Monday, September 22, 2014

Selections from Toronto Youth Shorts 2014


The 2014 edition of the Toronto Youth Shorts film festival will be happening this Saturday September 27 at the Maple Leaf Cinema in the CN Tower.  The festival will showcase 36 short films, divided into three programmes, by young filmmakers from all over the Greater Toronto Area.  As part of the lead up to the festival, I was given a sneak peak of five of the shorts that will be screening.

TIFF14 CAST Awards Announced


(Updated 9/23) The “Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto” have chosen their favourite films of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The top film of the list was the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring crime thriller Nightcrawler.  Also in the top five were the documentary The Look of Silence, the drumming drama Whiplash, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burdundy.  The list was compiled by 29 voters, who each submitted their top ten films of the festival.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Coherence


Indie Spotlight is a series focusing on reviews of independent films

This review may contain SPOILERS

Strange things happen at a dinner party in the indie sci-fi film Coherence.  A group of eight friends, Em (Emily Foxler), Kevin (Maury Sterling), Mike (Nicholas Brendon), Beth (Elizabeth Gracen), Amir (Alex Manugian), Laurie (Lauren Maher), Hugh (Hugo Armstrong), and Lee (Lorene Scafaria), gather together for dinner on the same night a comet is passing them by.  Beginning with a sudden black out, a number of strange occurrences happen, which will cause these eight friends to examine their relationship to each other.

I purposely made the above plot synopsis as vague as possible, since I saw Coherence knowing next to nothing about the plot, which is probably the best way to experience the film.  That said, it will be quite difficult to write about the film, without getting into some more specific plot details.  As such, if you don’t want to know anymore about the plot of Coherence, do not read this review any further.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trailer: Big Eyes


Tim Burton returns with this biopic of artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), who had to struggle with the fact that her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) took credit for the big eyed portraits she painted.  As seen from this new trailer for the film, Big Eyes is probably Tim Burton’s most dramatic film since Big Fish, with very little of his kookiness on display (save for a single shot of a human being with big eyes).  The film is notable for featuring the screenwriting team behind Ed Wood, which many consider to be Burton’s best film.  Either way, Big Eyes is a way for Tim Burton to bounce back, after criticisms of becoming stale after his last few films (particularly 2012’s Dark Shadows).  Big Eyes is scheduled to open on Christmas Day.

Indie Spotlight: Honeymoon


Indie Spotlight is a series focusing on reviews of independent films

A newly wed couple’s romantic getaway descends into chaos in the thriller Honeymoon.  Bea (Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie) and Paul (Penny Dreadful’s Harry Treadaway) have just gotten married and travel to Bea’s family cottage in the Canadian wilderness for their honeymoon.  With no one else around, this is the perfect opportunity for this newlywed couple to spend some quality time together.  One night, Bea disappears from bed and Paul finds her alone in the woods.  Even though she claims that she was just sleepwalking, Bea now seems like a completely different person to Paul, than the girl he has married.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TADFF14: Running Down the First Ten Announcements

TAD14_PosterThe end of the coverage of one film festival is only the start of the next.  The Toronto International Film Festival might be over for another year, but we are only one month away from the 9th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival! 

This year’s festival will be taking place for the second time at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto and will feature 20 screenings over nine nights, from October 16-24.  The first ten films of the festival were previewed last month at Fan Expo, before being officially announced about two weeks ago. 

With the dust from TIFF now settled, I can finally get around to running down the first half of this year’s festival line-up!

Monday, September 15, 2014

TIFF14: Wrap-Up


My twelfth year of attending the Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close.  This year is notable for the fact that I practically ignored the Gala and Special Presentation programmes and focused mostly on small film selections, which typically don’t feature big starts.  More than half the films I saw were part of either Midnight Madness or Vanguard, which really helps to demonstrate my love of genre films.  However, I also some memorable films from the other programmes of the festival, including quite a few from the Discovery programme.

Now it is time for my annual wrap-up.

TIFF 2014: What We Do in the Shadows


From co-directors Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) comes this mockumentary about a group of vampires living together.  A documentary crew follows 379 year old Viago (Taika Waititi), 183 year old Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and 862 year old Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) as they live together in modern Wellington, New Zealand.  The three vampires’ lives get more complicated when their 8000 year old Nosferatu-like flatmate Petyr (Ben Fransham) turns their intended victim Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into a new vampire, who begins to show the three the ways of the modern world.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Listen to Me: The Dew Over, Episode Sixteen: 2002


This week I make my second appearance on The Dew Over podcast. This episode focuses on the 2002 Oscars, which was an episode that I particularly wanted to be on, since it gave me the opportunity to release twelve years of frustration over the Best Picture winner Chicago.  This results in me becoming fully unleashed (and loud), with me not wanting the film to escape the discussion unscathed.  I hope you enjoy this heated discussion.

Click here to listen to the episode

TIFF 2014: The Guest


The writer-director duo of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (You’re Next) return with this action-thriller about a mysterious visitor, who is not all that he seems.  One day, the Peterson family is visited by a man named David (Dan Stevens), who claims to be a friend of their deceased soldier son Caleb.  While Caleb’s parents and brother Luke (Brendan Meyer) welcome David into their lives, Annie Peterson (Maika Monroe) becomes suspicious of this guest in their home.  As it quickly turns out, there is much more to David than meets the eye.