11/15/2018

Portrait of a War Hero

A Private War
(USA/UK, 110 min.)
Dir. Matthew Heineman, Writ. Arash Amel
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander, Stanley Tucci  
Marie Colvin movie
Rosamund Pike stars as Marie Colvin in A Private War
There is a war going on. It doesn’t have bullets. It doesn’t have bombs. It doesn’t have drones. Instead, this war is one of words, access, and angles.

Touched by Mediocrity

Touched 
(Canada, 78 min.)
Written and directed by Karl R. Hearne
Starring: Hugh Thompson, Lola Flanery, John MacLaren
Director Karl R. Hearne really seems to like the colour blue. It’s everywhere in his new feature Touched. It’s in the lighting (so cold!), the clothing (so sad!), and the mood (so dreary!).

11/11/2018

EUFF Review: 'I Am Not a Witch'

I Am Not a Witch
(UK/France, 92 min.)
Written and directed by Rungano Nyoni
Starring: Margaret Mulubwa, Henry Phir, Nancy Murilo 
Margaret Mulubwa
The inciting event of I am not a Witch could easily be a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A woman fetches a bucket of water and drops it when she encounters a young girl on the path home. Her explanation for being startled? The little kid’s a witch.

11/08/2018

Boy Erased: Every Parent Needs to See this Movie

Boy Erased
(USA, 114 min.)
Written and directed by Joel Edgerton
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, Xavier Dolan, Joe Alwyn, Troye Sivan
Theo Pellerin and Lucas Hedges in a scene from Boy Erased
There’s a moment in Boy Erased in which Nicole Kidman brought the house down at the Princess of Wales Theatre when the film premiered at TIFF earlier this fall. Kidman’s character Nancy rescues her son, Jared (Lucas Hedges), from a gay conversion therapy camp that she’d enlisted him in with hopes to straighten him out. As they escape, the camp’s leader and self-certified “therapist” (Joel Edgerton) comes running after them, convincing them to stop and correct their sins. Nancy, a devout Baptist, realizes that she can reconcile her faith with her love for her son. Nancy turns protectively and fiercely admonishes her foe with the sassiest “Shame on you!” decreed in cinema. The line comes straight from the heart as love gives Nancy a reality check and Boy Erased provides a pure, heart-breaking portrait of the bond between parents and their children.


11/07/2018

EUFF Review: 'Omnipresent'

Omnipresent
(Bulgaria, 120 min.)
Written and directed by Ilian Djevelekov
Starring: Velislav Pavlov, Teodora Duhovnikova, Vesela Babinova, Anastassia Liutova, Mihail Mutafov 
How many cameras does a person walk by every day? The fear of Big Brother watching over us is a reality that people take for granted. Government spying might be one thing, since they can only monitor so many people, but the threat of surveillance is everywhere, as are the inherent elements of power and control that come with the information gleaned by the voyeur. Omnipresent, the opening night film of Toronto’s European Union Film Festival and Bulgaria’s official entry in this year’s Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film, explores the destructive role of the panopticon as one man takes the all-seeing eye of the camera too far. It’s a chilling morality play on the power of media.


11/01/2018

Burning: A Grin without a Cat

Burning
(South Korea, 148 min.)
Dir. Lee Chang-dong, Writ. Lee Chang-dong, Jungmi Oh
Starring: Ah-In Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jeon
Ah-In Yoo, Jong-Seo Jeon and Steven Yeun star in Burning
Burning is a slow and difficult film. South Korea's Oscar bid is lethargic even by the standard with which one approaches a film by auteur Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine, Poetry). Lee has mastered the art of slow cinema, rarely making a movie that clocks in under two hours and twenty minutes, so what Burning lacks in immediate payoff it enjoys in long-term gain. See it in a theatre and leave your phone behind—or, if watching Burning at home, turn the phone off, remove the battery, and leave both parts in different rooms. This is the kind of movie from which one can easily be distracted, since the action happens almost imperceptibly in Lee’s carefully measured frames. Miss not a beat, lest ye be lost forever. The film is a slow burn with a sting that creeps up a day later.