CdnFilm at TIFF: New Clips from 'October Gale' and 'Wet Bum'

Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman star in Ruba Nadda's October Gale.
We have first looks for two Canadian films making their world premieres at TIFF 2014! First clips were released today for Ruba Nadda’s October Gale, which reunites her with the great Patricia Clarkson after their TIFF 2009 winner for Best Canadian Film, Cairo Time. October Gale continues Nadda’s turn into thriller territory following 2012’s Inescapable. If the first look at a strong, gun-totin’ Patricia Clarkson isn’t enough to entice you to catch a screening of October Gale at TIFF, well, shame on you.


Opposites Attract?

Lawrence & Holloman
(Canada, 89 min.)
Dir. Matthew Kowalchuk, Writ. Daniel Arnold, Matthew Kowalchuk
Starring: Ben Cotton, Daniel Arnold, Katherine Isabelle, Amy Matysio, Christine Willes.
They say opposites attract. One couldn’t find a bigger pair of opposites than in Lawrence and Holloman, the frenemies of the anti-buddy comedy that bears their names. Lawrence and Holloman are polar opposites in just about every way. There’s no attraction between the two, though. They’re more like magnets in reverse: the tension becomes stronger the closer they come together.


Watch: Trailers for the Canadian Features at TIFF '14

Monsoon, one of the Canada features at TIFF. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Making your TIFF picks? The Sophie's Choice decisions of the opening weekend and Single Ticket Day are inevitable, but the folks at Telefilm Canada have a handy tool to help keep some Can Con in your line-up. They've complied a playlist of all the available trailers for feature-length Canadian films screening at TIFF this year. This list includes a handful of trailers not listed on TIFF's own playlist of stuff to see at the festival, so make sure to take a peek! (Although a trailer for the ingenious doc The Wanted 18 isn't there, so watch that too!) What Canadian films are filling you line-up for TIFF '14?


What's the Deal with 'Frankie & Alice'?

Frankie & Alice
(Canada, 100 min.)
Dir. Geoffrey Sax, Writ. Cheryl Edwards, Marko King, Mary King, Jonathan Watters, Jo Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse.
Starring: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson.
What’s the deal with Frankie & Alice? This Canadian drama carries a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for Halle Berry that it received when Frankie & Alice had a qualifying run in the awards race of 2010. Audiences may now see the merit in Berry’s nomination now that Frankie & Alice has a home video release, but it’s weird to watch the film and wonder what exactly made it linger on the shelf for four years when it obviously had a sliver of support. Berry gives a searing performance in her turn as Frankie Murdoch, a woman who suffers from multiple personality, so it’s an absolute shame that distributors threw Frankie & Alice under the bus.


Uvanga: Myself

(Canada, 88 min.)
Dir. Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, Writ. Marie-Hélène Cousineau
Starring: Marianne Farley, Lukasi Forrest, Travis Kunnuk, Paka Innuksuk, Madeline Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Carol  Kunnuk .
Lukasi Forrest (Thomas) and Travis Kunnuk (Travis). Courtesy of Mongrel Media.

Take a trip to Igloolik, Nunavut, in the striking melodrama Uvanga. Uvanga, directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, two members of the Arnait Video Collective and the winners of the Best Canadian First Feature Film award at the2008 Toronto International Film Festival for Before Tomorrow, takes an age-old story of a return to one’s roots to reclaim what is missing. The story could literally take place anywhere, but Uvanga, shot entirely in Nunavut during the season of twenty-four hour sunlight, feels both universal and specific.


The Pimp and the Protégé

Fading Gigolo
(USA, 90 min.)
Written and directed by John Turturro
Starring: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber
John Turturro (Fioravante) and Woody Allen. Photo courtesy of Mongrel Media.

John Turturro makes a decent stab at making a Woody Allen movie with his latest picture, Fading Gigolo. Fading Gigolo is an enjoyably unconventional take on the oldest profession. Woody Allen has always fancied himself a man with the ladies, casting himself in progressively wider May-December romances with everyone from Helen Hunt to Scarlett Johansson, but Fading Gigolo fashions the Woodman in an age-appropriate role as the seasoned neurotic pimping his friend (Turturro) out to a pair of bombshell New Yorkers played by Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara. Any Allen fan will undoubtedly appreciate Woody’s turn on the screen. He appears in front of the camera less and less these days, and a role this fun is worth the curiosity alone.


Ottawa Int'l Animation Festival Celebrates Disney at OIAF 2014

Disney's Feast.
It might be time to declare the Ottawa International Animation Festival the happiest place on the festival circuit this fall. OIAF announced today that the 2014 edition of the festival includes a spotlight celebration of the world’s most beloved and prolific animation studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios. “It’s only natural,” says OIAF Artistic Director, Chris Robinson, in a press release from OIAF, “that we debut our new Pioneers of Animation series with a tribute to the most successful, innovative and influential animation studio in the world. Founded in 1923, the 91-year old studio has had a profound and widespread impact on animation and global culture.” The tribute, presented with the support of Celebrate Ontario and Walt Disney Animation Studios series includes screenings, talks, exhibitions, and legendary Disney animators.


TIFF Completes Massive Line-up with Mavericks and More Titles, plus a Guest List and Official Schedule.

Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria) gets a Mavericks talk!
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
The Toronto International Film Festival adds some more films to its line-up and it seems it saved the best for last. TIFF today named the Mavericks selections that form the most impressive wave of its massive programming line-up for 2014. The Mavericks programme offers the fullest festival experience for TIFF-goers with extended conversations with some of the hottest stars and filmmakers involved with some of the TIFF’s biggest films. This year’s Mavericks programme includes extended conversations with Oscar winners Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria), Reese Witherspoon (Wild, The Good Lie), Denzel Washington (The Equalizer) and Robert Duvall (The Judge), along with filmmakers Julie Taymor (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer), and Jon Stewart (Rosewater).


Contest: Win Tickets to see 'The Captive' in Toronto!

Acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan returns with The Captive, which features an all-star cast of Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand, Alexia Fast, Arsinée Khanjian, and Bruce Greenwood. The Captive opens in theatres September 5 from eOne Films, but if you want tickets to a Toronto sneak peek with Atom Egoyan in attendance, then you are in luck! Answer the trivia below to be entered to win!

Canada, TIFF, and the Oscar Race: Can Anything Top 'Mommy'?

Mommy. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
The annual question arises now that the Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Canadian line-up: What film will be Canada’s Oscar pick? That question, however, seems awfully redundant as we approach the best launching pad for Canadian films and Oscar hopefuls alike on the fall festival circuit. The real question for Canadian film fans and Oscar junkies circa TIFF 2014 is really, “Can anything top Mommy?”


'Thank you for your childhood.'

The Giver
(USA, 90 min.)
Dir. Phillip Noyce, Writ. Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift.
Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges star in The Giver.
Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

Dystopian flicks are all the rage for the teen crowd nowadays. This business of art sees something viable in the franchises of futuristic young adult novels that offer readily cinematic adventures, so the rationale behind the recent surge of sameness becomes apparent no sooner than one can utter the word “Katniss.” Katniss has a predecessor, though, and his name is Jonas. Crowds  of complacent cogs of YA dystopia chant his name in Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newberry Medal winning novel The Giver and the success of Lowry’s novel exceeds all of the successors that follow in its wake—if not commercially then at least critically. It’s therefore only fitting for the novel that started the trend to receive its own big screen adaptation.


'Lucy' is a Brain Fart

(France, 89 min.)
Written and directed by Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked.
Scientists say that humans use only ten percent of the brain's cerebral capacity. Science fiction writers, on the other hand, wonder what happens when humans maximize their intellectual potential. The result is a freak show that could never happen in real life. Be thankful for that.