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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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SAG Ensemble Predictions

"How is no one talking about the kids from IT????? They were amazing" - David

"I think Girls Trip makes it. Or st least Tiffany Haddish gets a nod. Right now, I’m thinking both?" - Roger

"In terms of crazy nominations that will never happen in a million years, I'd be elated to see something like The Beguiled or mother! nominated." - Film Junkie

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Entries in Canada (38)

Sunday
Dec102017

Toronto, Boston, and NY Online Critics Join the Loud "Best" Chorus

by Nathaniel R

Our friends to the north in Toronto gave their biggest prize to a film of the south, Sean Baker's The Florida Project. In their supporting categories they stuck with the clear critical frontrunners Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) and Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) both of whom are probably locking up Oscar nominations in their categories if not the win yet. Toronto's full awards plus the venerable Boston Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics Online are after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jul252017

TIFF Lineup! The Special Presentations & Galas

by Nathaniel R

Elle Fanning as author Mary Shelley

The annual Toronto International Film Festival, our personal favorite, is just two months away. Today they held a press conference to announce the first batch of films from their special presentations and gala sections (i.e. the premieres of multiple kinds, be it world premiere, international premiere, canadian premiere or whatnot).

A ton of films after the jump...

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Sunday
Dec112016

Toronto Critics Prizes

Toronto Film Critics Association, our friends to the North established back in 1997, stuck with their Southern neighbors in embracing Moonlight and Manchester (2 prizes each) and the folks cross the ocean in loving all over Toni Erdmann (3 prizes). Their full list is after the jump and we're so glad The VVitch was finally honored. It took the home team (O Canada!) to finally get that done...

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Monday
Sep122016

TIFF Quickies: A Monster Calls, Colossal, Santa & Andrés

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto Film Festival 


A Monster Calls (JA Bayona, USA/Spain)
This fable about grief and growing up will surely be someone's favorite movie. Alas, it isn't mine. A Monster Calls is a simple fantasy about a boy named Connor (Lewis MacDougall) whose mother (Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer. His grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and father (Toby Kebell) attempt to console him but the only solace Connor can find is in visitations from a giant tree monster (voiced by Aslan... excuse me, Liam Neeson) who promises to tell the boy three stories in exchange for the boy's own. The film is somewhat moving and fantastically visual in its three animated stories within the movie; they're sensory overload mashups of computer generated imagery, watercolor fluidity, and bold color choices. In both its earthbound and magical moments, though, A Monster Calls is relentlessly gilding the lily. It's so concerned with putting its parables over that its' constantly explaining them and telling us how to feel about grief and loss. Still, Bayona's movie is always coming from a place of compassion and humanity which can be a godsend in the soulless landscape of CGI heavy movies. While the tech elements are strong, particularly sound and visual effects (though why does the creature look so much like Groot?),  it all comes down to the boy and his mother if you want the tears. MacDougall & Jones are beautifully cast as they both look and feel like mother & son. MacDougall, who made his debut as a Lost Boy in Pan last year, impressively carries the movie with something like ease while filling up all the unspoken spaces with heartbreak and fury about his impending loss. Felicity Jones half-gone feeling in her final scenes provides generous Oscar clipping. If only the movie had given the emotions more room to breathe and to speak for themselves. If trees can walk and talk, and demand that we listen, feelings deserve the same respect. Less CGI and scripted preaching, more intuitvie tears, please. [Animated Stories Within the Movie: B+ /Movie: C+ ]

Colossal (Dir. Nacho Vigalondo, Canada)
Finally a movie that Hathaway fans (*raises hand high and shamelessly*) and the "Hathahaters" can enjoy together. This oddball movie from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo places Anne Hathaway at the center of a kaiju movie. Nope, she's not a scientist or a hero - believe it or not she's the kaiju. Yes, she's Colossal's rampaging beast destroying Seoul ... not figuratively but actually! She's also "Gloria" a drunk who gets thrown out of her boyfriend's apartment (Dan Stevens) and ends up returning to her hometown where she takes a job with a former friend (Jason Sudeikis) who still harbors a crush. When Gloria realizes she's unknowingly wreaking havoc all the way around the world she's even more freaked out by her self destruction and drunken blackouts. If that all sounds like it might work better as a midnight madness short, you could be right. Colossal starts brilliantly with a priceless perfectly-pitched prologue in South Korea with a little girl and her dolly. Though it's numerous twists have a kind of welcome insanity, the length of the thing, and particularly its deadly over-investment in the Jason Sudeikis character (to the detriment of Gloria's own emotional arc) undoes it. Lop off an entire half hour of this film's running time and it might just work as a delightfully weird and funny cult oddity but as it is Colossal is something of its own kaiju, an lumberingly awkward, self-destructive beast which keeps crushing the precious little movie its building. [Anne Hathaway's Willingness to Do This Project: A / Movie: C+]

Santa & Andrés (Dir. Carlos Lechuga, Cuba/Colombia)
Havana born director Carlos Lechuga takes aim at the disconnection of idealogies amongst Cubans in this 80s set drama about a homosexual writer deemed a dissident and the woman assigned to monitor him to keep him from contacting international press and delegates at a local political event. Initially this drama's slow burn doesn't seem to be paying off with a dull first half hour and lots of shots of Santa & Andrés warily staring at each other and barely speaking. But their eventual emotional, if not political, understanding is wonderfully portrayed by the actors and smartly delineated in the screenplay. What the patient filmmaking lacks in verve it makes up for in insight, with each painfully tentative kindness between them feeling like a precious miracle in a climate of hopelessness. B

Wednesday
Aug102016

Norma?

So should we wish Norma Shearer a happy 114th in heaven or not? 

As I was prepping an "on this day..." post I discovered that the internet does not agree on the birth date of The First Lady of MGM, Norma Shearer. TCM and IMDb say August 10th while Biography and Wikipedia say August 11th. Biography goes one further and even says there's disagreement on the year with 1900, 1902, and 1904 all cited which is perhaps why the Encyclopeida Brittanica doesn't give her a birthdate, just a month. Didn't Canada keep records at the turn of the century? 

Nobody agrees on anything about Norma, including her Best Actress win for The Divorcée (1930) which I was alarmed to realize some time ago is not always held in high regard despite her being utterly fabulous in the movie.  Gotta love those Pre-Code movies. We should probably do a mini-series on them at some point.

Whatever her actual birthday, TFE often feels festive about her. Three cheers to Norma this morning (your Old Hollywood fix since Judy by the Numbers, our beloved Wednesday morning pick me up, is delayed for the time being).

Friday
Jul222016

1977: The Best Animated Short nominees

Tim here. To celebrate the upcoming Supporting Actress Smackdown, 1977 is the year of the month here at the Film Experience. I'd like to take you back to a different Oscar competition from that year, the four-way race for Best Animated Short Film. It was one of the more interesting slates that category has ever seen, which I hasten to clarify isn't the same as calling it one of the best. But it makes for a pretty unique cross-section of the kind of animation being made in North America, with two nominees from the United States and two from Canada, ranging from a purely abstract experiment with the medium to a literal TV show.

We'll start off with the shortest of the nominees, an offbeat little gag called Jimmy the C (on YouTube – that unpleasant little watermark in the center goes away after a minute). In it, recently-inaugurated President Jimmy Carter waxes rhapsodic over his beloved home state by lip-singing to Ray Charles's "Georgia on My Mind", all through the magic of clay animation. I confess myself stumped: what the hell?...

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