11/30/2012

Knife Fight of the Adulterous Women

Keira Knightley stars  in Joe Wright’s bold, theatrical new vision of  Anna Karenina,
an Alliance Films release Credit: Laurie Sparham.
Ottawa's two best theatres will be having a showdown between the two best films I've seen this year. Joe Wright's Anna Karenina, my favourite film at TIFF 2012, opens tonight at The ByTowne (and SilverCity Glucester, but their admission is $5 more and their popcorn is terrible). Meanwhile, Sarah Polley's NFB-produced doc Stories We Tell, easily the best film I have seen since TIFF, gets its second run in Ottawa at The Mayfair. In addition to sharing mild thematic parallels, Anna Karenina and Stories We Tell deserve to be sitting in the top tier of the year because they are the two boldest, most refreshingly innovative experiments in film form for 2012. Interestingly enough, I struggled in choosing between these two films at TIFF because they premiered at the same time on the first Friday of the festival. (Stories had an Ottawa released scheduled, but Anna did not, hence why I chose Anna.) Anna Karenina and Stories We Tell are now in a head-to-head fight for my pick for best film of 2012. I'll have to revisit both films this week and see which one ends up on top. The bigger face-off, perhaps, will be the contest between ByTowne popcorn and Mayfair popcorn. Popcorn forks, aweigh!
Scene from Stories We Tell. Photo credit: Ken Woroner, courtesy of the NFB


Win Tickets to 'The Impossible' in Ottawa!



Get a head start on your holiday moviegoing by winning tickets to a sneak peek of the upcoming film The Impossible, courtesy of eOne Films! The Impossible premiered at TIFF, where it was greeted with critical acclaim and standing ovations from audiences. A powerful story based on one family’s survival of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, The Impossible stars Noami Watts and Ewan McGregor and is directed by J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage).

11/29/2012

The Great Director



Hitchcock
(USA, 98 min.)
Dir. Sacha Gervasi, Writ. John J. McLaughlin
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy.
Hitchcock, thankfully, is not the Liz & Dick of great director biopics. This behind-the-scenes look at the master of suspense might not be in the league of something that Hitchcock would have made himself, although it might be a step above Waltzes from Vienna, but fans of Alfred Hitchcock will certainly enjoy the insider’s look at the making of Psycho, as well as Anthony Hopkins’ delightfully playful performance as the great director. Hitchcock, based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, uses this one period from Hitchcock’s career to explore all his features and foibles. It’s a love story of sorts, but unlike Liz & Dick’s one-note bastardization of a Hollywood icon, Hitchcock uses the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) to explore the man’s creative process, inner demons, and unsung partner-in-crime.

11/27/2012

Crouching Tiger, Heavy Fable



Life of Pi
(USA, 127 min.)
Dir. Ang Lee, Writ. David Magee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Gérard Depardieu.
If 2012 does not go down in history as one of the best years for movies, then it will certainly be remembered as a year of ambitious adaptations. Theatres and festivals have already unveiled a score of imaginative page-to-screen renditions such as Anna Karenina and Cloud Atlas among films based novels that were largely thought to have been “unfilmable. Like Salman Rushdie’s Midnight's Children or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Yann Martel’s acclaimed Booker Prize winner Life of Pi is another 2012 film whose source I once said could not make a film. The main premise of the book sees a young boy name Pi share a lifeboat with a giant Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. It is one thing to shoot a movie on a lifeboat with Tallulah Bankhead, but it’s a whole other logistical/practical conundrum when the star is a giant carnivorous cat. I speculated that Life of Pi could only ever be adapted as an animated film, with the magical fable of Martel’s prose finding an appropriate visual equivalent in artificial artistic rendering. It seems that director Ang Lee has imaginatively found the best of both worlds, as he uses the latest in visual effects to transport the magical realism of Life of Pi into the real world.

Funny People: An Evening with Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann


Apatow and Mann

Last night, as part of the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, the Canadian Film Centre hosted a master class with Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, the successful husband and wife comedy team behind the upcoming comedy This is 40. The two funny people, best known for their film work in The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, shared stories about their creative process so that up-and-coming filmmakers could gain some insight at what makes their comedy such a success. The point was underscored by Eugene Levy, who introduced the comedic duo to the audience at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and noted that he was proud to present two artists whose work “is actually funny.”

11/26/2012

An Icon Stained



Liz & Dick
(USA, 88 min.)
Dir. Lloyd Kramer, Writ. Christopher Monger.
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Grant Bowler, David Hunt.
To quote Liz Taylor, “I'm bored, I'm so bored!” If Lindsay Lohan had any aspirations to make a comeback and prove herself a credible actress, then Liz & Dick was a terrible choice of project. The role of Elizabeth Taylor is a risky and challenging rule to be sure. The movie star of movie stars, Elizabeth Taylor was glitz and glamour, but she was also one hell of an actress. It’s the role of a lifetime, really, in the hands of a capable performer. (Lohan doesn't look a thing like Miss Taylor, either, but she could be a dead ringer for Sharon Stone.) It’s not that Lohan stumbles in doing justice to Taylor’s legacy—and rest assured, she does—it’s that the chance to play the great star unfortunately reveals what a terrible actress Lohan actually is.

Forbidden Fruits



The Fruit Hunters
(Canada, 95 min.)
Dir. Yung Chang, Writ. Yung Chang, Mark Slutsky
Book: Adam Gollner
Featuring: Bill Pullman, Noris Ledesma and Richard Campbell, Isabella Dalla.
Photo credit: Mila Aung-Thwin, © EyesteelFilm, Inc.
Fruit is the unsung hero of gourmet nibblings. An aspiring foodie, my exotic samplings tend to veer on the carnivorous side. I’ve tried horse (loved it), cooked an octopus (I liked it, others did not), paired an ostrich burger with a kangaroo burger (liked the former, but the latter tastes like horse laced with multi-purpose cleaner), and would eat bone marrow every day if I could. When it comes to fruit, however, my adventurousness ends at canned peaches. Foodies need to take a cue from their mommies and eat their fruits and vegetables, too. Foodie film-buffs will love The Fruit Hunters, then, since its reveals a smorgasbord of decadent edibles with a better eco-footprint and calorie count than fatty meats.

11/23/2012

EUFF Review: 'Demons'



Demons (Deemonid)
(Estonia, 118 min.)
Dir. Ain Mäeots, Writ. Ain Mäeots, Toomas Tilk.
Starring: Tambek Tuisk, Ene Järvis, Ain Lutsepp, Evelin Võigemast.
Demons is the second film to screen at the European Union Film Festival this week that looks at the price of gambling. The first film, Spain’s Winning Streak, is a true-life caper about a family of high rollers that broke the bank. Estonia’s entry Demons, on the other hand, tells of people who risk it all and lose. Gambling is more fun when you’re winning, and the same could be said about gambling in film: Winning Streak has high entertainment value as the roulette wheel spins around and lands a winning number, while Demons is a dark, unsettlingly realistic look at the true nature of the odds. Demons shows that a film is considerably greater when something is at stake. With dramatic depth and a keen eye for the personal and psychological tolls that gambling brings, Demons wins big at this year’s festival. 

11/20/2012

EUFF Review: 'Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda'



Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda (Tadas Blinda: Pradzia)
(Lithuania, 110 min.)
Dir. Donatas Ulvydas, Writ. Jonas Banys
Starring: Mantas Jankavicius, Agnia Ditkovskite, Tatyana Lyutaeva, Vidas Petkevicius
Film buffs who attended Monday night’s screening of Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda at the 2012 European Union Film Festival were treated to a rare sight. The Canadian Film Institute’s EUFF had its Lithuanian night on Monday, so moviegoers got a chance to see a film from a country that has a relatively small output here in North America. Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda is reportedly both the most expensive and most successful Lithuanian independent film ever produced, so the folks in Lithuania’s cultural sector certainly made a bid of “go broke or go home” to the audience at the CFI. Fireheart is certainly an entertaining film, and quite a pleasant surprise with its high production value. It has a good claim to be the best Lithuanian film I’ve ever seen, but it’s worth noting that it’s also the only Lithuanian film I’ve ever seen. However, I’m certainly intrigued to see future films that the country has to offer.

EUFF Review: 'Holy Motors'



Holy Motors
(France/Germany, 115 min.)
Written and directed by Léos Carax
Starring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes, Michel Piccoli.
Denis Lavant and Kylie Minogue. Courtesy of Mongrel Media.
If Holy Motors were an American film, we would all be calling it shit. However, it’s a French co-pro, so we call it art instead. Audacious, grotesque, and utterly nonsensical, Holy Motors is the most European art film you’ll see all year. It’s cracked-out madness, so just accept the ridiculousness of it all and go along for the ride.


11/19/2012

Free Ottawa Premiere of 'We Were Children' Nov. 25


Rene Batson as Glen (7/8 years old) and Kristen Harris as Lebret Nun.
Photo courtesy of The NFB.

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will present the Ottawa premiere of We Were Children (Eagle Vision/eOne/NFB) on Sunday, November 25, 2012, with a free public screening at 1:30 p.m. at the Library and Archives Canada Auditorium, 395 Wellington Street. This special screening is presented in collaboration with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Lisa Meeches, First Nations filmmaker and executive producer of We Were Children, will attend at the Ottawa premiere.

Oscar Predictions: Round 3 - A Question of Taste



Lincoln - The Drama or The Drama-plus?
Slow and steady wins the race. Not much has changed since our last survey of the Oscar field, other than Lincoln’s booming opening expansion and Skyfall’s thunderous box office take overall. (Silver Linings Playbook and Anna Karenina also performed respectably in limited release against strong widely released competition.) Lincoln didn't work for me entirely, but I see why it has such vocal supporters; however, I’m a big fan of Skyfall, but I’m skeptical its chances as a major Oscar contender. I think that Skyfall can count on some technical nominations (most likely a cinematography nom for DP Roger Deakins, or perhaps even a win.) Best Song could be happening, too, if Adele’s “Skyfall” isn’t disqualified for sampling the original Bond theme by Monty Norman. The Artist sampled lots of classic music last year and won, though, so the music branch of The Academy will look awful foolish if it flip-flops. Another flip-flop could be Steven Spielberg’s reversal of my opinion that he’s become soft after the woeful War Horse. Lincoln seems to have joined Argo as a safe bet for a Best Picture nomination. It’s sitting well with critics and seeming to do very well with audiences; however, it needs a few weeks to show us whether it has the same legs that Argo does. Ben Affleck’s film continues to do gangbusters, both commercially and critically. It was recently announced that Affleck with receive the modern master award at Santa Barbara, so the fêting of Hollywood’s new prized actor-director has taken one small step towards Oscar. There are many stats for actors winning Best Director, but I don’t quite believe that numbers are the best way to play the Oscar predictions game.

11/18/2012

EUFF Review: 'Winning Streak'



Winning Streak (Los Pelayos)
(Spain, 101 min.)
Dir. Eduard Cortés, Writ. Eduard Cortés, Piti Español
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Lluís Homar, Eduardo Fernández, Shi Chi Chui, Vicent Romero, Oriol Villa, Miguel Ángel Silvestre.
What are the odds of beating the house during a night at the casino? They’re pretty slim, eh? Anyone who has spent a night piddling away their quarters knows there is a point at which the house will take your winnings if you aren’t smart enough to walk away. The odds vary by game. Slots last for about twenty dollars’ worth of quarters, but yield little returns. Card games vary the most, as they seem to require the most strategy. That dice game is a crapshoot. Roulette, finally, seems impossible to beat because it is essentially a lottery game with a spinner and a little white ball.

11/17/2012

Lincoln: Team of Rivals



Lincoln
(USA, 149 min.)
Dir. Steven Spielberg, Writ. Tony Kushner
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Jared Harris, Gloria Reuben.
I bet Lincoln would make an incredible stage play. Star Daniel Day-Lewis gives a magnetic performance that could captivate an audience even better in close proximity. As the great storyteller Abraham Lincoln, Day-Lewis recites one speech after another. The screenplay by Tony Kusher, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning play Angels in America, contains an abundance of speeches. Lincoln is built not on dialogue, but on monologue. Each character of the ensemble enjoys a Shakespearean array of oration, which amounts to a great deal of talking, but also competitive acting and inadvertent theatricality. The commanding lectures of Lincoln have an inherent static drive, so the film might have been more imposing—and effective—if staged in an intimate setting instead of a sprawling, epic widescreen plain.

EUFF Review: 'Silence'



Silence
(Ireland, 84 min.)
Dir. Pat Collins, Writ. Pat Collins, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride, Sharon Whooley.
Starring: Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride.
The average speed of sound travels a distance of 1236 km/hr. That’s awfully fast. The sound of silence, then, must be very slow. It’s painfully slow, in fact, as evidenced by Silence, a film that is lethargically paced both narratively and aesthetically.

11/16/2012

Canadian Filmmaker Eyes Oscars' Doc Race with 'Trial By Fire'



Director/Producer Megan Smith-Harris, on location Cincinnati, OH

Canadian-born filmmaker Megan Smith-Harris is making a run for the Academy Awards with her first independent feature Trial By Fire: Lives Re-Forged. Born in Toronto, Smith-Harris got her start while touring with The Second City, and then went on to produce numerous documentary profiles of Canadians for the CBC and Brave, as well as the documentary Surrogate Stories, which aired on the Women’s Television Network this year. She also honed her skills in Producers Residency Program at the Canadian Film Centre and participated in the inaugural year of Women in The Director’s Chair in Banff. Now based in Connecticut as owner of Pyewackitt Productions, the Oscar race helps to make a dream come true for Smith Harris because it means that the reach of her inspirational film could be bigger than ever. The film screened at the International Documentary Association's DocuWeeks programme in August to qualify for the Best Documentary Feature category at the Oscars, and Smith-Harris is screening the film so that it can compete amongst over 100 other docs, some of which already have high profiles and studio support.

11/15/2012

'Silver' and Gold



Silver Linings Playbook
(USA, 122 min.)
Written and directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles.
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook,.
an Alliance Films release.
I am head over heels in love with Silver Linings Playbook. It’s easy to see how this delightful film won the hearts of audiences at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and nabbed the coveted People’s Choice Award. I missed Silver Linings Playbook at when it played at TIFF. It was a crowded festival and word on the strength of the film wasn’t out until the day of its premiere. (Reviews were held under lock and key, it seems.) Additionally, TIFF 2012 was chock-full of goodies and two films I really wanted to see, Inch’ Allah and Something in the Air, overlapped with Silver Linings. The silver lining of a festival as big as TIFF is that one can see thirty-five films in ten days and still have two-hundred-odd films left to see. I’m glad that my fellow TIFF-goers endorsed Silver Linings so strongly, though, and I would have cast a vote for it myself if I’d seen it then.

11/14/2012

Along Came a Turkey



Alex Cross
(USA, 104 min.)
Dir. Rob Cohen, Writ. Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, and Cicely Tyson.
Courtesy of eOne Films

After seeing Silver Linings Playbook on Monday, I remarked once again what an excellent year it’s been for movies. “There’s been one great film after another!” I exclaimed. However, I might need to recant my statement now that I have seen Alex Cross. For every Silver Linings Playbook this year, there has been an Alex Cross. While some film circles are yielding greatness upon greatness, others are cranking out brainless trash ad nauseam.

11/12/2012

Snowy with a Chance of Zombies

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
(Canada/Denmark, 83 min.)
Dir. Boris Rodriguez, Writ. Boris Rodriguez, Jonathan Rannells, Alex Epstein
Starring: Thure Lindhardt, Georgina Reilly, Dylan Scott Smith, Alain Goulem, Paul Braunstein, Stephen McHattie.

Fans of B-movie splat-n-chuckle mayhem will spill their brains over Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal. A fun flick for the Midnight Madness crowd and for late-night zombies everywhere, Eddie is a silly spoof of (and addition to) the legacy of schlocky Canadian horror films. This Canadian/Danish co-pro, shot in the snowy hills of Ottawa, spills buckets of red syrup all over the winter landscape and the result is a bloody fun time.

11/11/2012

'The Fruit Hunters' Trailer

A trailer has landed for the upcoming documentary The Fruit Hunters (scooped via the Canadian Film Centre's Facebook page).  The Fruit Hunters follows actor Bill Pullman as he interviews a roster of John Laroche-type characters who are obsessed with tasty exotic fruits. The film is directed by Yung Chang, whose China Heavyweight premiered at Hot Docs earlier this year before opening in theatres this summer. (He also made 2009's Up the Yangtze, which won the Genie for Best Documentary Feature.) The Fruit Hunters, based on the book of the same name by  Adam Leith Gollner, is described as a "cinematic odyssey through nature and commerce that spans prehistory to the present, [which] will change not only the way we look at what we eat but how we view our relationship to the natural world." The was produced by EyeSteel Film and the National Film Board of Canada and it was developed through the Canadian Film Centre Documentary program. It opens on November 23rd in Toronto at The Bloor Cinema and in Montreal at Excentris Cinéma.


 


11/10/2012

James Bond has Returned

Skyfall
(UK/USA, 143 min.)
Dir. Sam Mendes, Writ. Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw.

007 has returned and he puts the comic book franchise to shame. Skyfall, arguably the best major studio film I’ve seen so far this year, is a great example of how to reboot a franchise without scrapping all that’s gone before and starting from scratch (I’m looking at you, Spider-Man!). Skyfall outdoes the high bar set by 2006’s Casino Royale, a ball that was subsequently dropped by its unsightly follow-up Quantum of Solace, and brings Bond back to the bare boned hardness of the Ian Fleming novels. Taking a cue from the Dark Knight films (or perhaps the stage directions of Black Swan), Skyfall strips the Bondfranchise down to its core and makes it dark and visceral. It’s as if Skyfall achieves the goals to which the dark Timothy Dalton films aspired, but fell short of realizing.

11/08/2012

New 'Les Misérables' Trailer

Well, this is exciting. I might prefer the original teaser, but this extended preview gives a better taste of how the live singing works. Les Misérables opens in theatres December 25th from Universal Pictures Canada.

The original video was taken down by YouTube due to a copyright complaint, but Comingsoon.net has a new one:

11/07/2012

Kentucky Fried Noir



Killer Joe
(USA, 96 min.)
Dir. William Friedkin, Writ. Tracy Letts
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church.
I felt like I had to go to church and atone after seeing Killer Joe. Sick, twisted, and in every sense depraved, Killer Joe is black-hearted to the bone. This ultra-violent piece of Kentucky Fried noir would make a great double-bill with Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy. Like The Paperboy, Killer Joe is a seedy, B-movie mess. Joe rejoices in all the sordid behaviour of The Paperboy, but it amps the depravity up to the NC-17. A guilty pleasure through and through, Killer Joe is a bloody god piece of southern gothic for anyone who can stomach it.

11/06/2012

Help Ottawa's Historic Mayfair Theatre Buy a Digital Projector!



Apparently, it’s Indiegogo week here on Cinemablographer! I went to see Killer Joe at The Mayfair last night and noticed a sign on the box office window advertising a campaign to help keep Ottawa’s most historic movie theatre in business. At a ripe 80 years, The Mayfair is among the oldest independent movie houses in all of Canada. Like all movie theatres, though, The Mayfair is being forced to go digital. They’ve held out as long as they could, but the industry is forcing even the most devoted of cinephiles to drop film for digital because studios and distributors will no longer be making or shipping film prints. It’s digital or die.

The Mayfair has been raising funds for a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for a while now with fundraiser screenings and a handy jar at the concession stand, so they’ve raised quite a bit. They just need your help to make the final push. With the help of Indiegogo, The Mayfair seeks $15, 000 towards the purchase, shipping, setup, and installation of the projector.

11/05/2012

CFI Presents: 2012 European Union Film Festival



Eva Mendes and Denis Lavant in Holy Motors.
Courtesy of Mongrel Media

The Canadian Film Institute has announced the films and screening schedule for the 2012 European Union Film Festival. EUFF ranks among the most popular festivals/screening series at the CFI. Ottawa moviegoers can see all sorts of festival fare, from bleak neo-realism to underdog crowd-pleasers like last year’s selection The Artist. EUFF 2012 unfortunately doesn’t have any submissions for Best Foreign Language Film from the European Union (last year saw Bulgaria’s entry Tilt and Austria’s pick Breathing play at the fest.) However, Oscar’s lack of presence at the festival makes it even more imperative to see these films when they screen at the CFI, since they probably won’t make it back to town. One film that is particularly worth noting is Léos Carax’s Cannes hit Holy Motors, which looks like a hot ticket for anyone in search of a crazy Eurotrip. (Naturally that’s the one night of the festival when I have plans, so I’ll cross my fingers that it comes to the Mayfair!) EUFF 2012 runs from November 15 to December 2. That date’s coming up soon, so please make sure that your passport is in order. See you at the festival!

Films screening at the 2012 European Union Film Festival are:

Crazy Cat Lady



Francine
(USA/Canada, 74 min.)
Written and directed by Brian M. Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
Starring: Melissa Leo, Keith Leonard, Victoria Charkut.
There is great comfort in cats. Francine, played by a remarkable Melissa Leo, loves her feline friends. She’s a crazy cat lady of sorts, a Nell-ish ex-convict who struggles with society but finds solace in furry critters. A quiet, episodic character study, Francine proves a difficult film experience that might work quickly through all nine lives of some viewers, but those who stay with it will enjoys its rewards long after.

11/03/2012

Help Make it Happen for 'I Put a Hit On You'



It's hard out there for Canadian filmmakers. But thanks to crowd-funding campaigns like Indiegogo, you can help give the green light to budding independent filmmakers. One campaign that deserves some support is I Put a Hit on You, the new film from writers/directors/lovers Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart. I Put a Hit on You is a dark romantic comedy about a woman (Sarah Canning) who posts a hit on her boyfriend (Aaron Ashmore) on Craig’s List, but then has second thoughts. The couple then joins up to stop the killer and confront their troubled relationship. Hit is Clark and Stewart’s first feature together after their successful shorts Long Branch and Margo Lily. (You can watch Margo Lily on the CBC's Canadian Reflections, if you want a test drive.) I stumbled upon Margo Lily at WSFF this year and was wowed by impact the filmmakers made in a mere eight minutes. (Review here.) Margo Lily nabbed my pick as the Best Canadian Short at WSFF, so I can personally vouch that this filmmaking team can deliver on your investment. (And, if not, you can put a hit on me.)

Spirit in the Sky



Flight
(USA, 138 min.)
Dir. Robert Zemeckis, Writ. John Gatins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Tamara Tunie, Nadine Velazquez, Melissa Leo, Brian Geraghty.
And we have lift-off! Well, sort of. Flight is a lift-off to a Best Actor campaign for Denzel Washington, but the film itself struggles to keep itself afloat. Thanks primarily to Washington’s performance, Flight gives a strong look at the personal and collective tolls of alcoholism; however, the script by John Gatins (whose most recent screenwriting credits includes the surprisingly good ‘boxing-robots movie’ Real Steel) is unwieldy, unfocused, and unsuccessful in its attempt to take a blockbuster premise and deliver a religious parable. In short, Flight is essentially a big-budget version Smashed, but it is twice as long, half as good, and everyone other secondary character randomly shouts “Praise Jesus!”


11/01/2012

A Message From Deepa Mehta


Midnight's Children finally opens in select Canadian theatres this weekend! (The list appears after the cut.)  We all know how important the first weekend is to the lifespan of a Canadian film, so here is a personal message from director Deepa Mehta inviting you to share her latest film. Make sure to see Midnight's Children: the film was my #1 must-see at TIFF and I wasn't disappointed. (Review here.)

Here is Deepa's message:


New Trailer for 'Twice Born'



Migliora il tuo italiano! C'è un nuovo trailer di Venuto al mundo, con Penélope Cruz e Emile Hirsch. Il film, basato sul romanzo di Magaret Mazzantini e diretto da Sergio Castellitto, aveva la sua anteprima mondiale al TIFF nel mese di settembre, che ho avuto la fortuna di partecipare. Sono abbastanza un fan del film.

[Translation: Brush up on your Italian! There's a new trailer for Twice Born, starring Penélope Cruz and Emile Hirsch. The film, based on the novel by Magaret Mazzantini and directed by Sergio Castellitto, had its world premiered at TIFF in September, which I was fortunate to attend. I'm quite a fan of the film.]