7/21/2017

#TIFF17 Wish List

Ryan Gosling in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049
The Toronto International Film Festival drops its first wave of programming announcements on Tuesday, July 25. The bulk of the Canadian programming gets unveiled fairly late this year (August 9th), but it’s not too early to start listing all the titles one hopes to see at the festival.

The pressure’s on TIFF this year, though. The festival announced earlier this year that it plans to reduce the line-up by 20%. Given that TIFF generally has around 300 titles, that’s about 60 films less than usual.

7/14/2017

Ottawa International Animation Festival Announces Line-up!

Oscar winner Torill Kove returns to Ottawa with Threads
Courtesy NFB
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) has unveiled the line-up for the 2017 edition of the festival. The festival, which is North America's largest showcase of animation and the National Capital's premiere film event, boasts a strong line-up of international works and Canadian cartoons. OIAF offers five feature films in competition this year and ninety-four short films in competition, fourteen of which are Canadian productions or co-productions. Also returning to the festival are the Canadian Panorama and Canadian Student Competition, which provide healthy surveys of CanCon.


7/07/2017

Blue 'Moon'


From the Land of the Moon (Mal de pierres)
(France/Belgium/Canada, 120 min.)
Dir. Nicole Garcia, Writ. Nicole Garcia, Jacques Fieschi
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel, Alex Brendemühl 
Pacific Northwest Pictures
From the Land of the Moon is a film of a different era. Fifty years ago, it might have been the stuff of awards and rave reviews. There’s a lot to admire in its prestigious production that soaks up the scenery the Alps while French superstar Marion Cotillard acts her heart out playing Gabrielle, a young woman from a small post-World War II town who draws suspicions of madness because she believes in true love. It’s 2017, though, and movies need to do more than make their leading ladies long for a man to earn their laurels.

7/05/2017

Vengeful Bitches Slay


The Beguiled
(USA, 93 min.)
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard
“What have you done to me, you vengeful bitches?!” cries Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) in a fit of rage. McBurney shrieks his words with a timbre so venomous that every male in the audience might cross his legs, wince, and grasp at his nether regions just to make sure that they’re still in the theatre. The male members of the audience, anyways.


6/30/2017

2017 in Review: The Best Films of the Year so Far


Cate Blanchett gives the 13 best performances of 2017 in Manifesto.
Photo by Julian Rosefeldt, courtesy of Filmrise.
Is it already June? This year is just flying by. I’m sorry that updates here have been scant (work’s just been a series of events that haven’t let up) but this blog seems to be waking up from an extended hibernation. It’s time to recap the year at its halfway mark.

Contest! Win Run of Engagement Passes to See 'From the Land of the Moon' Starring Marion Cotillard!



Cinemablographer favourite Marion Cotillard returns in the acclaimed drama From the Land of the Moon. After debuting to strong notices for Cotillard’s performance at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (where she also turned heads for It’s Only the End of the World) and earning eight César Award (French Oscar) nominations including Best Film and Best Actress, From the Land to the Moon is coming to theatres. The film opens July 7 from Pacific Northwest Pictures and Cinemablographer has run of engagement passes for lucky readers to see the film. Enter the trivia below for your chance to win!

6/22/2017

"That's, Like, the Biggest Shark I've Ever Seen."


47 Meters Down
(USA, 89 min.)
Dir. Johannes Roberts; Writ. Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Starring: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt
Mandy Moore Claire Holt
Claire Holt and Mandy Moore star in 47 Meters Down.
VVS Films
The cautious tourists always have the craziest vacations. Linda (Goldie Hawn) plays it safe and doesn’t talk to strangers during her Ecuadorian nightmare, but she gets kidnapped and terrorized by the cartel. Susan (Cate Blanchett) drinks Diet Coke without ice to avoid germs in Morocco, yet a renegade bullet nips her whilst she naps on a tour bus. Darlene (Kate Beckinsale) hesitantly agrees with her friend Alice (Claire Danes) to swap Hawaii for Thailand and (whoops) finds herself spending more time in jail than on the beach. Rose (Kate Winslet) follows her mother’s orders until she rebels and finds love on a cruise ship until (whomp whomp) the boat sinks. Lonely Planet doesn’t prepare tourists for plot twists.


6/18/2017

Contest: Win a Digital Download of '100 Streets' Starring Idris Elba and Gemma Arteton!


Idris Elba, the Internet’s favourite candidate for the next James Bond, teams up with former Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) for the new indie thriller 100 Streets. This tense multi-narrative film stars the two suave Brits in an acclaimed ensemble cast that includes Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey), Franz Drameh (Attack the Block) and Ken Stott (The Hobbit). 100 Streets comes to iTunes on Tuesday, June 20 from Pacific Northwest Pictures and lucky readers have the chance to win a free digital download of the film. Enter the trivia below for your chance to win!

6/12/2017

Rachel Getting Harried


My Cousin Rachel
(UK/USA, 106 min.)
Written and directed by Roger Michell
Starring: Sam Claflin, Rachel Weisz, Iain Glenn, Holliday Grainger
Rachel Weisz My Cousin Rachel.
  Photo by Nicola Dove / Fox Searchlight Pictures
Dead wives and Daphne du Maurier go together like cake and ice cream. The haunting prose of the popular author is at its best in Rebecca, the story of the nameless second Mrs. de Winter living in the shadow of her husband’s widow, Rebecca. It’s a hypnotic Gothic story, but also perhaps the best example of a film being better than the book. Alfred Hitchcock’s spellbinding psychological thriller and ghost story is an eerie production that gets inside the head of its jittery protagonist (Joan Fontaine) as she braves the high bar set by her predecessor, survives the husband (Laurence Olivier) who might have killed Rebecca, and unravels under the presence of the loony housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson). Death and widows brew in a similar tempest in My Cousin Rachel, albeit without the weirdly sexual storm cloud of Mrs. Danvers.


6/04/2017

'It's Only the End of the World' Leads Quebec's Prix Iris Winners


Léa Seydoux in Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World
Photo by Shane Laverdière, Sons of Manual
Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World ended its award streak on another high note by winning five awards at Quebec’s Prix Iris (formerly known as the Jutra Awards), the province’s top ceremony honouring the best in Quebecois cinema. World won five prizes including Best Film, Director, Casting, and Cinematography. Dolan made an impressive haul with the film despite meeting a rocky reception that still leaves World without American distribution. Before the Iris ceremony, World won the Grand Prix at Cannes, six Canadian Screen Awards including Best Film and Best Director, three French Cesars including Best Director and it served as Canada’s Oscar submission where it made the shortlist. Dolan previously won four Jutras for Mommy and two for his breakthrough I Killed My Mother.


6/01/2017

Mungiu Comes Back from Detention


Graduation (Bacalaureat)
(Romania/Belgium/France, 128 min.)
Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu
Starring: Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Lia Bugnar, Vlad Ivanov, Malina Manovici, Petre Ciubotaru
Cristian Mungiu is back from detention. The Romanian auteur who won Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner and drew notice to the Romanian new wave with 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days returns with a film that mostly delivers on the promise of his 2007 breakthrough. The long takes are back in tried and tested form following a tediously slow slump with his much-lauded-but-excruciatingly-tedious Beyondthe Hills. This taut psychological drama displays carefully rehearsed restraint as Mungiu creates a complex moral fable out of one family’s despair.

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.