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Entries in Canada (34)

Sunday
Sep202015

TIFF: An LGBT Winner "Closet Monster" 

Portions of this piece were originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

The Toronto International Film Festival closes shop on its 40th year tonight (imagine the stops they'll pull out for the 2025 festival!) and I'm probably on a plane as you're reading this. Given the breakneck pace of seeing so many movies there are more reviews to come from both Amir and Nathaniel (c'est moi). In other words TIFF will have something of a half life here at the blog and the Oscar charts must be updated Monday/Tuesday and so on. With the end of the big three fall fests tonight (Telluride, Venice, TIFF) it's officially on for Awards Season. Cue: marks, gunshot, running campaigning. The first prizes won't roll around until late November / early December of course.

And for many 2015 festival films winning distribution is the only thing worth campaigning for at this moment. If you're into LGBT cinema you should also check out the reviews of Desde Allá and Girls Lost. My favorite LGBT picture of the festival was Canada's own Closet Monster. More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep032015

Tim's Toons: Norway (and TFE) salutes Torill Kove

Tim here. It's a good time  to be Torill Kove: the Norwegian-born animator/director, who has spent virtually her entire career working in Canada, received the Anders Jahre Prize in Oslo today (or yesterday, if you want to be strict about time zones). This award is given to artists at home and abroad who have enriched the cultural life of Norway, and while most of Kove's work has been funded by the invaluable National Film Board of Canada, there's no denying the national pride of her delicate, highly personal fables of life in Norway.

The easiest proof of Kove's prominence is to note that all three of the short films she has directed in her career were nominated for the Best Animated Short Oscar, and one won. Since the NFB, in its generosity and wisdom, has made two of those available online, there could be no better opportunity or excuse to wander through the imagination of one of contemporary animation's most vivid creators. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug042015

Imaginary Couples: Villeneuve & Vallée

An unexpected treat from our neighboring country to the north and a hat tip to Kevin LaForest for sharing it with us.

Two of Canada's greatest directors Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild) and Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) recently posed for the photographer Olivier Ciappa's anti-homophobia series which photographs heterosexual celebrities as gay couples. (For a long time I actually thought Vallée was gay because his breakout hit C.R.A.Z.Y., which Canada submitted for the Oscars back in its day a decade ago, was a fine LGBT coming out drama in addition to the other things it was good at, but it turns out he's straight.) 

Vallée is riding quite an Oscar wave at the moment post The Dallas Buyers Club and Wild and his next film Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal premieres at TIFF. (It's planning on 2016 for its US release but don't expect that plan to stick if reviews are sensational.) Villeneuve's career has been building for some time as well. Canada has actually submitted his work three times in the foreign language film category and the last of them Incendies (2010) was nominated for the big show. His newest feature Sicario (see that intense trailer) stars Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro in a drug trafficking drama and could be one of the fall's mightiest films and a possible Oscar player. We shall see. 

Do you like these directors?

Tuesday
Jul282015

TIFF Galas Announced

Backstage I'm trying not to panic as I've lost my lodging in Toronto (damn you stranger who cancelled my airbnb!) and so many places are already full. But as I try not to panic and calmly search for other places to crash, TIFF has announced their gala and special presentation programs. "Even if you have to sleep in the street, Nathaniel," they taunt me with this fatefully timed announcement, "you'll still want to come."*

(The initial list of films is rarely fully complete one but here's the bulk of what they'll be premiering)

GALA PRESENTATIONS
These ones get the full red carpet premiere treatment

Jake Gyllenhaal in "Demolition"

  • Beeba Boys (Deepa Mehta, Canada)
  • Demolition (Jean-Marc Vallée, USA) starring Jake Gyllenhaal as an investment banker who can't deal with his grief and starts destroying things. 
  • The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia) starring Kate Winslet
  • Eye in the Sky (Gavin Hood, UK) starring Helen Mirren & Aaron Paul
  • Hyena Road (Paul Gross, Canada) 
  • Forsaken (Jon Cassar, Canada) father and son Don & Kiefer Sutherland star
  • Freeheld (Peter Sollett, USA) starring Julianne Moore & Ellen Page
  • Legend (Brian Helgeland, UK) starring Tom Hardy as the twin Kray brothers
  • Lolo (Julie Delpy, France) Julie Delpy still doing everything for herself! 
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity (Matthew Brown, UK) starring Dev Patel & Jeremy Irons

  • The Martian (Ridley Scott, USA) starring Matt Damon
  • The Program (Stephen Frears, UK) starring Ben Foster
  • Remember (Atom Egoyan, Canada) starring Christopher Plummer
  • Septembers of Shiraz (Wayne Blair, USA) starring Adrien Brody and Salma Hayek about a jewish family during the 1979 Iranian Revolution
  • Stonewall (Roland Emmerich, USA) on the 1969 riots 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Leading filmmakers in some cases. But in some cases they may have played elsewhere but they're still billed as premieres of some kind (North-America premiere or what have you)

Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl are trapped during a Chilean coup in 1973 (Colonia)

  • Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson) oooh, it's stop motion animation from Kaufman
  • Beasts of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga) before its Netflix premiere I guess
  • Black Mass (Scott Cooper, USA) starring Johnny Depp
  • Brooklyn (John Crowley, UK) reviewed at Sundance
  • The Club (Pablo Larraín)
  • Colonia (Florian Gallenberger, Germany) starring Emma Watson & Daniel Brühl
  • The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, UK) starring Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander
  • The Daughter (Simon Stone, Australia)
  • Deephan (Jacques Audiard, France) the Palme D'Or winner this year
  • Desierto (Jonás Cuarón)
  • Families (Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France) starring Mathieu Amalric

Jason and Nicole are grown siblings moving back in with their eccentric parents (THE FAMILY FANG)

  • The Family Fang (Jason Bateman, USA) starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman
  • Guilty (Meghna Gulzar, India) starring Irrfan Khan
  • The Idol (Hany Abu-Assad, UK/Palestine)
  • I Smile Back (Adam Salky) starring Sarah Silverman, played at Sundance
  • The Lady in the Van (Nicolas Hytner, USA) starring Maggie Smith
  • Len and Company (Tim Godsall, USA) starring Rhys Ifans
  • The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) premiered at Cannes
  • Louder than Bombs (Joachim Trier)
  • Maggie's Plan (Rebecca Miller) starring Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore & Ethan Hawke
  • Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhang-ke, China)
  • Office (Johnnie To, China/HongKong) starring Chow Yun Fat
  • Parched (Leena Yadav, UK)

Brie Larson in ROOM (and Short Term 12 proved she's great onscreen with child actors)

  • Room (Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada) starring Brie Larson 
  • Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) starring Emily Blunt
  • Son of Saul (László Nemes, Hungary) Hungary's Oscar submission. Premiered at Cannes
  • Spotlight (Tom McCarthy
  • Summertime (Catherine Corsini, France)
  • Sunset Song (Terence Davies) 
  • Trumbo (Jay Roach, USA) starring Bryan Cranston & Helen Mirren in a Hollywood blacklist drama
  • Un Plus Une (Claude Lelouch, France) starring Jean Dujardin
  • Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, Germany) previously discussed by our German correspondent
  • Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore, USA) 
  • Youth (Paolo Sorrentino) the Cannes hit

Which movies are you most curious to read about? 

 

Sunday
Dec072014

Team FYC: Enemy for Production Design

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's Jason on Enemy.

Toronto is a city always standing in for other places; I grew up about two hours from it and I've visited many times (I love that I saw David Cronenberg's Crash, filmed in that city, on a downtown screen there since it wasn't playing anywhere closer to me) and I've always described the town as "New York City, but clean." It is a bit sterile, a lot cold (I refer you to Cronenberg again - where else could he possibly call home?), a bit personality-free. So what better place to set Denis Villenueve's Enemy, a dark nightmare of doubles, then?

Jose Saramago's novel The Double, on which the film is based, is of course set in Portugal but more importantly it spends big chunks carrying its characters off to the countryside; Enemy however never makes it out of downtown Toronto -- there is no "out of Toronto." The city seen from far above floats between the Great Lake on one side and tundra or mist or maybe just the edge of the known world on the other; meanwhile the streets are webbed with trolley-wires and the buildings all seem like computer renderings half-finished. We see people walking the streets but they have all the presence of the ghosts haunting The Matrix, and the expressways seem to endlessly circle around in a Truman Show like loop.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov282014

Amir's Thank Yous

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's Amir in the cinematic spirit.

Amir here. As a quick browse through the comments sections on my box office columns can attest, many readers of this website think that I'm the Grinch. It's hard to blame them but the truth is that, if we move away from the dross that Hollywood offers in thousands of theaters, I enjoy quite a healthy relationship with contemporary cinema. Here, for a change of mood, is a positive, complaint-free post.

I'm thankful...

For, first and foremost, TIFF as an organization in Toronto, especially their year-around programming of older films and for the festival that doesn’t just bring great cinema to the city, but great people, too. (If not for this festival, how else could I attract Nathaniel and Nick to town for shared screenings and dinner?) The experience of having all my favourite fellow writers here at home for a few days is what I cherish most about cinema every year.

For courageous filmmakers, this year more than ever, for films like The Look of Silence, Closed Curtain, Citizenfour and Silvered Water: Syria Self Portrait; and for our modern auteurs raising the bar for themselves even further with great works like The Immigrant, Under the Skin and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

For Jake Gyllenhaal challenging himself with interesting roles (and, let’s be honest, thankful that we get to look at him) and Marion Cotillard who delivers masterworks with such frequency that we forget how complicated her performances really are (and, let’s be honest, thankful that we get to look at her).

For the discoveries of Gugu MBatha-Raw and Adam Bakri. And Jenny Slate crossing the border to films with a remarkable debut and for Elisabeth Moss reproving her brilliance on the big screen this time.

For Xavier Dolan finally directing his first good film – oh, look, there I go again, being cynical – and for smart, intelligent films like The Strange Little Cat and A Most Wanted Man.

For, most of all, Nathaniel for keeping me around here and for Team Experience for making compiling all our polls really fun. And you too, readers! If you’ve made it this far, know that I’m really grateful that you’re reading!  

-Amir

 

Related: Nathaniel gives thanks, Jose gives thanks 

Sunday
Oct192014

Podcast Leftover Pt. 2

Here's part two of our long delayed festival wrap in which we discuss favorites, celebrity run-ins and hilarious Q&A anecdotes. Enjoy the conversation with Nick Davis, Nathaniel R, and special guests Angelo Muredda and Amir Soltani and continue it in the comments

Discussion includes but is not limited to:

  • It Follows
  • Felicity Jones, Mike Leigh, and Viggo Mortensen
  • Documentary greats from Silvered Water to The Look of Silence
  • Iran's Oscar Submission
  • Directors: Mike Leigh, Peter Strickland, Lav Diaz, Jessica Hausner, and Damian Chazelle

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes tomorrow

Festival Leftovers. Pt 2