TIFF15 REVIEW: Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] [2015]

“Are you ok, honey?” The synopsis talks about how Olivia Boudreau‘s Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] shows a seven-year old girl (Jasmine Lemée) getting the opportunity to take a step forward towards independence. I find that to be more than a little misleading. This notion is included, especially considering her mother (Marilyn Castonguay) […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Benjamin [2015]

“She lived her life without pain. At least there’s that.” Very few things are more dramatically impossible to fathom than losing a child, but Sherren Lee‘s Benjamin goes one step further to make it so. Written by Kathleen Hepburn, the story centers on a lesbian couple—both of who are pregnant. Sophie (Kimberly Laferriere) carries their […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Never Happened [2015]

“Where’s my other earring?” For eight minutes Mark Slutsky makes sure he has us right where he wants us. Never Happened is so precisely measured in its construction and revelations that we don’t even know its true genre until the very end. Yes there’s comedy and romance and drama in its plot concerning two business […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: She Stoops to Conquer [2015]

“It’s everything you’ll never be” The TIFF description calling Zachary Russell‘s She Stoops to Conquer a “fantastical oddity” is about as spot-on a review as you can get. What else can you say about a short film depicting a struggling performance artist who applies a latex mask—transforming her into an older gentleman in hope of […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Bacon & God’s Wrath [2015]

“I prefer non-believer. Maybe infidel.” I apologize to both my grandmothers because Razie Brownstone is my new hero. Kosher for 90 years of life, it was a journey through “the Google” by way of “the internet” that shook her faith. All the questions she never thought could be answered suddenly became available with a few […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Never Steady, Never Still [2015]

“Let’s imagine smacking them in their faces with our voices” A lot can happen over a very short period of time. We leave home to start new lives and things come our way that either allow the rebirth to flourish or stop it in its tracks. Sometimes we return to take care of family. Sometimes […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: o negative [2015]

“Everything okay?” Sorry, Twilight. Your depiction of love between vampire and human pales in comparison to the uncensored drama of Steven McCarthy‘s o negative. This is the gritty truth of the type of co-dependent relationship such a union is constructed upon—one where morality and humanity is excised completely from matters of life and death. When […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: O sinaleiro [The Signalman] [2015]

“The train was on time” Writer/director Daniel Augusto definitely cultivates a dark tone for his short film O Sinaleiro [The Signalman]. Between the quiet isolation of the titular character (played by Fernando Teixeira) and the almost supernatural occurrences surrounding him, you can’t help but conjure ideas of some spectral evil looming at his door. The […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: The Ballad of Immortal Joe [2015]

“If you want my story I will proceed” Written in memory of a family member, Pazit Cahlon‘s Western poem The Ballad of Immortal Joe sounds like a nursery rhyme but plays like a bittersweet romance of cursed love. Directed and animated by Hector Herrera, the short has an eye-catching aesthetic with dark palette and deep […]

REVIEW: Le mépris [Contempt] [1963]

“I love you totally, tenderly, tragically” Director Jean-Luc Godard has tested cinema’s boundaries throughout his career. So it’s hardly surprising his foray into CinemaScope color with a bigger budget would be as much an aesthetic exercise showing off the technology’s splendor as it is a scathing look at the industry with the money and ego […]

REVIEW: American Ultra [2015]

“We fired the ugly one” When there are only seven basic plots—as the saying goes—to implicitly choose from as a screenwriter, genre-bending homage becomes the sole path towards creativity. So while Max Landis‘ script for American Ultra is The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith through a Pineapple Express filter, it’s a damn good […]