December 22, 2019

As the end of the calendar year draws near, the internet is once again flooded with countless number of 'best of' lists. In 2019, however, most of these lists have endeavoured to cover the past decade, as opposed to the past singular year. I'm usually not a huge fan of lists, but I do appreciate how they can serve as a welcoming reminder of how lucky we are as audience members. For cinema, in particular, this past decade has been pretty damn spectacular. And to be honest, any list, regardless of...

October 3, 2019

Sympathetic stories about criminals have certainly become a staple of genre filmmaking, and as a result, films in this category can often lack originality and feel formulaic. Corey Stanton somehow manages to avoid this problem with his feature narrative debut, Robbery. It’s certainly a strong entry by an emerging Canadian filmmaker.

The film essentially revolves around an ex-convict (Art Hindle) with dementia, who coaches his son (Jeremy Ferdman) to follow in his footsteps by pursuing a life of c...

September 24, 2019

The tale of Romulus and Remus is one that many will be familiar with. But despite being commonly referenced in popular culture, there actually aren’t that many films depicting the tragic story resulting in the founding of Rome. Stories about the Roman Empire itself are much easier to find, which is what makes The First King such a special entry in the historical war drama subgenre.

Directed by Matteo Rovere, the film recounts the story of twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who rise from being slave...

September 24, 2019

Lord of the Flies was originally released in 1954, but a modernized retelling of such a landmark narrative in 2019 feels surprisingly relevant and topical. To label Alejandro Landes’ Monos as a loose adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel, however, would be a disservice to the filmmaker. The film is definitely its own beast, and stands out as an original piece of cinema with hints of high ambition from an emerging filmmaker.

Set in a dystopian world with no clear timestamp, the film follow...

September 16, 2019

After circulating through Venice and Toronto to great, albeit controversial buzz, Todd Phillips’ The Joker is finally set for wide release next month. There’s a lot to dissect here, and anyone who has seen the film will know that classifying The Joker as a superhero movie would be a complete joke (!) of a statement. No, this is far from a superhero film, and the marketing team has been quite open about this too. In fact, there wasn’t even a DC Comics logo during the film's opening credits. But w...

September 15, 2019

When one thinks of the great Julie Delpy, her work as an actress is likely what comes to mind for most people. But every couple of years, she reminds the world of her multi-hyphenate status by flexing her muscles as a truly talented filmmaker. Beyond sharing screenwriting credits for both Before Sunset and Before Midnight, she’s also written and directed a number of films since 1995. And with her latest outing, My Zoe, she might have come created her strongest work yet, both as an actress and fi...

September 15, 2019

**Freaks is currently playing in theatres across the nation - distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment**

Did someone just say a Canadian science fiction film with an appearance by Bruce Dern? It’s certainly a surprise that Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein’s Freaks didn’t pick up more traction outside of Canada after its initial premiers at TIFF last year (it was named as one of TIFF's Canada Top Ten in 2018). Luckily, the film is getting a wide release thanks to Well GO USA and will hopefully find it...

September 14, 2019

Norwegian filmmaker Jorunn Myklebust Syversen has been emerging onto the world stage as a powerful voice in cinema. Her first feature film was Hoggerenin in 2017, and she now brings her new film Disco to TIFF. The film is a remarkable examination of the religious cult scene in Norway, with a thoughtful interplay of popular culture and traditional spiritual beliefs.

throwdown815: Going through your filmography, you were initially doing a lot of short films before jumping into your first featu...

September 13, 2019

The prospects of seeing an Israelian rock musical with references to both La La Land and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg should be exciting to any fan of the genre. And it was with these pretences that I walked into Red Fields, with little more information than the paltry synopsis written in the TIFF program book and the single still image that accompanied it. It’s honestly the best way to walk into any film, and one of the perks of attending any film festival. In an ideal world, the mystery and exci...

September 12, 2019

It’s been six years since Anthony Chen made his award-winning feature film debut, Ilo Ilo, and he finally returns to the cinematic stage with a new endeavouring effort. Wet Season is a welcome return to cinema from one of Asia’s most talented young filmmakers.

Set in the midst of Singapore’s rainy season, the film centers on an elementary school teacher (Yeo Yann Yann) who forms a seemingly innocent relationship with one of her students (Koh Jia Ler). As their relationship grows in complexity, so...

September 11, 2019

Anna Maguire (director) and Julia Lederer (writer) are both at TIFF to promote their short film It's Nothing, which is screening as part of the Short Cuts Programme. The film is a powerful representation of the mental struggles afflicting individuals with eating disorders, and takes a unique approach in depicting the disorder on screen. It's Nothing will also be screening at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival on September 18, 2019.

throwdown815: Can you talk about how the inspiration an...

September 11, 2019

Capturing the mundane nuances of urban/suburban life doesn’t always make for the most compelling cinema. But when it’s done right, these types of cinematic narratives can become exhilarating experiences that tug right into our humanistic tendencies by threading the line between reality and fiction. Kazik Radwanski does exactly that with Anne at 13,000 ft. It’s not the most exciting of films, but it’s certainly a striking effort worthy of thoughtful consideration.

Set in the beautiful urban neighb...

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