5/23/2017

Why Commit to 'The Lovers'?


The Lovers
(USA, 94 min.)
Written and directed by Azazel Jacobs
Starring: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Melora Walters, Aidan Gillen
Debra Winger and Tracy Letts in The Lovers.
Robb Rosenfeld. Courtesy Mongrel Media
There’s little reason to commit to The Lovers. It’s a shame that this intimate two-hander blunders since it’s an admirable effort on many fronts. The Lovers casts Debra Winger (remember her?) and Tracy Letts (Indignation) in refreshingly substantial roles as Mary and Michael, a married couple for whom passion’s long stalled. It might have set Sundance ablaze had it starred H&M models in skinny jeans—or given the audience at least one character to root for by the end.


5/19/2017

The Commune: In Good Company


The Commune (Kollektivit)
(Denmark/Sweden, 111 min.)
Dir. Thomas Vinterberg, Writ. Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
Starring: Ulrich Thomson, Trine Dyrholm, Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Fares, Magnus Millang
Trine Dyrholm in The Commune
Courtesy Pacific Northwest Pictures
After hitting a career-high with his sumptuously sensitive adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd (one of this blog's favourite films of 2015), Danish director Thomas Vinterberg heads home with The Commune. It’s a true homecoming in several ways for the director who, along with Danish enfant terrible Lars Von Trier, is one of the names behind the stripped-back, no frills Dogme 95 style. Far from the Madding Crowd might be as far from the chastity of the Dogme school as a filmmaker can get (aside from Marvel movies), but Vinterberg finds higher ground after the bigger project. The Commune draws upon Vinterberg’s childhood experience of growing up in a commune and the filmmaker interrogates his relationships with women in this excellent period drama/love triangle that adapts the filmmaker’s unique voice to the accessible sheen of mid-sized prestige pics like Madding. It’s one of the year’s best and most surprising films.


5/16/2017

Contest! Win Run of Engagement Passes to See 'The Commune' in Toronto!

Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg (Far from the Madding Crowd) returns with the acclaimed drama The Commune. The film tells a bittersweet tale of a family that decides to explore alternative living when Anna (Trine Dyrholm, who won a well-deserved Best Actress prize at Berlin last year) suggests communal residence as remedy to their big empty house. The Commune opens Friday, May 19 in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox from Pacific Northwest Pictures and in the spirit of communal cinema, we have run of engagement passes to see the film! Answer the trivia below for your chance to win!

5/09/2017

Hot Docs 2017: Festival Wrap-Up and Picks for 'Best of the Fest'

Step - My pick for 'Best of the fest' at Hot Docs 2017
Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures
That’s a wrap for Hot Docs! Another festival is in the can. There’s a simplicity to covering Hot Docs that can’t be beat in Toronto and perhaps that’s purely the relaxed attitude of the documentary crowd. Complete coverage may be found over at the POV Hot Docs hub and while we’ve been busier than ever cranking out two issues back to back before Hot Docs, it’s nice to be back here at Cinemablographer after six weeks of winter. Big thanks to the programmers, staff, volunteers, publicists, and filmmakers for another good festival.

3/24/2017

Wilson: American Blowhard


Wilson
(USA, 94 min.)
Dir. Craig Johnson, Writ. Daniel Clowes
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Isabella Amara, Cheryl Hines

Laura Dern as Pippi and Woody Harrelson as Wilson in Wilson.
Photo by Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Wilson is a man from another era. He isn’t one for cell phones and he has an utter disdain for the Internet. Real communication, to Wilson, is that old-school person-to-person stuff. That’s too bad because Wilson really isn’t much of a people person.


3/15/2017

The Claws Come Out


Catfight
(USA, 96 min.)
Written and directed by Onur Tukel
Starring: Sandra Oh, Anne Heche
The spirit of Russ Meyer endures in Catfight. Sandra Oh and Anne Heche face off in the mother of all catfights in this utter bonkers black comedy from Onur Tukel. Catfight doesn’t offer buxom babe sexploitation in the vein of Faster, Pussycat, but this darkly funny girl-on-girl action nevertheless delivers a thrill by empowering women through violence. Catfight is both a guilty pleasure and a frisky social satire.


3/12/2017

Canadian Screen Award Winners (In Progress)

Best Picture
It's Only the End of the World

Best Director
Xavier Dolan, It's Only the End of the World

Best Actress
Tatiana Maslany, The Other Half

Best Actor
Stephan James, Race

Best Supporting Actress
Molly Parker, Weirdos (woohoo!)

Best Supporting Actor
Vincent Cassel, It's Only the End of the World

Best Adapted Screenplay
Xavier Dolan, It's Only the End of the World

Best Original Screenplay
Daniel MacIvor, Weirdos

Best Cinematography
André Turpin, It's Only the End of the World

Best Film Editing
Richard Comeau, Two Lovers and a Bear 

Best Costumes
Patricia McNeil, Nelly

Best Art Direction/Production Design
Emanuel Frechette, Two Lovers and a Bear

Best Music - Original Score
Born to Be Blue

Best Music - Original Song
Born to Be Blue, "Could Have Been"

Best Documentary Feature
I am the Blues

Best Editing in a Documentary Feature
Dave De Carlo, Giants of Africa

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature
John Price, I am the Blues

Best Animated Short
Blind Vaysha

Best Live Action Short
Mutants

Best Documentary Short
this river

Best Overall Sound
Race

Best Sound Editing
Race

Best Visual Effects
Race

Best Make-up
Maina Militza and Denis Vidal, It's Only the End of the World

Best First Feature
Old Stone, Johnny Ma












3/10/2017

Canadian Screen Awards Preview: Who Should Win on Sunday?

Xavier Dolan on the shoot of It's Only the End of the World
Shane Laerdière, Sons of Manual
And we’re back! After catching our breath following that doozy of a finale to the Oscars, it’s time for Canada’s own award show: the Canadian Screen Awards. The nickname of “The Candies” doesn’t seem to have caught on despite the noble effort to make the moniker stick, so we’ll just keep on running with The Screenies as an abbrev’d name.

2/27/2017

Oscars Recap: Now That's What I Call an Ending!

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty with the Best Actress envelope.
How’s that for an ending? A relatively ho-hum Oscar ceremony became a wild night after Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway received the envelope for Best Actress and incorrectly gave the prize to La La Land. Moonlight, however, ultimately won in the biggest Oscar upset since Crash. The Hollywood Reporter has the full rundown on the snafu. What a night to remember!

2/25/2017

Oscar Party Playlist

Sandra Huller belts out some Whitney Houston in Toni Erdmann
Sony Pictures Classics
Ballots printed ☑
Popcorn popped ☑
Bubbly on ice ☑
Oscar noms prepared ☑


2/24/2017

Oscars Predictions: Final Round - Another Day of Sun

Ryan Gosling in Oscar's next Best Picture winner, La La Land
It’s the final few hours of award season! This year has ample speculation that the circus in the land of Lady Liberty will inspire the Oscars to get political. At the very least, a few of the speeches are bound to be good TV.

Contest! Win Passes to See 'Bitter Harvest'!


Canadian director George Mendeluk returns with the sweeping historical drama Bitter Harvest. Starring Max Irons, Samantha Barks, and Terrence Stamp, Bitter Harvest dramatizes the fight of rural Ukrainians standing up to the devastating campaign launched by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. Bitter Harvest opens in theatres March 3 from D Films and we have run of engagement passes to see the film in theatres! Answer the trivia below for your chance to win!

2/22/2017

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Royal Wedding


A United Kingdom
(UK/USA, 110 min.)
Dir. Amma Asante, Writ. Guy Hibbert
Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Lady Edith
David Oyelowo as Seretse Khama and Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams in A United Kingdom.
Photo by Stanislav Honzik, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
The newspapers call Ruth Williams “The White Queen” as they flash on the screen in A United Kingdom. These headlines don’t serve as compliments. They are slurs.


2/20/2017

Watch Oscar Nominee 'Blind Vaysha'

Courtesy of the NFB
In the spirit of the category, let's keep this short and sweet: watch the Oscar-nominated and Canadian Screen Award-nominated Blind Vaysha for free thanks to the NFB!


2/19/2017

TIFF Next Wave Review: '1:54'


1:54
(Canada, 105 min.)
Written and directed by Yan England, Writ.
Starring: Antoine Olivier Pilon, Sophie Nélisse, Lou-Pascal Tremblay, David Boutin, Patrice Godin, Robert Naylor, Anthony Therrien, Guillaume Gauthier
Les Films Séville
Mommy star Antoine Olivier Pilon delivers another strong and bold performance with his turn as Tim, a shy and closeted teen in 1:54. The young actor delivers on the promise and the high bar set by his award-winning turn in the Xavier Dolan drama. 1:54 is another entry in the queer Quebec canon as Pilon’s character wrestles with his identity while struggling with a two-fold loss: his best friend and unrequited love, Francis (Robert Naylor). As both a coming of age/coming out of the closet film and study in contemporary cyberbullying, this relevant teen-set drama is a mature snapshot of the challenges facing contemporary youths.