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 11, 2019

With an already established career producing music videos and directing short films, Oualid Mouaness presents his first full length feature at TIFF this year. 1982 is a notable debut from Mouaness, who has surely set himself on a long and successful career path as a filmmaker. A full review of 1982 can be found here.

throwdown815: Going through your profile, I see you did an MFA degree in film at Florida State University, but you ended up doing a lot of work in the music video business. Was that...

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...

September 9, 2019

Films about war and separation have almost become a quiet subgenre of cinema. Whether it’s the pain of separating from one’s family, lover or even country, filmmakers have a tendency of effectively conveying this unfortunate byproduct of war. In 1982, Oualid Mouaness crafts a beautiful tale of impending separation primarily through the innocent lens of children. It’s an impressive feature film debut that certainly cements his status as a talent to watch for.

Set in war-torn Beirut on the last day...

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...

February 7, 2019

Winter is here: an overused phrase that is sure to resonate with a lot of people this time of year. But for those who really understand the true meaning of the phrase, winter could not arrive soon enough. After leaving audiences high and dry for the entire calendar year of 2018, the final season of Game of Thrones is finally set to premiere this April. It goes without saying that these final 6 episodes will probably be spectacular in every way possible. The television landscape has evolved like...

January 28, 2019

In an outcome that was equal parts surprising and expected, Black Panther received an Oscar nomination for best picture last week. I'm only pointing out the obvious when I say there's virtually no chance that it'll go on to win the actual award, but that doesn't really matter. Receiving the nomination marks a huge turning point for Hollywood and the sub-institution that is the awards season race. Never has a superhero film been nominated for best picture, let alone one (the first) to feature a p...

November 4, 2018

This is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective series (ie. a sane person's marathon of the MCU). All entries can be accessed by clicking here.

Director: Joss Whedon

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Domestic Gross: $623,357,910; International Gross: $895,455,078; Total: $1,518,812,988

After five films and four years of patient marketing, we finally get to the long anticipated finale of Marvel Studio’s first ‘experiment’. But truth be told, what started off as an experiment marked with u...

October 6, 2018

This is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective series (ie. a sane person's marathon of the MCU). All entries can be accessed by clicking here.

Director: Joe Johnston

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Domestic Gross: $176,654,505; International Gross: $193,915,269; Total: $370,569,774

No matter how entertaining or scene stealing a Marvel superhero is, none has the capacity to match the heroism of the MCU’s greatest character of all – Captain America. Taking place in the past, before the...

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