• mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]




    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

  • observance01

    FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]




    “Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

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    INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba




    Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

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    INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog




    If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]

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    INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game




    After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The Virginity Hit [2010]




“Have you ever seen your mom naked? … I have.” Writers Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko saw some decent success with The Last Exorcism last month, but did anyone know they also concocted a faux documentary style American Pie, eventually scooped up by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions? The movie is called […]

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REVIEW: Wall Street [1987]




“I just bagged the elephant” We Some films are carried by a once in a lifetime performance that takes you along for a ride greater than itself. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is one of them. Written with Stanley Weiser, Stone, fresh off a huge Oscar run with Platoon the previous year, wanted to get right […]

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REVIEW: The Social Network [2010]




“Farm animals …” We all might have shook our heads when dark noir extraordinaire David Fincher signed up to direct this so called “Facebook Movie”, but in a matter of five minutes all reservations are rendered moot. It begins with a Mamet-esque tit for tat between Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg (perfect casting anyone?) and his […]

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FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #4 – The New World [2005]




“At the moment I was to die, she threw herself upon me” There is no way to mistake a Terrence Malick film for anything but. His use of score as a character rather than background, the hitch cuts in scenes as though only a few frames are removed, ultra short vignettes right out of a […]

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REVIEW: The Town [2010]




“It’ll be just like one of my sunny days” There is just something about Ben Affleck and Boston. Raised in Cambridge, it seems that success and the hometown accent combine as though they are directly related. Good Will Hunting earned him an Oscar for Best Screenplay, his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was—in my opinion—one […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: ノルウェイの森 [Norwegian Wood] [2010]




“I don’t go out of my way to make friends” The hugely popular Japanese novel by Haruki Murakami, ノルウェイの森 [Norwegian Wood], has made the leap to the big screen via director Anh Hung Tran, its North American Premiere held at the Toronto International Film Festival. A coming of age tale about a late-teen boy named […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: 127 Hours [2010]




“This rock has been waiting for me my entire life” If there is anyone working in or out of Hollywood that I would give a fighting chance at making a cinematic adaptation of the perilous, claustrophobic entrapment of hiking enthusiast Aron Ralston, it’s Danny Boyle. His track record is impeccable, his artistic vision constantly evolving […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Conspirator [2010]




“Why did I fight for the Union if my rights aren’t assured?” The aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination hasn’t really been the subject of many films that I know of. Of course there is the whole Steven Spielberg Lincoln project that has been pushed back every year since its announcement, a starting date nowhere […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Bunraku [2010]




“Love is temporary; Hope is eternal” Bunraku may be the term used to describe a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, but that is no longer what I am going think when the word comes up in casual conversation—because it happens so frequently. Instead, I will recall memories of writer/director Guy Moshe’s unique vision of […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: It’s Kind of a Funny Story [2010]




“I would just live like it meant something” I’ll admit, an adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story wasn’t what I thought Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would pursue after two well-received dramas in Half Nelson and Sugar. The trailers did express the dramedy aspect, though, despite media outlets incessantly calling […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Neds [2010]




“Marcus is in the garden, but … shhh” Young John McGill’s Aunt Beth, played by Marianna Palka, tells the boy, “your dreams are gonna come true, ya know”. It’s a telling statement once you watch Peter Mullan’s very Scottish—to the point it had English subtitles for an English language film—Neds. Sitting through the World Premiere […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Stone [2010]




“I don’t want no beef with you, I want to be a vegetarian” The trailers being released for Rochester resident John Curran’s newest film Stone show a conventional thriller concerning a convict using his wife to seduce the parole officer in control of an early release. You almost think the advertisement gives everything away, touching […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Trust [2010]




“Just because she didn’t scream doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape” While writing my 2010 Toronto International Film Festival preview, I scoured the internet for poster images of the films I was to see. When it came to David Schwimmer’s sophomore effort Trust, all I discovered was a promo poster featuring a large, determined, floating head […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: I’m Still Here [2010]




“I don’t want to be the Joaquin character anymore” I think director Casey Affleck’s letter to the audience attending the Toronto International Film Festival screening of his (faux?) documentary I’m Still Here stated the type of polarizing effect it has on the entertainment obsessed public best. “Because of the premiere in LA, I couldn’t make […]

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Wasted on the Young [2010]




“Popular opinion is what you’re best at” Australian cinema has really surged lately with the likes of The Square and Animal Kingdom being released stateside this year. Newcomer Ben C. Lucas now throws his hat into the ring with the suspense drama Wasted on the Young. Described in the Toronto International Film Festival program book […]