TIFF13 REVIEW: Falastine Stereo [Palestine Stereo] [2013]

palestinestereo01

“We all should sing and dance and live and allow nothing to break us” No matter how much Stereo (Mahmud Abu-Jazi) loves his country, living in the warzone that is occupied Palestine has to prove hollow at some point. A wedding singer with what many say is a sweet voice—hence the nickname—that moment comes via […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Faroeste caboclo [Brazilian Western] [2013]

brazilianwestern01

“A real man always pays his debts” Composed by Renato Russo in 1979 and finally released in 1987 on his band Legião Urbana’s album Que País É Este, “Faroeste Caboclo” became a folk song hit in Brazil. It was Russo’s family —Renato died in 1996 due to complications from AIDS—who began the process of finding […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: iNumber Number [2013]

inumbernumber01

“Hurry. This place got more crooks than government.” The South African director behind cinematic adaptations of John van de Ruit’s comedic, teen-lit Spud series about life at boarding school starring John Cleese hits the Toronto International Film Festival with his latest work: a violent heist flick with a rogue undercover cop at its center. I’m […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Soullam ila Dimashq [Ladder to Damascus] [2013]

laddertodamascus01

“I love you with nothing at all” A non-violent, secular movement began in Syria in early 2011 led by young protestors calling for democratic freedoms and the fall of president Bashar al-Assad’s Ba’ath regime. It evolved into a civil war that rages on today with mounting chemical attacks by Assad’s government raising the threat of […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Bad Words [2014]

badwords01

“I threw a tantrum just to get attention” Perhaps Jason Bateman is tired of playing the likeable voice of reason amongst more idiotic counterparts that his iconic turn as Michael Bluth on “Arrested Development” has typecast him into performing ever since the show’s debut launched his comeback into public consciousness. I’m not sure anyone can […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Labor Day [2013]

laborday01

“I understood who my real family was: her.” If anyone questioned whether or not Jason Reitman was truly a great director or merely someone with excellent luck at choosing projects—I remember thinking his Best Director nod for Juno was premature myself—Labor Day should set the record straight. And that’s despite his introduction before its third […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Joe [2014]

joe01

“Tell me something. You like funny faces?” Welcome back David Gordon Green. While it’s easy for me to say such a statement because I know his pedigree on paper, truth be told I’ve only ever seen one film of his before he dove into Hollywood comedies. It was his last before that period of his […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Dom Hemingway [2013]

domhemingway01

“A peasant at heart—with good hair and a strong liver” After finding a ton of work on television recently, it’s good to see writer/director Richard Shepard back in theaters with Dom Hemingway. I’m a big fan of both The Matador and The Hunting Party for their infectious humor despite somewhat mainstream stories. So, learning his […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: R100 [2013]

r100a

“Is that an earthquake?” What do you get when you cross one of Japan’s most influential comedians, a premise similar to The Game but with a zany wild streak of subversive humor, and a whole lot of S&M? The answer is Hitoshi Matsumoto‘s R100, a film following the mild-mannered Takafumi (Nao Ohmori) as he descends […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Visitors [2014]

visitors01

I entered the Elgin Theatre excited at the prospect of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I was about to sit down and watch the world premiere of renowned experimental film director Godfrey Reggio’s newest introspective tome, Visitors. This would be completely new to me never having seen his Qatsi Trilogy or either of Koyaanisqatsi’s […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Begin Again [Can a Song Save Your Life?] [2014]

canasongsaveyourlife01

“Yeah. I just phased out my cassettes.” To answer the title’s question—Can a Song Save Your Life?—writer/director John Carney says, “Yes.” A song can save someone from jumping off a subway platform and someone else from the searing emotional pain of being scorned in love. Music in general is an art form that can move […]