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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Canada (21)

Tuesday
May062014

Hot Docs '14: Beyond Clueless, The Secret Trial 5

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped Sunday. Reviews will continue this week.] 

In the history of cinema, there are few genres that receive as little acclaim or critical analysis as the high school film does. British critic Charlie Lyne's (of Ultra Culture blog fame) visual essay is therefore a treasure for enthusiasts of recent film history. In Beyond Clueless, he examines teenage characters in a wide variety of films produced between 1996 and 2004. Little of the titular film is shown, though its influence over the films that came after it looms large. From The Craft to Mean Girls, from The Faculty to Rules of Attraction, via Spider-man, Final Destination and everything in between, the high school student is analyzed through the tumultuous process of entering that period of adolescence and exiting it unscathed and transformed.

Beyond Clueless itself takes on the narrative arc of a teen movie. Divided in five chapters that are designed to embody the high school experience, it begins with ‘Fitting In’ and ends with ‘Moving On.’ No new material is added to the clips taken from the films discussed, but crucially, the lengthy essay is narrated by Fairuza Balk, star of The Craft, whose somber but familiar voice instills the film a teen personality of its own. [More...]

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Tuesday
Nov122013

Long Live the New Flesh: David Cronenberg's Exhibition

It’s Amir here, reporting on a couple of films I saw at the David Cronenberg exhibition currently held at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. As the biggest Canadian director working in cinema today, the master of body horror is held in high esteem in national circles. This comprehensive tribute to his body of work is a tremendous showcase for a filmmaker whose work has done a major service to the Canadian film industry over the past three decades.  

Running alongside the exhibition that includes all things Cronenberg like film memorabilia, set props and a life-size mugwump, Long Live the Flesh also hosts screenings of the director’s films with lectures and Q&A sessions. I had the chance to attend two of these events: a screening of Naked Lunch introduced by David Cronenberg and his longtime producing partner Jeremy Thomas (Oscar winner for The Last Emperor) and my first big screen experience with his seminal science fiction film, The Fly, which was followed by a Q&A with the film’s Oscar-winning make-up artist Stephan Dupuis. Both conversations were illuminating though the films didn’t quite affect me in equal measure.

Naked Lunch, adapted from the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, is one of the more personal projects in Cronenberg’s canon, born of his passion for the writer’s work. Cronenberg described the film as both a dream-come-true for allowing him the opportunity to adapt one of his personal favorite novels, but also one that made him extremely anxious as he felt the necessity to get the Burroughsian elements just right. Asked if adapting the supposedly unfilmable novel was a difficult task, Cronenberg referred to the project as one of the easiest screenplays he’s written for the way Burroughs’ prose and his dialogue transfers itself directly to the screen.

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Wednesday
Dec192012

10 More Critics Prizes: "Argo" & "The Master" Fight For "Zero Dark" Scraps

I haven't done the math but why count with my fingers when The Wrap is a born calculator and reveals that as the critics prizes have shaken down Zero Dark Thirty leads the race with 8 while Argo is in second for Best Picture prizes with half as many triumphs thus far. The Master is the only other film that's managed multiple "Best Film" gongs (3) in this thankfully divided year. Licking the crumbs off the critics awards plate we have Amour, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and... Safety Not Guaranteed? Well, ok, Indiana! You go your own way.

Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, and The Master are the critics win leaders

Les Misérables is the only film from Oscar's presumed big five that hasn't managed a Best Picture win from a critics group though it's surprising to realize that Lincoln hasn't done much better in terms of taking the top prize. Another casualty is Beasts of the Southern Wild. That gloriously original moving indie has recovered from its first weeks in the precursors where it couldn't win "first film" or "breakthrough performer" prizes with the unexpected strength of How to Survive a Plague and Middle of Nowhere blocking its pathway with critics or at the Gothams respectively. It's won a few things here and there. But I'd argue it's the biggest casualty of the critics weeks since it hasn't managed even one Best Picture win. It deserved and needed them so it's no surprise that it's outsider shot at a Best Picture nomination which once seemed totally doable now looks like a true long shot.

Supporting Actor Disappointments and more after the jump...

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Thursday
Sep132012

Nathaniel's No Fly Zone

Are you rushing to plan an international jaunt days before said jaunt? I can't recommend!

Last week I realized that TIFF was upon us and realizing that I hadn't at all planned for it (the summer was bumpy) - no accreditation requests, no tickets, nothing, I attempted to course correct.  I thought I'd pop up to Toronto for the last four days of the festival and scrambled: line up premiere invites, find lodging, buy new premiere outfit, order first pair of glasses ever (for long nights staring at my laptop). I closed my eyes tight-shut and hit "purchase" on the expenses as my card buckled in protest. Then Tuesday evening whilst packing, I realized that my passport had vanished. When was the last time I'd used it? Iceland??? Seven hours later my apartment, looking like Dorothy had just been violently whisked off to Oz, still refused to give the sacret document up. I brought every document of my existence with me to the airport last night (expired passport, birth certificate, you name it) and was unceremoniously turned away. I was offered the option of driving with one caveat -- Canada would let me in with my current documents but the US would not let me back in.

The worst part of the whole experience? The Boyfriend said "You're like Nasseri in Charles de Gaulle". And just when I had managed to forget all about the existence of Steven Spielberg's woeful The Terminal, too! Argh!!! and thanks a lot.

The bright side? (Always make lemonade, people.) The airline and the hotel did not rob me blind on cancellation fees but merely pickpocketed. Amir is still there to cover the fest. And now that I'm not in Toronto there's time to catch up on posting, hit some screenings right here, share my Lizzy Caplan interview, and tell you the story of how I met Kristen Stewart and Gabby Sidibe. Stay tuned! Yes, Fall Film Season, and Starry Oscar Campaign Trails are already upon us. I'm thrilled despite being grounded for the forseeable future.

May your September travels be smoother!

Thursday
Aug092012

TIFF Lineup: Female Directors & Prestige Adaptations

 Paolo here. We should probably give in and see what this year's Toronto International Film Festival has to offer! Toronto marks the unofficial start of awards season, inflating or deflating much hyped movies and performances. Speaking of which, the locals can experience the star power of actual would be contenders.  Within the space of ten days, TIFF gives its paying audience access to a year's worth of art house cinema - these movies will be trickling out in limited release for at least a year to come.

Fine reasons to be excited but I have more personal reasons, too. 


Reason no. 1 They're bringing back some classics.
They're under the Cinematheque programme, spotlightling restorations like Dial M for Murder in 3D, Loin du Vietnam - a collaborative anti-war project involving a handful on 1960's auteurs like Godard, Agnes Varda, William Klein Alain Resnais and (RIP) Chris Marker. There's also Roberto Rosselini's Stromboli and Roman Polanski's Tess, the latter being an adapation of a Thomas Hardy novel that I've been reading the past month or so. Which brings me to reasons two, three and four... after the jump.

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Friday
Jun012012

Twins: Iceman is a Multiple Man

While we're in Gemini, we're celebrating twins each day at 2:22 pm

Whatever happened to the X-Men franchise's young Shawn Ashmore? He played Iceman in three X-Films from 2000 through 2006 though the character essentially peaked in 2003 in the franchise's single best film (Bryan Singer's X2: X-Men United) where he proved a key player. About four years ago he and his twin brother Aaron Ashmore (also an actor, most famous for playing Smallville's Jimmy Olsen) were still getting press but you don't hear much about either of them these days.

They're both still acting, Shawn still (mostly) in the movies though its low budget horror instead of big budget Hollywood franchises and Aaron (one minute older) still in television where he hops from shortlived series regular gig to series regular gig post Smallville. At 31 years of age neither are as famous as they once were. Those superhero franchises help, whether they're part of the Marvel or DC universes. Hollywood's a difficult place to maintain a career, let alone grow one. More after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec142011

Critics Prizes Dotting The Map

You may have noticed that The Film Experience never publishes the lists of nominees from small critics organizations. The winners we like to cover, yes. But nominees? This is, in my opinion, the last thing the already crowded landscape of movie awards needs is for each tiny critics organization to attempt to share not just their advocacy for Best of the Best but all the other ones they liked too. If winners announcements are good enough for the three most prestigious societies (NYFCC, LAFCA and NSFC) they should be good enough for the smaller groups. It all becomes too much noise. The multiple daily announcements actually bring one of We Need To Talk About Kevin's best scenes to mind. Tilda's weary mom stops near a construction site to allow a jackhammer to drown out the endless crying of her demon baby. Hilariously wrong but you feel for her. 

But now that we have some winners, here we go! 

San Diego Film Critics Society

Film The Artist
Director Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Actress Brit Marling, Another Earth
Actor Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Supporting Actor Nick Nolte, Warrior
Ensemble Performance Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Animated Film Arthur Christmas
Documentary Project Nim
Foreign Film I Svil
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Editing Oliver Bugge Coutté, Beginners
Production Design Dante Ferretti, Hugo
Original Screenplay Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen
Adapted Screenplay Moneyball by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Score Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Body of Work Jessica Chastain
Kyle Counts Award Lee Ann Kim, San Diego Asian Film Foundation

Houston, Toronto, Indiana, and the African American Film Critics Association after the jump with more cities to come...

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