© 2017 by throwdown815

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 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 11, 2019

Ra Vincent is one of the most prominent production designers working in the industry, having started his filmmaking career as a sculptor on The Lord of The Rings films. His credits since then have included The Hobbit films (for which he received an Oscar nomination for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), King Kong and Alice Through the Looking Glass. He is currently in Toronto promoting his work as the Production Designer for Jojo Rabbit, which is his third cinematic collaboration with Taika Wai...

September 10, 2019

As a Canadian, I’m embarrassed to admit that my exposure to Indigenous cinema has been rather limited. Part of this has to do with the relative lack of commercially available Indigenous films, but most of it has to do with my own lack of effort in exploring this part of Canadian cinema. Watching Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum wasn’t just a soft nudge to rectify this wrong, it was a deservedly hard kick in the can.

Set in the 1980s, the film revolves around a Mi'gmaq community on the cusp of what ap...

September 10, 2019

Finnish filmmaker Zaida Bergroth returns to TIFF with Maria's Paradise, a film profiling the rise and fall of evangelical cult leader Maria Åkerblom. This is the third time she's premiered a film at the festival (The Good Son in 2011, Miami in 2017), and like her previous films, Maria's Paradise is an emotionally charged piece of cinema that defies any one genre. Her next film is slated to be a biopic on Tove Jansson, a Finnish author and painter who created the popular Moomin characters. Here's...

August 11, 2019

Photo: Elaine Wong (left) and Fu Mulan (right) at the 2019 Mulan International Film Festival

At this year's Mulan International Film Festival, I had a chance to speak with filmmakers Elaine Wong (presenting her film Where Dreams Rest) and Fu Mulan (presenting her film Stray Cat Ah Q). Their films screened at the festival on August 9, 2019.

Throwdown815: Mulan, you’re currently living in New York?

Fu Mulan: I’m studying in New York at New York University, and I’m working in Shanghai and also sp...

May 2, 2019

By now, there’s no question that Marvel Studios has proven itself to be a beacon of absolute greatness. Whether it’s financially, creatively or even culturally, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to defy expectations and elevate the superhero movie genre in ways no other franchise seems capable of doing. I expected Endgame to be all sorts of amazing, but I didn’t expect it to be the perfect cinematic experience that it was. Simply put, Endgame isn’t just a crowning achievement for the super...

April 28, 2019

Winter has arrived, and shit’s about to get real. The long awaited battle between the living and the dead is finally set to happen this Sunday night, and if you’re not expecting a gruesome bloodbath to unfold, you’d be a bigger fool than Jon Snow himself. Game of Thrones is no stranger to killing off important characters, but the definitive nature of this final season and the anticipatory body count for this particular episode puts the show into uncharted territory.

For the first time ever, fans...

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