
A teenage girl finds a pin that leads her to a futuristic city in Tomorrowland. Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is a troublesome teen, who is arrested when she is caught trying to sabotage the deconstruction of the former Cape Canaveral NASA launch site. When she makes bail, Casey finds a pin, which provides her with a vision of a futuristic city. Wanting to get to the city, Casey tracks down Frank Walker (George Clooney), who as a kid was recruited to the city by Athena (Raffey Cassidy) and was acquainted with the city’s leader David Nix (Hugh Laurie). Casey and Frank race to return to “Tomorrowland” and save the world from a cataclysmic future.
The opening film of the 1986 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival was Denys Arcand’s The Decline of the American Empire, which has the distinction of being the final film to screen at Toronto’s historical University Theatre in Yorkville. The film went on to win that year’s People’s Choice award, as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film and winning 9 awards, including Best Picture, at the 8th annual Genie Awards.
A teenaged girl comes of age in Wet Bum. Sam (Julia Sarah Stone) is a fourteen year old girl, who is somewhat insecure about herself, which is amplified by the bullying she receives by her peers in her lifeguarding course. Sam is also forced by her mother to work in a retirement home, cleaning the rooms. It is there where Sam develops connections with the mostly silent Judith (Diana Leblanc) and the cantankerous Ed (Kenneth Welsh).
Director Alex Gibney (The Armstrong Lie) gives an expose of the controversial religion in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. The Church of Scientology was formed in the 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The church has become infamous for its controversial methods and celebrity members, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Eight former Scientologists, including former second-in-command Mark Rathbun, filmmaker Paul Haggis, and actor Jason Beghe, talk about their experiences with the religion and why they decided to leave.
A man finds love with a woman with a monstrous secret in Spring. Following the death of his mother, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) goes into a personal tailspin, which includes getting into a bar fight that costs him his job. Looking for a change of scenery, Even travels to Italy and gets a job working on a farm, in exchange for lodging. Even meets a beautiful young woman named Louise (Nadia Hilker) and the two begin a passionate romance with each other. However, Louise has a dark secret, which might put a wedge into their relationship.
After thirty years, director George Miller returns to his signature franchise with Mad Max: Fury Road. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) scours across the post-apocalyptic wasteland haunted by visions of his tragic past. Max finds himself captured by the War Boys, lead by the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and is designated as a living blood bag for War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) secretly sneaks out Joe’s five wives while leaving on a gas run. When he finds out about this betrayal, Joe and the War Boys give chase and Max and Furiosa reluctantly team together to get to their destination of the “Green Place.”
The story of Nirvana-frontman Kurt Cobain is told in his old words in Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Utilizing Cobain’s own art, music, journals, Super 8 films and audio montages, director Brett Morgen constructs this stylized biography of the late singer’s life. From his early days in Aberdeen, Washington to his marriage to Courtney Love, the film reveals the human being behind the Nirvana frontman.
It’s time again for me to diverge a bit from film blogging and write about this new play that just opened in Toronto, which is inspired by The Simpsons. Originally an off-Broadway production written by Anne Washburn, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play was adapted for its Toronto run by the Outside the March Theatre Company. Running at “Toronto’s Historic Aztec Theatre” (aka Big Picture Cinemas), the play focuses on a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, who are trying to cling on to their love of The Simpsons. Designated as a “post-electric play,” Mr. Burns is performed without the use of any on-the-grid electricity.
A woman seeks revenge while under a fugue state in 88. Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) finds herself in a diner with no knowledge with how she got there. It turns out that Gwen went into a fugue state after the murder of her boyfriend and she developed an alterego named Flamingo. The action switches between Gwen’s present and fugue states as she sets out to get revenge against her former boss Cyrus (Christopher Lloyd).
A computer programmer is assigned to test an artificial intelligent being in Ex Machina. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is programmer working for the world’s largest search engine Bluebook. Caleb wins a company lottery and is flown to the isolated home of Bluebook’s CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Nathan has developed an artificial intelligent robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) and he assigns Caleb to perform the “Turing test” on her to see how sentient she truly is.
My coverage of the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has come to an end. This was actually my fifth year attending Hot Docs, my third as media, and I have now settled into the groove of providing full coverage. I ended up seeing and reviewing 53 films as part of this year’s festival, which is actually two higher than my count from last year. The festival itself is only eleven days, but I typically begin watching my screeners about a month in advance. I am happy that all of this hard work has now paid off and I can say goodbye to Hot Docs for another year.